Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on Nigerian professionals to be more involved in politics to ensure sustainable national development.
Sanwo-Olu made the call on Thursday while delivering the 3rd University of Lagos, Faculty of Engineering Alumni Lecture in Lagos.
The governor spoke on the topic: ”Professionals in Politics: Panacea for Sustainable National Development.”
He urged professionals not to shy away from embracing their political nature, saying that politics is a big part of everyday live and existence.
Quoting ancient philosopher Plato, Sanwo-Olu said that “one of the penalties for declining to take part in politics is that people end up being governed by those inferior to them.
“Politics in Nigeria definitely needs more professionals, more ‘outsiders’, not less.
“Politics thrives best in the face of diversity; different professional callings bringing different skill-sets and perspectives to the table.
”If we complain that it is politics that has robbed Nigeria of many opportunities in its history then we must also be willing to concede that it is politics that will redeem us and set things right.
”Nigeria’s development will not happen outside of politics and political activity,” the governor said.
He said that most developed countries deployed political leadership to take decisions that set them on the path of development.
”I believe that we must reclaim the word ‘politics from negativity’. It is often given a negative coloration that it does not deserve, and that is misleading.
”As many people as want to go into partisan politics must be encouraged to do so. We must stop seeing people as ”sell-outs” when they choose to fly the flag of partisan politics.
”We must acknowledge the power that politics has to shape our lives and our societies for good or ill. It is arguably the most potent tool that exists for influencing the course of a society.
”We owe, to a great extent, our happiness or unhappiness to the way politics is played on our behalf.
”We must educate ourselves about the way politics is played in our society – from the smallest level all the way to the top,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that politics could be viewed as a professional calling – similar to a religious calling, as professionalism in politics aided national development.
He said that many of the greatest politicians that Nigeria had produced came from various professional callings and walks of life.
The governor said that many of the founding fathers and first generation of political leaders in Nigeria were journalists who had made their name with their pens and writing skills.
According to him, Accounting, Law, Engineering, Business are all professions that have supplied and continue to supply considerable numbers of people at the highest levels of politics and political service in Nigeria.
In his address, Titi Omo-Ettu, Chairman, UNILAG Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association (UNILAGFEAA), said that Nigeria had infrastructure deficit, hence, should adopt Chinese model of governance.
”For a country that has infrastructure deficit as challenge, the Chinese model of governance in which political leadership is selected on the basis that 80 per cent of those governing are engineers or persons of engineering background suits us.
”The electorate of Southwest states of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo, spoke clearly in the last election by voting for leadership that is engineers heavy.
”Your Excellencies, we see your election as a challenge to us as infrastructure providers and we are to remind you of this major responsibility on your shoulders and our determination to support you to succeed,” Omo-ettu said.