Lagosians see the administration of outgoing governor BabatundeFashola from both positive and negative lens. But Fashola said he has delivered on his campaign promises to the people of the state. OKUNADE ADEKUNLE reports
The Lagos State governor, Mr. BabatundeFashola, would be exiting the governorship position on the 29th May after completing his two terms of four years each as the chief executive of Lagos. Fashola who came into power in 2007, succeeded Asiwaju Bola Tinubu under whose government he served as Chief of Staff through which garnered wide experience in public service.
It is right to state that Tinubu’s choice of Fashola as his successor was because of the fact that Fashola showed a sense of integrity, administrative competence and commitment to public service as Chief of Staff, in the midst of other aspirants at that time. Although, some political observers argued that Fashola as Tinubu’s choice in 2007 was as a result of their long term relationship which had started before Tinubu became governor of Lagos in 1999.
Politically, Fashola may not be able to withstand the political sagacity of Tinubu, but administratively Fashola has set a standard for measuring good governance in the country. As it is now, his government has become the yardstick for gauging good performance in public service.
It remains a fact that the first tenure of Fashola witnessed rapid infrastructural development across the local governments of the state, which also opened the economic space of the state for both local and foreign investors to come into the state. Although, some of the infrastructural development activities are said to have been concentrated in the Island parts of the state, there is also the perception that his government is elitist and anti-people in terms of public policies and programmes.
Investigations showed that Fashola’s government recorded strides in the health sector of the state’s economy, whereby he equipped the state hospitals with drugs and adequate staffers to provide qualitative health care at a more affordable fee. He continuously rehabilitated most of the state’s hospitals which were in bad state before his election.
In the area of sports and youth development, Fashola also put in place robust youth participatory governance whereby all the local governments in the state have youth development centres run by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN). It was disclosed that the idea behind the youth centres were to create an avenue whereby the youths would gather to discuss and contribute to the policy formulation process of the government at the local government level through feedback mechanism. He has been able to resuscitate the sports sector of the state’s economy whereby sports has become a lucrative business in the various ministries of the state. Several sport talents have been discovered and even harnessed to make Lagos one of the major sports centres in the country.
When Hallmark went to the street of Lagos to speak with Lagosians on what they would remember Fashola for when he leaves office in the next few weeks, some of the respondents argued that Fashola’s record may not be equaled by his successor. They further argued that Fashola’s commitment to good governance was as a result of his personal conviction to ensure Lagos is one of the best run states in Africa.
The fact remains that some Lagosians do not speak good of his administration especially the draconian policies that were targeted at the poor people of Mainland part of the state. They will not forget the demolition of shops and houses in the guise of building a mega city for the rich, which brought untold hardship to the people on the streets. Fashola once asked non-indigenes who could no longer cope with the government policies to come and collect transport money of about N5, 000 and leave the state. the Igbo deportation saga is also still fresh in the memories of many residents.
Mr. OlufemiOsinowo is a Facility Manager in one of the Facility Management Company on the Victoria Island. She told Hallmark that he would remember Fashola for his integrity in governance, which has become a standard for subsequent governments coming in to govern the state. Osinowo stressed that Fashola has showed that integrity matters a lot in ensuring good governance in public space. He also said if not for Fashola, there would have been large scale of indiscipline among motorists, arguing that the proper education of Drivers through the Driving Institute of Lagos state had helped the driving behavior of the residents.
Also, Mr. Shola Adaramola, who is a geographer who resides in AbuleEgba, stressed that Fashola would be remembered as symbol of good education as he eulogized him on the rehabilitation of the secondary schools in the state. Adaramola added that Fashola’s interest in education development has helped to take away some children off the streets of Lagos to the classrooms.
A staff of the Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS), Olukayode Festus, told Hallmark that under Fashola’s government there has been tremendous revenue development in terms of more funds being generated internally. He explained that Fashola’s government has jacked up the revenue base of the state beyond the expectation of the people. He admitted that the civil servants may not be comfortable with some of his policies as it affect the civil service.
“ As a career officer in this state, I will tell you that most of our people in service are not happy with Fashola because of the style he is using in shaping civil service behavior, ever since he became governor”, said Festus.
Speaking with some market men and women in Oshodi, they berated Fashola’s government, lamenting that his government has rendered them hapless and made life unbearable for them because they could not afford the new shops built after demolition of their stores some years ago.
A cloth seller at Oshodi, AlhajaBolanle Salvador, stated that although Fashola means well for the people the way and manner he executes his policies appear harsh and unbearable for the people. He pointed out that Lagosians are not used to sudden change in behavior as Fashola aimed to do.
Meanwhile, Fashola has said that he delivered on his electoral promises to Lagosians as he prepared to bow out of office.
Fashola stated this at the celebration of his 2,900 days in office at the Lagos Television gound, Ikeja. He cited several areas his administration had delivered the dividends of democracy to the people since he took over eight years ago.
Speaking on the transportation sector, Fashola stated that the reduction in the number of deaths arising from accidents involving motorcycle riders also known as ‘Okada’ had been reduced to the barest minimum as a result of restriction of commercial motorcycle operators to some routes, among others.
For one, Fashola’s government means different thing to different people depending on how the policies and programmes of the state affected the person.