Nigeria At 50: Fashola Tasks Citizens

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Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has challenged Nigerians to focus on the years  ahead rather than brood over what the country has passed through in the last 50 years.

Fashola who spoke at the Tafawa Balewa Square, during the celebration of the independence  anniversary in the state, declared: “So many years lie ahead of us to make the future  what we want, starting from today. If we set forth at dawn, we can make this journey  before dusk.  …..Truly believe that in spite of the clamour about the good old days,  Nigeria’s best days still lies ahead”.

The governor, who said he remained proud to be a Nigerian and believes in perseverance,  also maintained that the past should remind everyone that Lagos was the battleground for  the pursuit of liberty by the nation’s heroes and that the Race Course was the site where  the British flag —the Union Jack— flew for the last time.

According to Fashola, “This is a national monument belonging to this state and we hold it  as a symbol of pride for free people of this country as a memorial of where we came from  and how we got here.

“Nothing is impossible. What is possible in Lagos is possible in all parts of Nigeria.  What is needed is to make the choice and find a will to make it work.”

He explained that it will require patience from the leaders and restraint from those  being led, adding that everybody must exercise their rights but with the understanding  that it comes with corresponding duties.

“I am certain that we can do it. Against all the pessimism that we will never be free, we  made it and we survived a bitter civil war and resolved that we will build without victor  or vanquished.

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“We have proved every pessimist wrong by successfully transiting first from military to  civilian and later from civilian to civilian governments,” he said.

While admitted that though the expectations are high, he called for deep reflection on  how many times we have got up as a people when we stumbled.

He said Lagos State had achieved some feat. “We have excluded and actualized seeming  impossibilities. Lagos is now safer than before in spite of epileptic public power  supply. Our streets are being lit up at night by a committed people and government to  create jobs through a 24-hour economy.

He said the city, which some cynics have called concrete jungle, has become a land of  green parks and gardens with what used to be one of the dirtiest cities becoming the  cleanest as well the challenges of flooding which has been put behind in several parts of  the state.

“Against all odds, Oshodi is now safe for pedestrians and motorable for commuters and  Oluwole area has yielded its unpleasant notoriety to an urban shopping complex in  commerce, economic prosperity and the creation of jobs,” he said.

He informed that the State Executive Council recently approved a State Ignite Enterprise  and Employability project which focuses on addressing the job creation and employability  challenges of the people who fall within the age group of 20-35 who constitute 70 per  cent of the nation’s population.

A pilot scheme of the programme will involve 30 schools from all divisions of the state.   The project will be very practical and result-oriented as I look forward to us building  the economy of our great state together.”