21st September, 2011
Â Olukayode Ezekiel Salako, President Of FASHOLAMANIA Independent Support Movement Worldwide spoke with P.M.NEWS speaks on the performance of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola in the first 100 days of his second term in office and other national issues.
What is your assessment of the Governor Babatunde Fasholaâ€™sÂ 100 days of his second term in office?
Obviously, anybody who still has good eyes and realistic enough will know that nothing has changed about Mr. Fasholaâ€™s government. The tempo and degree of work efforts and output by this government is still there.
Hence, Lagos is still very much working on a faster lane of growth and development. Fashola is still working as much as he had worked in his first term. The only difference is that Fasholaâ€™s second term is a period to consolidate on the achievements and gains of his first term. One definitely would not expect the same level of operation and noise that his first term generated because a lot of work has already been done to reconstruct, reorganise and reorientate Lagos. His first term was a crucial period in the life of Lagos when this government was just introducing good governance and ideal leadership to us. So, then, so many things were new to us. So many things BRFâ€™S government was doing were new to Nigeria. His style of government and performance drive was very new to us then. The way he was transforming, reorganizing, sanitizing, cleaning and beautifying Lagos was not common to Lagosians. That drive and achievement index was high and highly superb. In less than 1,500 days, Fashola had captured that disorganised, dirty and notorious Lagos for security, peace and socio-economic prosperity, hence, a subject of external interest attraction and envy among from within and outside Nigeria.
There is no perfect society and perfect government all over the world and neither has there been any government who can or has completely solved the problem of its society. So, it is only a stark illiterate or a deceptive person that would expect Governor Fashola to solve all the problems of Lagos, even in 20 years. Is it possible?
Obviously, there are some basic problems of every society that there is no government in the world that has completely solved or proffer 100% solution to. The first is security. The second is unemployment and the third is the prevalence of natural disaster as well as poverty eradication.
But the PDP in Lagos State, through its Chairman, Mr. SetonjiÂ Koshoedo recently accused Mr. Fasholaâ€™s government of being complacent in this second term. What is your own reaction to this allegation?
It is very normal for the Lagos PDP to hurriedly come out with that kind of a negative assessment of Mr. Fasholaâ€™s second term. It is not unexpected. We all know that the Lagos PDP is the major opposition party to ACN in Lagos State just the same way the ACN is the major opposition party to PDP at the Federal level. Their stock in trade is accusing each other of one thing or another, and this is normal and healthy to strengthen competition in representative governance. If there is no accusation like that, it is very possible for either the Governors or even the President to indeed relax. But with criticisms like that, governments will always be reminded not to disappoint Nigerians.
However, my candid reaction to Mr. Kodeoshoâ€™s accusation is that, One: The Lagos PDP has not had the opportunity of governing Lagos State before, so it might not really know the in-depth challenges governing Lagos the way they feel it should be can really pose. Mr. Kodeosho has not governed Lagos before, so it is going to be easy for him to be criticising from the outside. Two: To me, Fasholaâ€™s second term is more a period of consolidation on the achievements and performance of his first term. His first term was a period when ideal, good and rewarding governance were introduced to Lagos anew. It was a period of cleaning and re-organizing Lagos environmentally and infrastructural. It was a period when Lagos State was reclaimed from chaos, decadence, confusion and kingdoms of touts and hoodlums.
But now, there may not be need like that for all the noise again, because we are now getting used to enjoying civilised, conscientious, peaceful and rewarding governance. Realistically, 70% of the Lagos problems were seriously addressed during Fasholaâ€™s first term. Now is the time of consolidation and sustaining that legacy of entrenching ideal governance and sincere leadership in our polity for the future administrations to inherit and build on.
What do you think should be the major priority area of Governor Fashola now in this second term?
I think the security and conducive socio-economic environment. You see, all Lagos State needs to continue to grow and develop socio-economically and politically is a determined, visionary and sincere leadership and government like we have seen in Governor Fashola. We continue to deserve governments that must continue to re-organise, improve the Lagos environment as well as develop infrastructure. We deserve a government that can be bold enough to continue to discourage the evolution of jungles, dark spots, dangerous zones, slums etc. We deserve a government that will continue to reclaim all these jungles and dangerous zones like Ile Zik in Ikeja; OshodiÂ bus stop; Mushin, Oluwole and converting them to useful and guided public facilities like garden parks; recreational parks; modern motor parks and so on like that. We deserve governments that have wherewithal of character, civility, conscience, peacefulness etc like BRFâ€™s to continue to govern Lagos just exactly the way it should be. We deserve governments that can implement our laws and make them work for an equitable and just society we all deserve. So, I am an advocate of a secure, peaceful, conducive and socio-economically prosperous Lagos for all of us to enjoy. That is what we deserve! I will always advise Nigerians to always seek first the kingdom of good and prosperous environment and every other things shall be added unto them.
What attract Nigerians to abandon their own country and travel abroad is the, conducive, well organised, beautiful and prosperous socio-economic environment they see when they get to many of these countries. What can or what will attract decent people to our own country too is that type of environment.
The priority of Governor Fashola must continue to be to focus on the security, environmental and socio-economic re-organisation and transformation of the state. He must continue to ensure that sanity continues to govern Lagos, because if there is no sanity in the state, there would not be security. If area boys just feel they can go and colonize any junction and start collecting money. There is no way that society can develop socio-economically with this kind of situation. At the same time, we are still watching him, maybe he will disappoint Lagosians or not.
What do you think is the major problem facing Lagos State that BRFâ€™s government needs to address urgently?
The main problem that I know is the most critical challenge that is giving the government a serious headache is the population of Lagos State and the peculiar character and orientation of that population. Evidently, Lagos is too over populated and more and more people are still coming into Lagos every hour to search for means of livelihood. To many Nigerians, Lagos is a place to do the hustle for survival. So, most people come into Lagos with that mentality-They believe Lagos is a no manâ€™s land. They believe Lagos has no law that governs it. They believe the government of Lagos State has no right to make them live according to any law.
So, with that mind-set, most people intentionally and flagrantly abuse the law of the state. And this is a serious issue! It is a serious issue when the citizen of a state, under the excuse of survival and poverty, just want to live anyhow in any how environment, frustrating the efforts of government and all of that! This is a challenge that has lived with Lagos over time.
So what do you now think is the solution to this problem?
I donâ€™t see any magical solution to these problems unless states are empowered by the constitution to starts issuing inter-state entry permit like visa in Nigeria and people can be deported to their respective states, which is not possible in a sovereign nation.
But with enough time, the problem can only be alleviated. The efforts to achieve this still lie in the hands of every successive government that comes on board in the state. The government must muster enough courage and political will to force people to live according to the law, just as it is happening now with the current administration. We have laws that must be used to regulate and organise how we live in Lagos.
The government must continue to implement those laws so that our society can work. Lagos cannot continue to be a no manâ€™s land where every evil and anti-social tendencies hibernate-where anything and everything goes! Offenders must be arrested. People in power must stop playing godfatherly roles to criminally minded people all in the name of politics. Politics of gangsterism has not helped Nigeria! Â The government must increase surveillance and make people to live in the consciousness of our laws. That is only when the Lagos society can come out of her environmental challenges.
Â What is your stance on the new tenancy bill passed and signed into law by Governor Fashola few days ago?Â
To me, that is one of the best laws the Lagos Assembly has enacted so far. It is a beautiful law, no doubt, but the issue of the tenancy law has generated a lot of controversies among Lagosians. But a law that wants to do any society well is always greeted with controversies, because, definitely it will affect some people positively, and other people negatively. And it is normal to expect Lagos landlords to want to kick against the survival of the law. They will not want to welcome it. Because all along, it is the Lagos landlords that have been killing and frustrating their tenants.
But the question many people are asking is how has the government planned to implement it. Implementation is the issue, because right now, many landlords are still daring the government over it. They are realistically not just obeying the law at all! And what is the essence of the law that is good, existing but not effective? That is the question! Most Landlords now tell tenants to go and meet Fashola to give them houses if they want to pay one year or six months as stipulated by the law.
What kind of a person do you expect to succeed Governor Fashola in 2015?
I expect a visionary and missionary; ideal character personified; peaceful and civilised, sincere; honest and transparent; â€¦ leader like Governor Babatunde Â Fashola to succeed him in 2015. I want to see a man who is not a â€˜typicalâ€™ Nigerian politician. I want to see another cultured and business-minded man to take over from him. I want to see another simple, intelligent and conscientious leader, who can continue to govern Lagos peacefully into further socio-economic prosperity to be governor in 2015. Not the typical Nigerian politician who will not do anything.
What do you think is the major problem of Nigeria, in view of the escalating political, economic and religious problems that have plagued Â the nation overtime?
The most prominent problem facing the nation is darkness! The nation is in both political and economic darkness! The nation is in both spiritual and physical darkness! Everybody seems blind because we all cannot see. And those who feel they can see, cannot see very well. Is it possible to see gainfully in a nation that has no light? Even those who have the jobs go to work or do their jobs inside the darkness.
That is why majority of them use glasses and yet they cannot see. That is why they have not been able to see where the Boko Haramists and their bombs are, since they have been bombing Nigeria and innocent Nigerians. Economically the nation cannot see! Religiously, the nation is confused in that darkness! That is why some people will say Western education, they are also benefitting from, is a sin, that it is not good! That is why there is confusion even in Christianity and Islam. That is why rouges and thieves now establish worship centres and now call themselves the messiahs and the people believe them all because they cannot see. Majority of our political leaders are irresponsible and deceptive, yet Nigerians praise and celebrate them, all because the nation is in darkness and everybody cannot see! That is the problem! Until there is light of truth, conscience, equity and justice, welfare and generally good life manifesting in Nigeria, the nation will continue to wobble, fumble and surviving epileptically.
Nigeria has no problem; the major problem of Nigeria is the character and orientation of Nigerians. Let the political leadership change its character and awkward orientation of embezzling and amassing wealth, and stop deceiving Nigerians, and then it will lead and govern Nigeria well.
Finally, there are six main regions in the country, but apparently as it seems, the North is feeling very more superior to the rest of the federating units in Nigeria. Politically, religiously and militarily, that region feels more superior in Nigeria. That is why problems keep coming from the North all the time. Some sections of the North feel that certain privileges especially political in Nigeria are their birthright. There is no way this will continue to manifest and there will be peace and development in the country.
If the Nigerian nation must continue to survive as one, the North must stop seeing themselves as superior to the rest of the Nigerian nation. That is why I say it that many of the solutions to the problems of Nigeria are in the Northern part of Nigeria. Is it not a Nigerian leader from the North who went behind the rest of the federating regions to register Nigeria as a member Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC); it is another CBN leader who wants to impose Islamic Banking System or Sharia Banking system on Nigeria. Now, the Northern leaders are threatening to go to war, against the rest of Nigeria, if they wonâ€™t be allowed to run the banking system. The question is: Is Nigeria an Islamic country or a secular country? That is the issue! How can there be peace when a region out of six will always want to impose their beliefs and ideals on others? Can what the Boko Haram sect wants ever be realistic in a secular Nigeria? Â The North should let Nigeria survive! Afterall, the Muslims in the South are not giving Nigeria problems.