Tag Archives: babatunde Fashola

Immanuel-James-e1409898127435

@AristotleJames: Not Atiku, not Buhari; Only Fashola can defeat Jonathan (Y! FrontPage)

by Immanuel James

Watching the endless barter of skirmishes on the social media between  President Jonathan’s supporters, and those of General Mohammadu Buhari, one  easily reaches the conclusion that many Jonathanians don’t know what is  good for them. Rather than celebrate that in General Buhari, their  principal has an easy access to electoral victory in the 2015 presidential  election, most Jonathanians are wasting their time arguing, highlighting  General Buhari’s weaknesses. Do they rather want the APC to suddenly realise the Buhari albatross and push for a Fashola candidacy,  which would be President Jonathan’s electoral nemesis?

I have this abiding suspicion that a Buhari candidacy is likely to be the  APC’s deliberate, preemptive, congratulatory gift on another Jonathanian  win. Or perhaps General Buhari has come to thwart the party’s chance at  winning the presidency, that being his own way of wishing President  Jonathan, good luck? While it may seem too early to assume that the General  will be the party’s standard-bearer in the election, indications are strong  to the effect that he will get the ticket.

There is no better way to explain the APC’s likely repetition of the Buhari  card other than the suspicion of deliberate self-destruct. When an astute  politician loses an election, he goes back to the drawing board: he  re-examines all the factors that guaranteed his loss and, if interested in  another shot, he initiates programmes in time, aimed at changing those  factors to his favour.

For General Buhari, all the factors that cost him particularly the last  presidential election, are still there. Nothing has changed – no, things
have changed for him, but for the worse: as usual, part of his Northern  support base will be encroached upon by the PDP’s use of a Northern  Vice-Presidential candidate, even also by President Jonathan’s penetration  of the Northern electorate through a few endearing policies. In the South,  Buhari has done nothing serious to endear himself to voters there, so it is  likely going to be another Jonathanian landslide in that zone. And  considering that the APC has failed to gain a sure footing in the  South-East; given also that the party’s clout in the South-West is wearing  thinner, the conclusion is in order that a Buhari candidacy is all that the  PDP needs for a resounding defeat of the APC.

Buhari’s religious image, mischievously exaggerated by Jonathanian  propaganda, has not helped matters. He has been conveniently costumed in  the minds of many Nigerians, by permutations and circumstances, as a Boko  Haram sympathiser, and by extension, as a force of evil unfit for  presidential leadership. His advocacy for amnesty for those butchers helped  plot of that theme. Rather than a statesman, the General, through  unpopular remarks, comes off as a sectional leader. There is yet the burden  of a Northern arrogance that professes entitlement to power, a situation  that can generate bluff votes against him. Add that to the narrative of age  and threat of mayhem upon electoral defeat – include also that  all-important baggage of a despotic military past daubed in rights  violations and the truncation of democracy, a baggage soon to become a  persistent megaphone invocation against the Buhari choice – and you have a  perfect condition for a Jonathanian victory.

There is, however, one important factor that can be explored by the Buhari  camp, to rake in more votes among the enlightened electorate: President  Jonathan, among other failings, arguably, has been an unblinking spectator  of graft in the six years of his presidency. Never, in the history of  Nigeria’s democracy, have corrupt politicians been so lucky in a president  as in Jonathan! “Stealing”, he once stated, “is not corruption.” Buhari,  with a toga of legendary integrity, occasionally debunked though, can make  a strong electoral point out of this corruption blemish. But unfortunately  for him, the average Nigerian voter, already convinced in his cynicism that  all politicians are thieves, is more interested in the ethnicity and  religion of a candidate, than in accusations of theft. The enlightened  voter who understands the corruption polemics better, is a non-voting,  middle-class, Internet analyst!

Given the power of incumbency, and by this I mean specifically its tendency  to attract civic yesmanship for material gains, evidenced in massive
endorsements for President Jonathan, from TAN to Nollywood, it will take a  very strong, vibrant, charismatic, popular candidate to undo the PDP in the  presidential election. That candidate, for the APC, is Governor Babatunde  Fashola of Lagos. A Northern alternative would have been Governor Musa  Kwankwaso, who has distinguished himself in governance in his state – but  the Kano Governor already strikes an extremist religious impression  breaking beer bottles all over the place. Atiku Abubakar is completely out  of the question: with his alleged numerous wives and 30 children; his  history of political prostitution; and a massive wealth that belies logical  explanation for a former customs officer, he represents a flattery of  President Jonathan.

Fashola remains the one Nigerian leader that cultivates grace, charisma,  integrity, intelligence, wisdom, and confidence. His superitendence of
Lagos in the last seven years, though not without censures, stands out as  probably one of Nigeria’s proudest claims to political excellence. This is  a man who makes promises and Lagosians, seeing a track-record of  fulfillments, believe him. What more does it mean to be a leader than to  earn the trust of a people and their understanding in the face of  challenges? His simplicity ensures that the evangelism of his brand is  carried vicariously on the streets by the ordinary Lagosian, not by  billboards and sirens. Fashola is the leader we had been waiting for all  these years, whose little shortcomings can be edited by himself in the  promise of his listening humility.

But for a polity like ours, driven by the pettiness of ethnicity, power  rotation and religion, the APC will not field Fashola against Jonathan.
Nigerians will yet again be treated to a familiar repeat, one that will  deliver the ugly certainty of bloodshed from electoral defeat. Buhari’s  supporters, unyielding like their principal, will not corner the General to  a side and tell him the home truth.

Truth is, the APC is not even offering an alternative blueprint anyway. The  party’s manifesto has no propositions for restructuring, for instance.
Rather than propose a credible alternative to a structure in which national  budgets are skewed on 73:27 recurrent-capital ratios, due to the federal  character imperative, the party is clamouring for power for its own sake,  on this same defective arrangement. The impact of federal governance can  hardly be felt, no matter the party, so long as the nation spends over 70  percent of its revenues on recurrent expenditure.

At this rate, one can only resign to another four years of Jonathan’s  leadership. And this resignation is happening mainly because General Buhari  has come that President Jonathan should have power, and have it more  abundantly.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

tunde-leye12

@tundeleye: Dear @Telegraph, calling @followlasg lawless is rude! (Y! FrontPage)

by Tunde Leye

I had a little bet with the YNaija! Op-Eds editor, Ayokunle Odekunle, to write serious, ideological pieces surrounding how I believed Nigeria should run, avoiding current topical issues and see if you, the readers would still read as much as you would read the more topical pieces. So my last two articles have been in this regards, and the numbers from what I gather have been even better than when it was the topical pieces. Doing that forced me to do some long term thinking on the kind of ideological framework I believe Nigeria needs to run within to create the change that we all (or at least most of us) desire and unleash our much talked-about potential. I have two more pieces in that series and I will deliver them accordingly.

But something happened last week that struck a nerve within me. Maybe it is the depth of ideological introspection I’ve been having that made me have a heightened sensitivity to the issue. But I thought it serious enough to break the flow of articles to address quickly since I didn’t find anything on or offline that addressed it.

Sometime last week, there was an article in U.K paper, The Telegraph, which had the headline MEET THE MAN WHO TAMED NIGERIA’S MOST LAWLESS CITY. In the article which read like a PR job, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola was praised for his running of Lagos and to borrow a word from the president’s portfolio, transforming it.

Almost immediately, I reacted to the tweet containing the headline and told The Telegraph I thought the title was not only unscrupulously sensationalized, it was a misrepresentation they would not dare commit about any European, Arab or Asian city. But Lagos is in Africa, and it can be referred to as lawless in order to praise it’s governor and no one would raise an eyebrow. What exactly is the measure of this lawlessness. How is it more lawless than most of Nigeria that it is a part of, or other cities with its kind of population pressures worldwide? None of this is important. The Telegraph conveniently slaps a label on the city and that is it.

But is the U.K newspaper really to blame? In a country (and continent) where everything foreign is seen as credible and good, Nigerian newspapers went to town to trumpet the “high praise” found in The Telegraph. Most copied and pasted the story along with its ridiculous headline. There was not one domestic newspaper report in which the errors in the article was corrected. Take for example the last line where Fashola was referred to as a member of a minority tribe as the reason why he couldn’t be president. Every newspaper that replicated the story in the country carried this error as it was. A cursory Google search or even the most basic knowledge of Nigeria would have told the author that Fashola is Yoruba, which is one of the three majority tribes in Nigeria. And none would say the real reason Fashola cannot contest. In the scheming within his party, he has been passed over for Buhari or Atiku. The Telegraph fails to realize that Goodluck Jonathan, the current president is from a minority tribe and hence being from a minority tribe is no longer a reason a person cannot be president in Nigeria.

It leaves me wondering and concerned about the level of intellectual rigour that goes into the editorial process of most of our newspapers. The foreign media will characterize us anyhow the like for as long as we continue to act in this way, regurgitating what they say and pointing to the foreign-ness of the source as the credibility granting power to the stories. We need to take responsibility.

Unlike many though, whilst I will give The Telegraph and other foreign media plenty flak for treating Africa as a country that needs labelling, where every decent story must be qualified against a backdrop of how bad it is, I am a lot more irritated by our own people’s attitude to these things. We need to shape up and do things a lot better, with more responsibility and better intellectual rigour.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Adesuwa Onyenokwe (2)

#TheYNaijaInterview: I am feminist, but we need to redefine that word – Adesuwa Onyenokwe

by Wilfred Okiche

Adesuwa Onyenokwe, journalist, publisher, media mogul and all round superwoman recently celebrated TW magazine’s 7 year anniversary in grand style.

We spoke with her about the tough, lonely world of magazine publishing, her dazzling return to television in the new talk show, Seriously Speaking and her thoughts on the whole feminist movement.

Enjoy excerpts from the hard hitting session

Congratulations on the TW’s 7th anniversary celebrations. In the publishing industry, 7 years might as well be 7 decades. What has been the biggest reward for you all these years?

That you are not dead. That you are still publishing even though the numbers can never really be perfect. The numbers may not be perfect but the platform can be. This platform is perfect to the extent that women who want to develop themselves, who want to understand what it is to be a woman, women who are thinking, who want to contribute their bit to society, knowing that first they have got to be complete themselves. That for me is the absolute icing on the cake. Where even though I am not smiling to the bank, a millionaire, the person who reads TW is getting the message. When a woman tells me that this is the only magazine she knows in Nigeria that has content, I am happy. So for me that I am still communicating the message that I set out to communicate from the beginning; that the woman is the visionary but a visionary can only be as good as how formed she is. If she is formed, she can nurture her children.

But aren’t there other more expedient ways to communicate this message better than a high end glossy?

The thing is, a magazine is not an essential commodity, but it isn’t high luxury either. You have to eat before thinking of buying a magazine. If it is not in your face, you may not think of going to buy one. Nobody has to advertise bread and groundnut to you; maybe the types but the magazine has to be in your face constantly.

So I’ll ask you what your biggest challenges have been.

There is just one major one and it is distribution. In Nigeria the only way this can be done is through the vendors who are out in the elements with just 2 arms. There is a limit to how many they can carry and there are tons of magazine titles out there now, tons more will still come. Most times the actual vendors may not be educated people but those who earn between 150 and 200 Naira on each copy, this is after the agent has gotten it for say 650Naira from us, the retail price is 1000Naira. But how many copies can you sell like this for a magazine that comes out once every 3-4weeks and is competing with other titles. It is only in certain areas in Lagos that you’ll even see these vendors. Anywhere else in Nigeria, you distribute through outlets. Now these outlets, we send to them and they are not returning money to us because I am not there to monitor. Even when I am there, the money I spend to be there is more than the returns I’ll be making. My dream is a time when all the magazine publishers would come together and own magazine outlets across the country, we spread the costs to start and maintain the outlets because the truth is people who can afford to buy 1 magazine can buy 10 because no 2 magazines are the same.

What about subscriptions?

Let me paint the picture for you. You buy a magazine at 1000 Naira and the publisher removes that cost of delivery and posts it to you at no extra cost. Sometimes there is a delay along the route and the customer is dissatisfied because he cannot get it when he wants it, there is a problem. He cancels his subscription and goes out to buy it himself when he wants it. How many people can take up infrastructure to distribute magazines in 26 states of the country? Me I just took up our core areas; Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos and I am working hard at cracking distribution in these areas. The truth is many publishers just settle for Lagos or other states where they can compete. It is hard. But thankfully, there are online options now and we are exploring that area too.

Are you able to break through monthly?

Absolutely. It took us 6 years to do that and it is only this year we started to break even which is in keeping with what I read about the business before I started. No one breaks even in the first 6 years and this is a worldwide rule, not just here in Nigeria. And the reasons are not far-fetched really. It takes time for people to know you exist, to get that brand recognition. Advertisers need to trust that you are able to reach the numbers you claim you are. The first 6 months we were coming out bimonthly but the problem with that is you are struggling to play catch up with every issue and people forget you before the next issue. And you are paying salaries every month irrespective. So we said let us do monthly but let us do it more smartly by planning 3months ahead so that the pressure is not overwhelming.

You recently returned to television with Seriously Speaking which airs on Channels TV. What is the idea behind the show and why return to tv now?

Seriously Speaking is about development. Every episode that we record is more or less what my whole work has been about. From Today’s Woman, to One on One which I did for NTA. The interview is one of the most effective ways of getting information out of people and people need information continuously. What I try to do is extract this information from people such that at the end of the day viewers who are watching can understand the issue or person better and go out to make a change. That is my gift from God and I am grateful for it. It is serious ut it is fun.

What makes a good interview for you?

Being able to make the person comfortable. I imagine what my listeners want and I want they, and the subject to put down every preconceived notion. I want the subject to be comfortable enough to tell you the kind of things he wouldn’t tell anyone else because he trusts that you wouldn’t use it in a sensational way. It isn’t about how bad or good this person is but who the person is, what drives them.

So it is these same set of skills and manner of approach you bring whether it is a Babatunde Fashola or a Cossy Orjiakor you are speaking with?

Exactly. I want to know what drives them to do the things that they do. Do they even understand themselves? For Cossy, the idea is not to take her and hammer her or judge he just because she is controversial, no. I want the real person that makes her tick and makes her unique. I want to know if they understand themselves in the first place and I want to make it interesting as possible. Fashola for example, we hear of his achievements but what motivates him to go where others wouldn’t dare? Some young person may happen on the interview and be inspired by his story.

You have spoken with thousands of people in the course of your career. Who are the most interesting people for you to sit down with?

This question is tough because it has been so many years and at different times, there have been different people and you have forgotten some of them.  But I will say this one person. There is this lady who controls traffic and she was totally in love with her work. when I found her she wasn’t that popular but even after she had gotten attention and was promoted, years later I saw her on the road again and when we spoke, she said to me that even if they make her commissioner of police, she would never stop doing this because she felt alive bringing order to the roads. I was stunned and inspired by her work ethic and attitude. Till this day, I never forget her.

Is there any role for the man in your empire?

Absolutely. Because if a man understands his woman, the way he behaves is in tune with her. We have a column for men in the magazine and we have published issues that are strictly for men because the man is most likely to be a better man if he has a woman; mother, sister, wife- who is totally developed. My daughter’s classmate told her it is her father who buys TW in the house.

Are you feminist?

Yes but I like to redefine it as this; a feminist is a humanist and that is the way God has made it. The woman is a natural nurturer and has been endowed with the physical and emotional attributes to do so. A feminist is no more restricted to the suffragist movement where you burn your bra because you can burn your bra but the breast remains there and it is there for a purpose, you cant burn it off. Burning your bra means that because I am female does not mean that I am less than you. It does not mean that I am not female. I am. Let us not get confused here. I am the best person to look after a child because I can carry that child and nurture him but if circumstances have made it that I am also working to provide just like my husband, then he has to help me here so we can meet in the middle. He cannot breastfeed the child but he can carry them, he can make the formula, he can change the diaper, he can prepare dinner because it is the same 2 hands I have that he has. But there are things he cannot do no matter how much I say it. I believe women have roles and responsibilities but in the past the woman used to sit at home to meet all those demands. Now the woman does not sit at home anymore so why shouldn’t the man help out with domestic chores? I am an unabashed feminist but we must redefine that word.

So the world has evolved and the concept of feminism should evolve too

It has evolved and should evolve.

Governor-Babatunde-Fashola

Meet the man who tamed Nigeria’s most lawless city – @TundeFashola profiled by UK’s @Telegraph

by Jewel Stephen

Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola has been profiled by UK news platform, ‘The Telegraph’, over his accomplishments in transforming Lagos and most recently, his leadership in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.

In a report by the Chief foreign correspondent, Colin Freeman, the Governor was hailed for “cleaning up its crime-ridden slums and declaring war on corrupt police and civil servants”.

Fashola was praised for his efforts in drastically reducing the spate of armed robberies in the state, and also for his work on the economy, where he significantly increased Lagos state’s tax revenues.

Below are excerpts from the report:

“Born into a prominent Muslim family but married to a Christian, Mr Fashola trained as a lawyer and went into politics after being appointed chief of staff by the previous Lagos governor, Asiwaju Tinubu, a powerful politician often described as Mr Fashola’s “Godfather”. But while he has long enjoyed the backing of a political “Big Man”, is his role as a rare defender of Nigeria’s “Little Men” that has won him most support.”

“He famously claims to be “just doing his job”. But in a land where politicians are known for doing anything but, that alone has been enough to make Babatunde Fashola, boss of the vast Nigerian city of Lagos, a very popular man. Confounding the image of Nigerian leaders as corrupt and incompetent, the 51-year-old governor has won near-celebrity status for transforming west Africa’s biggest city, cleaing up its crime-ridden slums and declaring war on corrupt police and civil servants.”

“Next month, he will come to London to meet business leaders and Mayor Boris Johnson’s officials, wooing investors with talk of how he has spent the last seven years building new transport hubs and gleaming business parks. Yet arguably his biggest achievement in office took place just last week, and was done without a bulldozer in sight. That was when his country was officially declared free of Ebola, which first spread to Nigeria three months ago when Patrick Sawyer, an infected Liberian diplomat, flew into Lagos airport.”

“Health officials had long feared that the outbreak, which has already claimed nearly 5,000 lives elsewhere in west Africa, would reach catastrophic proportions were it to spread through Lagos. One of the largest cities in the world, it is home to an estimated 17 million people, many of them living in sprawling shanty towns that would have become vast reservoirs for infection. To make matters worse, when the outbreak first happened, medics were on strike.”

“Instead, Mr Fashola turned a looming disaster into a public health and PR triumph. Breaking off from a trip overseas, he took personal charge of the operation to track down and quarantine nearly 1,000 people feared to have been infected since Mr Sawyer’s arrival. Last week, what would have been a formidably complex operation in any country came to a successful end, when the World Health Organisation announced that since Nigeria had had no new cases for six weeks, it was now officially rid of the virus.”

“For Mr Fashola’s many supporters, it is also yet more proof that the 51-year-old ex-lawyer is a future president in the making, a much-needed technocrat in a country dominated far too long by ageing “Big Men” and ex-generals. Once, while driving through Lagos in his convoy, he famously stopped an army colonel who was driving illegally in one of the governor’s newly-built bus lanes, berating him in front of television cameras.”

“Armed robberies – sometimes by moonlighting police – used to be so common that few people ventured out after dark. Foreign businessmen would routinely travel with armed escorts, and the few willing to live there would stay mainly in a heavily-guarded diplomatic area called Victoria Island, a rough equivalent to Baghdad’s Green Zone. Add to that the suffocating smog, widespread squalor and regular three-hour traffic jams, and it was no suprise that the city had a reputation as one of the worst places in the world to live.”

“Another big achievement has been increasing tax revenues, vital in a city where the GDP of $43 billion makes it the fifth-biggest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. Mr Fashola has tried to sweeten the pill by putting up signs on all new infrasructure projects, saying “paid for by your taxes”. It is a rare acknowledgement of gratitude in a country where a guaranteed stream of state oil wealth has historically allowed rulers to remain aloof from the ruled.”

Adeyemi Ikuforiji

Why I want to be Lagos governor – Speaker, @YemiIkuforiji

by Isi Esene

As expected, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, the Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly has joined others hoping to take over from incumbent governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola come 2015.

Ikuforiji made his intention public on Saturday while picking his Expression of Interest form at the  All Progressives Congress (APC) state secretariat in Ikeja.

In his submission, the lawmaker said the people of Lagos deserve the best administration which is why he is throwing his hat in the ring to lead arguably the most populous state in the country.

“I believe very much in the future of the state and I know that the best is what the people deserve,” he said.

The speaker said he had discharged his duties professionally and creditably at the legislative arm of government and he had begun a transition to the executive arm as he picked his form.

“It is the same best we are taking to the governor’s office so that the residents will have the globally accepted government,” he said.

Ikuforiji expressed confidence in his chances of being selected to fly the party’s flag in next year’s election saying members of the APC know the best candidate among the lot.

“As a Speaker of the House, I contested to get to the Assembly and contested to become the Speaker.

“To contest is not an issue and to go round the membership of the party; they know who is the best amongst the aspirants in the APC,” he said.

Ikuforiji, however, said he did not rule out the possibility of a consensus candidate emerging from the aspirants.

“You talk of consensus candidate, it is all part of the game; there can be consensus candidate and we will not be the first,

“Even President Goodluck Jonathan is the consensus candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. So, there is nothing wrong in having a consensus candidate,” he said.

Ikuforiji is expected to formally roll out his campaign in the coming days.

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Gen. Buhari, others visit Fashola, seeks support for presidential bid

by Isi Esene

Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former military president and chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) today visited Babatunde Fashola, the Governor of Lagos State to personally invite him to attend his formal declaration for president next Wednesday.

Buhari, who had thrice lost presidential contests intends to vie for the presidency next year on the platform of the APC.

According to Buhari, he decided to convey the invitation personally because Lagos is the biggest and most viable constituency of the APC adding that he would also do same to all the other governors in the Southwest.

While responding, Fashola thanked the retired General for the honour of delivering the invitation himself.

He said, “Let me say that we are pleased to receive you. We feel honoured by your presence and God will honour you and His grace will continuously be sufficient for you in the undertaking that you are about to commit to.”

Also present at the occasion were Lagos State Commissioners for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal; Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ademorin Kuye; Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi and Special Adviser, Youth, Sports and Social development, Dr. Dolapo Badru.

On the team of Maj-General Buhari were former Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari, former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Silva and former Minister of the Federal Capital territory, Nasir El-Rufai among others.

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@SoarNaija: 6 reasons @TundeFashola should run for President

by Isaac Oladipupo

For our fatherland Nigeria, my greatest desire for the past six years has been to see Babatunde Raji Fashola run for President. If this ever happens, I would place all my works on hold and deplore my professional expertise and influence alongside others’ toward ensuring a successful campaign that would see him emerge as Nigeria’s next President” I have lost count of the number of people I’ve had this conversation with, expressing the strong desire above as humanly passionate as possible.

Sadly, some of the responses I’ve received include distasteful ones claiming that, despite truly being a perfect candidate for change, god-fathers would never allow him get there. We have become a people, almost helpless, who would rather maintain the status quo instead of arising to take full responsibility for what is ours. Believe it or not, we all aren’t ready for change; when we are, things will change rapidly – very rapidly. But it’s just so unfair to expect Nigeria to change, without Nigerians changing. For how long shall we stay on this spot? Godfathers may appear seemingly powerful, but until we realize the real power to vote, protect our votes and hold such candidate accountable lies in our hands, we might as well end up a failed state as predicted.

And if you are one of the people whose choice is to take us back to our past by voting one of our ‘faithful’ old cargo leaders, do remember that, irrespective of what anyone tells you, it takes only an insane man to follow same old route and expect to arrive in a different destination.

While we could debate on a very few worthy candidates whose head fits the cap for Nigeria’s presidency, one who remains outstanding in all ramifications is the outgoing Governor of Lagos state – Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola. Though my reasons are actually inexhaustible, here are a few of them.

Good intentions aren’t enough. There’s no thriving in leadership without a high degree of capacity, skills and integrity. Going for the contrary is one of the real reasons my country remains where she is. Nigeria is in dire need of a very strict yet compassionate President whose will to effect change far outweighs his emotions. It could be safe to say our past leaders had good intentions, but that’s just not enough.

Results speak louder than words. This is simple. Just as no one can give what they don’t have, no President can achieve on a national scale, what he hasn’t achieved on a local or state level. All we need is a leader with an evident track record of exactly what we want to achieve on a national scale. We don’t need an orator; we need a proven performer. We have repeated this mistake for years, hope we learn from our past.

Change and development come first. Nigeria needs a President that prioritizes qualitative leadership over politics, a leader who understands our most desperate need is transformation. Primarily, we need power, security, health, education, road and transparency amongst others. Until we are all able to critically identify, vote and elect a leader who would suspend other secondary ambitions to achieve this, change is not in view.

PR can’t replace performance. As a media specialist, I understand the power of PR and advertisement. But while these are very powerful tools, they cannot fully take the place of performance and quality delivery. These tools are used to enhance performance, not to replace it. Fashola’s administration places premium priority on delivering great value over taking credit or fighting for attention. For whatever reason, our current national administration has failed to understand this. [Research Ebola containment and Levick PR for more.]

We can’t afford to waste four more years. As a people, we have so much gotten our hands burnt severally that we can’t afford to gamble anymore. This piece is absolutely in no bid to idolize anyone but, in my opinion, beyond being a politician, Fashola happens to be the only Nigerian politician who has exemplified excellent leadership to the highest standard possible.

He is not perfect. Like the rest of us, Fashola is not perfect, but despite the fact that I’m neither of his political or religious affiliation, I have seen this man consistently right his wrongs, effortlessly proving himself as a truly extraordinary leader with undeniable achievements.

As usual, it is safe to think that this piece is sponsored, but before you get it twisted sit back and be very true to yourself for once. The truth can never be changed and only fools doubt proofs. Are these claims really true or not? All you need is a little research.

In conclusion, the 2015 we’ve all been awaiting is finally around the corner – just few months away. It’s yet another golden opportunity to either buy or sell the future. Let the truly competent candidates make themselves available and let the citizenry vote right. As always, it’s up to us. Peace.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Blame Lord Lugard for the problems and challenges facing Nigeria – Walter Carrington

by Kolapo Olapoju

A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, has stated that the problems and enormous challenges facing Nigeria as a nation, can be traced back to 1914, during the colonial rule of the British empire.

Carrington says the colonial administrator at that time, Sir Frederick Lord Lugard, is directly responsible for Nigeria’s many crisis, saying the former Governor-General  did not take into consideration the fact that Nigeria was a diverse multi-tribal and multi-ethnic entity.

While speaking on the country’s issues in a recent sit-down with Punch, Carrington said, “It began a hundred years ago (1914) when Lord Lugard, with no regard for the different cultural traditions of the people who inhabited the territories, amalgamated the North and South into one administrative unit to which his wife gave the name, Nigeria. What is remarkable, however, is how well this country, made up of over 250 different ethnic groups, speaking around 500 separate languages, has held together for a century, despite a bloody civil war and a half-dozen successful military coups.”

“Nigeria is the largest and one of the very few countries of any size whose population is nearly evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. Yet, in spite of provocations by groups like Boko Haram and local bloody conflicts in Plateau State, the country has done much better in accommodating religious differences than any other sharing many descendants of the two Abrahamic faiths,” he added.

The former Ambassador also praised the effort of Nigeria, particularly the Ministry of Health and Lagos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola, in tackling and curbing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease, an effort also commended by the World Health organisation.

He said, “Nigeria has got high marks around the world for the fact that it has handled the outbreak better than any country in the region. The Ministry of Health and the Governor of Lagos State have, thus far, done a commendable job of containment the disease but the battle has just begun. Awareness seems to be improving among the people of the dangers of this scourge and how to prevent being contaminated. It would have turned out to be the greatest danger the country has ever faced if it wasn’t under control, quickly.”

Furthermore, Carrington disclosed that he was in agreement with the school of thought which suggests that the Federal Government should swap Boko Haram detainees for the release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

“If such a swap would work, it ought to be considered. Nothing should be automatically ruled out on behalf of getting the girls back safely to their grieving families. However, this would take very skilful negotiations. The government would be in more of a position of strength to negotiate the terms if it could be more successful on the battlefield than it has so far been,” he concluded.

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@TundeFashola gives keynote address at ‘Real Estate Unite’ conference

by Hycinth Iyereosa

The Lagos edition of the annual Real Estate Unite conference was a convergence of real estate practitioners and experts from around the country.

Ruth Obih, Peter Bankole, Sonnie Ayere, Wana Udobang, Professor Olumide Olusanya, Kareem Okereke, Chima Ucheya, Kelechukwu Mbagwu, and Jumoke Akinwunmi  were among the notable participants at the conference.

The conference keynote address was given by Lagos state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

The event was held on Thursday, 2 October, 2014, at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Below are photos from the event.

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Okada riders are making a gradual return to the roads of Lagos

by Isi Esene

The ban on the movement of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, seems to have been relaxed by the Lagos State Government, going by the sheer number of motorcyclists on major highways.

In areas like Ikeja, Surulere, Ketu, and some parts of Lagos Island, commercial motorcycles can be often seen plying their trade with little or no restrictions, as opposed to what was obtainable, when they were practically run off the roads.

Observers have accused the Governor Babatunde Fashola administration of relaxing the law based on 2015 political considerations. Many commercial motorcyclists, who represent a large voting block, have threatened to withdraw their support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) party if the law is not repealed or at-least relaxed. The ban of Okada on major Lagos highway, according to them, goes a long way to reinforce the elitist image projected by the Fashola government.

While speaking with YNaija on the state of enforcement by the police and officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Adamu, a commercial motorcyclist who works around the Lawanson area of Surulere said it appears they have been let off the hook.

“Yes, they don’t disturb us like they used to do before. Now, some policemen just collect money from us and leave us to go,” he said.

His friend and fellow okada rider, Mohammed, seems to agree as he confirmed that they are now relatively free to move around major highways without restriction.

“Police catch (sic) me sometimes but no be every time like before,” he told the reporter.

Efforts to get through to the Lagos Transport Commissioner, Mr. Kayode Opeifa proved abortive but a source close to the Lagos State Government spoke to YNaija denying that the law has been jettisoned. He said the law enforcers have only been told to be civil in enforcing the law but the ban effectively remains.

“It is the overbearing attitude of the law enforcers that gave the government a bad name. I can tell you that the police and LASTMA have been told to be civil in their enforcement. They must obey the law while trying to enforce the law.”

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On allegations of elitism leveled against the Lagos APC government, the source said, “The opposition are just trying to make the okada ban a political issue. Commercial motorcycles have also been banned in Abuja, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and others states governed by the PDP so why the fuss about Lagos?

“We are trying to do mass transit in Lagos but they want to force us back to the era of okada. They have even bought over 5,000 motorcycles for the riders to secure their votes in 2015. What can we do?” he asked.

Governor Babatunde Fashola had on August 2, 2012, signed into law a bill which prohibits the operations of commercial motorcyclists on 475 roads in the state.

However, barely a month after the bill was signed, the Okada riders under the aegis of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association (ANACOWA) dragged the state government to court arguing against attempts by the state to stop them from exercising their economic right and from making use of highways belonging to the federal and not the state government.

The case was instituted at the Lagos High Court on behalf of the Okada riders by their counsel, late Bamidele Aturu, who pleaded the court, among other things, to declare that the state government has no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the federal roads. The Okada operators also sought a declaration that “the major highways in Lagos listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law No. 4 of 2012 are federal roads within the meaning of the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

In enacting the Lagos Road Traffic Law, the state government has continued to maintain that the restriction was meant to address carnage and avoidable deaths in okada accidents which had reached a frightening dimension within the state metropolis.

With the general elections barely six months away, it is certain that the Lagos Road Traffic Law will be a major topic of discussion. Observers are, however, of the opinion that the APC may not get out of this okada-gate smelling fresh and rosy.