A former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has called on Nigerians to address reservations about the country with less negative criticism.
The former minister stated this on Monday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Empowering Tomorrow themed: A New Vision for Nigeria, a special programme to mark the 63rd anniversary of Nigeria’s independence celebrated annually on October 1.
He criticized the popular phrase, “May Nigeria not happen to me”, adding that Nigeria needs to start emphasizing minor things more and using them to inspire hope.
According to him, “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,” Fashola said.
“The image and the pride of the nation is the public relations work of all of the people,” he continued.
“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,” he stated.
The former minister of works urged the masses to stop putting more emphasis on the negative aspects of Nigeria than on its positive aspects.
“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,” he said.
Fashola said he counseled the Tinibu-led administration not to be afraid of criticism since it is a crucial step in enhancing and advancing the good of the nation.
“It is not just the work of government and it is the right to criticize 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.
“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.”