There is little doubt that I am fascinated by current Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola. In fact, despite the lack of enthusiasm from readers for the 2008 Nigerian Curiosity installment, I will have to declare him the newest Nigerian Curiosity. Fashola, the Governor of the Year in 2007 according to Leadership Newspaper, has managed to do something many leaders have been incapable of achieving - providing results. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, former governor Bola Tinubu, who arguably laid the foundation, Tinubu roared into Lagos and cleaned it up. Traffic is not as bad as it used to be. Streets are cleaner and have less traders selling their wares. Public transportation via the BRT is organized and efficient as testified to by fellow blogger Tobenna. Fashola has fully proven his commitment to transforming Lagos State into a modern cosmopolitan city and implemented a 10,000 camera security system for the metropolis.
Furthermore, in his very first year in office, Lagos State achieved an unprecedented GDP of N3.68 trillion ($29.028 billion) in 2007. That made Lagos State the biggest contributor to the federal government, represented the 6th largest GDP among African cities and 118th among cities of the world. And, to really provide some context, the GDP of Lagos State in 2007 equaled that of the nation of Kenya and was greater than those of neighboring Cameroon, Cote d’lvoire and Ghana. He is the same governor, who reached out to assaulted Lagosian Uzoma Okere, immediately after her ordeal at the whips of military ratings. Overall, the one complaint from Lagosians about their governor is that he is fixing all the roads at once. However, that is a good complaint to have in Nigeria and particularly in Lagos where roads have been in disrepair for many years. Please watch the following short clip for some details on Fashola's accomplishments.
SUCH TALENT SHOULD NOT GO TO WASTE
As I look forward to Nigeria's 2011 elections and consider the fact that Governor Fashola has asserted that he has no plans to run for reelection in Lagos, I cannot help but wonder what impact such an individual could have on national politics if given an opportunity to captain the national ship. Being that Fashola is not a member of Yar'Adua's party, the Peoples Democratic Party or PDP, it is possible that his party could put his name into the slot for the next elections. I think Lagosians would welcome the opportunity to have their governor run the country. I, for one, can definitely say that unlike some others, Fashola has managed to make 'visible results' his mantra and that alone convinces me that he deserves not just respect but support.
Additionally, a win for an individual like Fashola on the national scale would be a perfect way to ensure that talented individuals who have proven the ability to produce results, such as former Cross Rivers governor Donald Duke and the well respected Pat Utomi, can put their skills to work in benefiting the entire nation. Unfortunately so far, individuals with a track record of success manage to get shut out from continuing their public service. Nuhu Ribadu, with all his faults, is just the latest example of such.
So, all this begs the unspoken question of whether Yar'Adua should run for reelection. I am yet to see the results, minuscule or large that I would have expected from the President and do not have a clear handle on what his plans are given the changes to the reality of Nigeria's economy at this time. Despite that, I present Governor Fashola as the Nigerian Curiosity of 2008, an individual who had a positive impact on the people of Lagos, and by implication, the nation. Although I agree with fellow blogger Nneoma who encourages the governor to do a better job in providing jobs for Lagos youths, I have to hold him up as an example of the possibility of Nigerian leadership. He has presented a precedent for others to follow in tackling the difficulties of their specific situation. And if he could make a change in Lagos State, there is definitely hope for change in the larger nation of Nigeria, once the right leaders with a vision are at the helm.
Related Articles of Interest:
- A Window Into (In)Justice: Uzoma Okere Updates
- What Is Crucial For Leadership?