Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN)
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), thursday lamented the poor involvement of higher institutions in the political process, saying the country’s higher institutions should be at the forefront of organising presidential and governorship debates before the 2015 general election.
The governor also lamented that no person had ever applied for the N1.5 billion research funds, which he said, was budgeted for under the 2013 appropriation law, noting that the key to finding a solution to joblessness and unemployment was painstaking research.
Fashola expressed the views at the Lagos State University (LASU) complex, Ojo, where he gave his 2,200-day account of stewardship and called on the academic community nationwide to be meaningfully involved in the country’s political processes by organising political debates.
He lamented that there was a wide gap between the gown and town, a situation which he said, was requisite for developing people-oriented policies and practical responses to critical challenges and issues currently confronting the country in all sectors of the economy.
Fashola said the gown and town “must begin to talk. There must be a handshake. It seems to me therefore that our training methods must be re-orientated to retain the critical building blocks but they must also become adapted to the real needs of the society.”
The governor said a critical part of that journey between gown and town “requires that you get involved in the political process. The debate for gubernatorial and presidential candidates in other countries takes place in their universities. I participated in seven debates in 2007 and six in 2011. None of them took place in this university.
“We can excuse that you did not have the facilities to host such debates. But the facilities are now here in this hall. We are building more. You must create the environment, by being peaceful, stopping violent clashes so that people will feel safe on coming here.
“Being involved in the political process is the first step to the gown and town handshake. The research you conduct, your term papers, project works on varied subjects must get to us to assist us in formulating policies. As we constantly engage, you must innovate and be creative to begin to respond to the demands of the gown,” he explained.
He listed the achievements of his administration in the last 100 days, noting that the first quarter budget performance “was 61 per cent. The impact across various sectors has been encouraging.”
Fashola said the implementation “has helped us to continue to progress many civil works projects such as the Adiyan Phase II water works, the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Mile 12-Ikorodu Road, over 200 inner city and neighbourhood roads, educational projects within LASU, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and other institutions.
“We have also completed such projects as the Emeka Anyaoku Housing Estate in Ikeja, the flagship 24-hour Primary Healthcare centres in Lagos Island, Mosan Okunola in Alimosho and Ajara in Badagry have been fully re-fitted, re-staffed and now operational.
“From a baseline of an average of seven per cent of students who passed WAEC in 2007 with five credits including Mathematics and English in one sitting, we now have an average of 39 per cent of students who passed as at 2012,” the governor explained.