Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola on Sunday preached abstinence as way out of poverty which has continued to confront the nation.
Fashola who spoke at the annual thanks giving service called on Nigerians to be wary about sending text messages, obsession with buying cloths, expensive wines and throwing of wild parties.
“How many aso-ebi do you buy in a year? How much do you use to sew them? How many shades of head-ties and shoes do you buy in a year? If your child’s school fees is delayed or unpaid have you asked yourself whether if what you have bought one shoe or aso-ebi less, whether you would have saved enough to pay the school fees.
“Are you aware that each text message you send costs N5 on average? How many text messages do you send to wish people a happy new year, happy new day, happy new week, happy new Friday, happy new Sunday and happy new month? How many people did you send them to and how many days a week do you send them?
“Please do the arithmetic and see how much it comes to in a year and how much food it could have provided for your family. How many people did you invite and feed at your child’s wedding or the funeral of a deceased relative?
“Could you really afford it? How many of the people you invited are your relatives, friends or people you know? Would the wedding or funeral still have held if you invited fewer people. Did you borrow money for the event or were you broke or short of cash after the event?
“Could you fairly and honestly complain that the economy is bad if you make the choice to be extravagant? Beyond a grave, coffin, shroud and officiating minister, what does it take to bury our dead? How many of your cousins, friends, relations have come to seek assistance for as little as N100,000 to start a business from you? Did you give them? If so how much?
“How much did you give to those who came to ask you for money for birthdays, weddings and funerals? Do we value ceremonies more than work? Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, these are some of the choices we have made as a people that reflect our values and priorities.Let us ask ourselves honestly if they have prospered us or impoverished us.
“I have nothing against parties, they are in fact necessary to keep our economy going. Tailors, musicians, artists, textile industries, caterers, security men, hair stylists and so many people benefit from them. The first question to ask is if there is so much benefit, why is there so much poverty?
“Is a stylist or make-up expert who earns N200-N300,000 a month poor? Is an MC who charges N500,000 per event and does four events a month to earn N2 Million poor? The other question is whether if we party with moderation and consume any rice, drinks and food that we make in Nigeria, we will not be better off and create more jobs. Does the problem lie with our taste for foreign wine, foreign rice, foreign flour and everything made in factories that provide jobs outside our country?”, Fashola queried.
On unemployment, Fashola called on Nigerians to patronise Nigerian goods and services and desist from cutting corners so that the economy could improve.