Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015 handed over an 18 classroom block at Ayedere Ajibola Senior High School, Ketu, with a call on Lagosians to cast their votes during the coming general elections based on the fulfilled promises made to them in the last elections four years ago.
Addressing the audience, including teachers, students and parents, at the premises of the school, Governor Fashola said the tenet of democracy dictates that when the electorates have made their choice based in trust that the candidate would fulfill his electoral promises, it is incumbent on that candidate to fulfill such promises adding that it is the only basis on which such elected person could come for renewal of his mandate.
The Governor said the way democracy works was that while the electorate stood under the sun or rain to make their choices, they stay in the shelter of their homes while their elected choices would serve them under the sun and rain, adding, “That is democracy. It is an exchange of promises. It is a social contract based on trust. You believe that a candidate will keep his promise and on that basis you vote for him.
“If he (the elected choice) comes back again to ask for a renewal of mandate after the first tenure, he must do so based on the fulfillment of his promises. Only a new candidate can run on promises, an incumbent must run on his record”, the Governor said adding, “Why did you reelect me in 2011? Did I come to make promises to you? That is what is in this election”.
Urging those who are yet to collect their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) to do so this week as mandated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Fashola, however, warned against exchanging the card for or voting based on monetary inducement adding that such choices would be tantamount to self denial of democratic dividends.
“Anybody that collects dollars has collected his security, his electricity, his education and so on because you will never see those things again. We have just finished a bridge and seven roads in Kosofe. If I see money I’ll rather use it to build schools and roads. That is my own type of politics, that is the All Progressives Congress (APC) type of politics”, he said.
Governor Fashola reiterated that if the electorates use their PVCs to change a government that they do not like, they would have demonstrated that the power to make such change reside with them adding that such a message would earn them enormous respect from the politicians.
Describing as demeaning, degrading and insulting, a situation where somebody that had made promises to them and did not fulfill such promises would come back and offer money to the electorates, the Governor declared, “If you use your PVCs to change the government that you do not like, the message you are sending is that you have the power to change any government you do not like. That is when politicians will respect you.
“It is demeaning, it is insulting, it is degrading for anybody that has made promises to you who has not fulfilled them to come back to you to say ‘come and take money’. Tell them that your respectability and your integrity can not be bought with Naira or Dollar”, he said.
The Governor noted that within the last few weeks, his administration had commissioned about 24 of the type of classroom blocks being handed over at Ketu across the state and they are already in use adding that the structures were being erected in order to create a conducive learning environment for the children.
“Any government that truly must discharge its responsibilities must commit itself unreservedly to the welfare and wellbeing of children because when all is said and done, we perpetuate ourselves through our children; we perpetuate our dreams through our children; we project the next civilization by what we impact to our children”, he said.
Governor Fashola urged parents to take the obligation of parenting very seriously saying that although animals do not parent for a life time they do not delegate the responsibility because, according to him, that is the time the children are thought survival skills in life.
Asserting that the parents who made the children must look after them, Governor Fashola said one of the things government could do was to help the parents teach the children survival skills, adding, “That is why you elected us.
“I must reinforce the fact that parents must pay attention to the responsibility of parenting. It is a tough job. Making babies is not as hard as parenting because it is a lifelong obligation for human beings. For animals it lasts for a few weeks after which their young are left on their own. But for humans it is a lifelong obligation because even when the child becomes a parent you are still parenting the child”.
According to the Governor, “Education is all about impacting and acquiring survival skills for living, to build this kind of facilities, to train the children and to prepare them for how they have to deal with life. When the lioness is teaching her cubs who their enemies are, where and how to hunt for food, they are in school. So that is what we do here, teaching children survival skills in life”.
Thanking the teachers in the institution for their efforts in impacting required skills to the children, Governor Fashola, who said he would not have been there without them, added, “When we build a school we do a lot more, there are so many things going on. But in doing this also we respond to the issue of the welfare of teachers because welfare is not just about salaries and allowances but it is the environment in which you work.
“If someone works in a place that he cannot ask his children to come and see him in the office then there is a problem. The teachers who work here can proudly say to their children “on your way back from school stop by and see me”. That is what elevates teaching; that is what elevates the self esteem and pride of teachers to say, “I am a teacher”.
He said his administration has created an agency in charge of assets management and maintenance in the State adding that it is no longer just building the schools but that every school must get between N3 million to N5 million every year for maintenance in Lagos.
The Governor said the agency helps Government to take children who went to vocational school into business and self employment as they (the vocational graduates) would be the first beneficiaries and first contenders for the maintenance contracts to repaint schools, mend broken pipes, repair broken desks, repair broken tables and so on.
“And this is how a society really works by putting together developmental ideas, using taxpayers’ money, energizes the whole economy, trains the next generation, empowers the teaching generation, prepares opportunity for jobs for skilled people, artisans and work men so that everybody in that value chain can get up in the morning and say “I am going to school, I am going to work, I am going to my office”. That is what is befitting for a human being and not begging”, he said.
Describing the handover as symbolic, Governor Fashola declared, “So that is the model of our government. It is the model of our Party; a model that will allow you to get up in the morning and you don’t need to see the Governor, and say “I am going to work”, adding, “Sometimes we get criticized for not talking about what we are doing. But as I tell people, the people we serve know the difference and when you do a good job you don’t have to make a great noise”.
Earlier in her welcome address, the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, said the 18 classroom block edifice would be replicated all over the State reiterating that there were about 24 other blocks standing and waiting to be commissioned.
The Commissioner, who urged the school authorities to take responsibility for the maintenance of the school, assured them that if the infrastructure in the school were properly maintained and the environment kept clean Government would be encouraged to build more for the institution.
“I use this opportunity to talk to the parents that are here and those that are listening to me that you have to partner with us as Government. You have to take good care of your children for us, give them food, give them their basic needs, ensure that they get to school and they stay in school and leave everything else to us because they have a good father who will be in charge and taken care of these children’’, she added.
The Commissioner thanked Governor Fashola for his fatherly care, for the approvals of the school project, his counseling and for making the day a success for all the students and even the generation of students yet unborn, adding, “With Your Excellency’s interventions, education in Lagos State is moving to the greatest heights”.
In his good will message, the Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. Segun Raheem, noted that the kind of infrastructure being handed over in the school would make teachers to be more comfortable and be able to teach optimally.
Charging all the teachers in the State to support the state government, the Chairman added, “It is better that we put our trust of leadership with him so that we can have more of something like this; as far as I am concerned, as far as Lagos is concerned, I think we need continuity’’.
He expressed his profound gratitude to Governor Fashola for approving the balance of 11.2 percent of 27.5 of the teachers allowance, adding, “You told me that your word is your bond, today I agree with you’’.
Also, in his goodwill message, Onikosi of Ikosi Land, Oba Samuel Alamu Oloyede, thanked the Lagos State Governor, for all the good works that he is doing in their area and in Lagos State at large and advised both the teachers and the students in the school to ensure that they make good use of the edifice and take good care of the structure.
Among those who witnessed the Commissioning ceremony were the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba; and his Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs counterpart, Mr. Ademorin Kuye; the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga; his Works and Infrastructure counterpart, Engr. Ganiyu Johnson; Tutor- General and Permanent Secretary Local Education District 2, Mrs. Titilayo Solarin; and the Executive Secretary, Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area(LCDA), Mr. Afolabi Bamire Kazeem, among other top government functionaries.