The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, has urged Nigerian political leaders to imbibe strong values and ideology as a driving force in the political arena, describing the ruling party as not being truthful in power.
Fashola, in a lecture delivered at the 50th Birthday celebration of a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, titled “The Challenge Of Democratic Governance”, held in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital, expressed disappointment over a statement being made by some leaders that part of their achievements, is the freedom for people to express themselves.
“If the only options left for me to choose; freedom and development, I for one will rather surrender development than freedom. So I worry as you all worry when I hear some people today say is part of their achievement that they allowed us to express ourselves, I think that is utter rubbish,” he pointed out.
However, he stressed that if democracy could be achieved, then the vehicle of politics and political parties would develop as a first class institution, emphasising that the first thing to seek is the idea behind governance often contained in the program of political party.
“The question of ideology is important because it lies at the heart of the choice making of people, who participate in election to choose their representative,” he said.
Fashola maintained that the party in governance had lied on the stability of electricity and identified the ideological differences of the political parties’ structure. “The party in government has lied about when there will be stable electricity for 16 years,” explaining that the All Progressives Congress , the party he belongs to, has led the way to show what is possible with its “power initiative” in Lagos State and various parts of the state by delivering power plants that would be installed later in the year.
According to Fashola, the government in power cancelled the concession of moribund refineries, condemning the ruling party’s insistence on importation of fuel with the “attendance destruction and monumental corruption”.
Fashola criticised the ruling party over their negligence on major issues surrounding the country’s development and emphasised that the party indulged in corruption .
“If on major policy issues such as power, security, agriculture , corruption and unemployment, the main opposition had disagreed with the party in government and has criticised his choices, I wonder what else the party needs to do to prove that their is a difference”,
“If you look at the level of progress and development in the states governed by the old and new opposition parties and governors, there is a clear daylight in terms of development,” he said.
Governor Fashola condemned a system where political office holders give out items to the electorates to lure them to vote for them, accusing the ruling party of under performance.
In a paraphrased statement of what political office holders do, he said: “We care about you, but you do not need development, so we will not do any developmental work in three years and in the fourth year the government say that they will give money, kerosene and will give you rice. Please vote for us and use the money we give you to provide your own road, schools, hospital and security, until we see you again in four years time”.
He emphasised that campaign manifesto should be designed to address contemporary issues, dismissing the ruling party’s claims that opposition parties were doing all they could to bring down the government, as a tissue of lies.
“At first they (ruling party) said were those undermining security were in the government, now they have changed to say it is the opposition. They will accuse you of trying to bring down the government, truly this is a tissue of nothing but lies. They have lied about security,” he stressed.
Fashola also noted that people had misunderstood the ideology of endorsement for ‘godfatherism’, drawing the difference between Godfatherism and endorsement. He said: “Endorsement process is the emergence of candidate.”