Fashola Officially Flags Off Lagos Residents Registration Exercise
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday flagged off the State’s Residents’ Registration exercise urging all those resident in the State, irrespective of state of origin, to get involved in the exercise at any of the many registration centres across the State.
The exercise, being undertaken by officers of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA), is aimed at creating useful database of all residents in Lagos State with a view to, among others, providing useful information for social welfare, political, security, business, employment and financial activities.
It is also aimed at creating database for housing and demography statistics for health related matters such as health insurance as well as facilitating unified planning and implementation of development projects.
Addressing a diverse audience of professionals, businessmen and women, government officials retired civil servants and other categories of residents of Lagos State as well as a delegation from Kano State at the capacity filled Adeyemi Bero Multi-purpose Hall at the Lagos State Secretariat Alausa, Governor Fashola said the Government decided to pursue the initiative because of its inherent benefits to the welfare of the citizenry.
According to the Governor, although the Government has gathered considerable data from sources like vehicle licensing, drivers’ licensing, motorcycle riders’ scheme, tax payment, land ownership and enrollments in schools, among others, there still exists a gap created by those outside some or even all of the aforementioned groups.
“In an information technology driven age, data collection, processing and management has become the gold standard and the most important currency that any community can seek to acquire”, the Governor said adding that Government has a responsibility to provide for all categories of its citizens.
Governor Fashola said the vision behind the residents registration initiative was to create a City-State where every community has exactly enough public schools to cater for the children in it with the students having enough infrastructure, teachers and resources to get the best possible education, where the travel time was short and predictable, where there are enough hospitals, beds, doctors and nurses, where water runs in taps 24 hours every day and power was stable.
He declared, “The signs of that City-State of our dream are emerging; because we are all living witnesses to the improving levels of service delivery. Today’s event enables us to leapfrog our way closer ro that dream”.
“Any Government that seeks the kind of efficiency that we seek, any government that understands its primary purpose as we do,; that we exist for the people and not otherwise, such a government will pursue data collection and management as a critical infrastructure”, the Governor said.
Describing the launch as a watershed in the history of the State, Governor Fashola emphasized that the exercise was for only those resident in the State, irrespective of their State of origin adding that Section 22 of the enabling law defines “a resident” as “a person who resides temporarily or permanently in a long term accommodation in the State”.
“Our purpose and focus are the people who live here. Those are the people we have direct responsibility for and they are the people we seek to know so that we can serve them better. Those who reside outside the State are no less important but we do not provide water, transportation, security, education and other services for them”, the Governor said.
On the process of registration, the Governor explained that immediately a resident is registered, he or she will be issued a temporary card with a unique identity number which, according to him, “will remain with you for the rest of your life, while your data is processed, verified and corrected, if necessary, before your permanent card is issued”.
He, however, said although every resident was eligible to register and be issued with the unique number, only those from the age of 16 years up would get personal cards while those below that age would be registered as dependents of adult residents and will only get their own unique numbers adding that such category of persons would get their personal cards when they attain the age of 16.
The Governor said residents of some housing estates in the State have started using their temporary registration cards, issued to them during the pilot registration which was undertaken earlier in order to test the readiness of the system, as the means of identifying residents of their estates.
Giving a brief history of LASRRA, he said the idea of a residents registration itself was conceived in 2003 in his office as the Chief of Staff to the then Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a discussion with Professor Yemi Osinbajo as then Attorney General and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who was then Commissioner for Works on how to improve service delivery in the State.
“I passed the mandate as Governor to Dr. Femi Hamzat as Commissioner for Science and Technology to develop the frame work for implementation”, the Governor said adding that although Dr. Hamzat has moved to Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, “the foundation had been laid for the successor in the Ministry and the General Manager of LASRRA to vigorously drive the implementation”.
Governor Fashola, who cited the example of the recent flood disaster in Colorado to emphasize the importance of data collection, said the exercise would also enable Government to get the data of the physically challenged and victims of natural or manmade disasters quicker amd more accurately than using the traditional method.
“While the traditional methods may be useful in gathering such information, it is unarguable that accuracy is questionable and speed becomes an issue as we have seen in our attempt to try to enumerate people entitled to compensation within our State”, the Governor said, adding that the exercise is not going to be a rush-rush one but a continuous process with provision for regular updates.
He, however, urged all residents “to take the quickest opportunity to benefit from this so that we can collate our final data, print cards and issue them before opening for update of new residents” adding that Government has also provided mobile registration teams that would visit offices and business places who have more than 100 staff in their employment.
Commending public servants in all the supporting Ministries for working very hard “especially the leadership and staff of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency”, Governor Fashola urged residents to ensure that they register only once in order not to create difficulties for the collating officials.
He, however, assured that even this error could not defeat the efforts of the Government in getting accurate data pointing out that although it could add to the implementation time for data verification, the Automatic Finger Print Identification System (AFIS) has the capacity for facial and fingerprint identification.
Pointing out that the officials of LASRRA have planned painstakingly for the worst while hoping for the best, Governor Fashola declared, “Only you residents can give them the best by complying with the rules and regulations for registration by enlisting in the process and showing the world why Eko is the Centre of Excellence”.
In her remarks, General Manager of LASRRA, Ms Olayinka Fashola enumerated the benefits of the exercise to include enabling Government to know the number of people to cater for as an incentive to determining the overall resources required to formulate and implement policies, projects and programmes for the people.
Also in his remarks, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Olufemi Hamzat urged every resident to take part in the exercise pointing out that the days of ambiguity of people have gone forever. According to him 30 countries of the world including India and Burkina Faso, were undertaking the same exercise.
In his goodwill message, Chairman of Home Foundation Estate in Isheri-Olofin, Mr. Rotimi Olorunsoye, commended the State Government for embarking on the exercise adding that once again the Government has scored a first in the country as well as proved that it is a Government that keeps promises while a Mr. Yomi Odunuga of Berger Paints also praised the State Governor for the far-reaching people-orientated policies of his administration.
And earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Biyi Mabadeje, also urged resident to cooperate with the registration officials of LASRRA in order to get the most reliable data.
Also present at the occasion were members of the State Executive Council including Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, Chairman House Committee on Education, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King, Special adviser on the Environment, Mr. Taofik Folarinn, Permanent Secretaries, Traditional rulers, Community leaders and other prominent residents of Lagos, representatives of the Kano State Government led by the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kano State on Special Projects, Dr. Umar Abdulkadir Kwaisa, as well as other top government functionaries.