– Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu wants Nigerians to stop using the title ‘his excellency’ for him
– Sanwo-Olu says he does not want to equate himself with God who should have the title
– The governor believes such titles make politicians demi-gods
The governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, November 6, announced the dropping of ‘his excellency’ from his title asking that henceforth, Nigerians should now address him as Mr Governor.
Sanwo-Olu said he came to the decision after reviewing the situation and how the name has made governors what he described as ‘demi-gods’.
The Lagos governor argued that it is only God that should be attributed with such title. “Only God, the Almighty, the Creator, the Protector is the ‘Most Excellent’. No man can share His eternal qualities,” the governor said.
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 which 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 elected and appointed persons who are paid from the taxes of the people to 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 the electorate with humility – and sincerity. The office of governor is a public trust that calls for sacrifice, modesty and willingness to add value to the lives of the people.
Fellow Lagosians, I have come to the conclusion that for us to change the narrative of governance, we have to strike down this seeming symbol of executive arrogance that commands popular obeisance and 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.