Fashola Rejects FG’s Proposed Centenary CelebrationFeatured, News Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has denounced plans by the Federal Government to mark Centenary Celebration, saying it is a distortion of history.
The governor spoke at the event marking the 53rd Independence Anniversary of nation held at the Police College, Ikeja in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Tuesday.
The governor who took the salute during the parade decried plans to mark the centenary anniversary, as 1914 was not the birth of the nation but October 1, 1960.
“For me, Nigeria was born as an independent sovereign nation on the first of October 1960. perhaps, she was conceived in 1914, but as we race towards this, it is important not to distort history,
“I would seek better understanding, better explanation by those who are behind the centenary celebration because if we rolled out the drums three years ago to celebrate 50 years of Nigeria’s nationhood, Independence that we fought for, people went to jail for, what is then this centenary suddenly about? He asked.
According to Fashola, “I don’t remember as a child ever coming out at amalgamation day and suddenly, how did we get to 100? Did we do 99, did we do 50, did we do 60? So, there is something wrong here. I don’t know, but I will like clarifications. A generation is coming behind us, they need to be clear about the history of our country and as I said, maybe conception of Nigeria took place in 1914, but it is the birthday, the date of birth of a child that we celebrate and I think that birthday is October 1st 1960.”
Also, the governor called for peaceful co-oxistence among Nigerians and urged all to shun every form of violence for peace.
“I will lend my voice to the appeal for peace across our land. I believe that we are too blessed to resolve our differences with threats of violence and in some cases actual violence. I believe that compromise is critical and we must all reach for it in order to make more meaning out of our situation.
“The circumstances might be different at the moment but I would like to end with words spoken by a great statesman, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in 1967, at another time when our country was at a crossroads: “Only a peaceful solution must be found to arrest the present worsening stalemate and restore normalcy.’ I adopt those evergreen words as my own today and urge all those involved in any form of conflict or disagreement to pursue peaceful solutions,” he stated.
Fashola added that the nation had gone through its fair share of adversity but that “today, what is important is that through it all, we are still standing and still standing as one. Despite the various challenges that we are still facing, I remain inspired by the fact that Nigerians continue to repose their faith in this country.
“I must commend that spirit of resilience that propels us to always forge ahead in the face of all odds. In the past year since this event last held, we have made a lot of progress in the state because, to us, progress in the areas of service to the people is how you measure the success of true independence and democracy. Every waking moment of every day, this administration is thinking of and working on implementing multiple solutions that will build Lagos State into the Mega City of our dreams.”
He stated that in order to provide more effective and efficient service, government had started the Lagos State Residents Registration exercise, saying this exercise had been a long time coming as the state wanted to get things right.
He urged all to participate and register massively in the exercise, urging the children to remind their parents to register, saying if they do, their database would be captured with their future secured.
“I often say that you cannot manage what you cannot measure and that is why we are carrying out this exercise; so that we can better manage our resources, better provide services, infrastructure and solutions; and make better plans and implement better policies that will take care of the needs of the people.
“I believe that this is important if we are to deal with the problems of the present and build a great future. For example, we cannot solve the problem of inadequate water, insufficient power, overcrowded classrooms, and so on by continuously estimating the size of the need. While estimates are helpful they must be informed and predicated on reason. This is what makes estimates different from wild guesses,” he said.
According to Fashola, “we are a 21st century government, we are a government of methods, we are aware of the power of data and we are determined to use reliably collected data to solve day to day problems because the Nigerian dream inspires us.”
The governor emphasised that the solution to Nigeria’s problems lied in Nigeria and with Nigerians, saying that “today, as we gather to commemorate our 53rd Independence Anniversary, I think it is a good time to remind ourselves about the history of our Independence and the cost and sacrifice that was made to secure it.”
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