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Democracy and delayed  LG poll  in  Lagos

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Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola

AS  Governor  Babatunde Raji  Fashola  takes  his exit from power,  it is necessary  to ask  him why  he was not able to allow the state INEC to  conduct  elections  into  the local  governments  before leaving office. 

In  January  this year  the outgoing  governor swore  in 57  Executive  Secretaries  for 20  local governments  and  37  LCDAs instead  of holding elections  when their tenures expired  in  December 2014 . That was clearly  a misuse  of power and authority; that should not be a legacy to be proud o .

Announcement in the media the other day said he was billed to launch his book  entitled The  Example:  The  Era  of  Babatunde Raji  Fashola as the Governor  of  Lagos  State  and that  he would speak  at the Public  Lecture Series of The  Institute  of  Directors on the  topic  ‘My  Stewardship:  Eight  Years  of  Delivering  Excellence’ as  the institute’s guest speaker.

Undoubtedly,  the fact that the governor  has appointed Executive  Secretaries to head the local  governments in his state rather  than have elections as expected in a democratic  dispensation  puts  a stigma  on his claim to excellence in  terms  of service delivery  during his tenure to celebrate  as a democratically  elected governor of the state .

By inference, by simply not allowing the elections to take place at the local government level which is the grassroots of our democracy  he has done worse than even a  military  dictatorship which rules  by  force .

So, how can he claim excellence at his exit as a true democrat? On the issue of local  government elections, the outgoing governor is no doubt leaving office as a dictator  rather  than a promoter and lover of democracy in Lagos State in particular. That  is the truth about his legacy.

One can hazard a guess or two on his motive for this but the fact has to be stated first. Some have said the fear of the All Progressives Congress (APC) losing the local government elections on the eve of the 2015 elections was a factor. It was felt his government was becoming unpopular and the loss of the local government polls would sound a death knell for the  ruling  party in  the general  elections .

But then that was to be expected, and the anti dote was to have  had  a good record of performance for eight  years  of two terms in  office .

Nothing  best  illustrates poor performance and deceit on the part of his administration than  the news that  after cajoling the commercial motorcyclists or ‘Okada’ riders  to vote for his candidate at  the last governorship election which  his party won, the  state  government  has reverted to enforcing the routes which were opened  for them  during the campaigns and pre-election period. 

Of  course  the state government’s hands  were forced by the successful strategy of Jimi  Agbaje of  the PDP who  rode  to a campaign  rally  on an Okada,    a strategy  that drew tremendous  applause and  admiration  from the Lagos  electorate whose  sympathy was with the Okada people because of t heir functionality and convenience in  making  people    move  around the state on an affordable means of transport .

Now that the APC  has won the election, government has gone back on its words  and the world is to become bleak  and painful again for Okada riders and their  millions of  commuters . That  simply  means  the  people of the state  have  been taken for a ride by a government  that  wooed Okada  drivers  only  to disappoint  them after securing their  votes  .

Certainly, there  is need to remind the outgoing governor  about democratic norms and nuances as well as the need for  elections to hold as and when due as in any other democracy.

Elections are the rituals  of democracy to  check poor  performance  in office which is usually visited  with  voters disenchantment  in voting out those  who  did  not use  power well  while in office. That certainly was the impression that the governor created  when he did  not allow elections to hold  but delayed till  after the conclusion of the general  elections.

Whether  the governor likes  it  or not  he is postponing the evil day  of reckoning for his party as Lagos State is not a one-party  state  as  the  2015  elections have  shown  with  the brilliant performance  of Jimi Agbaje. 

Lagosians  cannot wait  long enough to get even with the APC  despite the  electoral  fear  of the outgoing governor in not organising the election into councils as required  by the law.

Definitely, there is nothing excellent about such  an  undemocratic legacy.

• Dimeji is a public commentator based in Lagos.

 


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