Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has called on Nigerian youths to eschew all forms of violence in order to create an enabling environment for peaceful co-existence of people in the country.
Fashola also commiserated with the families of victims of the bomb blast at the United Nations building in Abuja, and prayed for the quick recovery of the wounded and peaceful repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in the blast.
The governor, who spoke at a special prayer session for the nation and Lagos State in the Holy City of Mecca, where he had gone for the lesser Hajj, prayed for God’s intervention in pacifying all aggrieved parties in Nigeria in order for the country to witness a return to social harmony, law and order.
He canvassed a collaboration between the leaders and followers in the country, saying it was a viable means towards achieving an orderly society and sustainable development.
The governor explained that while it was important to have good leadership, the followers had a critical role to play in achieving a stable polity.
“If the leader desires a progressive and orderly society, it would be difficult to attain the goal without the cooperation of the citizenry who constitute the followership.”
“The role of followership becomes critical in achieving an orderly society because this will be difficult if simple regulations which are made even for the benefit of the people are not obeyed”, the governor said, noting that this attitude often manifest even when people are told to relocate from faulty buildings for their own safety” he said.
Citing Mecca as example, he said on his arrival in the Holy City for the lesser Hajj, he discovered that certain places where people used to trade had been cleared for development purposes, noting that back home, people find it difficult to obey Government .
He added that “Even when it is said that their homes are about collapsing and they should move away to avoid disaster”, they pay deaf ears to matters of their own safety.
According to him ,“That has to do with followership. When fingers are pointed at the leaders, followers should also examine themselves”, adding that while people in the United States readily heeded warnings by the Government to evacuate from the path of hurricane Irene, in Lagos, it was difficult getting people to move away from flood-prone areas and flood plains.
He recalled that three months before the onset of the last heavy rains in Lagos, government urged the residents to prepare for heavier than normal rains charging those living in the flood plains to move to high land , noting that the directive was largely not heeded.
According to him, “Nigeria has clear advantage in terms of natural resources, human capital and stability. We should not turn against ourselves”, pointing out that a few years ago, the British and some other Western nations were issuing travel advisories to their citizens to avoid Nigeria.
“But recently, the British Prime Minister himself visited Lagos and stayed in one of the hotels and not the British High Commission”, the Governor said adding that the positive signs of such a development should not be wasted.