Don’t Compare Jonathan With Mandela, Obama - Fashola

•Governor Raji Fashola2

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola

Kazeem Ugbodaga

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has said the advert currently running on major television channels comparing President Goodluck Jonathan with great leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and others as well as showcasing his achievement in the area of security and infrastructure is blasphemous.

Fashola commented on the issue on Tuesday at the public presentation of a book titled “Giants of History” (The Making of Our World), written by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Aderemi Ibirogba at the Civic Centre, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

According to Fashola, the video advert, comparing some select world leaders like President Barack Obama, the late President Nelson Mandela and former Singaporean President, Lee Kuan Yew with Jonathan, is to say the least blasphemous.

Governor Babatunde Fashola
Governor Babatunde Fashola

“If those people think everything is all right, then it must be two things; it is either they are watching the news on black and white television sets or they are reading the newspaper upside down. It is not the leader who would tell us that he or she is great.

“We would be the ones to say it and acknowledge it because we wear the shoes and know where it hurts. At the end of the day, when the people are still crying out about their safety and electricity issues, it means that we are not speaking the same language and that we are not responding to the same stimuli,” he stated.

Governor Fashola said that proclaiming greatness should not be the lot of leaders themselves but the natural testimony of people who have felt the impact of their greatness, adding that great men do not tell the tales of their own greatness.

According to him, there is a leadership question in Nigeria which is primarily about the leadership vacuum that exists in the public sector, maintaining that there are so much resources in capacity and talent in the private sector.

He added that the answer to any question about whether Nigeria had the men and women who could deliver the goods in the public sector would elicit a definitive answer, but that the most pertinent question should be: have such people been deployed to areas where they are most needed?

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Fashola asserted that the quicker the nation resolved to redeploy the men and women with the capacity to the areas of the public sector where the shoe pinches most, the better it would be for everyone.

The governor reiterated that this was not the best of times to be a leader because demands had not only become complex but the problems too had become complex, stressing that a leader must lead in good or bad times.

Fashola commended Ibirogba for picking the gauntlet when he challenged members of the cabinet to write and enrich public space because there is a dearth of books on public service life.

He expressed the hope that through the publication of such books which retell already told stories and people get to read them, they will feel inspired to do something about what they don’t like.

In his review of the book, Tunde Ipadeola described the book as a broad publication which shows the difference between fame and infamy, quite versatile and capable of use by people of all ages as it is concise and precise.

He added that having read the book with an inner radar turned on for why any particular choice was made, he discovered that each chosen example earned his or her place in the pantheon and could have been more but because the author chose to settle for the statistically significant number of 150.

The book was later publicly presented by Governors Fashola and Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, while being supported by the representatives of the Governors of Ogun State, Mr Yussuph Olaniyonu; Edo State, Mr Louis Odion; Oyo State, Prince Gbade Lana and Mr Tayo Ekundayo from Ekiti State.

Prominent among those who witnessed the event were members of the state Executive Council including the Secretary to the State Government, Dr (Mrs) Ranti Adebule, Commissioners for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Taofik Tijani, Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr Enitan Oshodi, Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi and several local government chairmen and party leaders.