2015 Elections: Why Nigeria needs change at the centre, By Fashola
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola has again called for change of leadership at the national level, saying Nigeria is too important to be left in the hands of those who play politics with the lives of the citizenry.
Speaking at twin events hosted by Yoruba Tennis Club and Island Club of Lagos Friday, Fashola noted that the Peoples Democratic Party-led government had failed to perform her most important responsibility; that is, security of life and property of citizens and protection of the territorial integrity of the nation.
The governor who observed that Nigerians handed over a whole country to the ruling party in 2011, expressed regrets that the same party is now returning to Nigerians to ask for another leadership mandate with only part of the country, having lost some parts to insurgents.
In his words: 'They are returning now to ask for our votes with only a part of the country that we gave them because some parts of the country have been lost to people we didn't elect. So, in that most important responsibility, they have dropped the ball,' he said.
Notwithstanding the faults, Fashola added that the party still finds it easy to score itself high. He recalled how the PDP-controlled Federal Government has also orchestrated about how it made the country 'the biggest economy in Africa', wondering why smaller economies could provide electricity for their people while the self acclaimed 'biggest economy' could keep her people in darkness.
'Please ask them why smaller economies could get petrol easily for their people and why we have to queue for hours and days to get petrol in a biggest economy in Africa.'
He noted that the nation's currency is now trading for N180 per Dollar, while the South African Rand is trading at R11 to one United States Dollar, adding that what matters is the quality of the life and prosperity of the citizens and not the size or number being bandied by the PDP-led government.
'The Federal Government also played politics with the Ebola Virus Disease containment as it almost turned the very grave situation into a political trophy, 'even though they knew little about how the battle was fought and won in Lagos which was the epicentre'.
Fashola, however, added that the All Progressives Congress-led Lagos State government had done well on many fronts including the Education, Security, Power and the financial sector in spite of the very precarious economic and security situation in the country.
On Education, he expressed pride that the public confidence in public schools had risen tremendously pointing out that a recent poll result on the issue returned 53 per cent of Lagosians preferring to have their children in State-owned primary schools as against 47 per cent that opted for private schools while 69 per cent as against 31 per cent now prefer to have their children in State-owned secondary schools.
In spite of the average West African Examination Council (WAEC) results, if the Lagos State result is isolated to stand on its own, the State has moved from seven per cent pass for students who obtained five credits at a sitting in 2007 to 45 per cent in 2014, Lagos Standing alone.
Attributing the success recorded in this area to the support and taxes of the residents, Fashola said: 'When you understand the ratio of private schools to State schools, which is about four private schools to one State-owned school, you will appreciate the enormity of the task we undertake. But we are happy to undertake this challenge because Lagos is working with your support and with your taxes.'
In the area of Security, the governor said the poll results also showed that 77 per cent of Lagosians now say they feel secure while 89 per cent say crime has been greatly reduced, adding that this is in spite of the increasing global crime index and Nigeria's security challenges.
He expressed gratitude to the Board members of the State Security Trust Fund particularly its Executive Secretary, Fola Arthur-Worrey, who, he said, had continued to provide the institutional capacity to keep the Rapid Response Squad going.
'We have been inventive, we have been determined and we have been unyielding as far as crime fighting in Lagos State in concerned,' Fashola said.
Continuing, he said: 'I am proud because many sectors of our national life show progress and results of the hardwork and dedication of the Public Servants of Lagos State. The unemployment index in Lagos State is eight per cent compared to the national index of 24 per cent; and this is in spite of our size because this is the home of every Nigerian,' he said.
The governor, however, said the Lagosians have the responsibility to keep the change that had been achieved.
According to him, 'You will do so with your votes; that is your Power. Please ensure that you go and collect your Voters' Card in order to protect what you have built in Lagos. Lagos is too important to Nigeria, it is too important to Africa, it is too important across the world, to be entrusted to those who want to experiment with it,' he said. The Guardian