No matter what side of the divide you are on, it is hard to dispute the sterling performance of Babatunde Raji Fashola. His years at the helm in Lagos can be said to be the most progressive in recent times. He may be perceived by many as a flop in his capacity as Federal Minister of Power, Works and Housing but that is an argument for another day.
Going by the circumstances of his ‘selection’ from his Party as flagbearer in Lagos — with the backing of former governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) strongman, Bola Ahmed Tinubu — many Lagosians believed that Fashola’s successor will be an improvement or atleast strive to maintain the momentum set by the Senior Advocate.
We were all wrong.
Ambode stepped in with a dubious and curious intent to undo all ongoing projects of his predecessor. Not unlike what happened at the Federal level when late Umar Musa Yar’Adua went on a campaign of policy change as soon as he took over from former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
On the strength of Fashola’s goodwill, many Lagosians failed in their responsibility to ask Ambode the hard questions while he campaigned for governor. In fact, the former governor deliberately avoided media scrutiny while hiding under the shadow of his political godfather, Tinubu.
This negligence on the part of the electorate came to bite them in the behind when Ambode went on to govern Lagos with increased insecurity, deteriorating infrastructure, poor sanitation, mediocre communication and emotional intelligence, lack of transparency and accountability, and all round maladministration.
With such an abysmal report card, it was not surprising the outcome of the APC primaries that saw Ambode lose to his political foes after putting up a halfhearted, cowardly fight. His loss and how it happened was a befitting reminder that the people did not in any way trust his leadership and were desperate to see him out the door.
Newly elected governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s scrutiny by the public wasn’t tougher than Ambode’s but during the gubernatorial debates, many could see his vision for the nation’s commercial capital. But this is definitely not enough as talk is cheap.
Sanwo-Olu needs to leave the talk and get on with the job that Lagosians have entrusted him with. Four years is enough to show them the stuff he’s made of. Citizens of Lagos must see and feel the impact of his governance on a daily basis. This is the time to implement the so-called Lagos Masterplan to the benefit of citizens as it was hard to see that plan in Badagry, Surulere, Ikoyi, Ajah and many other parts during the rule of his trifling predecessor.
As Sanwo-Olu takes over power today, he must have it at the back of his mind that slogans do not make a leader; performance, results, and impact do.
This is my hot take.