by Simon Utsu
I’m giving anyone and everyone who has spent the last four to seven years claiming Fashola is the best thing to have happened to governance in his generation to come out and defend him or forever hold their peace :/ I want them to list four non-passive achievements of Fashola, I need just four! That’s roughly one every two years!
COMPARISON WITH FELLOW GOVERNORS
See! Governor Duke was selling Uncle Bens rice in Lagos before the opportunity came and he ran off to win the Gubernatorial race in Cross River state and went ahead to revolutionize governance. His top notch tourism related ideas put Cross River state back on the national and even world map. For the first time in a while, a Nigerian state was earning good money from an idea that sounded a bit absurd. I was in Calabar for the 2014 carnival. Ten years after it was inaugurated and eight years after Donald Duke completed his tenure, the Carnival was still at its best with a qualitative and quantitative presence of tourist. Qualitative in the sense that the crowd was made up of a potpourri of foreigners like I had never seen before in Nigeria.
Governor Akpabio was close to a charge and bail lawyer in Lagos before he was called to serve in the Government of Victor Attah and later on went to succeed him as Governor of Akwa Ibom state. He has gone ahead to improve the infrastructural stature of his state that one who hasn’t been there in a decade would surely argue that he isn’t in Akwa Ibom. He also spoilt Akwa-Ibomites rotten with social amenities here and there; he did all this by putting into judicious use the derivation monies that came to the state from the federation account. In all, he has ended up upgrading the social status of the Akwa Ibom state citizen. A high premium is now placed on AkwaIbomites. Before 2007, AKS was a major destination for those who needed to get domestic aides but now, Ebonyi state is the most notorious for that. With what he is leaving on ground, his programs would be sustainable and future administrations will definitely key into them, just like how it went between Duke and his successor.
Going overseas, the Present ruler of Dubai took the very bold and audacious step and decided to diversify Dubai’s economy about a decade ago. Back then, Dubai was feeding fat off oil revenues as it had been doing for decades, so it wouldn’t have made any sense for someone to suggest economic diversification. After all, the trend had been for oil producing Middle Eastern countries to invest excess crude monies in Sovereign wealth funds. But this great man said this was not enough, he decided to artificially beautify Dubai and make it a premium tourist destination. Ten years down the line and the idea has been a monumental success, albeit at a cost. Now that oil revenues are dwindling worldwide and will continue to for the foreseeable future, the ingenuity in his idea has come to bare. Also, Dubai is now majorly known for tourism more than any other thing.
BACK TO FASHOLA
For those parading Fashola as a visionary, do you now get my drift? It’s not by re-building Tejuosho market, a process which took 8 years to complete and handing it over to the Prime Minister of Lagos ten years after it was mysteriously gutted by a fire whilst he was governor or by retouching and ‘modernizing’ state owned Teslim Balogun stadium and then going ahead to use it for APC rallies and Copa Lagos. It’s not also by building a recreational park in Oshodi, spending over 15 million US Dollars in the process or by building a bridge that links Lekki to Ikoyi at a ridiculous rate of 30,000 USD (6 million naira) per inch. These are all passive projects and with the monies spent to execute them, Fashola should remember there is God oo! Ah! As for the Eko Atlantic project, something tells me it is a white elephant and would only serve as a permanent panacea to the age long ocean surge which had for long been a problem to the dwellers of the Lagos coast. We can’t yet judge him based on its success or failure though, as it is far from completion.
Lagosians, the Yorubas, Nigerians and the world have been fed fat with propaganda on Fashola in the last eight years. The same propaganda machinery that has effectively made us to believe Jonathan has been doing nothing is the same that has been used in making us believe Fashola has been stellar. Three days from now, if I don’t get proper responses to my poser, the chant must change from “Fashola the best” to “Fashola the beast”.
NB: Before I forget, there is a candidate in the forthcoming Gubernatorial elections who has promised to bring bold ideas to the table, ideas that will liberate Lagos and take her to the lofty heights which she deserves to be. He has also promised us a Lagos for all, a Lagos were an Igbo man will walk the streets without fear of ‘deportation’, a Lagos where a commoner will drive through the bridge that interlinks the posh neighborhoods of Ikoyi and Lekki and know he would be able to afford the bridge toll. I think Lagosians should try out that candidate.
– Simon Utsu tweets from @simonchairman
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.