Fellow Citizens of Lagos State,
I have just been sworn-in for the second term of office as your Governor by the learned Chief Judge of Lagos State, Mr Justice Adetunji Adefarasin. The Swearing-in is the direct result of your own decision on August 13, 1983, when you elected me Governor by an overwhelming majority. By this decision, you have done me a very great honour.
I accept this honour in all humility and with a sense of responsibility. I am grateful to you for the opportunity you have thus given me to serve you for another four years. I am particularly impressed by the size of the majority with which you have elected me for a second term of office.
In 1979, you elected me to office with 559,070 votes. This represented 81.98 per cent of the total votes cast. You gave my nearest opponent 10.55 per cent of the total votes cast. This time, my nearest opponent collected only 4.64 per cent of the total votes cast. You have also increased my vote by over one million. And you have given me a mandate which is 90.99 per cent of the total number of votes cast in the election of August 13, 1983.
I confess, fellow citizens that nothing can be more inspiring than this wonderful demonstration of your affection for me and my party, the Unity Party of Nigeria, and your constant expression of appreciation for the services which I was able to render in my first term of office. On this occasion of my acceptance of your decision to elect me for a second term office, I want you to know that I love you very much. I love Lagos State.
For this reason, I have rededicated myself anew to the service of the people of Lagos State. From dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn, in any human condition or circumstance whatsoever, I shall devote my life to the selfless and impeccable service of all of you who inhabit this State. Nothing on God’s earth will deter me at any time from seeking the greatest good of the greatest number of our people. That is my mission.
I ask for your support; your understanding; your cooperation and, above all, I ask for your prayers. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”. I pray that the Almighty God, King of kings, may make this my second term of office a happy and prosperous one for every one of you.
The next four years will be difficult years. In the first place, we are in the throes of a grave national economic crisis. In spite of the recent loan to the Federal Government by certain European commercial banks, the situation remains bleak. It is reported that Nigeria is to borrow N1.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund. We know that the standard conditions of the IMF to all borrowers of its money are:
(a) devaluation of currency;
(b) reduction in public expenditure, and (c) suspension of food subsidy.
If the Federal Government succeeds in raising this loan from the IMF, it is almost certain that these conditions will be imposed on our great country. What does this imply? It implies that the value of the naira will be reduced by about 40 per cent. Since we rely on imports for the bulk of our raw materials, machinery, spare parts, vehicles, plant and equipment, devaluation means that these imported items will cost at least 40 per cent more. It will then follow that locally manufactured goods will cost more by at least 40 per cent. If that happens, then all other prices will move up in sympathy. Thus, life will become more burdensome for millions of the masses of our people. And yet the purchasing power of these people has been reduced drastically already by the present austerity measures. How will they survive the threatening gloom?
In the second place, many companies in the distributive trade have closed down. Many factories in the manufacturing industry have also stopped producing. By so doing, they have thrown thousands of Nigerians into the labour market. And yet, several thousand students are graduating annually to search for employment opportunities. Where will they find such opportunities? I am informed that some graduates are turning to menial jobs and that some are now taxi drivers. Is this what Nigeria wants?
In the third place, we have just experienced a gruesome national election. The nation is not rejoicing. It would be more correct to say that Nigeria is mourning. How long will the mourning last?
In the fourth place, we are in an era of godlessness when acts of corruption, robbery, brigandage and wickedness are committed in high places with wanton disregard for the very existence of God Almighty.
A State like Oyo State is stolen in broad daylight without any sense of shame whatever. A state like Bendel State is captured by armed robbers with unbelievable braggadocio. A State like Borno State is brazenly deprived of a Government so clearly desired by the people of the State. A State like Gongola State, whose beliefs and sympathies were never in doubt, is conquered in a manner reminiscent of the primitive wars of the eighteenth century. A State like Cross River State freely and openly changed its political leaning for good reasons. But, the masters of the day, like King Pharaoh of old, would not let our people go. A State like Ondo State, for doing no more than voting for candidates of its choice in a supposedly free election, was turned blatantly into a battle ground. Only the instant, spontaneous, violent and bloody reaction of the good people of Ondo State regained that State from the clutches of power grabbers. A state like Kwara State was only grudgingly conceded because of internal quarrel among the local chieftains of the party in power.
We went to bed one night at 12 o’clock with a Presidential Candidate leading another with 7 million votes to 6 million. We were woken up at 2.00 a.m. to be told that the losing, candidate had won by 12 million votes. We are asked to believe this miracle.
All the basic assumptions of society are destroyed in a way that leaves millions of our people dazed and agape with wonder. They had never seen anything like that in their lives.
For instance, we are asked to believe that a party that gave the people free education at all levels, free health service, cared for the common people of the States it governed, is rejected in an election in favour of a party that has done nothing for them in four years and which at election time has brought them austerity measures.
We are asked to believe that states which voted for the UPN in the Presidential election on August 6, miraculously changed their minds a week later to vote for the NPN by a wide margin.
We are asked to believe that when voters turn out in large numbers, a presidential candidate can have 2 million votes but when the same voters fail to go out to vote, a gubernatorial candidate can win 3 million votes.
That is not all. What about the impartiality of officials? What about the non-partisanship of the Police Force at National Headquarters and in certain formations? What about the independence and fairness of judges in certain parts of the country? Above all, what about he fear of God?
The Psalmist says in chapter 14 of his book:
“The fool hath said in his heart,
There is no God.
They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good…
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?
Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And call not upon the Lord; ….
When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad”
Those who perpetrate these deeds must have forgotten verse 12 of the 65th Sura of the Holy Quran:
God is He Who Created seven Firmaments And of the earth
A similar number.
Through the midst
Of them (all) descends.
His command; that ye may Know that God has power Over all things and that God comprehends all things IN (His) knowledge“.
But, let me assure everyone in the words of the Psalmist once again,
“Awon elomiran—gbekele keke-ogun.
Sugbon awa o ranti oruko Oluwa Olorun wa: “Nwon wole, nwon si subu:
Sugbon awa dide awa si duro sinsin”.
I want everyone to believe in the Supremacy of God Almighty. God is not mocked, or deceivable, or bribable. He is a God of good. And good will triumph over evil.
The Government and people of Lagos State are totally committed to the democratic way of life. We support unequivocally the people of Oyo, Ondo, Bendel, Borno, Gongola, Cross River and Kwara States in their grim determination to resist oppression and to defend their civic rights in every constitutional way. We are brothers and sisters with a common cause. The Government and people of Lagos State also support all progressive elements in every part of the country. They can count on our cooperation at all times.
Fellow Citizens of Lagos State,
In spite of the difficulties of today and the problems of the future, I shall ensure that this second term of office brings greater joy and happiness to all the citizens of this State. In the words of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, on Whom be peace and blessing, “to gladden the heart of a human being; to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured” will be my daily assignment.
In the first term of office, we moved very fast in the implementation of our programmes, In this second term, we shall move a little faster. First, we shall strive to complete all on-going projects in the quickest possible time. Second, we shall do all that is within our power to consolidate the achievements of the first term of office. For example, we, have laid a sound foundation for our programme of free education at all levels. We have erected on that foundation, a great super-structure of which anyone must be proud. In this second term of office, we shall produce a blueprint which will spell out in every detail how this programme can be financed, managed and maintained in the next 17 years up to the year 2,000. By so doing, we shall have ensured that free education at all levels will continue for ever in this State. That will also be done in respect of other Programmes.
Third, we shall introduce a few new things for the benefit of our people. Two of them are worth mentioning the creation of a Lagos State University, which will be the apex of our educational system, and the construction of a road from Lagos through Eti-Osa to Epe. This road will open up a vast area of our State to physical, economic and social development. It will also lead inevitably to the decongestion of the Lagos Metropolis which is at present terribly overcrowded.
Fellow Citizens of Lagos State, we plan to introduce in this term of office, a system by which the State can recognise the services of its citizens who from time to time deserve such recognition.
As you know, the President of the Federal Republic has power to award National Honours. Each State government normally recommends five persons to the President every year. In addition, the President makes his own selection of beneficiaries from every part of the country. We have had our fair share of these national awards and we shall continue to co-operate with the President in the selection of suitable candidates.
However, there are several persons who render extraordinary service to the State at various levels but who may not be accommodated on the National Honours List: And it is in the overall national interest that the State should acknowledge the services of such persons.
We have, therefore, decided to introduce a system of State Honours for extraordinary services rendered to this State.
There would be three categories of State Honours:
- Outstanding Service Award
- Distinguished Service Award
- Meritorious Service Award.
The Outstanding Service Award
Will be the highest form of award. It will be in recognition of a notable service rendered to the State by a Citizen of Nigeria resident in Lagos State. The award will consist of a Medal in Gold with a red ribbon attached. The stud will be in red colour.
The Distinguished Service Award
Will be for persons whose individual achievements have had a tangible impact on the State. There will be two classes of this award. The class I award will be a medal in silver with outer serrated circle and inner ridge in gold with yellow ribbon. The class II of this award will consist of a medal in silver with the outer serrated circle only in gold with yellow ribbon.
The Meritorious Service Award
Is for long service officers and others who have served the State in their respective callings. The award will have two classes. Class I award is a medal in silver with the Inner circle in gold and a blue ribbon attached. Class II is a medal in silver and a blue ribbon attached.
The stud for the Distinguished Award is yellow while that of the meritorious Award is blue. In addition to these three honours, there will be provision for the presentation of Certificates of different grades for various services. There will also be ex-gratia awards to public officers.
I intend to set up a State Honours Committee to administer this subject. The chairman of the Committee will be the Deputy Governor of the State, Chief R. B. A. Jafojo. The other members are the Chief Judge of Lagos State, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the Secretary to the State Government and the Head of State Civil Service. The Committee will serviced by a Technical Committee made up of the Head of State Civil Service, as chairman, the Commissioner of Police, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Head of Local Government Service, Permanent Secretary (Cabinet) and four ethers who are not public officers but who have integrity. The first awards will be made in January 1984.
I congratulate you, on the resounding success of the first civilian administration of Lagos State since it was created in 1967. I thank each and everyone of you for your individual contribution to that success. I pray fervently that Allah; the Beneficient and the Merciful, will bless our efforts in this second term. I pray that our State, Lagos State, may have greater glory in this second term of our service. May God grant that every citizen of this State prosper in every way during this term.
I thank you all.