British Prime Minister Commends Fashola's Transformational Leadership


Visiting British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, Tuesday praised the transformational leadership being provided by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), declaring that the governor has shown the immense possibilities of a strong and accountable administration.


The Prime Minister, who was Guest Speaker at the Pan African University , Ajah, Lagos , said Governor Fashola has demonstrated that true democracy and accountable leadership is possible in the continent.


Delivering a speech titled “Aid, Trade and Democracy”, Cameron declared, ”Here in Lagos , Governor Fashola has shown what strong and accountable governance can achieve”, adding that his visit has made it possible to give a personal testimony.


“What I have seen in London , I have seen a hundred fold here today. From Eko Atlantic City and Balogun Street Market to the biggest part in the most populous country in Africa, you are transforming your state”, the Prime Minister told Governor Fashola, drawing an ovation from the audience comprising intellectuals, businessmen from the United Kingdom and Nigeria as well as Alumni and students of the Lagos Business School.


Urging African leaders to seize the existing opportunities for trade and growth in Africa to raise the living standards and lift millions of their people from poverty, the British Prime Minister said with what he has seen in Lagos, the unfolding stories of rapid increase in democracies, fast-growing economies and predicted growth in Gross Domestic Product in Africa was indeed sustainable.


According to the Prime Minister, “to people like Governor Fashola, President Goodluck Jonathan, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Ian Khama and John Atta Mills, falls the task of leading the charge in creating stronger governance,” adding, however, that the most important task of ensuring the institutionalization of democracy and good governance rested on the African people who, according to him, must stand up and hold their governments to account.


Noting that Africans are rising to the challenge of shaping their own future, Mr. Cameron declared, “Look here in Nigeria at the elections for President Goodluck Jonathan, look at Ghana, flourishing since it moved from military leadership to democracy with 14 percent growth this year, look at the Ivory Coast; when Laurent Gbagbo tried to overturn an election result, ordinary Ivorians and the African and international community as a whole refused to allow him to make the Ivory Coast his own personal fiefdom.


“From tackling election abuse in Zimbabwe to the political violence in Kenya, it’s not just about donors, governments, NGOs and the private sector; it is about you and what you do”, adding that Africans can help to grow democracy in the continent by holding their governments accountable, insisting on a bigger say in how their countries are run and standing up to participate in the economy of their nations.


“These are the demands that the people have made in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, these are the demands that have propelled the Arab Spring, and these are the demands which, supported by a revolution in trade and enterprise, mean Africa can seize its own moment of opportunity,” he further said.


Cameron said for Africa to make the most of the opportunities available on the continent, it must properly apply aid from the West, it must develop trade while democracy must continue to grow and flourish.


“It goes without saying that there can be no development, economic or otherwise, unless we deal with the disease and war in Africa. Every preventable death on this continent is a human tragedy. But it also leaves communities poorer and countless unable to build and create wealth. So, if we want Africa to climb the ladder of prosperity, we have to take urgent action to save lives,”,the Prime Minister said.


He disclosed that Britain would keep its promise of increasing aids to poorest countries of the world to 0.7 percent of Gross National Income from 2013 adding, however, that such aid would be attached to concrete projects such as those focused on saving lives, investment project which would provide roads, the internet and infrastructure and such other catalytic way “to unleash the dynamism of African economies”.


Other areas which could catalyze economic growth in Africa , the British Prime Minister said, include private enterprise and trade, adding, “It has lifted hundreds of thousands out of poverty in Brazil , China and Indonesia . It can do the same in Africa ”.


In his remarks, Governor Fashola asserted that Africa would play a most critical role in the future of the planet, adding that the world has become a global village so that what happens in one part could almost have the same effect on the other parts of the world.


“It is no understatement to assert that Africa will play a most critical role in the future of our planet. So much can happen in this decade. Our current reality vividly demonstrates that prosperity or adversity on one side of our planet has almost instantaneous consequences of prosperity or adversity on the other end”, the Governor said.


He praised the British Prime Minister for the visit saying, “The trans-Atlantic visit such as undertaken by the Right Honourable Prime Minister is proof of the salutary leadership and very clear understanding of his role to transform these challenges to opportunities by stimulating mutuality of cooperation between our two countries in the areas such as increased trade, infrastructure renewal in critical areas like Power and Transport for economic growth; improved public health, promote global security, democracy and the defense of citizens’ rights to mention but a few”.


“I commend the motive behind this visit and welcome your desire to take on cooperation. I must acknowledge the business development and partnership orientation of the representatives of the British High Commission in Nigeria and the support that we have enjoyed from the Department for International Development (DFID) which, I dare say needs to be expanded,” the Governor said.


He continued, “We particularly seek collaboration towards encouraging and recruiting Nigerian professionals based in the Diaspora to look towards returning home to lend a hand to the efforts of nation building and so that we can bridge the gap in the remuneration package that the global economy provides and give them a sense of belonging”.


Thanking the Governor for the visit and “looking forward to a collaborative follow-up of limitless possibilities”, Governor Fashola declared, “ Nigeria as a nation and Lagos in particular have a long political and economic relation with Britain . I hope that this visit will become a most symbolic reference point of the escalation of a revival of those relationships for mutual benefits which support the growth of both countries’ economies in a way that issues of poverty and human development can be remedied by the creation of economic opportunities”.


The well-attended lecture also had in attendance the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria , Mr. Lamido Sanusi, who coordinated the event and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu 1, among other distinguished personalities from the country and the United Kingdom .

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