GOVERNOR of Lagos, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), has explained why Nigerians must vote out President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday, March 28, 2015. He also decried the depreciation of the naira, lamenting that it has wiped out the profit margin of entrepreneurs.
Governor Fashola, whose address was directed at showbiz people, blamed their woes on the present administration which, he alleged, has failed to create the enabling environment to grow the creative industry. It was also at this function that the governor, who belongs to the opposition, All Progressives Congress, indicted President Goodluck Jonathan on the bloody Lekki, Lagos robbery that left about three policemen and several others dead and injured that Thursday afternoon.
Fashola speaks: “We rebased just to tidy up our omissions and say we have the largest economy in Africa and I ask how large is that economy when you have to provide your own power? So, tonight for this industry that started without handouts…when I hear they are giving out three billion dollars, I’m not sure it’s handouts that you need. I think it is an environment that protects your intellectual property, rights and values of your creativity. It boils down to one simple thing: the will to enforce laws because the copyright laws are there.
“For those in the cinema, how can we create the enabling environment that can ensure that in one screening, you get all your money back? I know piracy can never be totally eliminated anywhere in the world. But government’s role is to be ahead of them. Think about all your equipment, from your lights, to your cameras, tapes…which of them is made in Nigeria? Some of them are bi-products of crude oil (petroleum products). So, if you have a refinery here, we would be on our way towards localizing and expanding the value chain of that industry.
“General Buhari said something this evening (Thursday, March 12, 2015) at the Town Hall meeting that when he was the Minister of Petroleum, this country was exporting refined products of over 100,000 barrels. Now, we are importing. And some people say you should come along on that journey. I don’t know which way they want to go, but I’m not going on that way because it’s going to be more painful. You would be adversely affected by devaluing naira. If naira is now almost N250 to a dollar, your margins are being wiped out, that is second piracy. You have seen how the $3 billion supposedly meant for the industry is being spent on adverts. Adverts that compare our leaders with Jesus Christ. And you have seen them now in documentaries.
“But today is a very sad day because this afternoon, we lost three policemen. And it is the first of its kind in a very long time. Perhaps, what would be would have been, but it was sad to see all our security personnel deployed to protect one man. All the vehicles we bought for the police were stationed to receive the President who was in Lagos. Those policemen have children and tonight their mothers would find it hard to explain to them why daddy is not coming home.
“I pray their souls rest in peace and I ask you to observe a minute of silence in their honour. May their souls rest in peace and may God comfort their survivors.”