• Says the labour of heroes past must not be in vain
By Olawale Olaleye
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, at the weekend, said the only way forward in achieving a better Nigeria is through consensus building, dedication and commitment among the nation’s leaders.
Fashola, who spoke at the Independence Anniversary Public Lecture organised in Abuja by the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, as part of the Independence Anniversary event, said the biggest ingredient to nation building and governance today was how to build consensus.
While calling for commitment and dedication among the nation’s leaders as the means to give their best in the service of the country, Fashola pointed out that the easiest way to achieve this was to put the membership of the Nigerian family first before the religious and other affiliations.
Addressing the gathering of eminent Islamic Scholars and Clerics as well as traditional rulers including the Sultan of Sokoto and the Etsu Nupe, and members of the Diplomatic Corps, he said “The biggest ingredients in nation building and governance today is how to build consensus and I think it will be easier to build consensus if we put our membership of the Nigerian family first before our religious and other affiliations”.
Fashola said if those privileged to serve would commit and dedicate themselves to making life better for Nigerians by addressing the challenges that face them, among other services, the country would witness a glorious dawn.
“Let those of us who are privileged to serve remain committed and dedicated to do our best to make life better, to address the challenges that face Nigerians, to seek opportunities, where there are challenges and to keep our eyes focused on the promise of a better tomorrow”.
Assuring that in spite of the challenges that Nigeria faces, there are enormous opportunities in the country, Fashola asserted, adding: “I think, as a nation, if we build consensus on the future, if we approach the future with courage and with dedication; with the belief that it will be better, we will witness that glorious dawn”.
He however congratulated all Nigerians, including the president, the governors and all the others in the position of leadership at all levels in the country, on the occasion of the 56th Independence, saying as the country celebrates the anniversary each year, in her progressive journey of existence, the landmark occasion should also come with the level of maturity befitting the age of the country.
He also paid glowing tributes to all the nation’s Founding Fathers, and declared: “Let me also ask us, as we mature, to recognise and to acknowledge the service of all of those have come before us, those who fought for the independence of this country, those who shed their blood, those who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep us together.”
In the same breath, the minister also paid tribute to service chiefs, military and paramilitary personnel, noting that their uniform signified their commitment that they would always be ready at all times to pay the supreme sacrifice to defend their country.
“I thank you on behalf of Nigerians”, he said, adding, “I acknowledge all of our police officers, service personnel, men who stay awake so that we can sleep.”