From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
Lagos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has flagged-off the 2014 Countdown at the popular Lagos Bar Beach in Victoria Island ,advocating more participation of young people in leadership and decision-making as a means to fast track the development of the country.
Addressing a crowd comprising of representatives of sponsors, artistes and residents that witnessed the colourful yearly event, Governor Fashola said the sustenance and continued improvement in the standard of the ceremony by the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA), an outfit run by young people, has shown what young people could do when given the chance and with the right government in place.
The governor said LASAA has become an example of what the Nigerian young people were capable of achieving when given the chance to lead, adding that governments at all levels in the country should challenge them with policies and programmes that are capable of bringing the best out of them.
“LASAA is, perhaps, one of the many outfits that we have in Lagos now led and run by young people. It is an example of what is possible. If the right governments and the right people allow Nigerian young people to lead, policies and programmes that challenge young people will bring out the best in them”, he said.
Noting that the nation is too blessed with resourceful and talented young people to be dealing with the challenges that she is currently facing, Governor Fashola said the state has shown, through many of its agencies, that things could be fixed if young people are entrusted to take decisions.
He said: “Lagos has shown through LASAA, through Lagos state Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), through its Electricity Board and through Public Works Corporation, among others, that things can be fixed if we entrust young people to take decisions. They know what they are doing with the right supports and with the right answers”.
According to him, the dream was to turn the Beach into a place where there would be commerce, sports, cycling, buying and selling and where the whole world would fly into the country and into the state and say “we are going to the Lagos Bar Beach waterfront the way they go to many other waterfronts across the world; that is the dream”.
Fashola, however, told his audience, “But it would not happen by accidents, it will happen only if people who know how to continue to maintain and run the affairs of Lagos state are in charge.”