September 4, 2014 – Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has called on the electorates to vote out any government deemed to have performed below expectation.
Fashola who made the remarks in his goodwill message at the 15th Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture in Lagos, called on Nigerians to turn out in large numbers during elections, adding that it leaves much to be desired when less than 50 percent of registered voters come out and vote on the day of election.
According to him, every electioneering year presents golden opportunity for electorates to remove less performing candidates and return performing candidates or their party.
“When you look at the result of our elections, you will struggle to see that 35 percent of registered voters come out to vote. 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? 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. When all that is finished, it is to return the valid candidates and remove the unsuccessful candidates, ” he said.
Fashola urged Nigerians to focus more on ideas that can drive democracy and move the nation forward rather than concentrating on promulgation of laws or redrafting constitution, saying if good laws are operated by bad people, there will be no result.
“In all the places where democracy is practiced, 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, 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 Nigeria idea?. 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 do 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,” Fashola said.
In his paper, “The Power of Your Vote” Professor Akin Oyebode charged Nigerians to always be ready to vote out the ruling parties both at the federal and state governments level, saying that it does not make sense to continue to have more of the same and expect to make progress.
“Quite frankly, I believe that democracy would not have come of age in this country except and unless and only to the extent that the people are able to vote ruling governments out of office in a free, fair elections”, he said.