Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s decision to drop the title ‘Your Excellency’ is resonating with Lagosians already.
In a widely-publicised series of tweets on Wednesday, the Lagos State Governor said he wished to be addressed as “Mr. Governor”, saying it would help improve citizen-government relations.
The governor wrote, “Good evening Lagos. Your Excellency is a nice title that has been used to signify authority, position in government, authoritarian disposition, executive arrogance, and a demi-god mystique. Today, I wish to drop the title and to embrace a more representative one; Mr. Governor.
“In the last five months that I have been privileged to exercise the mandate freely given to me by the great and hardworking people of Lagos State, it has come to my consciousness to review certain features of citizen-government relations.
“These features impede the genuine expression of the democratic spirit of our society and the meaningful exercise of the sovereignty of our people. The office of the Governor has been celebrated as the paragon of excellence, a temple of perfection and a throne of purity.
“This demi-god mystique spreads over the entire machinery of the executive arm of the government, symbolising an authoritarian disposition on the governed. It has deformed the orientation of the elected and appointed persons who are paid from the taxes of the people.
“Elected and appointed persons now see themselves as oppressors who can do no wrong and must be served, rather than serve the people. Whatever might have been the reason for this myth, let us be honest, the office is occupied by a mortal who has been called upon to serve.
“Not just to serve, but with humility and sincerity. The office of the Governor is a public trust that calls for sacrifice, modesty and willingness to add value to the lives of the people.
“Fellow Lagosians, as I embrace the name Mr. Governor, I have come to the conclusion that for us to change the narrative of governance, we have to strip down this seeming symbol of executive arrogance that commands popular obeisance.
“Executive arrogance that undermines the democratic role of citizens as the masters of those they have elected and appointed to serve. It is a conviction that I believe will send the right signals to all politicians and civil servants that service to the people has brought us here
“It is the duty we are obliged to do. It is the responsibility that we bear wherever we find ourselves; whenever we are called to serve. Only God, the Almighty, the Creator, the Protector is the Most Excellent. No man can share His eternal qualities.
“Thenceforth, I wish to be addressed simply as Mr. Governor, a title that will constantly remind me that I have been chosen out of so many fellow compatriots to lead a collective salvage of our political economy.
“A salutation that sanitises the paraphernalia of office and reminds us all of our imperfections and mortality. To give official effect to this announcement, I shall issue tomorrow an executive order that will formally ensure full compliance with this new policy.”
However, the governor’s announcement has attracted reactions from many residents of the state.
Read comments monitored on Twitter:
While Seyi Makinde is repairing roads, printing free copies of past questions for schools and basically just working, your Pontius Pilate in Lagos is concerned with being called His Excellency or Mr Governor.
— Woman and enough. #SantaInIbadan2.0 (@Oluwabukunmi__) November 6, 2019
Whether na Bros Governor
or Uncle Governor or
Na work we wan see! pic.twitter.com/Gm0kEzj5pj
— Professional Beggar (@Sheddi_younG) November 6, 2019
This is commendable but sir, the roads all over Lagos is in bad shape.
No amount of patching will solve it because it will be washed away once it rain.
The entire roads in Lagos need overhauling and regrading.
— Edward .E. Onoriode (@Edward_Onoriode) November 6, 2019
Your Exellency o, Mr. Governor o…… performance ni koko. pic.twitter.com/RDxKDvw8hH
— Mr. Kermit (@O_ssai) November 6, 2019
Fashola was called His Excellency, I doubt that any Governor has made as much impact as he has. The one that called himself Ogbeni Omoluabi left his state in penury & tears. Campaigns are over, please drop this comedy show & show working.
You are not Basketmouth. https://t.co/5qobOj4soo
— Ayò Bánkólé (@AyoBankole) November 7, 2019