Opinion: Lekki building collapse, TB Joshua, and the steps taken by Ambode

Ambode has shown clearly that he is a no nonsense leader, as opposed to the perception by many at the very beginning of his administration in 2015, that Lagos had elected a go-slow-leader. It is crystal clear from all indications that he is a careful manager of resources and situations, essentially on peculiar issues that concerns the people of Lagos.

He has shown this in many ways, and a recent example is his swift response to the security crisis that enveloped Lagos in the last quarter of 2015 and the recent rescue of the 3 abducted students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu. If we had a smart thinking and concerned president like Ambode when the Chibok girls were kidnapped, the abduction saga of the Chibok girls certainly would have been much different.

It is very sad that Lagos has again recorded another incident of collapsed building; it is even more painful and critical when one considers the news update that the incident was clearly an avoidable one, if the Managing Directors of of Lekki Gardens, Richard Nyong and Taiwo Henry didn’t flout orders from concerned regulatory agencies.

I am quite impressed with the steps taken so far by the state government and the Nigerian Police. Leadership is essentially about taking charge and not giving flimsy excuses. Definitely things will go wrong sometimes, most especially in a country state like Lagos, but like Ambode has always shown, standing up to the occasion with speed and tact will always be the key thing.

The argument raised by some prominent media giants and influencers, comparing the recent Lekki Building collapse with that of the TB Joshua building is quite shameful. No two human are the same, and in the very sense, no two leaders will ever be.

The Lagos state government has clearly said that the directors of Lekki Gardens, allegedly, in a blatant act of defiance, unsealed the collapsed property and continued building beyond the initially approved floors, ignoring all warning signals until the unfortunate incident which claimed about 34 lives.

I think it is shameful to raise any argument in support of a distasteful act like this. The least is to allow justice take its place, for crying out loud, some innocent lives were lost and many are in either physical or emotional pains at the moment. Those struggling to raise an argument in support of TB Joshua should be reminded that the TB Joshua case is actually still in court. The two directors of Lekki Gardens are being reprimanded in Panti because the police has demanded from the court that they be held back to ease investigation.

In the case of TB Joshua, the Lagos state government claimed the church didn’t get approval for the said construction before building. In the case of Lekki Garden, there was a clear case of ignoring warning from the government directly. I think the latter case is more severe.

Some analysts have even gone forth to explain that the previous administration did its best to handle the TB Joshua case with utmost caution, probably due to the fact that Fashola was cautious of religious tension that the case might raise.

However, Man of God or no Man of God, anyone who is found guilty should be made to face the law.

It is impressive to know that Governor Ambode isn’t holding anything back. After asking the Lekki Gardens Directors to report themselves to the Commissioner of Police or face arrest; he didn’t stop at that, or simply allow the Police or Judiciary dish out justice, while the acts of negligence by the concerned state agency be swept under the carpet.

No, that’s not the governor of Lagos!

He has ensured the dismissal of the General Manager of the Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Engineer Adeigbe Olushola, Ambode has also dismissed the Head of Inspection and Quality Control in the Agency, Adeoye Thomas Adeyemi, the Zonal District Officer in the Agency, Dosunmu Gbadebo, while the Zonal Head of Eti-Osa West of the Agency, Mrs. Akinde Adenike Sherifat has been compulsorily retired from the Civil Service. These top government officials have been sacked due to acts of negligence that we most times over look as a people.

It is important to know that this is how to sweep impunity out of our nation. This is essentially some of the wind of change we desperately need but we are stylishly neglecting.

Many top officials in time past only get indicted, and then they still retain their top positions. We should be reminded that despite the death of 19 young people who died due to the stampede that occurred during the recruitment exercise poorly conducted by the Nigerian Immigration service, under the watch of Abba Moro, the former Minister of Interior. The minister was never relieved of his position neither was any disciplinary measure taken against him.

If we fail as a people to objectively and gradually strengthen our institutions and get rid of lawlessness, we would continue to pay for such in ways too many. Definitely, the actions taken by Ambode will send strong warnings to other civil servants and also business owners in the construction sector and beyond.

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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

Lanre Olagunju can be reached via @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.

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