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The Example… A testimonial for Fashola

By Badejo Nurudeen
10 June 2015   |   6:18 am
THE events, which shaped Governor Babatunde Fashola’s nomination as governor, are still etched in our collective memories.

Governor Babatunde Fashola

THE events, which shaped Governor Babatunde Fashola’s nomination as governor, are still etched in our collective memories.

Needless to say, only the Emeritus Governor, Bola Tinubu is best placed to explain the reasons for his choice.

One very important event that endeared Fashola to the hearts of many for all times was in August 2014 when, amidst heavy rainfall, the governor was inspecting the 70 million gallons per day Adiyan waterworks phase

2. It was, indeed, a spectacle seeing the governor fully dressed in raincoat and heavy boots. To me, this constitutes selfless and purposeful leadership.

It is against this background that we must view the book, The Example: The Era of Babatunde Fashola as Governor of Lagos State. The book is a compendium of articles put together to celebrate Fashola’s legacy of purposeful leadership and service.

The book’s editor is Mr. Sam Omatseye, with Professor Itse Sagay, Fashola’s former teacher in the university, providing the foreword. The array of contributors ranging from former governor, serving and former deputy governors, serving and former commissioners, captains of industry, special advisers and special assistants give this book an edge in terms of knowing at close range, the Fashola phenomenon.

The contribution of Mr. Rotimi Oyekan, a consummate banker, former commissioner of Finance and childhood friend of Fashola since 1978, is arguably the most compelling of all.

He enumerated, based on experience and exposure the financial planning and development of Lagos State under Fashola.

The complexities of revenue generation and infrastructural development tied to sustainable financial structure and availability were highlighted by Oyekan.

He also explained the dogmatic posture of governor Fashola in the execution of the ambitious Badagry expressway, 10 lane superhighway with light rail; this is in view of the financial outlay of the project.

We are made to understand how Fashola’s letter to the World Bank in the Development Policy Operations provides the perspective of purpose and spirit of the financing strategy of the administration.

We also become acquainted with how the 15-year Economic and Financial Model developed jointly by Lagos State government and Price Waterhouse Coopers helps the state in actual planning framework for infrastructural development.

This particular contribution is an exposé on the effect and combination of public private partnership particularly on the working relationship between government and the private sector on areas like debt management, internally generated revenue, bonds issuance and public finance.

It is apt to note that financial operations and development under Fashola are hinged on debt issuance programme, multilateral financing and public-private partnership.

Indeed, Oyekan’s contribution should be a model for states thinking of removing itself from the apron strings of monthly federal allocation.

In the same vein is Mr. Aderemi Makanjuola’s contribution. Makanjuola, an ex-banker and now aviation offshore big time player, is the Chairman of Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), the public-private partnership scheme designed to curb insecurity in the state. The thrust of this idea is to equip and strengthen the security agencies in the state.

In this chapter, we read for the first time how the state government acquired two new, fully equipped, top-of-the-line Bell 12 seat helicopters for the purpose of land and terrain survey, rescue and surveillance duties for the state.

More than the scepticism of a private sector person not wanting to do business with government, this acquisition was financed by a bank with all attendant risk but the personality of Governor Fashola saw this transaction through.

Today, the facility has been repaid and the two helicopters are now wholly-owned assets of Lagos State. The lesson in Makanjuola’s piece is that there is nothing impossible if the leadership is prudent and committed.

On his own part, Tunji Bello sees Fashola as both a technocrat and democrat. According to him, while political meetings and caucuses are meeting late at night, it will not be surprissing that Fashola will be at home preparing for the next day’s schedules.

Greening and cleaning Lagos, which is the thrust of the contribution of Muiz Banire and Titi Anibaba, is one exercise that has come to stay. Particularly, the creation of recreational parks has lent beautification to the state.

Some of these parks are strategic and political, with the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota serving as the abode of ‘Occupy Nigeria” during the anti-subsidy removal protest in 2011. The beauty and landscaping of these parks are aesthetically, a sight to behold.

It is also an avenue for the government to generate employment for street children who hitherto sleep under the bridges and to curb environmental degradation in open areas.

On the issue of ethnicity, Fashola was able to harmonise and involve major stakeholders. He had extensive consultations with the leader of the Hausa community when the demolition exercise of Ijora-Badiya was to be carried out, to pave the way for 1008 housing estate.

In this same vein, while commending Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group for his contribution to the state’s security programme and prompt payment of tax of his employees, Governor Fashola pulled a masterstroke by appointing Ekeh into the governing council of Lagos State University (LASU), in the same way he has appointed Ben Akabueze (an Igbo) as Commissioner in the state executive council for the past eight years.

For Fashola, it does not matter where you come from but having the requisite experience and qualification are his main preoccupation.

Humane and fatherly, Governor Fashola in the aftermath of the Dana Air crash adopted the three children of an Igbo couple that died in the crash. What a leader!

The signature of development is too numerous to be captured in one book form under Governor Fashola. Evidently, the Fashola phenomenon will continue to endure in the history of Lagos State.

This is a book for every shelf; its packaging is presentable. On the whole, it will serve the government of Muhammadu Buhari well, if Governor Fashola is appointed a minister in-charge of Power.