Fading Face Of Fashola In Lagos Politics
Nigeria News Takes a look at the fading face of Babatunde Fashola in Lagos politics.
After eight years of servicing Lagos State as governor, it will be an understatement to say that Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) did well.
He actualized his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s blueprint to the letter but rather for him to be celebrated, Fashola is gradually moving into political oblivion.
Towards the end of his first term in office, a group, “True Face of Lagos” suddenly surfaced in the state with allegations of financial impropriety against Fashola.
It was later discovered that the faceless group were stooges of the kingmaker, Tinubu who had suddenly developed anger with the administrative style of Fashola.
The governor was accused of being too far away from the grassroots and had deliberately diverted his attention to some technocrats to embezzle money.
Unlike during Tinubu’s era when grassroots politicians were awarded some contracts to do, Fashola would always give out projects to technocrats.
He left politics for politicians and faced government squarely. Fashola was not ready to spend taxpayers’ money to run politics, an idea Tinubu would not take.
Fashola enjoyed his first term but almost lost the second term ticket until he was ready to play ball with his former boss.
The party, Action Congress on which he rode to the state house was tired of him and was looking for a better alternative but Fashola’s performance had endeared him so much to Lagos residents that they wanted him for second term in office.
Tinubu was hell bent until some Lagos elders including Alhaji Femi Okunnu and the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu meddled into the crisis.
Eventually, Fashola got the ticket to run for the second term with various adjustments in his cabinet. He had to drop his deputy, Princess Sarah Adebisi-Sosan and run with the former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Joke Orelope-Adefulire.
One strength in Fashola is that he could work with anybody despite his exceptional brilliance. He was elected under ACN with Orelope-Adefulire as deputy.
The main job of Orelope-Adefulire was not to assist but to check Fashola’s untoward attitude to the party and of course to update the Lion of Bourdillon, Tinubu about the situation of things in Lagos government.
Being a grassroots politicians, the Deputy Governor, Adefulire delivered what the party wanted as Fashola gracefully exited Lagos State Government House in 2015 with his shoulders held so high.
His performance eventually earned him the position of super minister at the Federal level in the present administration where he occupies the office of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
But before he quits as Lagos governor, Fashola had it tough again with Tinubu. He had wanted a close friend and the former Attorney General and State Commissioner for Justice, Supo Sasore to succeed him as the next governor but Tinubu had a joker, a former Accountant General of the state Akinwunmi Ambode.
Ambode worked with Fashola for a period as the state Accountant General but retired to sharpen his political skills under the tutelage of Tinubu.
Ambode signified his intention to govern Lagos long ago but investigation revealed that Fashola forced him to resign from state service due to some allegations of financial recklessness.
Fashola wouldn’t have supported Ambode’s candidacy, so he kicked against it but saw the bad side of Tinubu for the second time.
Ambode won the primaries and eventually became the state governor in 2015 against a perennial PDP candidate Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
Expectedly, the emergence of Ambode distanced Tinubu from Fashola who is now seen as a traitor and ingrate to his former mentor and benefactor.
The hostility became pronounced during the Lagos State 50th Year anniversary when all past governors were invited but Fashola was surprisingly absent at the events.
Fashola was the only past governors of the state living that could not attend “Lagos at 50” anniversary despite that he was the immediate past administrator.
It was gathered that the state Governor, Ambode personally invited all past governors to celebrate the state as it clocked 50 about two months ago but Fashola tuned the invitation down on the excuse that he was busy with national assignment at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
The crisis between Tinubu, Fashola, Ambode and even the All Progressives Congress, APC became more visible on Saturday when Fashola failed to turn up for the Local Government election in Lagos.
Members of the party had stormed the Itolo ward, Surulere where the governor always votes but they were disappointed that Fashola was nowhere to be found.
His Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Akeem Bello later said that the minister could not come to exercise his civic rights because he was busy in Abuja.
“This is not good at all. Fashola shouldn’t have behaved this way. He is gradually alienating himself from Lagos politics. He may fade away with his gargantuan achievements. If former governor Alhaji Jakande could come out to vote on Saturday and Tinubu also did the same, I don’t see why Fashola shouldn’t have,” Mr. Moses Soloki, a political analyst said.