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Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire - Politics - Nairaland

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Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by adekampe: 2:16pm On Jun 01, 2010
He was not born with silver spoon. In fact, he had his formative years at Mushin area of Lagos. The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Muiz Banire, shares his experiences with SAMUEL AWOYINFA


Early in life, the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Muiz Banire, knew where he would head. He recounts, ”When I was in primary school, the late Chief Justice of Nigeria, (Atanda) Fatai-Williams, was one personality that caught my fancy. Merely looking at him, I got fascinated by the appellation ‘chief justice.‘ So, I started adding the prefix ‘chief justice‘ to my name. If you see all my exercise books in the primary school, you will find the prefix before my name.


”Interestingly, I had the option of becoming an economist, but fate directed me to law. I had admission to read economics at Louisiana State University, in which my uncle, Dr. Kasumu, paid the school fees, including boarding. Coincidentally, it was the same time that I passed JAMB to read law. My older brother, Tunde Banire, now late, advised me that I should rather be a professional. So, I opted for law.”


Banire, quite frank and unassuming, does not shy away from his humble beginning and he tells anyone who is ready to listen to him about this.


He states concerning his background, ”My parents were not that rich. My father was a diesel mechanical foreman with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and my mum used to be a fashion designer. Ultimately, she became a trader in the Iddo foodstuff market. I never had the luxury of even a bicycle while I was growing because even my father was using okada.


”So, I would say I had a humble background. My father was using okada until I left the university as a graduate before he bought a car.”


The moustachioed commissioner, whose father hails from Olowogbowo in Lagos Island, and mother from Ijebu-Ode, attended Louisa Soares Nursery and Primary School and St. Jude‘s Primary School in Mushin. He also attended the Archbishop Aggey Memorial Secondary School, Mushin, before proceeding to University of Lagos to read law.


Banire states that his passion to stand on the side of law to fight any form of injustice started from his undergraduate days.


He recalls, ”I will tell you the negative event that happened during my undergraduate days. I was in the hall called Hollywood. We called it Hollywood because the hostel is built with wood. I was not cooking, in fact, I did not like cooking, my colleagues were always cooking. There was a time we went on vacation but on resumption I got a letter from the hall mistress saying that we destroyed part of the wood and we were to pay a certain amount of money.


”I got infuriated; then I was in 300 level. I wrote a petition to the vice-chancellor, stating my innocence, stressing that I was never given a fair hearing. You know, the legal thing was pushing me. Ultimately, I ended up not paying any money.”


Even when he later became a lecturer in the same university, he would not suffer fools gladly.


He recollects, ”Again, while I was a lecturer in the same university, I ensured that when examinations were conducted, I marked the scripts given to me and compiled the results at the right time. So, one morning, I got to my office, and I saw a letter on my door.


”On opening the letter signed by the registrar, the content had it that I would forfeit a month‘s salary for failure to turn in the marked scripts on time. I got so infuriated. Again, I took the case up with the dean of my faculty, but when no action was taken for three days, I got a lawyer to write the registrar. And that if he failed within seven days to rescind the unfounded allegation, he would be dragged to court. Again, the matter was resolved in my favour.”


Banire, who had served as the commissioner for special duties and transportation before his current portfolio, agrees that every assignment comes with its challenges and moments of triumphs.


He says, ”Funding is always a challenge. Specifically when I was in the Ministry of Transportation, the major challenge was the Federal Road Maintenance Agency. They gave us a lot of hell; they were a major clog in our wheel of progress. They were always involved in skirmishes with our men.


”At the Ministry of the Environment, there are many challenges but I will mention the most interesting one – the activities of reckless and drunk drivers. They always overrun our well tended lawns/gardens.


”Again, they destroy some of the poles holding the street lights. And this happens mostly between Thursday and Sunday on a weekly basis. We spent a lot of money to put all this in place.


”Power remains a challenge too. Most of the places we have these gardens, we are supposed to put fountains but since power is epileptic, we cannot put them there.”


Heading a ministry that is known for demolishing shanties and illegal structures in the quest to beautify Lagos can be an unnerving task, as Banire can testify. ”We never demolish any structure,” he says. ”What we have done in some instances was to have separated some structures from the channels. That was the best we have done. And before we even do such thing, that is when it is inevitable, we provide alternative.”


Reeling out his achievements while he headed the ministry of transportation, he adds, ”My book on transportation laws will soon be launched. It will encapsulate all those achievements. But some of them are still visible. LASTMA is there, BRT is still alive, and many others.


”Again, I was able to bring the number of transport unions in the state from 19 to two. That time, it was usually war at motor parks, but I was able to stem the tide of violence and brought sanity. Driving against the traffic came down when we introduced the psychiatric test for those violating the one-way traffic.”


Taking a critical look at the hustle and bustle of the city and the need for people to create valuable time for relaxation and recreation, Banire observes that not many really give enough rest to their bones.


He argues, ”As far as I am concerned, we are not living, we are merely existing. The difference will come to the fore when you compare those that are going home and those that are going to their house. There is a difference between a house and a home.


”Imagine, someone who woke up 4 am, and headed for the office, maybe he got to the office at 8 am,” he says. ”Assuming he closes around 4 pm, he might not get home until 8 pm. By the time he gets home, there is no water, no electricity. Perhaps he goes to bed at 12 midnight, and he gets up the next day around 4 am, and the man continues to run the cycle daily. Is that man living? I don‘t think so. He is merely existing.


”I discover that most Nigerians don‘t engage in recreation; no leave. It is not that people don‘t want to relax, but their pay cannot really carry such expensive recreation. Some do two, three jobs in order to make ends meet. To me, everything, like The Bible and The Koran say, is vanity. You run all over the place, you will still die. And you are taking nothing to the world beyond. What really is essence of this struggle?”


Can this be responsible for the cultivation of gardens in some parts of the state? ”We are not only creating those gardens in order for people to relax, but they are there to prolong people‘s lives,” he responds. ”The air one breathes substantially determines the length of one‘s life.


”If a person breathes in bad air every time, the person will develop respiratory problems. And eventually such a person dies early. But now with the state government‘s greenery programme, residents can afford to live longer. We are cleaning the air, we are filtering the air.”


Banire, who explains that the best thing to happen to any individual is to be a lawyer, has this to say about what drives him as a person.


”I think it is excellence. I am just passionate about anything that is excellent. I have always believed that as individual, a nation and as a people, we can achieve excellence. We can achieve anything we set our minds to achieve. But we tend to underrate our capacity.”

Link : http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art201005300331020

Genius or not ? ?what are your views?

Re: Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by makajibbz(m): 2:39pm On Jun 01, 2010
real talk, we need lots of parks,trees,recreation centers for people to enjoy, its everywhere in the world,and we hv the enuff money!!! 4sure
Re: Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by adekampe: 2:45pm On Jun 01, 2010
Indeed. .Rapid transformation for lagos from this dude. .so many notches under his belt . .Team BRF rocks
Re: Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by illusion2: 3:22pm On Jun 01, 2010
Nice guy. . . has never been able to drop his thick 'Isale Eko' accent tho' tongue
Re: Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by adekampe: 3:31pm On Jun 01, 2010
illusion2:

Nice guy. . . has never been able to drop his thick 'Isale Eko' accent tho'  tongue

LOLOLOLOL. . .I take thick isale-eko accent that comes along with high performance and innovations in the form of lastma,brt etc than polished English with nada! !
Re: Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by illusion2: 7:58am On Jun 02, 2010
adekampe:

LOLOLOLOL. . .I take thick isale-eko accent that comes along with high performance and innovations in the form of lastma,brt etc than polished English with nada! !

True. . . he's my guy any day.

He should just wait his turn & not allow himself to be used by BRF detractors.

EKO O NI BAJE O !!! wink
Re: Many Lagosians aren’t living, they merely exist – Muiz Banire by adekampe: 12:43pm On Jun 02, 2010
I understand from feelers close to him that he's not interested in becoming governor. .apparently na pple dey beg am maingly because of his track record of excellence. .dude has a flourishing legal practice he is anxious to get back to and is about to say bye to government for good

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