Fashola Defines Leadership


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has defined the character of the leadership he offers to the people of Lagos State as team work.

He explained that it is based on the recognition of the interlink between all the participants in the act of governance.

Governor Fashola who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja, while playing host to visiting students of the Stanford Graduate School of Business likened the team to a processing plant where, according to him, “everybody’s role is important; where we are as strong as our strongest link and as weak as our weakest link.”

“We ensure that even the weakest of us is never left behind. As much as we do not wish to wait for anybody, we do not leave any member of the team behind and that has been the character of the kind of leadership that I think I would like to captain”, Governor Fashola said, adding, “I see myself as the captain of that team”.

Explaining further, the governor said, “In a democratic fashion, we debate issues vigorously. I am defeated sometimes when the motion originates from me. But I try to listen a lot to those people who are meant to advise me. But as soon as a motion is agreed upon, those who oppose the motion are duty bound to support and effectuate its implementation as if it originated from them. And we oftentimes give the responsibility for implementation to the person who moved the motion. We rally around him to ensure that the decision is implemented.”

Governor Fashola said the importance of democracy to Nigeria “lies in the fact there is still no other acceptable form of government by global standards where the affairs of men are ordered in a participatory manner.

“And if you look at the form of government before democratic governance, the empires and the monarchies, where there was scanty, if any, consultation or participation, then you will understand that as a developing nation and one of the emerging markets for the future, it is important that law and order are entrenched by the globally acceptable standards in which they are done in much more prosperous countries and economies,” the governor said.

“Therefore, democracy becomes an important fora because it allows our people to get involved in the way their affairs are planned, in the way their affairs are ordered and in the way that their affairs are affected. It also gives them a voice, even if they do not agree, to express their disagreement in an orderly manner such that institutions that support democracy, such as the press, is allowed to thrive so that everybody has his or her say even if the majority have their way in the end.”

“The majority may not be always right, but the process has been conducted in such a way that everybody feels that his or her own expectations have been taken on board and by the rule of the game, the majority has had its way and the society prospers in an orderly and consistent manner knowing also that you stand the legitimate chance to alter the policy at the prospect and opportunity of another election”, the governor said.

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He said by that process, the people could change the things that they do not accept or keep things that they feel comfortable to live with, adding that because in every society, conflicts are inevitable; the Judiciary plays a very important role in keeping the reins of power through the management of the conflicts and tussles that arise in the process.

“I think the future of democracy here and the strength will depend on the answers that we leaders provide to the questions the people are asking us such as ‘what is the content of democracy? We are seeing so much economic growth with no money in our pocket; and I think that is the real content of democracy. It challenges us to do more than we think we can do; more than what we sometimes want to accept as possible”, the governor said.

On the areas of dispute between the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government, Governor Fashola explained that such disputes oftentimes occur as a result of the fact that the country operates multi-party democracy where government at the centre may be in a different party from those in some states.

“Because we have multi-party democracy, it happens sometimes that government at the centre and the state where the conflict is do not come from the same political party space and, therefore, the real issue tends to be escalated on the altar of politics so that you see the issue assuming a much more political toga”, the governor said.

According to the governor, “In the heart of it is the legal issue. While the very strong issue of the economy agitates the minds, some members make it a point to escalate and colour it. Those are the kinds of issues that play out here at different levels; where real issues get coloured by political affiliates”.

“But I say the more resourceful we become in terms of the quality of personnel that hold these platforms, the better for our people. Once the elections are won and lost, the most important thing is governance and governance should have no colour”, the Governor said.

Emphasizing that all the states of the Federation are as different as their aspirations are different, Governor Fashola declared, “They surrender a collective government to a Federal Government to act on their behalf in areas like Defence, External Relations, Citizenship, determination of Currency and all of that. Sadly, in our case, there has been a long period of military rule and many of the regimes had not done much to advance the cause of democracy. Many of their decrees still dot our Laws and are yet to be reviewed”.

The Students were earlier briefed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi, on the various infrastructural developments that have taken place and are still on-going in Lagos State including those in Transport and other sectors of the economy.

A representative of the students, Rachel Fleitell, later presented a souvenir to Governor Fashola on behalf of the delegation while thanking him and other members of the State Executive Council present for a most illuminating visit. Other members of the State Executive Council present were the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, Special Adviser, Central Business District, Mrs. Aderinola Disu, and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms Moji Rose.

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