BRF: AN EVOLVING IDEOLOGY
The BRF convenience is fast evolving into an ideology. And it is finding coherent expression with the way the people of Lagos in particular and Nigeria in general are creating a movement around it. The BRF doctrine encapsulates many features: good governance, political maturity, generational shift and epochal transformation.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, eponymous hero of this great movement, is the governor of Lagos State. Four hypotheses form the basis of this edifice I am conceiving: bad governance caused by visionless and corrupt leadership requires the intervention of a dynamic and altruistic leadership; zero tolerance in our political system facilitated by acrimony and acerbity casts negative image on our polity; the right of the youth to hold top and sensitive political positions as strategic players in the system; the imperativeness of gradualism.
The sudden emergence of Fashola in Nigerian politics has produced an interesting competition within the diverse polarities. His apolitical posturing and simplicity acted as a subterfuge for the traditional political class which underestimated his capacity for victory in the political jujitsu.
Naturally, his triumph and victory as the governor of Lagos State provoked some resentment and antagonism within the political class. In view of these circumstances, BRF pocoapoco adopted a pacifist and accomodationist policy that would reconcile all dissenting parties within the party and clean off all umbrage and rage that could escalate tension. In no time, he achieved this and was soon engaged with how to find direction for his government taking into cognizance the diverse interests of all and sundry.
Thus a generational statement has been made by the BRF interjection which occurred at a time the state was almost losing its visionary leadership to constitutional inhibitions. In a very rare sequence of succession arrangement, the exit of the symbol heralded the implosion of the model. Naivety and youthfulness which the genrontocratic political class considered as leadership impediments soon became the major strength of achievements.
BRF's legacies located in massive construction of new roads, expansion and rehabilitation of existing ones, extensive landscaping and environmental beautification, agricultural and industrial revolution, radical health care services, provision of security, expansive infrastructural development and aggressive service delivery system soon endeared him to both the civil society groups and the political class. In appreciation of this revolutionary impact, the society unconsciously formulated a new socio-political construct to acknowledge the BRF ideology as an ideal conceptual national platform for good governance.
The Lagos Development Plan has since become a protoplast for other state governments across national lines, including his compatriots in the South West with whom he shares the same progressive idealism.
Drawing a parallel between Obafemi Awolowo's legacies in the Western region in the 1960s and what BRF is doing in Lagos today may suggest exaggerated emotionalism but the truth is that in future the BRF's legacies would surely receive significant mention in the nation's history. While it may be true that BRF may have been inspired by Awolowo's legacies, the creativity, energy and the character with which the BRF agenda is being pursued are all qualities of a self-motivated visionary leadership.
It is nonplus that a very apolitical BRF is now being celebrated as the only governor whose performance has attracted both local and international plaudit. The standard he has set in governance despite operating at the state level, is as salient as what some country leaders would hawk as epoch-making accomplishments.
Fashola's mien and the relaxed ambience of his city are pointers to the fact that political, economic and developmental activities flourish well in a stable polity with guaranteed enabling environment.
All the typologies of the BRF phenomenon: good governance, political maturity, generational paradigm and developmental gradualism have become the defining inspiration for the nation's political direction.
It is therefore certain that if there is no derailment of vision and focus and gradual gravitation towards heroism and idolatrous veneration, at the end of his tenure, BRF would have become an enigmatic leader in Lagos politics and Nigeria's history. Extant political scenarios may not favour the emergence of a BRF political structure but I foresee a platform of political relevance developing around the BRF identity.
The BRF ideological movement does not have a restrictive scope of acceptability with the opposition save for the mischievous belligerents among them, attesting to his euphonious prodigy, economic ingenuity and political perspicacity. BRF is a testimony of our collective aspiration. He is the magnus cleansing the temple of rot and the metaphor for national messianism.
Dapo Thomas teaches History and International Studies at the Lagos State University (LASU)