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COVID-19, ENDSARS: Lagos must build resilience for unforeseen challenges


Hakeem Muri-Okunola

With the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and EndSARs the protest, Lagos State must continue to build residents’ resilience to enable them to cope with the challenges of a mega city and other emerging trials resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, violent protests and shocks.
This was the position of speakers at a resilience sensitisation workshop for directors/ officials in Lagos State, themed ‘Imbibing resilience culture in a government programme and project’.

The state’s Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said the recent COVID-19 outbreak and the EndSARS protests were testimonials of Lagos resilience, though there is a need to build on that effort through imbibing resilience culture in its activities, projects and programme. 
He said in spite of the massive devastation and economic downturn occasioned by the pandemic-induced lockdowns, Lagos was able to cope and get out of the challenges.
Muri-Okunola, who commended the state’s workforce for being resilient through the phases of lockdown and staggered resumption as rolled out by the state government during the hit of the pandemic, said Lagos would continue to wax stronger with pro-active steps and policies to keep the state afloat always.  
According to him, though the state has a resilience strategy, it cannot implement itself. 
“Public servants are the key drivers and engine room of the system that will ensure full implementation of the initiatives contained in the strategy. It is necessary to note here that the Lagos State public service has always held a role model status in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa; and like many ideas executed by the state government, the vision of the Lagos Resilience Strategy cannot be achieved without the buy-in of the ever-ready Lagos State Public Service.”
The state’s Chief Resilience Officer, Dr. Folayinka Dania, said the state must begin to plan for unforeseen challenges, especially with the prediction Lagos would witness a population explosion as it is likely to rise to 80 million in the near future. 
She added that the continued influx of people into the state was a clear indication that Lagos is resilient in nature and that the state can withstand shocks and stress.
The state’s Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Sam Egube, said it was time for the public service to retool future, physical, social and economic challenges, new technologies and emerging realities.
“There is a great need for the public service to begin to think from a resilience perspective in its approach to problem-solving, policy development, administration and governance, as we cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results. Today’s sessions are therefore aimed at intimating you with the Lagos Resilience Strategy; building your capacity to develop and implement resilient interventions in the state; and charging you to bring the acquired skills to bear,” Egube said.


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