….. says he won’t defend himself on the pages of the newpapers
The immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has warned elected political office holders of being voted out if they fail to deliver the benefits of good governance to the people.
Speaking on the topic: “Nigerian Political Class and the Citizens quest for Good Governance at the 16th annual Bishop Mike Okonkwo Lecture, which was part of events lined up to mark the 70th birthday celebration of the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Fashola charged those saddled with the responsibility of governance to ensure that they deliver the benefits of governance to the greater number of the people.
“The purpose for which government exists is to provide good governance and any government that does not provide good governance must be changed by the ballot, which was evident from the last election,” he said.
He also called for public participation in governance to ensure that the dividend of democracy was enjoyed by the greater number of the people.
“A lot of people don’t know what their roles are and what to expect from the government, so there is a need for all to participate in governance by playing diverse, relevant,” he said.
Okonkwo said the reason for the annual lecture was to positively impact the public through incisive lectures. Among the past speakers were Prof. Tam David West, Chief Mike Ozekome and Prof. Anya O. Anya as speakers.
Meanwhile, Fashola, said yesterday that he will not be forced to give account of his stewardship on the pages of newspapers.
His statement was in response to a question by a journalist, who asked the former governor to clear the air on allegations trailing his tenure.
Several allegations have been levelled against Fashola since he left office, including award of a bogus amount of money to set up a personal website and construction of two boreholes in the Government House.
At the lecture, Fashola attributed the success in curtailing the Ebola virus to the cremation law his administration put in place in Lagos.
“When we introduced the cremation law, there was a lot of criticism. It got to a stage where I had to come out and explain to the people that it was not compulsory; that everyone must cremate their dead. But I also told our people that we have become a global city and there are people from other parts of the world who are living with us; for whom cremation is a way of life. They live here and work here, but when they die, they are taken out of here. Why? Why can’t they be buried here”, he said.
He added: “The cremation law however became very instructive when Ebola broke out. This is because an Ebola patient is even more amenable to treatment than its corpse. With the law in place, we were able to cremate the dead Ebola victims. Had it been we did not have that law in place, maybe we would have still been battling the virus”.
The former governor who spoke extensively on citizens’ responsibilities also urged Nigerians to pay attention to Section 24, article A to F. He said except citizens played their roles as enshrined in the constitution, it would be unfair of them to expect anything from government.
Fashola also condemned people’s apathy to participate in electoral system, lamenting that out of 5, 822, 207 Lagosians who registered for election in 2015, only 1,284, 577 people, representing 25 per cent of the voting population, actually voted in presidential election while 22 per cent voted in gubernatorial election.
On payment of tax, the former governor lamented that out of about nine million people employed, it was half of that population; 4.5 million that are actually paying taxes being used to run the state