Fashola Urges Nigerian Elites To Join The Public Service
• Re-iterates call for a new World Order
Dec 4, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Friday urged Nigerian intellectuals to join the public service of the country in order to apply their vast knowledge to the solution of the nation’s numerous developmental problems.
The Governor also reiterated his call for a New World Order where all international laws and conventions which are no longer relevant to the solution of the numerous problems besetting the world today should be reviewed.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island venue of the inauguration of Soyuznik Alumni Association, Nigeria, the Association of Nigerians trained in the former Soviet Union and Commonwealth of Independent Nations, said the time has come for Nigerian intellectuals to come into mainstream public service if Nigeria must graduate to the First World in 2020.
Describing the intellectuals as the nation’s first eleven, Governor Fashola declared, “If the best of us, our first eleven, stay outside and say it doesn’t work, we might just be getting what we deserve”, adding that in other jurisdictions he has visited and is aware of, their best brains almost always end up in the public service.
According to the Governor, “It has happened before. The very first of the best we produced immediately after independence in 1960, from the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria Nsukka and so on were the people who formed and drove the nation’s public service. That was the time of the super-permanent secretaries and it was a very dynamic public service we had. It can happen again”.
Bringing the issue nearer home, Governor Fashola gave an example with his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying, “It took the courage of one man to say ‘look, I am leaving Mobil; I am quitting my job as Treasurer in Mobil and I am going into government. People who are not better than I will not make laws for me and expect me to obey it”, adding that the former Governor could have stayed behind and complained and nothing would have changed.
The Governor said in order for the nation and the State to move forward developmentally, everybody must be involved, every Nigerian, every Lagosian has an important role to play in the overall process of development and making the society better.
Commenting on the lecture delivered earlier by the Guest Speaker, Professor Akin Oyebode, titled, “From Third World to First: Can Nigeria Make It?” particularly with reference to the Singapore Model of development, Governor Fashola, who described the Model developed and applied by that country’s President Lee Kuan Yew, as tempting, however said it also comes at a cost.
“It took Lee Kuan Yew 29 years to perfect his Model. How many of us will tolerate a leader for 29 years?”, he queried adding that the lesson in the reference should not be lost which, according to him, is that nothing is impossible and also there is no ideal model of leadership. “Each one has its own cost and benefits”, the Governor said.
Congratulating the members of the Association for the inauguration, Governor Fashola said since the fall of the Iron Curtain, there has been gradual admixture of ideologies – a little from the East and a little from the West-, adding, “It shows that no idea that is man made is absolute. It lends itself to continuous reforms , it lends itself to continuous review”.
On the obsolete international laws and conventions, Governor Fashola declared, “I think the time has come for a New World Order, a new body of rules to manage our affairs between ourselves, between our States, between our nations”, pointing out that the purpose of some of the laws like the law of non-interference in the internal affairs of independent nations were made to protect sovereign nations after the Second World War.
“But that rule has worked injustice in Bosnia, it has worked injustice in Rwanda when on the bases of that rule, nations had refused to intervene when human beings were slaughtered by the people who were supposed to protect them”, he lamented, adding, “Certainly, a new body of rules is needed to solve our contemporary problems”.
Earlier in his Lecture, Professor Oyebode, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ado Ekiti declared the key to achieving developmental success in Nigeria and indeed any nation of the world lies in the quality of the men and women in charge of the affairs of the nation.
According to the Guest lecturer, until Nigerians resolve not to accept unelected leaders, the process of development will remain at a standstill, adding that for the economy of the nation to achieve an upward swing, there is desperate need to bridge the gap between consumption and production.
He lamented, “The Nigerian ruling class is notorious for dreaming grandiose dreams without ensuring the wherewithal for implementation”, adding that the nation’s leaders from the sixties to date “have been seduced by the desire to launch the Nigerian people and nation along the path of utopian pursuits of Eldorado and self-delusion”.
“If |Nigeria is to succeed like some of the Asian Tigers, in shorting its transition from third world to the first world, then there is an urgent need for a re-thinking of the modalities for managing the nation’s political economy. The country’s leadership would have to be rejuvenated so that Nigeria’s latest capabilities can be speedily unleashed in order to achieve set goals and objectives of national development”, Professor Oyebode said.
Governor Fashola was later presented with the Award for Excellent Performance by the Association. The presentation was made by a former Commissioner for Tourism in Lagos State, Mr. Franklin Adejuwon.
Also present at the occasion were the State Chairman of the Action Congress, Otunba Henri Oladele Ajomale who is President of the Soyuznik Alumni Association and Chairman of the occasion, former Governor of the State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was represented by Professor Bayo Williams, the Family of late Tunji Otegbeye, the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria and very other eminent Nigerians from all walks of life.