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Our Roads Intervention In Schools Are Great Investment In Education - Fashola

... Intervention brought relief to the entire College Community - Provost

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has stated that the intervention in the internal roads of tertiary institutions across the country by the federal government is a critical investment in education.

The Minister stated this, Tuesday, December 6, 2022 during the official handing over of completed rehabilitation and construction of 1.175 kilometers road and drainages in the Federal College of Education (Technical) Gombe, Gombe State.

The Minister was represented at the occasion by the Federal Controller of Works, Gombe State, Engineer Salihu Jibrin.

Fashola who described the intervention as a critical support to education, also said “.... the point must be made that although this is a civil works project, it is an investment in education "

Explaining the need to bridge infrastructure gap in schools, he said " We have successfully intervened in 64 internal Road projects in various Federal Tertiary Institutions and handed over a total of 46 as at March, 2022 and we now have another 18 ready to be handed over, while we are currently attending to 19 roads in similar institutions across the country making a total of 83 "

While acknowledging that a lot of work needs to be done in many sectors of national life, including education, Fashola pointed out that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has stepped up in leading the process of getting the work done, pointing out that the intervention has contributed immensely to the increased job creation initiative of the FG, revealing that 60 people had been employed during the road construction in the College.

In his remarks, the College Provost, Dr Ali Adamu Boderi described the roads intervention in the College as timely as before now, some facilities already being threatened by gully erosion had now been reclaimed.

Dr Adamu said " Road’s intervention in the College was timely and has tremendously assisted in reclaiming many of our facilities that were hitherto threatened by potholes and gully erosion, it has also brought relief to the entire College community as well as vehicular movement in the College".

The provost appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola for the road’s intervention in his school, praying that the College should also be considered as a beneficiary when similar intervention is conceived in future.   

In an interview, Dr. Nasiru Bello, a Principal Lecturer, Department of Education said that, before the intervention, the condition of the roads was extremely bad to the extent that some departments in the college were disconnected.

" Some parts of the college were cutoff totally before this intervention, like the new school of science complex to staff quarters down to the college library" he said.

Accordingly, he said that, air pollution and visual distraction from pollution was everywhere in the college environment and had significance effect on the health of students before the intervention.

" Now that crack pavement, potholes, uneven surface and collapse shoulders on the roads were newly constructed the benefits of this road’s intervention to the learning environment in this college are unquantifiable" Dr Bello said.

He further explained that such roads construction in academic environments has reduced transportation time of goods and resources for effective teaching and learning and this also has a positive correlation with student’s enrollment, academic performance, health and safety in the college.

Dr Bello commended the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for witnessing this great deal of commitments to education, saying that the government realized that tertiary institutions in the country are reservoirs of agents of national development.

 President of Students Union Government (SUG), Comrade Sahabi Alhassan, a Student of Computer Science Education described the situation in the College as devastating before the intervention.  

He said " We found it difficult to move around the school more especially in the night and during rainy season due to the effect of erosion within the school environment and fears of reptiles more especially snakes. Going to lectures, reading in the night is boring those days honestly".

Accordingly he stated that the roads intervention has helped a lot in opening the school environment and easing movement within by allowing access to so many places that can't be reached before because of erosion.

" There is no more fear of such reptiles now. Our security has improved tremendously. Security as we all know is one of the major issues required by students on campus, but today the story is that security is now efficient and guaranteed " he added.

The SUG President thanked the College Provost for his determination in ensuring that the project was executed in the College, and also appreciated the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the job well done.

 " Words are not enough to describe how this government impacted on the students with this kind of intervention, we were honestly excited with the intervention and we have also come to realize how students friendly this government is” he said.

Sunday Thliza Mjigimtu, SERVICOM Focal Officer in the College said the conditions of the road network in the College before the intervention was very terrible.

He said " The main road that links the College main gate down to the virtual Library and the academic areas was very bad with potholes all over. The one that linked the female hostel, football pitch and the College Chapel was not motorable because of the heap of sand that was all over. The new Science complex was completely cut-off by gully erosion. The staff quarters were not easily accessible".

Mr Sunday also stated that the impact and benefits of the intervention is enormous, as everywhere in the College is now motorable, water tanks can now supply water to students' hostels, staff quarters and college farm, while motorists now have smooth drive and can move around with convenience.

Accordingly, he said, Students are now having free access to academic areas, sporting fields, places of worship and all the inaccessible roads are now motorable.

He described President Mohammadu Buhari's road infrastructure as laudable, timely and a welcome development in all tertiary institutions of higher learning.

The 1.175 kilometers internal road handed over in the Federal College of Education Technical, Gombe connects among other buildings in the College; Academic Complex; School of Business Education; CBT Center; College Library and Sports Complex.

Others are; Admin Block; Females and Males Hostels; Auditorium; Central Masjid and School of Science Education.

A short drama presentation capturing the benefits and transformation brought about in the College by the road intervention was performed as well as the display of cultural dances during this colourful event.

Constructed Roads Are Depreciating Assets - Fashola The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has stated that constructed roads across the federation are   assets to the nation which depreciates over time and should be maintained. He made the clarification at the celebration of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) 20th Anniversary held on 1st December, 2022 at NAF Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja. Fashola revealed that road construction is a life impacting asset that should not be toyed with.  Noting that from the day any road is opened for use to motorists that is when the life span and asset value of that road begins to go down which already is calling for maintenance. “So, from the day when you start to drive on the road, the asset value of that road begins to go down and therefore you are already generating a maintenance need and this is perhaps the way it should be and this takes us to the larger issue of the need for maintenance in the construction industry,” he said. Fashola noted that engineers in road construction have a lot to do after each road construction and commissioning for motorists.  He said they need to teach people all the necessary things they need to know about road construction starting from how roads are built to the dos and don’ts that perhaps bring the biggest step of maintenance to the fore. “Engineers have a lot of work to do.  Teaching people how roads are built, and what roads do not like.  In order for the teaching to stay long with people, the teaching must not be done with technical language. There are engineers in almost every community in Nigeria, if people understand the dos and don’ts of roads that perhaps is the biggest step towards the maintenance, which has started because roads are depreciating assets,” he said. The Minister reaffirms that maintenance and operation create high number and lasting jobs for citizens and that is why President Muhammadu Buhari appropriately signed Executive Order No 11 which states that maintenance is not a culture but an economy that we must appropriately nurture because of its bountiful nature. “The experts will tell you that after design and construction all of which employ less than 40% of the work force, it is maintenance and operation that create the longest lasting jobs and employ the longest and largest number of people and this is why President Buhari has appropriately signed Executive Order No. 11, the Maintenance Order, saying to all of us that maintenance is not a culture, it is one that we must appropriately nurture because it is bountiful,” he said. Fashola announced the institutionalization of facility maintenance in the system saying that it creates a lot of opportunities to the general populace both direct and indirect, creates long term jobs, a large supply value chain of small businesses, engaging the artisans and sustaining the larger economy.  He added that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is undertaking maintenance in 24 Federal Secretariat complexes across the country with a facility manager assigned to each and at least 40 persons are employed which is expanding the implementation of the Executive Order No.11. He added that very soon the importance of maintaining assets in turn will automatically reach every part of the country. The Minister reiterated that road is a life impacting asset, a total economic package that many people’s lives and livelihood depend upon.  He added that there is large economic dependence on the movement of millions of people on the highways at different points and parks on the highways. Fashola congratulated FERMA on their 20th anniversary celebration and all the invited guests for rejoicing with them.  He admonished FERMA to keep the ball rolling and encouraged them to start advocacy work to compliment all their efforts and what the ministry is doing also. During his welcome address, the Chairman Governing Board of FERMA, Mr. Babatunde Olakunle Lemo, OFR thanked the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for being extremely helpful and supportive to them.  He appreciated the efforts of the former governing board of FERMA saying it is the foundation they laid that is keeping them moving.  He welcomed all the guests and wished them all the best. While delivering his keynote address, the Managing Director of FERMA, Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi, presented a Book titled “FERMA @ 20, the Journey so far, challenges and way forward,” and thanked the Minister of Works and Housing and the Ministry as a whole for giving them the freedom to operate and being with them in all they do. Speaking at the event   the Honourable Minister of State Works and Housing, Hon. Umar Ibrahim EL-Yakubu said: “Congratulations FERMA on your 20th anniversary and to all those who have supported your journey towards changing the future of our road network.” Commenting also was the Chairman Senate Committee on FERMA, Sen. Gershom Bassey, who urged FERMA to achieve zero portholes on the nation’s highways and advocated for minimum of two options of traveling for travelers.  You either go by road or by air not zeroing everyone to fly because the roads are bad. In a goodwill message the Chairman House Committee on FERMA, Hon. Femi Bamisile, requested that FERMA should install weigh bridges on our roads to check axle loads and apportion appropriate sanctions on defaulters. The highlights of the event were a book launch to commemorate the 20th existence of FERMA as an Agency of government titled, “FERMA Footprints in National Road Infrastructure Maintenance (2018 – 2021)” which was unveiled by the Special Assistant to Mr. President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adeshina, OFR, the unveiling of the 20th Anniversary Logo plus FERMA Footprint and also the launching of FERMA short code. There was also a Panel Discussion Topic:” FERMA at Twenty: Achieving Her Mandate in Uncertain Times,” anchored by Mrs. Claire Adelabu-Abdulrazak. Present at the occasion were: the representative of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, CON, the Honourable Minister of State for Works and Housing, Hon. Umar Ibrahim El-Yakubu, the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, the Chairman Senate Committee on FERMA, Sen. Gershom Bassey, the Chairman House Committee on FERMA, Hon. Femi Bamisile, pasts Chairmen FERMA Governing Board, past Managing Directors of FERMA and a host of other dignitaries.
Minister Charges Occupational Safety And Health Association To Promote Safety Awareness In Nigeria The Minster of State for Works and Housing, Hon. Umar Ibrahim El- Yakub, has charged the Occupational Safety and Health Association to be committed and dedicated to creating awareness and promoting the importance of safety at the work place and homes in Nigeria. He made this charge while declaring open the 12th International Occupational Safety and Health Association Conference and Awards event which held at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing Headquarters, Abuja. The theme of the conference was "A Partnership that Works: The Role of Stakeholders Towards Safety in the Workplace." Hon. El-Yakub said, " I encourage your dedication and commitment to promoting safety in the region and I have no doubts that through your deliberations at the 12th conference, the great work you have been doing in the country over the years will be reinforced and strengthened." The Minister noted that the conference was very significant because it would be an avenue to discuss practical solutions and partnerships that could work for the safety and benefit of all in the private and public sectors in the country. El-Yakub explained that the Ministry has put in place an active and robust workplace safety and health team to oversee and promote this important aspect of our lives in the work environment. Responding on behalf of other new Fellows and Awardees, the Minister expressed gratitude for the decoration and Award received. He assured the Association of their commitment to contribute to the safety awareness and practice in Nigeria. In his remarks the President of the Nigeria Region of the Association, HRH, Dr.Olusegun Aderemi, noted that the issue of safety should be a precondition which must dominate the discourse when designing policies guiding   operational  procedures  at work places. Dr. Aderemi explained that due to the increase in the number of work related hazards, risks and fatalities that occur due to human errors, the association has now decided to organize this conference where favorable outcomes  that would lead to practical and actionable steps to curb these fatalities  could be achieved. The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Sen. Babafemi Ojodu, stated that though   government was expected to show a clear commitment on health and safety in the country, the private sector being the major employer of labour should also inculcate health, safety environment and best practices across every segment of their operations. Speaking further he said that Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, on the other hand, should also understand that compliance with safety best practices alongside the installation of safety instruments within their facilities would not only help address incidents when they occur but will at the same time save them the cost that would have been incurred from such disasters. In his goodwill message, the Minister of Environment, Barrister Abdullahi Mohammed who was represented by an officer from the Ministry, Mrs. Chika Okpalaka, enjoined the public to adopt environmental and health tips in the working environment such as: i. Conduct risk assessment to identify hazards and implement effective risk control measures. ii. Make sure the work environment is safe. iii. Develop and implement systems for dealing with emergences. iv. Ensure workers are provided with sufficient instructions, training and supervisors so that they can work safely. Professor George Genyi, from the Federal University, Nasarawa,  in his paper titled, "The need for Partnership for all"  noted that collaborating with Royal Fathers to promote safety was commendable because issues of safety and security were  the responsibilities of  everyone. Highlights of the occasion were:  decoration of some Eminent Nigerians as Fellows and Grand Patron of the Association as well as presentation of plaques of the Honorary Fellow of the Association to them. The Awardees included: the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Hon. Umar Ibrahim El- Yakub, the Ministers of Defence, Environment and the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani  Aliyu, the Estu Nupe, H.R.H. Alhaji Abubakar Yahaya was decorated as the Grand Patron of the Association. In addition, the kid’s safety book, tagged, "Amanda, The Smart Safety Girl "was unveiled. The book, authored by an eight-year-old Zara C. Uwalaka, has 17 basic safety tips every child must know. It was a very successful and colourful event that was well attended.
Critical Road Interventions Is To Support Education- Fashola ...This unique internal road will remain evergreen in our minds- VC The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, CON has said that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Works and Housing's intervention in the construction of the nation's tertiary institutions internal roads is government's commitment of improving the human condition and a critical intervention to support education. The Minister made the remarks at the official handover of the 1.2 kilometre internal road at the University of Uyo,  Akwa Ibom State. The Honourable Minister, represented by the Federal Controller of Works in Akwa Ibom State, Engineer Gabriel Akinwande said that with the reconstruction of the internal road at the University of Uyo and other universities, the gap of the nation's infrastructural needs was steadily being bridged by a gradual process of repairs, renewal and construction on major highways as well as in schools. Speaking on the impact of the newly reconstructed roads and the quality of education, the Minister said: "It is unbeatable that quality of education will be impacted on by the quality of these infrastructure and the learning environment and that those who doubt it should simply listen to some of the feedbacks from students in the schools where this type of intervention has taken place." From the feedback gathered so far, Mr. Fashola said students are now expressing renewed enthusiasm with regards to attending classes because some defective roads have been restored to good condition. On his part, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyaudor Ndaeyo commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, CON, saying that these internal roads were unique gifts to them and the university and also that it will remain evergreen in their memory. "The entire University community are very happy for this commissioning and handing over of these roads today. It will no doubt enhance the socio- economic life of members of the community," he said. Commending President Muhammadu Buhari, the VC said they are very grateful and would continue to display their unalloyed loyalty and support to his administration. In varied interview sessions with some students, hear their comments:  Master Sito Abasi, a Law student of the institution, Miss Okiyi Grace and Lawrence Okieji of the institution all agreed unanimously that the hitherto poor condition of the roads posed serious impediments, if not death traps to both staff and students of the institution. Speaking on behalf of other students, Sito Abasi thanked President Buhari and the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing for the timely completion of the road projects which took just three months. "We are now happy because some time ago, we had suffered greatly because of the poor condition of these roads but this has become history now. We say thank you President Muhammadu Buhari," he said. On his part, the Dean of Environmental Studies, Professor Ephraim Edem commended the quality of the road projects saying that they are very impressed. " All eyes can now see that the roads have added value to the campus life and we do not have fear of rain causing impediment to our movement during the rainy season," he said.
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12th International Safety Conference & Awards

12th International Safety Conference & Awards 2022


FMWH Staff Excited As Ministry Organizes Health Training Programme.

Staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing were excited and motivated as the Ministry organized a two-day Health Training Programme that was targeted at their wellbeing that will boost their service delivery, productivity and innovation.

The Health Training Programme took place at the Headquarters of the Ministry’s Conference room in Abuja with the Theme:” Healthy Living: Panacea for Greater Productivity in the Work Place.”

While declaring the training open the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Bashir Nura Alkali who was represented by the Director Human Resource Management, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing,  Aliyu Abudulahi   said  organizations that were not investing in the wellbeing of their staff could be losing top talents and skills, stressing that a healthy workforce and a sense of wellbeing increases productivity and innovation, on this note the Ministry  deemed it necessary to organize this training for its  staff.

Nura Alkali noted that the mind-set of officers must be positive and for that to happen, officers need to be healthy to deliver. He Said “If the mind and body are not together, we keep getting negative reports. A healthy work force is a productive work force.”

The Permanent Secretary urged officers to take care of themselves and observe all the necessary health tips and protective measures for their good and that of the general public. “Health is utmost in our agenda, health is very important to us all,” he added.

The training identified three major issues that officers must always look out for, namely: early signs which he said promote wellbeing and these can become apparent in a number of different ways, and could include psychological symptoms (such as mood changes, indecision or confusion), behavioral symptoms (including withdrawal from office life, irritability, and uncharacteristic errors) and even physical symptoms (such as fatigue and appetite changes).

There were five paper presentations namely:

1. Overcoming Hypertension – The Silent Killer by Dr. Ado Theophilus.
2. Tackling Typhoid and Malaria by Ado Theophilius.
3.  Managing Diabetes by Dr. Ojo Eyituoyo.
4.  Cholesterol: What you need to know by Dr. Ojo Eyituoyo and
5. Stress Management in the Work Place delivered by Dr. Ojo Eyituoyo.

The Health Training Programme was   organized by the Human Resource Management Department Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Abuja.

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“Mind, Mindset And State Of Mind”, Being The Text Of A Lecture Delivered By Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN, CON At The 11th Convocation Ceremony Of The Veritas University, Abuja On The 3rd Day Of December, 2022
When Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah called to ask me if I would be disposed to give this year’s convocation lecture, I enthusiastically agreed.

The reason is not far-fetched. A convocation ceremony in a university is a milestone of success. A success that reckons the end of a very important task and the beginning of yet another.

As you all very well know, success has many fathers and I am glad to be a part of your success.

To the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, members of the academic and non-academic staff, to the parents and guardians, and of course our graduands, their families and their friends whose success we convoke to formalize and celebrate, please accept my sincere and very hearty congratulations.

When the Vice Chancellor, Reverend Father H.E Ichoku formalized my invitation by his letter of 7th October 2022 he said and I quote:

                     “… you are at liberty to speak on any topic that prepares our graduates for the future and also leaves a long-lasting impression in their minds.”

That certainly is not an easy task, to prepare you for the future and leave a long-lasting impression on you.

Your parents, guardians and lecturers have been doing that for years. The success we commemorate today is proof that they have done a good job. But I will attempt to make a modest contribution to their effort.

I can think of no better place to start than to take you back in time, to share two of my own personal experiences with you; in 1987, thirty-five years ago, when I graduated from the University of Benin; and in 1988, thirty-four years ago, when I graduated from the Nigerian Law School.

The first experience was as I said just after graduation from the University of Benin and in the period between graduation and the wait for NYSC call up letter.

I felt really good, as many of you must feel today. My sister then invited me to accompany her to a party hosted by her fiancé’s friend and as a big sister, she was also very proud to show me off.

In the course of the event, I met a couple of her fiancé’s friends and chatted with them. And every time they asked what I was doing, I was clearly too young to be one of them, so they asked the normal adult to young person question: “What are you doing now?”

My reply was, I have just finished, and it came with a big chip on my shoulder. What you would probably call “swag” today.

This is because I was waiting for the follow up question: “What have you finished?”

And every time any of my elder inquisitors asked me, what have you finished? I would eagerly blurt out “I have just finished university,” and off I went, and if there was a follow-up, I eagerly responded by saying I graduated in Law with a Second-Class Lower Division.

By my own standards, this was a great achievement, because I did not like school. I was enjoying myself and going through the same question and answer routine with my older inquisitors until I met one who stopped me dead in my tracks, burst my bubble, and brought me down to earth.

He simply said: “You have not finished anything young man. You have not even started.”

He left an unforgettable impression on me. I was not angry, I was challenged.

The second story is much shorter. It derives from the speech delivered by the Chairman of the Body of Benchers at our call to bar. What has stayed with me from that speech till today, which I want to share with you, is about self-discipline.

The speaker reminded us that from birth till that day that we had been under what he called imposed discipline as many of you have been; discipline imposed by our parents, guardians, teachers and lecturers.

I recall him saying that this was the most easy form of discipline we will come by because we did not control it.

On that night, he then told us that we have been relieved from that imposed discipline and that what would make the difference in our lives is the amount of self-discipline we can impose on ourselves and this was a matter of choice.

Self-discipline will teach you preparation and planning that will give you an edge over the competition.

It will teach you time keeping that will earn you respect and build you a reputation of reliability.

I have chosen to share these two messages with all of you because your Vice Chancellor has challenged me to help prepare you for the future and leave an impression on you.

My two stories had both effects on me; they prepared me for today and have remained with me. I hope you find them useful.

This then takes me to my next message to you which is that although you are graduating today, your education is not over or finished. It is just about to start.

Between the time you entered this school and now, the world in which you will operate has changed in many ways, not the least by a global pandemic of yet undetermined origins and by a war of choice, which is having global ramifications beyond the immediate theatre of war.

Therefore, you must continue to learn more about your world, your country and yourself in order to better appreciate your role, and more importantly your responsibility.

I speak of responsibility because it is an important reason why you passed through this institution. Many years ago, this institution did not exist. But it has been brought about by the decision of men and women who were once graduates like yourselves and perhaps some who did not have a university education.

They became adults as you will become, and took responsibility to create this school, where your young minds can be shaped and moulded in readiness for the world you are about to experience.

Your first responsibility it seems to me, is to this school.

You will become members of the Alumni Association, and yes, you will soon start families and have children, and this is the reason why you owe a responsibility to this school and to yourselves to ensure that its standards are not just maintained but are improved upon.

I foresee without requiring a crystal ball that within about two decades from now, you will be looking for universities for your children, will this school still be good enough a choice for your children? That is a matter of responsibility.

I foresee again without a crystal ball that within about two decades from now, some of you will be leaders of our corporate spaces in the private sector, leaders of our government institutions and leaders and managers of our educational, health, security and critical institutions.

What kind of Nigeria do you see today and what kind of Nigeria do you think you will manage and bequeath to the next generation - your children?

The answer to that question depends on your mind, your mindset or state of mind.

This is the subject I have chosen to speak to you all about: Your mind, your mindset and your state of mind.

By this I refer to your capacity for awareness; your established set of attitudes, and your cognitive processes.

Let me start by making some disclosures to you. All my education was in Nigeria, I have seen a difficult and not so difficult Nigeria. In all of it, my belief in this country and its promise has never changed. Nigeria remains for me a home, a place to treasure, to nurture and to protect.

My state of mind is not to take flight to another man’s land and from there pour scorn and hate on the place of my birth. My state of mind tells me to offer my skills and deploy my energies towards improving the place I call home.

My mindset is such that I believe that my contributions can improve something even if it does not improve everything. My mindset tells me that greatness is not an event, it is a process to which we all have contributions to make.

I have often marvelled at the mindset of those who take flight and when they fall upon difficult times then reach back to the place they deserted in search of relief, help or succour.

Please do not misunderstand me, they deserve every help we can offer, but what I marvel at is the mindset that seeks help from the place they deserted.

My message to you is to invite you to focus your minds, develop a mindset and maintain a state of mind that in every aspect of life that you believe Nigeria can do better, and that there are inherent opportunities to surpass any challenges that you may see.

This is a mindset of positivity, a state of mind that is hopeful and a mind that refuses to surrender to negativity.

Talk is certainly cheap. The easiest thing to do is to identify what does not work, and as one person famously said: “the job looks easy when you’re not the one doing it”.

However, talk does not fix broken things; it is a mindset of responsibility to change things that make things better.

A mindset of self-pity is something you must turn your back on and take responsibility for the kind of Nigeria you wish for.

At a press conference given after a football match, a coach was asked why his team lost. His response was that they did not lose; on the contrary, he said his team ran out of time.

This is a mindset of positivity ingrained in their people and their sportsmen that nobody is better than them. It is one that I commend to you all, because it is true. Nobody is better than any of you.

The only thing that can limit you is your mind, your mindset, and your state of mind. Are you ready to settle for less when you can have more?

Are you ready to manage bad services when you can insist the quality should be improved?

There are a legion of examples that have held back our people from generation to generation, please do not subscribe to them.

An example is the one that blames our situation and developmental status on colonialism; the amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Lugard and so on and so forth, 62 years after.

Please quote me that I said that it is not the fact of colonialism that has held us back; rather it is our mindset.

I see it in the most basic of things, such as when we want to register businesses, they must bear foreign names for us to feel good. It is the mindset that we must change.

I see that we have now appropriated a foreign culture called Black Friday. And we are now verbally heating ourselves up about whether sales were as much as most of other lands.

I think that the question we must ask is what Black Friday has to do with us, when we do not celebrate Thanksgiving.

Yes, we shop for Christmas in Ikeja, Dawanu, Wuse, Oyingbo, Uselu and other markets but not in the Black Friday way.

The use of our local names projects our identity and preserves our culture from generation to generation.

The names of our villages, cities and our individual names are as good as any name from anywhere.

You do not need anybody to validate you. You are an original.

Please tell the apologists of colonial heritage that the USA, UAE and China were once colonies that have become either better or as competitive as those who colonized them.

It is a positive mindset that enables you to understand that those who colonized you are approaching the peak of their development while ours is still fledging.

We have much more scope for development, the opportunity to leapfrog and the limitless capacity to be better.

The future should not therefore be defined or held back by the past.

Our minds, your minds, our mindset, your mindset and our state of mind, and your state of mind are the unshakeable pillars upon which that future will be built.

Think of it this way; the world listens to our music, watches our movies, uses our sportsmen and women, recruits our personnel across many fields of human endeavour and eats our food.

Clearly my mind tells me that there is inherent value and goodness in all of these contrary to the view that our continent is the dark continent.

I have no doubt that the world will drive our cars, use our laptops, telephones, airplanes, and much more, when we decide to make them.

To all our dear graduates, I offer commendation once again for what you have achieved here, but please remember that you have NOT finished.

Indeed, you are just about to start. As you do so, I urge you to be ambitious and audacious, nothing can limit you, except your mind, your mindset and your state of mind.

Unshackle your minds and reach for the stars and beyond.


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Hon. Minister of Works and Housing and Guest Lecturer,Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN (left) being welcomed by the Founder, the Kukah Centre, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah (right) shortly before the Veritas University 11th Convocation Lecture on the theme, " Mind, Mindset and State of Mind," and Conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) Ceremonies at the Veritas University Multipurpose Hall, Bwari Area Council , Abuja on Saturday, 3rd December 2022

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Representative of the President and Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN (right), Managing Director/CEO, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) Engr. Nuruddeen Rafindadi (middle) and Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Senator Gershom Bassey (left) during FERMA'S 20th Anniversary Conference , public presentation of the Book titled, "FERMA's Firm Footprints in National Road Infrastructure Maintenance" and Launch of FERMA's Short Code at the NAF Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja on Thursday, 1st December 2022.

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