The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), stated that with the partnership forged by the state with artisans and tradesmen, he foresees a new middle class that is capable of generating employment and creating wealth.
The governor added that the middle class he sees is different from the ones everyone knew in the 70s that was the middle class that wore suits and ties and were paid employees.”This middle class doesn’t wear suit and ties but is the master of its own destiny. It is the employers and the owners of its own business. It is technology inclined. It has a cell phone and now hires its own corporate identity and corporate cards to formalise its own business.
“Those who doubt the capacity of what you can do should simply watch you take over the Nigerian economy. If we talk about an expected six to seven per cent growth in the African economy and in the Nigerian economy and it does not provide an opportunity for tradesmen and artisans and skilled people to fulfil their destiny and realise their dreams that economy has not performed,” the governor declared.
Fashola said he was glad to partner with the tradesmen and artisans to show that the Lagos economy is working because it is putting food on the table of artisans, adding that their challenges and problems would also be that of the state government. He explained that the initiative to start the annual skill and entrepreneurship capacity training programme for the artisans was started to put them in the forefront of the business type that they chose.
“Our role would be to organise you and to educate and to support you so this skill training programme would continue. I have approved the training for another 1000 and as we go on we would measure the productivity back into the economy. But it is not enough for you to be trained but you must now become the trainers of the next generation,” he said.
The adoption of better models, he said, would be the first step to bringing about dignity into the business that the artisans do. The governor also charged Nigerians to stop defending bad business models and adopt better business models that give a win-win situation.
“The Nigerian economy is changing. Those who know the history of these economy will tell you so but as it is changing, it is getting bigger as those who don’t want to change are being left behind and this economy is increasingly having very little room for those who are just out there to go and depend but it is creating a lot of room for those who are ready to do things with their hands and creating a lot of room for those who are ready to think.”