Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State lashed out yesterday at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal Government, saying it has failed Nigerians.
Fashola, who spoke while delivering the former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylvia’s birthday lecture in Abuja, said that Nigerians are worse off than they were four years ago before the present administration came into office.
In the lecture titled “The challenge of democratic governance”, the Lagos governor noted that the present administration continued to lie to Nigerians on many issues, including the abduction of over 200 Chibok girls and the alleged missing oil revenue funds from the Federation account.
According to him, the election of a university graduate as president has not helped to develop the country in the past three years.
He pointed out that All Progressives Congress (APC) states are performing better than the PDP-controlled states.
The governor, therefore, urged Nigerians to vote out the PDP in the 2015 election.
In the lecture, Fashola spoke on political parties, party ideology, people and members of the party, and leadership of government among other sub-topics.
He said: “Until recently, we all used to think that our national development was inhibited by the fact that we never had a university graduate as leader of any national government in an executive capacity.
“We now have two graduates, a zoologist and an architect, at the helm of our national affairs, and I think majority of Nigerians will tell you today that their lives are worse off today than they were four years ago”.
According to Fashola, there is more to leadership than university degree.
“There are needs for more attributes that you can’t find in a classroom or in a school”, he added
Fashola said he found it strange for the government to invite parents of the abducted Chibok girls to the Presidential Villa for commiseration, which he said was un-African.
“The event has been followed by other round of lies. The abduction of the girls have been enmeshed in lies. They have also lied about the economy, within the same household, within the central bank and the federal ministry of finance, we had very clear difference, whether $48 billion or $20 billion.
“The ideas of the freedom to think, to sleep and to ask questions is too valuable for me to exchange for development under an autocratic or democratic government.
“If the only options left for me to choose were between freedom and development, I for one will rather surrender development than freedom. So, I worry when I hear some people say today that it is part of their achievement that they allow us to express ourselves. I think that is utter rubbish.
“I am really convinced beyond doubt that democracy can still deliver development”.
On political parties, he said: “If we must achieve development in democracy, the vehicle of politics, the political parties must first be developed as first class institutions. The first thing to seek is the idea behind governance and this is often contained in the programme of political parties”.
He said there is clear unmistakable difference between the APC and ruling PDP.
He said: “If you look at the level of progress and development in the states govern by the old and new opposition parties and government, there is a clear daylight in terms of development.
“For example, it is no coincidence that only two states, Lagos and Rivers, governed now by APC governors are executing rail projects on their own mass transit.
“The party in government has lied about when there will be stable electricity for 16 years. An APC state, Lagos has led the way, in showing what is possible. There is power initiative in Egbin, Akute, Lagos Island, Alausa, Ikeja and Lekki to be delivered later this year.
“The party in power decides to continue importing fuel with the attendant disruptions and monumental …, Lagos believes that in a partnership, it is possible, if you provide land, for Nigerians to produce enough petroleum products for consumption and still export within a four year period”.
He continued: “They have lied on security. The first thing they said was that those who are undermining security were in government. Now the story has changed, they say it is the opposition. This is not quite the same thing as bringing down the country because government can be removed by legitimate and constitutional means; that is the ballot box”.
Stressing that the manifestos of political parties across the globe change from elections to elections and need not be cast on stones, he said that there is misunderstanding between endorsement of a candidate and god-fatherism by the ruling party.
According to him, democracy is a participatory government where everyone have a say whether he or she voted or not.
Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Bukola Saraki, former Speaker of House of Representatives, Bello Masari, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai.
Others are former Peoples Democratic Party Chairman, Audu Ogbe, Senator Olorunmibe Mamora, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Ekiti State Governor Segun Oni and Senator Chris Ngige.