Sunday, 4th June 2023

We can’t afford to elect people with no experience, says Fashola

By Kehinde Olatunji
14 February 2023   |   10:56 am
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), yesterday, said the present administration has laid the foundation for a resurgent economy in eight years, which the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) couldn’t achieve in 16 years.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works, Power and Housing.

• Buhari has achieved what PDP couldn’t in 16 years

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), yesterday, said the present administration has laid the foundation for a resurgent economy in eight years, which the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) couldn’t achieve in 16 years. 

He added that the present administration has recorded great feats in security, economy and infrastructural development, adding that corruption has also been depleted. 
Fashola, who spoke at the interactive session with organised private sector, held in Lagos, said given that the other major presidential candidates were affiliated to the opposition PDP, Lagosians should reflect on their choices before deciding on whom to vote. 

The chairman of Titan Bank, Tunde Lemo, moderated the session where Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former Lagos State Deputy Governor and Presidential Senior Special Assistant, Sustainable Millennium Development Goals, Joke Orelope-Adefulire and Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation Ben Akabueze, were present.

Captains of industry, leaders of commerce, manufacturers and service providers were at the event, where the governor presented his scorecard and welcomed strategic contributions and input into his economic blueprint.

Fashola said: “That is the choice before you, do you want to go back to those who didn’t attend to those critical issues? Or do you want to trust those who have started the job?”
“Let us remember the choices that are available to us as we go into the election in the next few days, all of the three other presidential candidates used to be under the umbrella in 2019, even though they have broken up into fragments, which is understandable, but they have one family home.

“It was under their stewardship that the Chief Law officer of Nigeria, Attorney General, was murdered without consequences. So, if the chief law officer died without consequences, how safe are we? So, those are the choices you have to make. 
“Of course in Lagos, the governor has talked about his emergency response and all of the fire service, but this was the first state where you had a 767 emergency helpline in Nigeria. And those are because of security, which is about lives and livelihood. Now, the other points to talk about in respect of security is that, the major problem we met at the federal level was insurgency and terrorism. Over 250 children were kidnapped from a school in Chibok. The government of the day’s attitude was first to deny that it did not happen. I hope you remember. So those are the choices before you.” 
According to Fashola, upon assumption of office, the current administration confronted the Chibok girls’ issue and out of 276 that were kidnapped 178 have returned while about 57 escaped. 
The minister admitted that though there’s still work to do, but the choice is between one who denies the problem, and one who confronts the problem, and is trying to solve them.

He said: “There are so many other issues but as far as the economy is concerned, we inherited aging, dilapidated and broken infrastructure.” 
Fashola said part of the present administration’s achievements were that the major roads that connect Lagos; Lagos to Ibadan, Lagos to Badagry, Lagos through Ikorodu to Shagamu are all receiving attention.
“Those roads have had no attention for 16 years but they have been attended to in half the time that it took the opposition to ignore them. We hear about production and all of that but I don’t know any economy that produces without roads, bridges and ports. So, you talked about the LEKKI free zone, the Lekki port, all of those were initiatives started by the APC government in Lagos state for national prosperity.
“The foundations now for a resurgent economy have been laid in eight years. Half of the time, it took the opposition to ignore them. That is the choice before you, do you want to go back to those who didn’t attend to them, or you want to trust those who have started the job?”
The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said it would continue to activate the entertainment and technology sectors as well as scale up investments.

According to him, Lagos is home to entertainment and a technology hub, adding that the event is to tell the Lagos Story as the APC renewed hope in Nigeria is critical even as the state is rising.

The Governor said his administration had been intentional in its promise to deliver an integrated urban mass transportation system, and had been proactively restructuring its health environment, education, agriculture and housing sector.

Sanwo-Olu, who said Nigeria should move away from experimental trajectory or trial and error approach, said the state government will continue to implement policies and programmes that will make businesses thrive.

According to him, Nigerians have the option of making a decision to choose a good leader, adding that the APC candidate is the best alternative.

Explaining why Tinubu has an edge over other candidates, Sanwo-Olu said: “You cannot come to the highest leadership position of our country with people that don’t have experience or with people that cannot show who they have trained, or the people that have worked with them or the leaders that they have groomed.

“The four of us are part of the movement where we are groomed and developed and we still have energy to double whatever we have done.

“So, we are pleading and appealing to each one of you as stakeholders and people that believe in our leadership that Nigeria cannot be a trial and error. Not now and not at this moment. The renewed hope for Nigerians is tied with ‘Rising Lagos.’ We believe we can make it and bring prosperity to you, the organised private sector, and for all the vulnerable people in our society, and that we can take our country to an enviable height.

“I need not say much, we believe you will all do the right thing.”

Sanwo-Olu pledged his administration’s commitment to further activating the creative industry, scaling up technology and data investments under the THEMES agenda.

He added that the state would do more to provide critical transport system, education and healthcare infrastructure across the state.

“We intend to give citizens options on the transportation system via rail, water and road. We have built over 1,000 classrooms under my tenure and there is a remarkable improvement in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) results.

“In healthcare, we handled COVID-19 pandemic well, and we are rebuilding Macy Hospital to become a 10-floor structure and have plans to build an infectious disease research hospital to handle any pandemic situation in the future.”

The governor reiterated his resolve to foster inclusive development.

“We have several interventions that are deliberately aimed at pushing investments and development in form of education, infrastructure, from Badagry, Epe to other areas of the state.”

Stakeholders at the interactive session said Lagos is a place to live and that they were looking forward to a state that has a road map that would meet the goals and aspirations of the people.