‘Tunde Fashola: A Senior Advocate or a Senior Adversary?





I have not written to take sides with the Lagos State doctors, I have written to tell Fashola that if he refuses to reinstate these guys and return to the negotiation table, history and posterity may never forgive him. 

by Femi Owolabi

Last year I was an ACN member, and as I write now, I am still a card -carrying member of the Action Congress of Nigeria. Nevertheless, I beg to announce that whatever determines my stay as a member of this party would be ‘Tunde’s final take on this anathema unbelievably punching me in the face.


And if I need say, a lesser reason I would throw ACN under my bathroom slippers would be the eventual amalgamation with the CPC and worse to present a consensus candidate of Muhamadu Buhari. Take it or it has taken you already; Buhari’s ideologies are anachronistic. (I need say this, should incase ‘Tunde repents and I still sign out from ACN). I think Nigeria needs a 21st century-oriented leader who is actively in touch with modern and global realities. And yes, my former thoughts have ‘Tunde Fashola as one of the apt candidates fit for Nigerian presidential office. But sadly, his recent demonstrations are antitheses of an advocate of democracy.


Sometime in 2002, I became a fan of the Arsenal Football Club simply because I was completely obsessed by Kanu’s skills and of course this could be traced sentimentally that I chose Arsenal because Kanu is my brother. I began to suffer from club-prostitution when Kanu toured those clubs he played for. I was wrapped in a similar obsession in 2007 when I first saw Fashola on TV. The broad knowledge displayed in his speeches is unarguably enviable. And then I joined ACN because I liked ‘Tunde and with same mentality, I had maintained that the only reason you will see me in the PDP would be that ‘Tunde has also decamped. I was that opinionated.


Arguably, Lagos State has been an exemplary in terms of good policy implementation. Even some PDP states have started imitating Lagos-ACN programmes. I remember the last time I was in PDP-Kwara, I saw some uniformed men called KWATMA, and the name quickly told me this is Kwara’s version of LASTMA. Perhaps we owe this to ‘Tunde’s predecessor – Bola Tinubu, a man who has my loyalty until the day he agrees to be a running mate to the retired General from Funtua as being speculated.


A few years ago Bola and ‘Tunde were on the popular TV show- Moments with Mo, and when the host asked Bola what he could point to as his greatest achievement having governed Lagos for eight years, he turned and pointed at ‘Tunde who sat next to him and he said having him as a successor is the peak of whatever he had achieved. I wondered if Bola knew the gravity of what he said.


Unsurprisingly though, as ‘Tunde’s first term in office rolled out, his charisma engineered by pragmatism arrested at least seventy percent Lagosians’ minds. BRF here, BRF there. In fact, he became a model of good governance to other governors and you hear them say, “Like Fashola did in Lagos we can also do here.” Niger State is a good example; there are now BRT – like busses in Minna.


And to the 2011 electioneering, when people said ‘Akala is bleaching; Oyo is fading’ for ‘Tunde it was, ‘Fashola is working; Lagos is working.’ As a staunch supporter of ‘Tunde, I could place my wife on bet with anybody that whatever he did would unarguably be for the interest of Lagosians. Even character wise, I could vouch for this man I’ve not met in person.


I remember in 2010 during the Lagos Gubernatorial Debate aired on Channels TV, after the debate, the seasoned and aged accountant – J. K. Randle who had been in a vexatious mood throughout the debate in the end vehemently unveiled his personal vendetta against ‘Tunde when the duo were asked to express their sportsmanship spirits via handshake after such hot words shot at each other. Meanwhile, Governor ‘Tunde had spoken quite brusquely and became increasingly monosyllabic as the debate went on. He was moving towards Randle with a smile and his stretched hand while Randle who didn’t know that the microphone was still clipped to his jacket, had his face squeezed in bitterness as he shunned and dismissed ‘Tunde’s hand, saying ‘gboin omo ti o leko (go away, you this manner-less boy).’


The next day, a public argument broke out on the social media and some thought ‘Tunde had gone too far to have publicly disrespected a man who could father him. Whatever, I was indifferent or say biased and didn’t fault ‘Tunde’s faulty action. Need I also mention that it was more than obvious that ‘Tunde Fashola would have won in 2011 under any political platform if it were true as rumored then that he had issues with Bola and the kingmaker was almost going to drop him for a fresh candidate. Apparently, Fashola’s works outshined the ACN. It’s either BRF or we won’t vote would have been the bitter truth that Asiwaju had to sallow to dissolve any speculated nonsense moves he had against ‘Tunde’s candidacy.


It is of course too significant to be discarded that ‘Tunde’s track-records as an ACN governor of Lagos endorsed the other ACN 2011-elected governors of Osun, Ogun, and Oyo States. I dare say that popular criticisms against the Fashola administration started with issues surrounding taxation. For ACN and ‘Tunde’s political antagonists, I think the issue of heavy or multiple taxation as some chose to call it started as the foundational issues with his government. ‘Tunde came out and gave a seemingly accurate stewardship to Lagosians – the tax payers. You can visit the Lagos State Government website to see how your money is being spent.


And to the near past, I actually chose not to express my mind even when I wasn’t pleased with the obnoxious way he handled electorates during the Lekki tolling wahala. Please I need to confirm again, is it true that ‘Tunde used brutal force on peaceful protesters?


Sadly, ‘Tunde cast a cloud over his good works not when he refused to implement what he is said to have agreed and signed with the state doctors, but when he sacked them and ordered the eviction out of their official homes. This is an absolute objectification to Lagos doctors, disappointingly coming from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.  His nasty officiousness is well likened to an autocratic rule. Sad. So sad.


I will not delve into this particular case as the issue over the week has suffered obloquy on several blogs and online newspapers.  Some argued for and some against. My central point however, is that ‘Tunde is cruel to have sacked these doctors. He could have threatened to withhold their salaries as the typical threat from government to its employees. He could have persevered at the negotiation table. He could have allowed the dispute to be determined by the Industrial Court.


Please, apart from going on strike, which other way would an organized labor express its dissatisfaction with the government policies?


Obviously Fashola has never been in those shoes and definitely wouldn’t want to identify with the interest of these guys who know where it pinches. I remember the day the PDP gubernatorial candidate – Dosumu challenged Fashola that they once met at an interview for a government job. Quickly the latter dismissed what the former said as a blatant lie, and he said he had never worked in the public sector till his invitation by the former Governor Tinubu to join his cabinet. It is therefore logical to draw a conclusion that Fashola doesn’t understand the dynamics of unionism. His coming to the public sector was to join the governing team and not the governed.


While diverse arguments on this case have taken sides with Fashola and the popular ones for the doctors, it was disheartening to see the former Minister of the FCT Nasir El-Rufai to boastfully tweet in support of Fashola saying ‘in 2005, I sacked doctors and nurses in the FCT when they did the same.’ I think this embittered and uninvited former public servant is passionately supporting Fashola in a desperate attempt to re-write his own unpopular history. No wonder the Yar’adua administration sued him for sheer behavioral misconduct otherwise known as abuse of office.


Well, I am not sure if the doctors too are crying for an increase in pay as equal to what Nigerian politicians earn. No they are not, else it will be sad to know that our doctors too agitate for same wastage we all complain that the government should stop.


I have not written to take sides with the Lagos State doctors, I have written to tell Fashola that if he refuses to reinstate these guys and return to the negotiation table, history and posterity may never forgive him. And as it is now, he has flown his dad abroad for treatment while other poor dads are here to suffer the consequences of his arrogance.


… Eko oni baje o…… bALAgUNNA


[email protected]  follow on twitter @fEMIoWOLABI


Editor’s note: 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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Comments (6)

  1. @Oladapo Gbolahan Oluwadare the issue here is not about how much the doctors earn. Its about the lagos state government refusing to keep to agreements made over 1 year ago. It is also about the dignity of the doctors. They were issued with 2 queries & then told to come to face a disciplinary panel only to get there & be harrased by the police! That is what led to the strike & subsequent dismissal.

  2. @bALAgUNNA I really like your piece but there seems to be some missing puzzles. How much do the doctors currently earn? I believe MD's currently earn living wages while the rest of the populace need to be upgraded. Your resolute stand with Tunde should not weaver because most people outside like us are not really privy to the undertones of happenings in govt. Without a doubt several things need attention in Lagos despite the work done so far so should all the tax payers money go to paying doctor's salary alone? All workers in the Lagos state employ will readily tell you they desrve a raise but will you be stampeded into this everytime. Please let the common wealth of Lagosians go round. It is not the exclusive preserve of the MD's alone. At least Tunde know what he wants to achieve and he is not letting anyone stand in his way unlike some other no 1 citizens who cannot take a decisive action over the sucurity situation in the country. Tunde should consider taking them back but it should now be on his own terms.

  3. This is one of the most objective article I've read on this issue,its a shame that the average Nigerian's thought pattern and judgments are always clouded with sentiments and biases if not BRF will not dare try what he did to these Dr.s,but I guess with people like you who can be objective this country still has hope.

  4. Dear Sir,I wish I could pencil how I feel about this article! I can only ask God to keep you insightful,objective and non-partisan. Thank you so much,I am almost at tears,not because I'm one of the sacked,LOL,but because objectivity is a very scarce quality in Nigeria now. It speaks to me personally & I can only pray that your mind will remain ever sharp. WELL DONE SIR!

    1. nice one brother. how i wish everybody can be this objective.

  5. Fashola is by my own judgement one of the few people who have what it takes to lead (not rule) this country, Nigeria, but I'm dissapointed and annoyed that he is wasting away the goodwill he has. Believe me he is a good product any political party will want to sell because he actually walked the talk but these increasing traits of tyranny may as well be what will sink him. Let him beware, you can't fight your people and win ultimately. Check through history.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail