I think the first place to start from is to congratulate the International Crisis Group for its remarkable work in the last two decades on its 20th Year Anniversary and also to thank them for the honour they do me in presenting this Award.
Let me also address a word of tribute to the memory of Stephen J. Solarz whose Award I am receiving tonight and to his widow whom I learnt is here. His work inspired and continues to inspire people across the world. Of course, I couldn’t be more delighted to receive my award from my Brother, Mo Ibrahim who has led the commitment to development of good governance and eradication of poverty on the African continent.
Thank you for the presentation of the award. Now in all of our life’s journey, we encounter people, places and institutions. My life’s story hasn’t been any different. In that journey we meet people who lend a hand, we meet people who inspires, we meet people who support.
And all of what had happened during the eight years that I was privileged to serve as Governor did not happened because of me. It happened only because I was privileged to lead a dedicated team of men and women who devoted their lives to the same cause.
So when we talk about Ebola, when we talk about security, I wasn’t a police man, I did not carry a gun, it was the policemen who really did the work. And as leader of the team, I was privileged to have led such men and women who pursued a cause that really served to redefine the place we call home.
If it were possible, there would be thousands of men and women who would come here this evening to receive this award, but it’s not possible. So, please permit me to tonight, please permit me to acknowledge some of those men and women who are here representing those who are at home. Mr. Ben Akabueze, who was the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mrs. Sola Oworu, who was the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Femi Hamzat, who was the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, who was the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Yewande Adeshino, who stood in the frontline of Ebola as the Special Adivser on Public Health, my Chief of Staff, Mr. Lanre Babalola, my Media Adviser, Hakeem Bello, Mr. Dimeji Shofowora and my Photographer, Lukman Olanipekun and all of the good people back home in Lagos who served with me.
For me, it’s an honour on their behalf, it’s a service award and I accept it on their behalf. I can say that this only strengthens our position that the cause which pursued was a right one and such honour will continue to inspire us to make our State and our country a better place to live in for our people.
Thank you very much for your attention.
BABATUNDE FASHOLA, SAN
MINISTER-DESIGNATE AND FORMER GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE
OCTOBER 27, 2015