Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Tuesday, 4th November, 2014, attended the fifth anniversary of the relaunch of uniformed voluntary clubs in public schools, stating that the objective of the administration is to build the infrastructure of the mind in the young ones.
The Governor who spoke at the Police College, Ikeja where selected members of the various uniformed voluntary organizations had a march past, reiterated that while some people have opted to develop the infrastructure of the stomach, he is convinced that when they reflect on it they would realize that it is better to prepare people to feed themselves by educating them and equipping them instead of preparing to feed them.
He added that the state government understood that there were challenges in the education sector which included infrastructural where there was the need to upgrade existing classrooms, build new ones to cope with growing population demand and also provide learning aids and make the schools a destination once again.
He maintained that by many measures, the state government has made significant progress in that respect and if measured by the progress made at the annual public WAEC exams, one would see that from very modest beginnings of about seven percent of the students who obtained five credits with English and Mathematics at one sitting, the results have improved to 11 percent, to 18 percent, to 38 percent, 41 percent and now to 45 percent.
The Governor stressed that the infrastructure challenges in the educational sector only represented one half of the story as the State Government also needed to build more hospitals, news roads, remake existing ones and so many other things in order to bridge the infrastructure deficit that arose as a result of the population running ahead of infrastructure.
According to him, for those who are already members of the various uniformed voluntary organizations, as they proceed in their education, one thing that would stand them out in terms of how people relate with them would be their character.
He described education reform as a marathon race, stressing that the men and women who work with the State Government in the education sector have committed to running the marathon and expressed appreciation to them for the work done so far.
While charging all members of the voluntary organizations to continue to hold the memory of the founder of the Boys Scout, Baden Powell, the Governor said Powell has left the world with an idea that will never perish.
According to the Governor, the idea of Baden Powell has helped nations to build their human capital to prepare their young ones for service, for probity, for accountability, for teamwork and for leadership.
He explained that in Lagos there was no need to reinvent the wheel because the administration could go back to what the parents were doing then by using the same undiminishing building blocks with which Nigeria was first conceived in order to build a new Nigeria for everyone.
Governor Fashola said a closer look at the charters, mottos and pledges of all of the organizations, would reveal a common thread of integrity, accountability, leadership and team work running through them.
“Why are all these words in the Charters, Mottos and pledges important? It is because they represent the very solution to all the problems that any nation can have. It means that you must be a man of honour who is truthful to the commitment that he or she makes, a man who is honest and a promise keeper,” the Governor said.
Emphasizing the need to keep promises as an essential component of integrity, the Governor cited some practical examples.
“Since the reintroduction of the uniformed organizations, I have promised to wear the uniform every year and I have kept my words since then. It is a simple commitment to make but sometimes very difficult to keep and I knew that many of my colleagues also make the commitment with me then and have kept it.
“Why is this important? If we do not have electricity today, it is because some people promised to give us electricity and they did not keep their words. That is the value and importance of what we do here today. You have to make promises and keep them. On my honour, you cannot make promises you cannot keep. If you are a man of honour, your word will have value and if your word has value, people will believe you and if people believe you, you would not need to swear”, he explained.
The Governor reiterated that by this time next year when the sixth anniversary would be commemorated, somebody else will stand at the dais to address the gathering as the Governor of Lagos State, maintaining that the residents of Lagos all have a role to play in deciding who that person is but as long as an APC government governs in Lagos State, there would be a sixth edition of the programme and several other well kept promises of the current administration.
Trophies were also presented to some individual members of voluntary organizations and schools in the Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary categories such as Tinubu Methodist Primary School, Lagos Island; Methodist Primary School , Sabo Yaba; Abina Omololu Primary School, Surulere; St Francis Junior Secondary School, Mainland; Ibeju High School, Ibeju Lekki; Oke Odo Junior Secondary School, Abule Egba and Baptist Senior Secondary School, Somolu; Epe Senior Secondary School, Epe and Odomola Senior Secondary School, Epe in the senior category.
Earlier the various voluntary organizations like the Boys Scout, Boys Brigade, Girls Guide, the Brownies, the Red Cross and the Girls Brigade participated in a colourful march past with the Governor on the dais at the event which also had in attendance membersof the State Executive council including the state Deputy Governor, Princess (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire; state Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye; state Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba; and Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Science and Education, Hon Wahab Alawiye-King.