Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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.

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?

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Anonymous said...

The main man!
kai I was in lagos for 2weeks dec/jan and I bow o!! We all know how crazy Gidi is so if anyone can bring about change there, they can change the world! LOL When I came Oshodi market was being removed, by the time I left, it was a done deal!! The man is like a bulldozer sha, everywhere na construction, EVERYWHERE!!
While I'd like for him to create work progs, lets be realistic and know there's probably only so much he can do at once. What he could possibly do is set up a committee and put in the CEOs of major companies as part of the team, and see how they can create more jovbs but shey we all know the population of lagos abi? Even if they start the program, folks from other cities will come in droves. It should be at a natl level anyway, in all states...which is what our beloved prez should do :)

Femi B said...

Yeah Lagos is not looking like a Developing everywhere as opposed to other states that can only show case DUST. IM impressed by this dude. I hope he can rob off on people both old and young

Anonymous said...

Need to take myself down to Lagos to really see if this guy is the real deal.. But from what I've heard and read, he sure is taking the bull by the horn and doing something -- which is far more than the entire national legislature can be said to have done!!!!

tobenna said...

When good is done, it should be acknowledged.
Fashola is doing a good job of running Lagos.
Better than any has done in recent memory.
I've been caught by LASTMA 3times (I must be a bad driver), been on the BRT buses, driven through the less busy Oshodi, driven through Ikorodu road. I'm impressed.

PS. Thanks for the link SSD.

Living Safe and Green in Nigeria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Living Safe and Green in Nigeria said...

I am a Fashola fan. For anyone with an eye, the changes to Lagos are indeed amazing. One does not even need to be educated to know that things are different in a good way. It is an exciting time to live in Lagos. (Also a bit frustrating because the construction works cause major traffic - but it is all good for a good cause.)

A governor that can get the buy-in of tomato and pepper sellers needs to be commended. It is my understanding that a lot of them found their way to the banks and paid their taxes. Unprecedented!

And then the ruthlessness described by Wole Soyinka is something that has resulted in unimaginable changes like the clearing of Oshodi. Ruthless because a politician would not have been able to ignore the many delegations that would have been sent to ask him to leave Oshodi as it was. And it is not only Oshodi that this change has been planned for.

One other thing about Fashola is his apparent disregard for all the paraphernalia of office. He does not drive around in a noisy and disruptive convoy (like his deputy) and people feel that he is accessible. He is a real public officer. What we need at this time. For Nigerians that complain a lot to have nothing bad to say about this dude is commendable, not so?
There are a few naysayers but they generally are those who thrive in an unruly and backward place. Those who make money from doing things that are not good for the general populace like leasing out shanty shops in illegal places.

I do need to talk to him about road safety though so if anyone knows how to reach him, please let me know.

Sorry the comment is so long. I actually had to edit it. I have a lot to say for the man.

This was a great choice for Nigerian Curiosity 2008. Good job!

Anonymous said...

In the so called center of excellence, people deserved a clean and sane environment, but planting flowers and other aesthetically measures like bulldozing people out of their homes without providing alternatives will not help Lagos State in the long term.

The horrors of the battles between former-President Obasanjo and ex-Governor Tinubu may have stunted the growth of Lagos in near history but following in the footsteps of those dinosaurs will eventually ruin the commercial and economic capital of Nigeria however, it is nice to see a change in direction.

It is good to see the report from Aljz but shame about the Wole Soyinka´s car mechanic metaphor but hey, What's in a Name? Results obtained in analysis by white collar discipline is not the same as doing. "We have a problem! We fix it!" Long may Governor Fashola continue to serve Lagos.

Anonymous said...

I commend Gov'nor Fashola for his excellent work. It is almost impossible to find a governor or president who can solve all the problems of any society so I commend him for selecting his tasks and providing results. I know people talk about providing jobs in Lagos but if you think about he already is providing jobs because it is people who drive the BRT buses, its people who are doing the clear up etc. So he may be doing it on a small scale but he is doing it. He is engaging with think-tank group both in and out of Nigeria. That openness in itself is commendable.

Again, you will hear a few people say thing like 'na beautification we go chop'. I laugh because the answer indirectly is yes. If a place is attractive, you will draw tourists, other state's indigenes etc and that equals more money in the state and thus food for the common man. The man is good.

I hope he goes for presidency. Also I am watching keenly to see what Oshiomhole does. If the AC party can collectively show themselves as a party with integrity, willingness to work and results producers PDP will be history.

Rita said...

Every time I am in Lagos, I am amazed at the large-scale projects going on. Gov Fashola is a man of action not merely words. I commend him. With the direction he is going, I am sure he will find a way to solve most of the issues in Lagos.

Other Governors should take tutorials from him. He is handling a not-so easy state to manage (based on population and development).

ibiluv said...

me like Fashols

me wish he can be a life Governor for Lasgidi

me want him to do something about the area boys(they drive me crazy)

doll (retired blogger) said...

I have to commend Gov. Fashola. He is indeed a model for every other Governor. His accomplishments are endless. The one that still trips me is Osodi. I take Oshodi now to and fro work. cant believe that from Mon to fri i dont take ikorodu road/maryland at all.

Lagos is neater, saner.
There are flood lights on 3rd mainland, mobolaji bank anthony and some other strategic places that aid driving in the dark.
Who said he is not running for 2nd term??? if that is true then its sad.
As per baba go slow (y'dua) no comment.

Anonymous said...

I concur in your pick. Fashola has changed Lagos big time. Unfortunately, I can say I have witnessed his change to Lagos, but I have heard nothing but great things about Gov Fashola... He needs to run again as govenor of Lagos state and then once he finishes his 2nd term, he should then be ready for Aso Rock...
I think that it would be great for the country if he becomes President as long as he stays effective...

io said...

B.R.F. if only they would allow state governments generate their own power and police their own states.

while some are ruling B.R.F. is governing. i really dont have anything to add to whats been said, i'll just hope total education reform is done somewhere along the line. i see elements of continuity in his government and i think thats what has made it seem like Fashola hit the ground running. he isnt just any other politian, he didnt come in without a plan like we see in most states today or even at the federal level.

as they say in lagos these days,


Anonymous said...

I heard the guy is trying hard!!He may not be able to solve all the problems of lagos but at least he is making baby steps we cannot say the same for the past governors(okay tinubu started the BRT bus thingy abi?) or even baba go slow(current president)

Omo Oba said...

I have been very impressed by this dude as well. We need to find a way to recruit and retain more Fashola's.

Chxta said...

For some reason the one at Eko Bridge never loads.

I am back in Lagos now, and yesterday I took a long walk around the LCBD, from Marina to Idumota to Tinubu to CMS. All I can say is thumbs up. Let's hope that whoever succeeds him would continue the job as that has been one of the major problems with governance in Naija, continuity...

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