Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has stated that the biggest protection for any society is the ability to enforce its laws because such laws would make no meaning, if they are not enforced.
The Governor who spoke in an interview with State House Correspondents after the Executive and Legislative Parley at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac Town added: “We are seeing a situation where clearly everybody knows the problem and often times we make very good laws but beyond making laws, what do we do?. Not a lot has been done in my own view”.
“You will see that most of the values we are complaining about are encapsulated in our laws. How we live, how we drive, how we build, how we dispose of our waste, how we work, how we respond to temptation and so many other things. If the Attorney General becomes the defender of the law rather than just the defender of the government and begin to prosecute cases, we will begin to see changes. If he takes an offensive position rather than a defensive position to see that every law that we make are complied with”, Governor Fashola stated.
While identifying law and order as a major issue, the Governor said because the people’s lives are changing radically and many people are doing things in many ways that are not consistent with law, it is inflicting a lot of pains, adding that when law and order are complied with many more people gain, but when law and order suffers, only a few people benefit.
“Everybody is pointing at government, but we are all leaders in our own little ways, in our homes, schools, churches, mosques, social clubs and units where there are tiers of leadership, everybody has a role to play. It is a sense of collective leadership. So, everybody has a role to play rather than individual leadership that we must seek to build. So those are the things we are talking about in there”.
The Governor reiterated: “That is why I have said this time around the Office of the Attorney General and Honourable Commissioner for Justice has done a commendable job in defending claims against government but now they must change their DNA. There is a new challenge. We need to restore values”.
He added that as the society evolve, the people must see the trend and react to them in active rather than reactive ways, adding that the people must think ahead, vision, plan and in that way respond to changes that society brings on.
He noted that people should reflect on how the Information Technology age has probably created more challenges for leadership globally, and the fact that many did not prepare enough to deal with the elimination of boundaries and frontiers that Information Technology brought about.
“You will also see the challenges that the global crises brought about. Many who at that time said that this thing was going to happen? Many dismissed it. Indeed, if you look at the environmental challenges we are facing today, people like Al Gore had forewarned that there was imminent environmental crises ahead”.
He explained that in the State, the current administration is always thinking ahead in terms of the emerging challenges and how they can be properly identified, stating that once they are identified plans can be put in place to deal with and also prepare the people to deal with them.
The Governor reiterated the need for all arms of government especially the Executive and Legislature to work together and interface on a regular basis while the Judiciary act as an umpire that mediates between activities of the arms of government and to pronounce on their validity or otherwise.
He said when the House of Assembly works together with the Executive, the institutions would be much more efficient, explaining that if for example the State House of Assembly invites the Commissioner for Information, he does not go there with any suspicion that: “What are they looking for”.
“Many of the issues between us are already exchanged at this kind of retreat and when budgets are prepared they know where we are coming from. They know what we are planning to do with the budget. So it is easy to deliberate upon it and say, make this change or let us do it this way and we would be on our way quicker to respond to people who put us here”.
The Governor who also spoke on the recent launch of the Service Charter in the State Public Service which is the first phase focusing on some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) added that it is a process that has taken almost four years.
He added that the Ministries involved in the first phase are those who have quickly come up to say they are ready, stressing that everybody will ultimately be involved but government is saying to those who are prepared, that if they are prepared and are ready, sign on.
“So, we have seen sign up in Healthcare, Education, Legislative House and the Civil Service Commission. We have seen it in Pensions Commission and all of these we have. We are not just leaving this to them. We are working with them. But the sense of them they saying they are the ones to say it they must take responsibility for signing on”.
“It is a new measure, new standard. We are not satisfied with what we have done before and we are not resting on it, we are raising the bars of public service and in that way deliver on the expectations of our people for the full meaning and expression of democracy”, the Governor reiterated.
Also with the Governor during the interview was the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Raji and Special Adviser on Media, Mr Hakeem Bello.