Nigeria at 61: Be courageous, resilient to face our problems —Sanwo-Olu urges Nigerians


By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged citizens to summon the courage, energy and political will to face problems confronting the country head-on and address them squarely as Nigeria celebrates her 61st Independence anniversary, October 1, 2021.

Sanwo-Olu noted that many of the present challenges the country is grappling with including secessionist calls, among others are products of complex and complicated past, stressing that Nigeria’s political, leadership tussle and trajectory are by no means unique even as he urged secessionists to retreat.

The governor made the remarks at the 83rd anniversary of Ikoyi Club 1938 while presenting a paper titled:”Present, Past and Future,” held at the club’s Secretariat, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu said critical stakeholders must learn from the experience of other countries to guide the present and create a future that is even better than what Nigerians envisaged.

While reflecting on the political, socio-economic and political trajectories of the country, the Governor stated that religious and ethnic jingoism should be completely removed from the lexical items in the country.

According to Sanwo-Olu: “Nigeria is celebrating her 61st anniversary as an independent country. It’s another opportunity to reflect on our past, our present and our future. A complex and complicated past, like many other countries; a challenging present, again like many others and a future that we all look forward to with hope and optimism.

“Most countries of the world face deep-seated questions about ethnic, racial and religious diversity, and that Nigeria’s seemingly intractable past and present challenges are not unique to us. What is important is that we must constantly summon the energy and political will to face our problems head-on and address them squarely.

“We cannot continue to throw our hands up in despair or retreat into the tempting ghettoes of sectionalism and ethnic and religious bigotry.

“We must learn from the past of others to guide our present and create a future that is even better than what we envisaged. That is yet another important link between past, present and future; the ability to assess deeply, learn, and adapt in light of that learning.”

The governor, expressed his administration’s commitment to providing good governance, saying, it will build on the past and adhere to a robust vision passed down over the years that will serve the people of Lagos and change their lives for the better.

He said building on the legacies of the past for the present and future is very vital, noting that the artistic greats of yesteryears have helped set standards that continue to inspire the present and will no doubt inspire the future.”

Sanwo-Olu stressed further that “Without the past, there would be nothing to build on. When we are done with our own service, we will hand over the baton to the next set of leaders, to continue from where we stopped.”

On resilience

The state government, also, expressed its commitment to partnering with individual or corporate bodies in making the state environment more resilient and sustainable.

Speaking at the Year 2021 Management Retreat of the Office of Environmental Services in Lekki, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello said opportunities exist for partnership in all sectors of the Environment which can be tapped into.

Bello said that the state is also committed to building on the already established stability in the restoration and rejuvenation of the environment structure through innovative environmental management practices.

He said the strategic Management Retreat will offer an effective off-site business review, planning, and problem-solving sessions away from daily work distractions in a more relaxed and innovative thinking environment for better collaboration, brainstorming, and decision-making.

Bello said the state is presently facing pressure as a result of massive population influx and stakeholders in the environment sector and must review the way it works and respond to environmental issues.

According to Bello: “We need to review the way we have been working and respond to environmental issue over the years and how we can tackle issues with different values. Lagos lack the manpower compare to the continuous rise in population and that is why we must open the doors for partnership and engagements”.

He gave an instance where the Ministry engaged local boys as environmental monitoring and enforcement personnel at the Agege Pen Cinema areas to stop people from constituting environmental nuisance under the newly constructed bridge.

Bello continued: “We discovered that the only way to curb people from constituting nuisance under the bridge is to use the local boys in that area, who are part of the environment and this was a success because we engage them, paying them and provide cover for them with law enforcement agents.

“We have therefore extended the idea to Abule- Egba under Bridge Flyover, we are looking at some other places like Ajah,” he explained.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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