The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday described Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode as a populist and welfarist governor, following his administration’s downward review of the controversial Land Use Charge.
Mr Tunde Braimoh, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Publicity, Strategy and Security told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that people’s will remains the ultimate in democracy.
NAN reports that the Lagos State Government on Thursday buckled under pressure, announcing a downward review of its new Land Use Charge (LUC) that had been widely criticised.
Several groups, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Nigeria Bar Association, Ikeja Branch had kicked against the hike in the charge, approximated at 400 per cent.
In the downward review announced on Thursday, Commercial Property Owners, were granted 50% discount.
Property Occupied by Owner and Third Party & Property used for Industrial and Manufacturing Purposes were given 25% discount.
Owner-occupied Property also got 15% discount, while penalty regime for late payment of the LUC was waived completely.
According to the state government, some other rates and reliefs, apart from those cited, however remain unchanged and will be implemented as stipulated by Law.
Also, owners of property across all categories will now be allowed to make payments by installments.
Those who have paid the original amount will also be awarded tax credits.
Reacting, Braimoh, the spokesman for House, said democracy in its simplest and most widely accepted description is the government of the people, for the people and by the people.
“In any democratic experiment, the people are sovereign and their will reigns supreme.
“As a populist, people-oriented government therefore, due considerations must be accorded the will of the people without materially impeding the fast tracked developmental programs earmarked by government.
“Ambode runs a welfarist regime of social engineering whereby the needs, yearnings and aspirations of the people are well articulated, aggregated and evaluated.
” This is such that the greatest happiness goes to the greatest number of the people ” he said.
According to him, any policy or program of government must be benchmarked against the will of the people and it must pass the people’s happiness test.
“Governor Ambode has demonstrated ultra-high level of statesmanship and public spirit by hearkening to the people’s call.
“It is however hoped and believed that the love, kindness and admiration reposed in the people by their populist Governor will be recognized and reciprocated.
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” the lawmaker, representing Kosofe Constituency II in the Assembly said.