Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, told a political gathering in Abuja at an event organised by the Kukah Centre tagged: ‘Fixing Nigeria: The Nuts and Bolts,’ he told the gathering that at the inception of his administration, there was no assurances that his administration was going to succeed. SunNewsonline reports
He explains how he was able to fix Lagos State despite what the state was faced with at the beginning of his administration.
He said that there was a commitment that his administration was going to work hard and make one very big effort.
He continue by saying that the commitment was influenced by an encounter he had with a German at the airport about two months after he was elected in 2007.
“I was introduced to him as a governor of Lagos and the question he asked me was: how old are you? And I told him I was 44. And he asked what I was doing before governance and I said well, I was a legal practitioner. He said I think you are crazy to have taken this job. It is not going to work. And I said to him, this is my home. I don’t know if it will work, but I am going to try,” Fashola recalled.
The governor added that foundationally, he saw first, the need to restore law and order, which he noted, is the platform on which any development could take place.
“A society where law enforcement was unable to protect human life was not a society you could go back to and say, bring your tax. So, that was the first thing we did: equipping the police, providing vehicles for them, providing fuel. I asked policemen why it was the case because I remember the first week in office, I was either in the emergency centre going to visit a citizen that had been shot; or going to the house of a senior citizen that had been robbed; or going to the mortuary in respect of somebody who had been killed.
“Banks were robbed on a daily basis and we couldn’t respond. And when I asked the policemen and they told me the number of rifles they had, it was clear to me that we could certainly not expect them to confront criminals without protecting them.
“So, the first thing we did was to equip them. They bought their own uniforms, we stopped that. At least, those who were in charge of responding to violent crimes, we gave five pairs of uniforms to each one of them, booths, we put them on a life insurance in case of disability and death, we raised their monthly allowance and within months, we started seeing results.”
“We could respond to bank robberies and since about 2008, I think I can accurately say there has not been a successful bank robbery in Lagos. For two years, there were no attempts. Over the last few years, there have been attempts, but I don’t recall from our monthly security meeting that anyone has succeeded. Of course, we had occasional people going to break Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and taking cash, but unlike before when robbers came in and walked all day and just walked out and shot their way through. That has not happened for the last seven and half years,” Fashola added.