I never thought I would ever have to write a full article about a Nigerian politician, a very positive review for that matter. This was not for lack of optimism on my part, but for the lack of vision and purpose on their part. The reality is that a good Nigerian politician is difficult to come by. The vast majority of the politicians elected into government are self-serving, corrupt and worse of all visionless. They are corrupt nationally, regionally and locally. They are corrupt in the South and in the North, in the East and in the West.
The Governors in the North marry multiple wives, in the South-West; they publicly stick with one wife but go through young mistresses faster than mach 2. The Ibo Governors ingratiate themselves with royalty; the Yoruba ones think they are royalty, the South-South Governors lobby to become Knights, the Hausa Governors have too much time on their hands and Yar'Adua, the President, gives his daughters to two of them as third and fourth wives respectively.
Worse still, the legislators are clueless. Their main pre-occupation is junketing abroad on endless fact-finding missions. Yet they are concerned with how they are perceived at home and at the ready to threaten with arrest anyone that challenges their plain-to-see indolence and hopelessness.
Nigerian politicians are ego driven; they will commandeer an honorary doctorate degree from Universities to which they are the ‘Visitor’ and get their friends and families to congratulate them with full page newspaper advertisements. Annoyingly, they assault our intelligence and overwhelm reason with false eulogies in these congratulatory advertisements, many of which often share the same message. They celebrate 47th, 56th and other meaningless birthdays; they collect meaningless titles from any monarch. The Nigerian politician gives the impression that theirs is a gadabout government, purposeless yet whirling in self congratulation.
After the era of visionary and selfless leaders like Awolowo, Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, we are lumbered with the misfortune of having so-called usurpers who believe they are doing us a favour by carrying out what they are elected to do. So State Governors have their ugly photos plastered over the covers of notebooks distributed to school children, majority of whom have to contend with window-less, teacher-less schools. Some of the politicians also erect massive billboards with their photos and political slogans beside every road repaired and every well sunk. On being sworn to office, the vast majority of them took to corruption and the euphoria of office like a pig to filth. They stink to high heavens and they carry a lot of innocent blood on their hands and heads.
Refreshingly, Babatunde Fashola, the Lagos State Governor is a departure from this filth. He is a breath of fresh air compared to anyone who has held any executive position in
The recently introduced commuter bus systems have made travelling affordable and easier for a good number of people. Major road works are being carried out, drainage systems are being rebuilt. If you go on Mobolaji Bank Anthony in Ikeja or Akin Adesola in Victoria Island at night, you may think you are in
The Lagos State Signage Agency has seen to it that posters and overhead fliers that hitherto deface
Wherever you go in
Do not get me wrong, if you are visiting
He is also very wise. He shows deference to traditional and religious leaders, but he does not 'collect' titles from them. He received an award from a newsmagazine as one of the best performing governors in 2008 but returned it when he realised it was a Greek gift.
Fashola is also a cultured person who is not carried away by power. He is one of only three Governors in
Some people will argue that he is only able to do what he is doing because his predecessor and mentor Bola Tinubu helps to handle the political side of things. My response is whilst this may be true; Fashola can not do what he is doing if he does not have it in him.
I will like to share a story that in my view sums up the effort of Babatunde Fashola and showcases the new
On Friday 17th April, I placed a call to the
A few days later, I noticed that the man was no longer there. My wife later informed me that she saw an ambulance parked at the same spot to ferry the man away for treatment as she drove past one evening.
Of course Fashola is not doing more than what he was elected to do, however, when the vast majority of our politicians care less about the electorate, Fashola should earn our admiration for differentiating himself so fantastically.
I have watched Fashola on the sidelines for over a year and I know he is no fluke. He has surreptitiously dragged us, Lagosians, to develop confidence in him and increasingly in government. I have come across many people who have chosen to pay their tax because they believe that Fashola will use it responsibly. This agrees very well with the proponents of the theory that
Fashola has proven that you only need a few good people to change the course of a nation; in his case, a few good ‘MAN’. Lagosians know that what is happening in