Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday night urged Nigerians not to relent in keeping the light of development burning saying it is the only way to achieve success.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the 2009 Christmas Eve Party of both theÂ Yoruba Tennis Club and the Lagos Island Club respectively, said to quit midway would mean not only giving up on both the present and future generations but also yielding space for those who do not wish the people well.
He told the gathering of distinguished Club members and top government functionaries as well as traditional rulers that against the despondency and despair that nothing appears capable of working in the country, Lagos continues to show the light of hope.
The Governor declared, â€œThe fact that all is not done does not mean that it cannot be done. It simply signals that you and I, men and women of goodwill, still have a lot of work to doâ€.
Speaking specifically on the spate of development in Lagos State, Governor Fashola enumerated some of the projects which have been delivered through a continuation of the programmes of his immediate past predecessor. His words:
â€œLet us think of all we have achieved together; how we were once threatened by the Atlantic Ocean. How from the initiatives of my predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we conceived a project called Eko Atlantic City Project to protect Victoria Island and Ikoyi from the threat of the Atlantic Oceanâ€.
â€œWe have taken control of the threat of the Atlantic by resolutely implementing a project â€” the Eko Atlantic City Project â€” that has received international certification in faraway New York; we have delivered a bus system that is now the World Bank Model for Africa; from the dirtiest city, we have become the cleanestâ€.
According to the Governor, aside from being adjudged the cleanest State by the Federal Ministry of Environment in 2009, the Stateâ€™s Transfer Loading Station for Solid Waste management has become Ghanaâ€™s model for adoption.
â€œWe have overcome some of our greatest security and safety concerns; we now have Emergency Toll_free numbers 767 and 112 to call in cases of emergencies; from an insecure state, we have reduced violent crime by 79.9 percent at the end of September 2009â€, the Governor said adding that the reduction in crime enables the Government to host the biggest Eyo Festival, the Nigerian Bar Conference of 10, 000 lawyers and the U â€“ 17 Cup for three weeks without any loss of lives.
He said Government was spurred into action when it discovered the lack of infrastructure in a city with growing population adding that the resolve to embark on massive infrastructural renewal was in order to reduce desperate conditions and make life easier for the people. â€œWe designed a budget for that purpose aimed at alleviating povertyâ€, he said.
â€œWe signed on that commitment, you bought into it. You paid taxes, you encouraged us and in two and half years, Lagos has become a huge construction siteâ€, Governor Fashola said listing roads, bridges, courtrooms, classrooms, drainages, markets, schools, among other projects at various stages of completion as the result of that resolution.
The Governor, however, urged the people to begin to review their attitude towards making the State work saying unless they play their roles in things like traffic management, keeping the city clean and the drainages free from hard objects that could block them, all the efforts of Government would be unsuccessful.
â€œWe must renew hope and be positive. We must realize that we all have a role to play. Is traffic not moving because we a shopping in it?; is there refuse because we throw litter out of our cars?; is the drainage blocked and will there be flood because we dump refuse it?â€, he asked.
The Governor said other areas requiring attitude change include cheating the Government by not paying tax while making use of infrastructure built with the taxes of others, one making more babies than oneâ€™s resources can support while expecting others who pay more taxes than one does and who do not use public transport, public schools or public hospitals to fund free health, free education and free housing for oneâ€™s polygamous family.
â€œThese and many more are examples of the attitudes we must resolve to give up. If we sow love, courtesy, timeliness and a new work ethic, I am sure that we will reap their rewards in many folds and our most difficult hurdles will be behind usâ€, the Governor said, adding that as a Government, the administration has decided to take the lead and will announce periodic changes aimed at serving the people better.
Governor Fashola urged all those who are keeping money outside the country to bring them back and invest them â€œin new projects and investments that have a decent return on investment such as toll roads, markets, airports, ferry operations, hospitals and many such projects that we will unveil for the ownership of Nigeriansâ€.
â€œAs we approach Y2010, I believe that a new era of hope beckons and I urge us to approach it with courage, optimism and a new mind and attitude that represents the can_do spirit of Lagosâ€, Governor Fashola said.
Commending the Yoruba Tennis Club members for continuing in the tradition, Governor Fashola said the Yoruba Tennis Club â€œbears a long history of where we are coming from and who we areâ€.
Earlier in his opening remarks at the Yoruba Tennis Club, the Chairman, Otunba Ladipo Solanke, Commended Governor Fashola for the tremendous achievements of his administration describing his performance in the last two and half years as excellent.
â€œThe signs are there for all to see. He deserves our appreciation and commendationâ€ , the Chairman said adding that the Club will be ever grateful to the Governor for his support whenever he is approached to do so.
Also in his remarks, Chairman of the Island Club, Chief Adeniyi Williams commended the Governor for his commitment to the development of Lagos.
â€œThe results are evident. Lagos is blessed to have you at the helm of affairs. Lagos State is undergoing a transformation which has never been witnessed in this state before. Carry on with your work. Posterity will judge all her children. This is the consensus of opinionâ€, he said.