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Fashola And The Battle Of Tenure-by Rasheed Ojikutu

Source: huhuonline.com

It filtered into the ears like gossip but citizens sneeringly wave it aside as untrue. Why would anybody with his "medulla oblongata" intact dream of "overthrowing "the most effective, most efficient and highly dependable government in Nigeria today?

The disclosure by the media that thirty-two members of the Lagos State House of Assembly have signed the manuscript for the removal of Governor Raji Fashola from office no doubt agitated the minds of Lagosians. However, the rebuttal by the two arms of the troubled minds of the people who have watched closely, the dexterity with which Fashola has handled sensitive issues of governance in Lagos State and how he has re-energised the state that has already been written-off like a bad debt in the community of decent locations in the world. However, such relief was short-lived because of the evidences provided by the media that all is not well at the Oval House in Alausa.

Skirmishes are known to be part of political games anywhere in the world but the oddity of the Nigerian situation is that intellectually less endowed people have perfected this act with a skill that makes it difficult for more decent individuals to survive in their midst. As a result of their "street-wise intrigues", they are able to grab "choice" positions in Nigeria leaving the tidbit for the cream of the society. This is true, despite availability of abundant intellectual resources that are capable enough to govern the country. In Nigeria, there are too many "little" people in high places and that informs the reason for the dwindling fortune of the country. Penultimate week, newspapers reported that governor Fashola was being accused of corruption by members of the State Assembly. However, a look at the list of allegations shows that someone somewhere is trying to give a dog a bad name to be able to hang it.

In one instance, he was alleged to have spent (or intend to spend) about N28 million Naira on decorations of Lagos Streets during the approaching yuletide. In another instance, he was alleged to have inflated the price of petrol by N20 per litre, above the official cost price of N60 per litre. Interestingly both allegations look "stupid" in content because one would wonder how a governor who is presiding over a large retinue of multi-billion dollars projects in the state would be pilfering the crumbs when the main meal is abundantly available or is this a case of "someone carrying the flesh of elephant on his head while using his leg to search for flesh of the cricket?" It might be of great advantage to the lawmakers to realise that the masses are religiously in love with Fashola not because of his political affiliation but for delivering the dividend of democracy to the people. They need to visit the street corridors in Lagos to confirm the veracity of this statement. During their last visit to Lagos State, Senator David Mark, the President of the Senate and Hon' Dimeji Bankole the Speaker of the House of Representatives both frontline members of the Peoples Democratic Party were quoted by the media to have eulogised the performance of Fashola in the past two years. These are indications that the love for the governor transcends political boundaries.

This clarification is necessary to let the lawmakers know that the Action Congress should not cut its face to spite its face by the removal of Fashola from office because with the mood of the people and the tempo of politics in the state, Fashola could be the selling point of the party in 2011. Indeed, the governor has become a brand name of a sort for the Action Congress and he could be a major determinant of the final decision of many voters who in 2007 cast their votes for other political parties. For the first time in the history of this country, members of other political party have a positive evaluation on the performance of the incumbent. This is not unexpected because there are empirical evidences to show that Governor Raji Fashola has scored far above the pass mark during the two years period of his administration.

The administrative capabilities of the governor shine on the face of Lagos State like a diamond on the glass. The Yoruba adage says "Eniti yio pegan ajanaku, a ni ohun ri nkan firi, ti a ba ri erin ki a pe a ri erin", literally meaning "Only a person who wants to ridicule the size of an elephant would claim to have seen it pass in a jiffy, Fashola has worked assiduously to the greater benefit of Lagos State. From Victoria Island to Ikoyi, Lagos Mainland to Epe, Ikorodu and Ikeja, there are clear evidences of governance. At night, Funsho Willians Avenue, Shitta, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Agege Motor road, marina, Broad Street and many other locations too numerous for a mention glitter with street light showing a semblance to many big cities in the advance nations of the world. Many hitherto dilapidated school buildings have been rehabilitated, hospitals services reinvigorated, roads resurfaced and even cemeteries are wearing a new look. There is hardly any part of the state that does not feel the embracing arm of the government.

Whatever may be the internal differences, the legislators should sit down to discuss the issues with the governor rather than throwing away the baby with the bath water. After all, there is no problem without solution lnu o gba l'aiye o gba. Anybody who loves Nigeria and Lagos State will know that the current winning team in Alausa should be allowed to complete the job which it started two years ago.

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