Former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has condemned the use of the popular phrase, “May Nigeria not happen to me” by many Nigerians who are disenchanted with the country.
He rather called for a positive outlook to address reservations about the country with less negative criticism.
The former Lagos State governor who was a guest on a Channels Television’s Independence anniversary programme, “Empowering Tomorrow themed: A New Vision for Nigeria” on Monday, called on Nigerians to stop focusing only on Nigeria’s flaws but also put emphasis on its strengths and assets and use them to inspire hope.
“In the name of criticism, there must be no negative word about this country, even if it has negatives. I remember a conference I attended, and the theme around which we discussed was that ‘can we all agree never to put forward Nigeria’s negative?’ and I have held to that commitment I made solemnly as much as I can,” Fashola said.
“Those kinds of statements that ‘Nigeria should not happen to me’ or whatever it is, should not have any place again in our public broadcast.
“It is not enough to begin to valorize things that Nigerians do outside the country, and that is important ambassadorial work that those people do and I take nothing away from it.
“Hope is the most important currency that sustains human civilization, that sustains harmony, and the expectation that I can make it.
“This is the time that all of us must put our hands on the plough. For those who want to denigrate the country, you must first ask them, ‘Do they have another country?’ I don’t have another one.
“It is not just the work of government and it is the right to criticise the government. Criticism has helped serious governments; criticism helped me when I was in government and I believe that this government will listen to criticisms and use them as fire to build a better and warm place for all of us to be,” he said.