Nigeria Tam Tam: Decision On School Closure For Voters Registration...........

Posted: 15 Jan 2011 12:00 AM PST
…Blames PDP–led FG for squandering previous opportunities to have reliable database

Governor Babatunde Fashola
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday appealed to parents whose wards have been asked to stay back at home till the completion of the forthcoming Voters Registration exercise to see it as a sacrifice made to ensure safety of the children.

Governor Fashola who spoke in an interview with newsmen at the Secretariat of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at Acme Road, Ogba after his emergence as the Governorship candidate of the party in the 2011elections urged every stakeholder to give the opportunity the very best that can be given to it by going out to register with a view to getting it right this time around thereby prevent a future closure of schools for purposes of registering.

“This is a very difficult decision for us in Lagos State, a painful decision which we took in the best interest of our people. For us, the interest of the students, their parents and their guardians is always uppermost in our minds. We have looked at the issue of the 265 public schools that would be used during the exercise which would witness a lot of people coming in from the 8am to 5pm time duration”.

“Part of the question is: What quality of learning would the students be getting while the exercise is going on?. If something is going to benefit all of us, why should it be only the 265 schools that should carry the cross for all of us?. How can we do justice if we cannot all now bear the sacrifice that is necessary from the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party”, the Governor said.

Governor Fashola explained that the Government also hinged its decision on the fluid security situation that is prevalent in the country, saying: “We can extend the school calendar, we can do extension courses to help the students get back what they have missed. But we cannot extend any life that is lost therefore it is in the interest of safety of our children that we came to this decision”.

Said he: “What we have also done is to agree that our children should resume on the 31 of January. I do appeal that they have to understand the circumstance under which that decision was taken. I once again urge all our citizens to go out massively once again as to make this decision count as this is the only way to ensure that this discomfort is not repeated.”

Governor Fashola urged Nigerians to ask the Peoples Democratic Party- led Federal Government what it has done with the resources of the country deployed in the conduct of the last voters registration exercise.

“Why did it fail?. The Federal Government must explain to Nigerians what happened to the National Identity Registration exercise for National Identity Cards. They must explain to Nigerians what happened to the poor and shoddy manner we conducted the last Census exercise.

“They must also explain to us what happened in the continuing voters registration exercise which started shortly after I was inaugurated as Governor because these represented four momentous opportunities to get all of these right. If we have a reliable National ID card database, we would not have to go through this pain and this suffering for our children because all we needed was to sort out by age those who were 18 years old as at the date of the elections and on that basis you can produce a reliable voters register. The PDP must explain what it has done with the money”, he reiterated.

On the flooding disaster that is ravaging several parts of the world like Australia, Brazil and Sri Lanka and what efforts is being made by the Lagos State Government to control it, Governor Fashola said the State is still working in opening up channels, drainages and in ensuring that there is adequate flood control.

While appealing to the people to avoid building on flood plain and drainages, the Governor said this morning alone, about 260 people had died in the flood disaster in Brazil while about an hour later it had increased to 335 lives lost and still counting.

“We have been very lucky, this Government has also worked very hard to ensure that as bad as the Ajegunle flood disaster was, no life was lost and the victims of that disaster are living comfortably in a camp that we have built in anticipation and we are building more of them because no matter how hard you try natural disasters would happen. This morning, over a million people have been displaced in Sri Lanka by flood and we are still counting the toll in Australia”.

“We are a coastal State, we will face its challenges but if the people listen and follow simple advice that we recommend we should all survive. Now that we are in a dry weather it brings its own challenges such as dry harmattan”.

The Governor said the dry harmattan increases the quantity of combustible materials which needs everyone to be careful and exercise care in how they handle electrical appliances to avoid fire incidents.

He said the State Government has started refreshing training for firemen and the fire service, adding that they are ready to respond just as the 767 and 112 emergency toll lines and ambulance services are ready.

Governor Fashola reiterated that it lies in the hands of all to be more careful and cautious and also watch the children in handling candles, lanterns and all electrical appliances.

On his choice of a Deputy Governor, Governor Fashola said the decision to choose a running mate is not that of an individual but a consultative effort and initiative of the party.

“You have to understand that you cannot do anything if you are seeking political office unless you are a member of the political party. Therefore it is not a unilateral decision for anyone to make”.

Speaking on his nomination and what to expect, the Governor said the party and all its candidates must now go out from Ward to Ward, Local Government to Local Governments, Senatorial districts and across the State to renew the mandate by campaigning very rigorously and advancing the programme and manifestoes of the ACN and demonstrating that it is the party and the Government that Lagosians can entrust Lagos to.

He said the administration has demonstrated its capacity as a party and a Government that can be trusted because when it makes electoral promises, it has never come back to tell Lagosians that something was impossible.

He added that the administration has lifted the spirits of Lagosians to see that nothing was impossible, adding that many people had thought it was impossible to make Oshodi motorable but was achieved, saying the same applied in the issue of partly collapsed Nigerian Industrial Bank building which was brought down without any loss of life.

“It is now for us, all of the candidates to go round and sell to them what lies ahead, a better package, more sumptuous, more delicious in the next four years of an ACN Government”, the Governor said.
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