Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has urged Nigerians to change their mindsets, rather than continuing to blame Lord Lugard who amalgamated Nigeria in 1914.
Speaking at the 11th Convocation ceremony of Veritas University, Abuja, on the topic: ” Mind, Mindset and State of Mind”, Fashola argued that it was not in the interest of the country for its citizens to escape to other lands while abusing Nigeria.
Fashola stated that his abiding belief in the country has never changed, explaining that Nigeria remains for him a home, a place to treasure and 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,” he stated.
While admitting that those who have that mindset deserve every help they can get, Fashola stated that his only wonder was for those whose mindset it is to seek help from the place they deserted when trouble arises.
“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,” Fashola told his audience comprising mainly students.
He stressed that a mindset of self-pity was something Nigerians must turn their back on and take responsibility for the kind of Nigeria they wish for.
“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,” he told the students.
Fashola cautioned apologists of colonial heritage that the USA, UAE and China were once colonies that have become either better or as competitive as those who colonised them.
According to him, it is a positive mindset that enables one to understand that those who colonised Nigeria are approaching the peak of their development while Nigeria’s is still fledgling.