Nation-Building, An Unending Task – Fashola


Fashola has revealed that nation-building is an unending task, The Nation report.

Nation-Building, An Unending Task - Fashola
Adeboye Kalejaiye

Minister of Works and Housing and former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has praised the effort of one of his former aides, Paul Adeboye Kalejaiye, in documenting his experiences for posterity. With this, Fashola said Kalejaiye has joined the growing list of members of the State Executive Council 2007 to 2015, who have taken a step to document their experience in life and public service. “By doing so, their experience and insight would be available to the next generation,” he said.

The minister who was represented by his former Chief of Staff, Chief Olanrewaju Babalola at the launch of Kalejaiye’s autobiography said history will be kind to the author and others who served with him between 2007 and 2015 because “they shared a huge burden and gave so much of themselves and that made the task relatively easier to undertake”.

The former Lagos State governor, however, urged them to continue in that spirit because nation-building is a never-ending task and “in and out of office, the work never finishes”. He said the title of Kalejaiye’s book, Undeterred: The Pendulum Swings On”, is a reflection of the lives of citizens as it concerns nation-building. Against this background, he spoke extensively on the responsibilities of citizens when it comes to nation-building, particularly given the challenges facing the country at the moment.

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Fashola said: “Therefore, because nation-building is an unending task, the pendulum of Nigeria must remain undeterred. We must keep working on the Nigerian project because the metaphoric clock of Nigeria must not and will not stop. It is our responsibility to see every step in our nation-building journey as another step to greatness; an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.”

He said it is those men and women whose history is now folklore that kept the pendulum swinging and have thereby bequeathed present-day Nigeria to the current generation. He added: “Today’s challenges represent an opportunity for all of us in and out of government, to participate in what I believe would be a remarkable undertaking and write our names in the folklores of the up and coming generations.

“Therefore, I urge you all to see nation-building as a marathon and not a sprint… We must be willing to unlearn bad things and learn good things and we must enthrone good values and trust. We must cherish hard work and the reward it brings and discard the temptation to embrace inexplicable success and riches. We must value people for what they know and can contribute to community development and not value them for what they own.”

Fashola described Kalejaiye in the foreword to the book as “a loyal party man and great grassroots mobilizer”. The man fondly called KAP by his friends and associates dedicated the book to his political mentor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for identifying and bringing him to the political limelight. He was Special Adviser (SA) to Tinubu on Rural Development, the chairman, Mobilisation Committee of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the election that brought Fashola to power and also chairman, Finance Committee for Akinwunmi Ambode Campaign Organisation.

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The book launch coincided with Kalejaiye’s 61st birthday anniversary. It was to have been launched last year to mark the author’s 60th birthday, but with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of restrictions on mass gatherings, it had to be postponed. “Undeterred: the Pendulum Swings On” is a story of the author’s childhood, upbringing, foray into politics and public service, amidst the vicissitudes of life. A humble and dogged personality, Kalejaiye, it is said, never allowed his humble beginning and the bitter experiences he encountered in life to deter him.

In his welcome address, Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun described the former Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Ferry Services as a warm personality who is ever ready to work. He added: “Kalejaiye is always smiling. I have never seen him wearing a long face.”

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Balogun who was represented at the occasion by Funso Ologunde said within a short period he worked with Kalejaiye, the celebrant witnessed a few daunting challenges against him, which could have dampened his enthusiasm. However, “he absorbed them as if nothing happened”.

The Dean, School of Transport, Lagos State University, Prof. S.G. Odewunmi, who reviewed the 168-page book that chronicles the life of the author from birth till date, commended the tenacity and courage shown by the author in the face of life challenges. He described him as “exceptionally brilliant, diligent, and thorough”. He described the author as a great model of perseverance and endurance.

The event was graced by distinguished personalities amongst them are captains of industries, politicians, academics and actors. Some of the distinguished personalities at the occasion are former Lagos State Deputy Governor (2007 to 2011), Princess Sarah Sosan; former Lagos Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa; Prince Rabiu Oluwa; Olasupo Shasore (SAN); and former Lagos APC spokesman, Joe Igbokwe.