Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola on Saturday politely declined the honour of a chieftaincy title from a royal father, Oniru of Iru land, Lagos, Oba Abidun Idowu Oniru.
He, however, received the award of excellence conferred on him by the monarch who was celebrating his 75th birthday and 18th coronation anniversary. While expressing his appreciation to Oba Oniru for honouring him, Fashola said the task of governance required absolute focus and would want the chieftaincy title to wait for now.
He said, “Kabiyesi and his chiefs can continue to lead us, let them deal with all those traditional and chieftaincy issues. At the appropriate time, we will come and join them, but for now, leave us in our suits, booths, overalls and helmets, because this agbada is not good for clearing refuse and tarring the roads.”
On the award for excellence, Fashola said it was not for him; rather he dedicated it to all the civil servants in the state who he said were responsible for the giant strides of his administration.
Fashola said “This award does not belong to me; it belongs to all the public servants in Lagos State who do the great work that is responsible for the progress in the state.”
While acknowledging the mornach’s exemplary leadership and support for his administration and his predecessors, the governor expressed his gratitude to the Oniru on behalf of members of the state executive council.
He confessed that when the state Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure, Prince Segun Oniru, informed him of the event, and told him that the Kabiyesi wanted to present him with something, he had made it clear that he would not attend the event if what the Kabiyesi wanted to present to him was going to be a chieftaincy title, but that Oniru had assured him that that would not be the case.
Former Lagos State governor and national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Senator Bola Tinubu was also conferred with an award of excellence.
But Tinubu was not present as he had travelled to the United States.
Other dignitaries at the occasion included the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, Oba Abdulfatai Aromire Ojora, Oba Tijani Akinloye, Chief GOK Ajayi, (SAN), former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Adewusi, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as well as all the white cap chiefs.