The Nigerian Dream, by Fashola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said that the Nigerian Dream is not elusive because the citizens have not confronted and defined it but instead Nigerians believe that the American dream is more attractive to them.
Fashola, who spoke in Lagos recently, noted that the Nigerian dream happened here every day, adding that it was the Nigerian dream that made him what he had become today.
He said the Nigerian Dream manifested across the nation everyday in people of modest and humble beginning, rising to become leaders in their own rights, pointing out that the opportunities Nigeria offered to her people was sufficient for all discerning, honest and hardworking citizens to become whatever they wanted to become.
“My mother is a nurse and my father was a journalist, but the Nigerian dream has happened in my life time and the life time of all that are seated here. It is happening here everyday and the earlier we embrace it, the earlier we multiply it, the earlier we sink it down and define it and say this is what it is; that if you work hard, if you learn, if you are honest, you can be all that you can in the land of your ancestors, that is the Nigerian dream”, the Governor said.
According to him, “You can cling to the other dreams which are not ours, but I cling to the Nigerian dream. It has given me everything; it only calls for me to give back”, admonishing, the only thing it takes to realize the Nigerian dream was to work hard on one’s God-given talent and be consistent and dedicated.
Fashola, who noted there had been an outrage among Nigerians over the death by accident of an academic on the Nigerian road as a result of an alleged reckless driving by the convoy of a state governor, said the frequency of such avoidable carnages informed the decision by his administration to enact some of the amended traffic laws, noting that the government’s intent at the time was unclear.
“Every state in the federation is spending money to build good hospitals, they are building health centres. Our life expectancy is improving because things are getting better different from what it was several years ago. The place we are having tragic loss of lives now are on Nigerian roads”, the Governor said, adding that the primary duty of every responsible government is to protect life and property.
He observed that the issue was not as much about the bad roads as about the attitude of people to obey the Road Traffic Law, saying, Lagos was reporting an average of 640 motorcycle accidents on Lagos roads every month and about an average of six people dying as a result of the accident every day.
“Today, that number has reduced to a little over 110 a month and the deaths have reduced from 15 to one and in the last three months, we have not had any deaths from motorcycle accidents. That for me is the responsibility of Government. Though it was a tough decision that was given political colouration, I was clear in my mind that this was the way to go”, the governor said.
On the use of sirens by some government officials and agencies, Fashola said the outrage being felt by Nigerians over the death of the University don and the manner of his death was of concern to him also but added, “the questions we should ask ourselves is, ‘do we manufacture sirens here?”
“We import sirens and fund other economies in Asia. We spend money to buy a horn with which to terrorize ourselves. Those who manufactured these things say they should be used as a call in times of emergency, are we living in perpetual emergency?”, he asked.
Advocating for the observation of a horn-free day in the country, the governor, who noted that not only elected governors use sirens as also officials of other agencies of government use it, said, “But in Europe, you may be moving on the road for one week and you will not hear the horn and when you hear the siren only about two people are likely to be on the move and they are either ambulance or police”.
“I asked yesterday that maybe we should sit down and decide whether we will have one day of no horns. If we agree, believe me we can do it. If Lagos does it, Osun does it, Ekiti does it, Edo does it, Kano does it, then we can agree that one day in Nigeria there shall be no horn. Once we achieve one day, we will achieve two, then three and before you know it we will be on”.