Impeach Fashola Ke?

By Adebayo Kareem.

ÔÇśThe more I see the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs'

Alphonso de Lamartine.

As a Nigerian, one has conditioned oneself to expect anything from Nigeria, no matter how outrageously preposterous such might be. After all, the moment you thought a story emanating from our country must represent the zenith of absurdity, another quickly emerges that condemns it to the realm of logical ordinariness. One of the most outlandish rumours making the rounds in the last couple of weeks is the story that the governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola's job might be in danger. When I first heard that Fashola might be impeached by the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, apparently because he has fallen out with his mentor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I was immediately dismissive of it: why would an AC-controlled House of Assembly impeach a governor who is the toast of the country? However as they say, there is no smoke without fire and certain incidents and utterances from certain well placed people appear to indicate that perhaps all is not well with the governor and his godfather.

A clear pointer to this was the ill-disguised criticism by Honourable Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly of Fashola at the presentation of the 2010 budget proposal by the governor:

ÔÇśWhile Lagosians in several constituencies have commended the efforts of our government so far, the visit of the House also revealed some shortcomings and uneven spread in our developmental efforts....Today, you are the toast and they will even tell the gullible that nothing was good before you got in as governor; they will tell you nothing good happens to Lagos State before you became governor. They will flatter you to no end; they will like to isolate you from your roots. They will want you to believe that your administration is the first in the world to hit the ground and has achieved like no one else'

Unusually strong words indeed. In politics form is often as important as substance of a statement and it has to be said that, no matter the validity of the statement or good intention of the speaker, the way and manner it was said and the fact that it was aired in public suggests that there is ÔÇśhigh-wired' politics going on in the state that portends danger not only to governor Fashola but also to Senator Tinubu. Like most Nigerians in Diaspora, this writer was surprised by the emergence of Fashola as the AC governorship candidate in the 2007 elections. All political permutations during the time had suggested the emergence of one of the more visible players in the Tinubu administration. It is a measure of the vision and political gravitas of Tinubu that he pulled his weight behind Fashola and practically ensured his victory at the poll. He clearly saw something in Fashola which most Lagosians could not have seen and in my opinion that singular action renewed and, to an extent, redeemed Tinubu. Indeed it could be argued that Fashola's emergence as the Lagos state governor and his performance in office are the motor propelling Senator Tinubu into the apotheosis of Yoruba leadership. After all, if you would not give kudos to the man who gave Lagosians Fashola what will you do to the man who imposed Yar'Adua on us?

Contrary to Ikuforiji's assertion, Lagosians are no fools and are able to identify a good leader when they see one. Yes, in every area of human endeavour, one should always aspire to do better and there are always areas of improvement. However Fashola deserve all the kudos he has been garnering. Fashola has shown that with the right vision and application, our country is not beyond redemption; that the so called ÔÇśdividends of democracy' is not an empty buzzword. Ikuforiji spoke of the hazards daily faced by the users of the ÔÇśLagos-Ikorodu road, Itoikin/Epe road, Pen-Cinema-Ishaga road...', but conveniently disregarded and failed to acknowledge that Fashola's government has constructed, amongst others, the Abule-EgbaÔÇôEkoro ÔÇô Agbelekale-Meiran road, reconstructed the Ago Palaceway Extension road, dualised the Isheri-Iba-Ojo road. These are roads this writer passed through during my recent trip to Lagos.

Lagosians and Nigerians who fete Fashola are not gullible. The governor of Plateau state, General Jonah Jang {a man who claimed to have spent 12 years working in Lagos} recently told Fashola:

ÔÇśI must say honestly that I rate you the best among us in terms of development in the states we preside over...We should start paying one another state visits to learn from what each of us is doing. Irrespective of our different political parties, we have a lot to learn from one another, and I believe, it is not time for politics, as the president said, it is time to work for the nation,"

And governor Jang belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party {PDP}. Similarly, Senator David Mark {of the ÔÇśtelephone is not for the poor' fame}, also a stalwart of the PDP, at a two-day public hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution by the Review Committee, South-West Zone, in Lagos, on Monday last week admonished Lagos lawmakers not to distract Fashola from the good work he is doing in the state:

"I was telling distinguished Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, who was sitting beside me in the car from the airport that Fashola is performing well. He should not be distracted by anybody. He is doing well and should be encouraged, rather than be distracted."

In a country where politics is a do-or-die affair; where politicians have been conditioned not to see anything good in the actions of members of the opposing parties, it is very refreshing and also a measure of the universal thumb up for Fashola that two members of the PDP, one of whom is also the Nation's number 3 man, have thrown party politics into the wind and publicly applauded the Lagos state governor. It is tragic that it is this same man that some lawmakers are now thinking of impeaching.

It has been said that in addition to the White and the Black races, you also have the Nigerian race! And the Nigerian race has the propensity to deify the crooks whilst rubbishing the best amongst us. Any observer of Nigerian politics would know that the way and manner Fashola emerged is always going to throw up inter-personal conflicts between Fashola and his mentor. This is inevitable, since as Malcolm X once said, ÔÇśpower never takes a back step except in the face of more power'. The question has always been how long the delicate ÔÇśpower sharing formula' between Fashola and Tinubu would last before the god-father feel the needs to rein in his prot├ęg├ęe. It is conceded by observers of Lagos affairs that one of the reasons for the success of Fashola has been the fact that he has been given the latitude to concentrate his considerable energy and talents on administering the state, leaving the ÔÇśreal politik' to Tinubu to handle. This has suited both parties till now and in the opinion of this writer, they could both do worse to rock the boat. It is imperative that the two players in this arrangement continue to, for their own sake, be sensible in the way they go about managing it without mutually destroying each other. Given that most members of the Lagos State House of Assembly owe their allegiance to Tinubu, it is high time he called them to order. Lagosians are politically savvy and sophisticated and will not be held to ransom by political in-fighting and intrigues. The way and manner Lagosians dealt with the Agbalajobi-Sarumi imbroglio, leading to the election of Chief Otedola as the Lagos State governor is a pointer to this. I hope history is not about to repeat itself in Lagos state.

Adebayo Kareem, Solicitor-Advocate, writes from London.




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Re: Impeach Fashola Ke?
Awogbami posted on 12-24-2009, 06:50:35 AM
My dear brother, this one is a lie! Iro ni! Ko le sele. If it happens, this would be the political end of Bola Tinubu. His billions will not be able to save him. Mark my word.
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