Presidential Election: Fashola urges Lagosians to lead historical move to change Nigeria
As Nigerians get set to begin the General elections Saturday, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has urged Lagosians to lead the historic move to change Nigeria by coming out en masse to vote at the polls saying it remains the only means to achieve the country of our collective dream.
In his address to Lagosians on Wednesday evening ahead of the Presidential Election, Governor Fashola also advised the residents to be peaceful and vigilant and to remain at the polling units after they have voted until their votes are collated and the results announced as required by the Electoral Act.
The Governor, who described the elections as historic, said aside the fact that the whole world would be watching and waiting for Nigeria to set the pace as the first of the five elections that will take place in West Africa this year, Saturday’s election would be remarkable for its potential to Change Nigeria.
He told Lagosians, “I think the elections will be historic because we will set an example for the whole of Africa and show that we can decide our affairs”, adding, “I know, however, that there can be no history without history makers. You, the voters, the dynamic people of the Centre of Excellence, will be the history makers”.
Governor Fashola said one of the reasons why Lagosians must go out en masse to cast their votes on Saturday was in order to be part of history adding that it would be a pride in future for them to be able to tell their children and grandchildren that they were among those who participated fully in the General Elections that changed Nigeria.
“Ask yourself what you will be saying to your unborn children and grandchildren when they ask you in future where you were on the day when the Great Election that changed Nigeria, took place. I am sure that you will want to answer that question with pride, to tell them how you woke up early and walked to the polling station to cast your vote”, the Governor said.
Urging all eligible and registered voters to be part of the history in the making, Governor Fashola declared, “This election is about your life, your safety, your wellbeing, your business, your roads, your children’s safety and wellbeing, their future and that of Nigeria.
“As a caring father, mother, uncle or aunty, do you want someone else to decide the choices for you or will you make the choice yourself?” he asked adding, “If you make the choice for yourself and for your children and you vote for the party that has made the most impact in your life, that will be historic, it will be music to their ears, and I am sure they will thank you for standing up to prepare that bright future for them”.
Governor Fashola also urged the voters to consider the choice they want to make on Saturday as it would decide whether Nigeria would change or remain the way it is today for the next four years adding that it would also determine whether or not power resides with the people.
Noting that “an overwhelming majority of Nigerians want peaceful, transparent, credible and violence-free elections, Governor Fashola, however, said such desire and wish “for very successful elections” could only be realized if voters go out to vote for the change they want.
On the conduct of voters at the polling units, Governor Fashola urged them to be peaceful and patient with electoral officers and the Youth Corpers, who would be assisting them to ensure that all voters perform their civic responsibility and vote to make the type of society they want.
The Governor also advised that voters should wash their hands with soap before going out for accreditation in order to make it easy for the Card Readers to identify them adding, “As I have said before, this is a clean hands election”.
Dismissing as unlawful the alleged instruction by the Inspector General of Police that voters should stay away from the polling units after they cast their votes, Governor Fashola said the Electoral Act permits that voters should remain at the units until the votes are counted and the results announced by the electoral officers.
“As long as we remain peaceful and law abiding, our numbers will be enough to send the strongest and clearest message of our desire for peace to those who do not wish us well”, the Governor said adding that the security personnel were expected to act professionally in keeping the voters safe “because they and their families also have a stake in a peaceful election”.
He advised, “After you have cast your vote, you must remain at the polling station at a reasonable distance where you can see what is going on”, adding, “Please ignore those who say you cannot stay at the polling station. You have every right to do so”.
“Firstly, the election is about your lives, so why should it take place and be concluded behind your back? Secondly, no law forbids you from staying at the polling station. You simply are not allowed to disturb other voters, interfere with the process or campaign for votes on Election Day. Thirdly and most importantly, the Electoral Act requires that the result at each polling station must be collated, announced by the officials and posted at the polling station”.
Urging Lagos voters “to rise as one people as we did during the Ebola outbreak”, Governor Fashola said Lagosians should demonstrate once again that they are different and special and could manage a democracy adding, “We have set an example for the whole of Africa about how to manage an Ebola epidemic in an urban centre. It was the first of its type in almost 40 years of Ebola epidemics”.
“We did it in a democratic setting. We can set an even better example with this election by being law abiding and peaceful. Let us disappoint the prophets of doom and keep a date with destiny for ourselves and generations unborn. Let us vote for CHANGE with our permanent voter’s cards and ballot papers, and make this Saturday’s election one of our finest political hours. Dear Lagosians, history beckons. Don’t turn your backs”, the Governor urged.