Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola has warned that unless the country’s value system changes, things might continue the way they were currently, saying, “when you look at the result of our elections, you will struggle to see that (less than) 35 per cent of registered voters come out to vote.
Fashola, who spoke at the 15th Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, with the theme, ‘The power of your vote: A catalyst for a stable and united Nigeria.’ said the coming elections have presented Nigerians with another opportunity to choose their leaders.
“Another opportunity now beckons, it is a one in four years opportunity. Whether you like it or not, election has started already because permanent voters’ cards are being issued. Are you busy at work, stay at work. Those who wish things to happen stay away from them, those who want things to happen, get involved with them. Someone will probably collect your card or return it if it was not used.
“What is happening in February 2015 is balloting out of the whole process of election. After balloting, disputes are resolved and when all that is finished, it is to return the valid candidates and remove the unsuccessful candidates.
“Election is a process and it has begun. When you pick a coach and he does not give us result, what you do is sack the coach. When I employ a driver and he drives me badly, what I need to do is sack him. So, we are your servants, you should not be struggling the job with us. If you think we have not done the job well, sack us.
“In all the places where democracy is practised, it is all about ideas. The idea of a united Nigeria, can we take that away as what we want. In the few times we have had constitutional conferences and we have focused more on our laws and our constitution rather than ourselves.
“What are the values and ideals with which we want our nation to run? What is the Nigerian idea for the Nigeria ideal? Good law will do nothing if bad people operate them. Also, with the most badly drafted constitution in the hands of men and women of goodwill, a lot of good can be achieved.
“We should ask ourselves what kind of Nigeria we want. Our value system really is the problem. What is our sense of right and wrong? Is it right only because he is your kinsman or is it right all the time.”
Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM, Dr. Mike Okonkwo, who is also a former Vice President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), urged Nigerians to register en masse to vote during elections, saying that his church had begun a process of mobilizing Christians to exercise their franchise in the coming elections.
According to the bishop who will turn 69 on Saturday, all the socio-political c*m economic challenges currently plaguing the nation could only be eradicated “if Nigerians deliberately see the Nigerian Project as a collective challenge and actively participate in all electoral processes.”
Other eminent Nigerians, who spoke at the lecture include: former Nigerian ambassador to the United States, Ambassador George Obiozor and renowned Professor of Law, Akin Oyebode.