Nigeria’s minister for works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, has asked citizens to tone down their expectations of the federal government as the country marks its 60th independence.
This follows a nationwide protest by a coalition of civil society organizations across all Nigerian states and some foreign cities.
Many Nigerians thronged the streets on Thursday, expressing their displeasure over the economic hardship, ethnic and sectarian strife, government inefficiency and a host of other protracted crises besetting the country, the Gazette earlier reported.
Speaking today, at a conference organised by the Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos, Mr. Fashola said Nigerians should instead channel their expectations to the state and local governments, rather than get frustrated with the federal government.
The minister said: “Nigerians must realise that what we expect of the Nigerian federal government perhaps lies more with the state governors and the local government.”
“Some of the most basic things are with them. So looking for it from the federal government perhaps is why we seem to have been disappointed because we are looking for the result in the wrong place. Waste management, water supply, primary healthcare, basic education, those are all things with the local and state government.”
He also emphasized that the federal government does not own a primary healthcare centre, and only controls about 107 secondary schools.
“The government that can transform us and gives us the things we want most quickly are the governments closest to us – state and local government”, Mr Fashola added.
Mr. Fashola’s comment marked a sharp break away from his position when he was an opposition governor in Lagos State. At the time, the politician blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan for an attack on a bank neighborhood in Lagos, saying the federal government should be held liable for not adequately managing basic infrastructure.