Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos, says the Eyo masquerade festival had a huge impact on the state’s economy, estimating that the economy benefitted at least N3 billion from the activities it generated.
Speaking at the weekend when he hosted a bi-annual retreat for state house reporters, the governor said that the resuscitation of the festival and the infrastructural development in the state were in line with his administration’s goal to spend its way out of recession.
He said that some of the projects executed by the state employed skilled and unskilled labour which in turn provided employment opportunities.
According to him, the festival gave business opportunities to artisans, including those who sew about 10,000 uniforms for masquerades as well as drivers, musicians, food vendors, artistes among others to make money for themselves.
“Just as we reactivate the festival, that’s almost like a N3 billion, N4 billion economy, not from us but the masquerades. There’s almost like 10,000 of them. They are likely to go and sew new regalia, the drivers, the security men, the caps that they wear, some people do it. So, that’s one economy out there,” Ambode said.
“At the end of the day, money would have circulated.
“When you go round, you see that we are doing a lot of construction. It’s not because there’s money. It’s because we are looking at that bricklayer in Badagry.
“So, if you put a project in Badagry, that bricklayer will stay there and earn N5,000 a day. So, the family of five will feed. And you do the same in Ipeju Lekki and so the economy is growing.
“That is the strategy to reflate the economy. It doesn’t mean anything. You spend yourself out of recession. You put more money into capital expenditure so that those who don’t have the means, we are able to spread the money around them.
“It doesn’t go out of Lagos. Instead, more people will come in here and do business and you start circulating it round until everything stabilises.
“That’s why you see that we’ve been able to become the catalyst to take Nigeria out of recession because we are very positive about the kind of things we are doing.”
Editor’s note: The original story misquoted the governor and has been edited.