Fashola And The Politics Of 2011


Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola

Apparently not comfortable with his disciplinary nature and frugality in his running the affairs of the state, some politicians are said to be angling for the replacement of the incumbent governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola in 2011.

Political Platform learnt that twice in the space of one year, the governor has faced the heat allegedly orchestrated by hawks within the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, who are not pleased with the idea of handing him another term in office.

The True Face of Lagos, an organisation that claims to be fighting for probity in governance, early in the year waged a fierce campaign against the governor whom it accused of profligacy and corruption, and submitted a petition to the Lagos State House of Assembly canvassing prompt investigation and impeachment if he is found guilty.

Critics of the True Face of Lagos quickly spotted the tone of its position, calling it a political agenda targeted at impugning the character of the governor before the public who are captivated by the seriousness with which he handles state matters and the development he has brought to the state.

As far as these critics are concerned, the intention is to distract the governor and cause him to lose focus in what would offer the so-called hawks an opportunity to mobilise ACN to deny him a second term ticket, which most Nigerians believe should automatically be given to him because of the performance and good image it has given Lagos State, the party and his predecessor and mentor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Besides, the Assembly recently accused the executive of imposing hardship on the people through its tax policies, which the Speaker of the Lagos State Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, dismissed as unacceptable. This in part explained the recent standoff over the supplementary budget, the stalemate which was brokered by Tinubu and some other Lagos elders.

The cold shoulder treatment continues on the Assembly’s side. In the education sector, the lawmakers are taking an entirely different stand on the crisis at the Lagos State University, LASU, owned by the state government.

While the executive is talking about settling the rift between the Vice Chairman and the staff, the Assembly appears to favour outright removal of the VC who students accuse of high-handedness among other things.

Uncomfortable with the attacks on the governor, some democracy activists recently urged Ikuforiji to tone down his persistent verbal attack on Fashola, because such attacks are capable of distracting the governor and giving the ruling ACN a bad image before the people.

Coalition of Odua Self Determination Group, COSEG, scribe, Rasaq Olokooba, gave the charge in an interview in which he described Fashola as a model governor who has redefined the concept of good governance and service delivery in Nigeria.

He said: “We observe that the Speaker has been consistent in his attacks against the governor and we urge him to know that Fashola represents the good things Lagos is bequeathing to Nigeria, and together they should continue this legacy. What we expect from people like the Speaker is to give Fashola the necessary support to succeed, not distracting him.

“While we are not stopping the legislators from doing their oversight function, we want to urge the Speaker to exercise restraint in comments against Fashola, because it will later rub off on the party leadership and governance in Lagos,” he said.

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