Uduaghan, Akpabio warn criminals, people with evil intentions to change from their ways as Fashola advocates values of compassion, hard work, and sanctity of human life


Keeping a traditional date to deliver his address at the Christmas Eve Dance of the Yoruba Tennis Club and the Island Club, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday urged Nigerians to once again reach for the values of compassion, sanctity of human life and those eternal building blocks of pristine civilizations.
Other virtues underscored by the Governor in his separate addresses at both the Yoruba Tennis Club and the Island Club in Central Lagos include a good name, the pursuit of knowledge, high professionalism, respect for constituted authority, hard work and brotherly love.
Prefacing his address at each Club with his decision to speak on the Nigerian Dream, the Governor stressed that it is not as important to speak about what lies behind the Nigerian nation but more about what lies ahead of her.
“The question I believe we must therefore ponder about, and ask ourselves is simple: What kind of a future do we desire and what kind of effort or sacrifice are we willing to make to earn it?”, he said.
According to the Governor it represents a moderation of the current realities to say that Nigeria has become dysfunctional as a nation because not only has her ego been bruised and her national pride  brittle where it even exists , many nations who either once looked to her for assistance or leadership will rather now seek not to be openly associated with Nigeria.
“As if that was not bad enough, those who dared not look us in the face at one time are no longer restrained in making scurrilous statements about us. Ladies and gentlemen, we seem to have fallen, like Humpty Dumpty, from an Olympian Height. Indeed like Humpty Dumpty, we are blessed with great men and women. However, unlike Humpty Dumpty, I believe we can put Nigeria together again in a manner of speaking”, he added.
He, however, noted that putting Nigeria together again will not happen simply by saying so which is indeed a starting point and a good one that indicates the people’s resolve, adding that it will also require everyone to unite their minds so that action can also be united.
“That resolve, I beg to argue, will come if only we can BELIEVE AGAIN. Yes, I use the word again because the past is relevant here. We must remember how great we once were. We must remember what makes us great”.
“We must accept and not pretend about our currents status, that we have tripped and fallen. We must resolve, because we believe that we will get up and climb our way back to the top”.
“Let me remind those who are old enough to remember, and they seem quite many here tonight, and inform those who are too young to know, for it is they who have the largest stake in this future, that our period of greatness was not free of trouble. There was crime. There were labour strikes. There were political struggles; there was disease and in the midst of our prosperity there was still a cash crunch, but amidst all of these there was the elixir of hope and a promise of a better life on the horizon”, he explained.
Governor Fashola said the only difference between Nigeria’s yesterday and her today, is that yesterday’s hope has given way to today’s uncertainty and despair and the only reason seems to be the choices that have been made and by the values pursued.
He reiterated that it is the people who have changed and not the country, its resources or its promise because while her population has become bigger, her productivity has certainly diminished, adding: “This has happened because the population of today was not of the same quality as the population of yesterday”.
Said he: “We must accept that we are the problem and not any government or any Constitution. We must resolve each and every one of us from tonight, to say NO to all of those things and to do so for one purpose – because we believe again. What are those things we must do less of? They are a long list that seem to vary daily, but which some of us undertake, and for which all of us pay”.
He buttressed his point with examples of the way Nigerians drive, adding that unlike in days gone by, when it was a near impossibility to see anyone driving without having undergone two sets of driving test or even see people driving vehicles without affixed  number plates, these days, it has become the fad for people to drive against traffic at the flimsiest opportunity or even deliberately slow down traffic while shopping in such a traffic.
According to the Governor, even in terms of buildings, many Nigerians now resort to building without statutory permits with no inputs from professionals in the built industry as well as usage of sub standard materials, no concern for maintenance and no respect for the right of others.
Among other examples, the Governor also spoke about the way Nigerians worship, saying mosques and churches dot every corner in residential areas bringing about noise, sleeplessness, diminished quality of life, traffic to get in and out, over-stretching the neighbourhood infrastructure and converting work places to worship places which is another word for substitution of production for praying while still expecting young people to find work by praying.
“ We have taken too many short cuts and lost our way. Everybody is complaining but nobody is taking action because it is difficult to locate the pain. (The Employed graduate says he is unemployed; those who get patronage join the clamour of those who do not.) Everybody claims to be poor but our lifestyle choices do not reflect it,” he said.
The Governor explained that in a particular month, a total of 1,555 parties were held in Lagos, but that the question that should agitate the mind of anyone is how much of the drinks or rice consumed at the parties were made in Nigeria or even the samosa or spring rolls consumed as small chops at such events were locally made.
He stated that once Nigerians resolve to say they will only patronise Made in Nigeria drinks, part of the problems of unemployment would have been solved because the local manufacturers will have the opportunity to expand and hire more hands who would be local people adding that all those who only patronize choice imported wines  by their actions  are limiting the opportunity for employment for coming generations.
Governor Fashola added that even the so called “poor” people manage to send their children to overseas schools to get the best education and in spite of all these; the Nigerian story continues to be one of grass to grace for many.
“Yet we deny the Nigerian Dream in a country that does not have the record of any rich man or woman ever leading it. Yes, our industries, our governments and many institutions have been in the hands of those who started out as very poor but made outstanding successes out of them”.
He posited that nothing that we build will change the people’s perception of happiness unless they change themselves, adding that there is no country in the world where everybody owns a house, a car and has a job.
“The driving inspiration of those societies we want to be like, is the belief and the hope that many more will climb up the ladder of happiness and acknowledge it when they do so”, he emphasized.
The Lagos State Helmsman also said there are so many dreams that Nigerians have subscribed to but the nagging question is that how many people have lived or experienced the Nigerian dream.
He stated that on its part, the present administration in Lagos is working hard to live up to the people’s expectation as it has kept  its promises to the people despite having to operate from a difficult environment.
He recalled that last year, the Chairman of the Yoruba Tennis Club had whispered to him at the Christmas Eve Dance that the Club wants to benefit from uninterrupted electricity supply from the Lagos IPP, a task which the administration has already delivered on thus  saving the Club a lot of money that would hitherto had gone into purchase of diesel for generators.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of the Yoruba Tennis Club, Bro. Babaseyi Sigmund Joseph said as everyone prepares to go into a new year with hope and determination that things will get better economically and otherwise, people should search their conscience and ask what positive roles they have played towards the changes they are expecting.
He added that overall the year 2013 has been another great year for the Club and with its new look and larger Greetings Hall.
Also speaking while welcoming the Governor and his entourage to the Island Club, the Chairman, Prince Ademola Dada commended the Governor for the infrastructural development around the state as well as his security agenda.
He said since the introduction of the State Security Trust Fund, the fund has in conjunction with security agencies come to grips with the Herculean task of beating back criminals .He gave a commitment that the members would continue to support all the programmes of the present administration in the State.
The Governor was accompanied to the two Clubs by members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal ; Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed; Information and Strategy, Mr Adeeremi Ibirogba and  had in attendance traditional rulers like the Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Elegushi and several other dignitaries from all walks of life.
Meanwhile, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and, Dr Godswill Akpabio have warned criminals and people with evil intentions to change from their ways or be prepared for the consequence of their actions.
The Governors gave the warning on Thursday in Warri, Delta State during the end of year empowerment programme of the World of Life Bible Church and Eagle Flight Micro-Finance Bank Limited.
Governor Uduaghan urged people of the state to take advantage of the different empowerment programmes going on in the country and desist from criminal activities in any form, warning that the penalty for criminality was jail term and death.
He observed that God has endowed every human being, including the physically-challenged with abilities to make it in life, explaining that what every individual required was to put his or her head and hands to profitable use.
Uduaghan commended President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor for the annual empowerment programme, which he admitted was complementing his administration’s poverty alleviation programme.
The Governor added that the empowerment programme of the church was not only reducing poverty but helping to drive away criminality and consequently promoting peace and security in the state.
Akpabio on his part, while lauding  the initiative of the church , urged persons at the gathering to take advantage of the programme and shun all forms of criminality that could bring dire consequences to them.
He commended the transparent process that produced winners of the various items given out at the occasion, which he likened to the electoral process put in place by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Pastor Oritsejafor in his response commended the two Governors and the dignitaries who graced the event for their contributions towards the alleviation of poverty, and used the occasion to pray for the state and the country.
Six Hyundai Verna cars, twelve tricycles popularly known as Keke, and one hundred grinding machines were given to benefitting individuals through raffle draws. Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited also gave out items such as television sets, giant refrigerators, washing machines, among others items to their loyal customers at the occasion.