ADDRESS BY GOVERNOR BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN, TO LAGOSIANS ON EVE OF MARCH 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS
It is with a lot of pleasure that I address you today as we set our eyes on Saturday’s elections.
I think the elections will be historic and the whole world is watching and waiting, as we conduct the first of five elections that will be held in West Africa this year.
I think the elections will be historic because we will set an example for the whole of Africa and show that we can decide our affairs.
I know, however, that there can be no history without history makers.
You, the voters, the dynamic people of the Centre of Excellence, will be the history makers.
Ask yourself what you will be saying to your unborn children and grandchildren when they ask you in future where you were on the day when the Great Election that changed Nigeria, took place.
I am sure that you will want to answer that question with pride, to tell them how you woke up early and walked to the polling station to cast your vote.
This is one big reason why you must go out and vote and persuade members of your household and neighbourhood to vote; so that you can be a part of history.
The second reason is that this election is about your life, your safety, your wellbeing, your business, your roads, your children’s safety and wellbeing, their future and that of Nigeria.
As a caring father, mother, uncle or aunty, do you want someone else to decide the choices for you or will you make the choice yourself?
If you make the choice for yourself and for your children and you vote for the party that has made the most impact in your life, that will be historic, it will be music to their ears, and I am sure they will thank you for standing up to prepare that bright future for them.
Please know that what you choose to do on Saturday will decide whether Nigeria changes or remains the same over the next four years. So I urge you to come out and vote.
I know that an overwhelming majority of us want peaceful, transparent, credible and violence-free elections.
But as we wish for very successful elections, we must know that wishes alone will not take us there. We must take action to realise our wishes. We must go out to vote and make the change we want.
As long as we remain peaceful and law abiding, our numbers will be enough to send the strongest and clearest message of our desire for peace to those who do not wish us well.
I expect the security personnel to act professionally, in keeping you safe because they and their families also have a stake in a peaceful election.
As I have said before, this is a clean hands election.
So I urge you to wash your hands with soap and water before going out for accreditation in order to make it easy for the card reader to identify you.
I urge you all to be peaceful and patient with electoral officers and our children, the Youth Corpers, who will be assisting them to ensure that we all perform our civic responsibility and vote to make the type of society we want.
After you have cast your vote, you must remain at the polling station at a reasonable distance where you can see what is going on.
Please ignore those who say you cannot stay at the polling station. You have every right to do so.
Firstly, the election is about your lives, so why should it take place and be concluded behind your back?
Secondly, no law forbids you from staying at the polling station. You simply are not allowed to disturb other voters, interfere with the process or campaign for votes on Election Day.
Thirdly and most importantly, the Electoral Act requires that the result at each polling station must be collated, announced by the officials and posted at the polling station.
The question to ask those who say you cannot stay at the polling station is this: Who will hear the results, and to whom will they be announced, if voters have left?
Dear Lagosians, I urge us all to rise as one people as we did during the Ebola outbreak and demonstrate once again that we are different and we are special, that we can manage a democracy.
We have set an example for the whole of Africa about how to manage an Ebola epidemic in an urban centre. It was the first of its type in almost 40 years of Ebola epidemics. We did it in a democratic setting.
We can set an even better example with this election by being law abiding and peaceful.
Let us disappoint the prophets of doom and keep a date with destiny for ourselves and generations unborn.
Let us vote for CHANGE with our permanent voter’s cards and ballot papers, and make this Saturday’s election one of our finest political hours.
Dear Lagosians, history beckons. Don’t turn your backs.
God bless you all.
Eko o ni Baje
Babatude Raji Fashola, SAN
Governor of Lagos State