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2015: Fashola and The Work Awaiting His Succesor

2015: Fashola and The Work Awaiting His Succesor

That Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has raised the bar of governance in the state is no longer news to Lagosians. That Lagos has also been better off and has witnessed massive infrastructural development under the present administration is also not in question.

Since taking the mantle from Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2007, the Fashola administration has churned out several developmental projects and policies, a feat that has made his government popular across the federation. His sterling performance, especially in the first four years of his administration, earned him accolades from all over the country, including the opposition. Several government representatives from other states and neighbouring countries visited Lagos to understudy and borrow a leaf from the state.

But as the clock ticks, with just about a year and three months left to his administration, residents of Lagos are already apprehensive of who will take up the mantle after Governor Fashola. Their apprehension is the probable fear that the next governor might not be able to deliver the goods as Fashola has done since 2007.

So far, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in the state, is yet to come out open on the candidate they will be throwing their weight behind and rolling out the campaign drums for ahead of the next governorship election in the state.

But Governor Fashola is as concerned as many Lagosians are about who succeeds him, come May 29, 2015.

Indeed, his predecessor in office, Tinubu, does not hesitate to boast about the achievements of Fashola and beat his chest to defend his decision against odds to settle for Fashola and jettison other political heavyweights who were eyeing the seat at the Round House, formerly the seat of power in the state.

Fashola’s emergence in 2006 caused cold war among party members, some of who left the party to register their grievance. Others who chose to stay kept fingers crossed waiting for the opportunity to prove Tinubu wrong.

For the first time this year, Fashola gave a hint on what he expects of his successor, albeit keeping sealed lips on the man whom the party has found worthy to wear his big shoes.

In a brief session with correspondents at his official residence in Marina, Lagos, Governor Fashola revealed that he, just as many residents of the state, was concerned about who emerges the next governor of the state.

However, he assured that his successor would do more than his administration had done in eight years.

Fashola, while responding to a question on who is warming up to replace him, expressed his wish that his successor – the one that will fly the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag in the February 28, 2014 gubernatorial election in the state – will surpass his achievements.

“I am not worried. But I am concerned about my successor, and I hope, firstly, that the next person is a lot better than me. I hope that he can do in four years what we did in eight years, and that can only be beneficial to all of us. Of course, by that time, I will have a governor; because I don’t have one now, I am everybody’s governor.

“We want somebody who can do these things in a shorter time and make all of the things we have done child’s play. That is why I said I don’t want to be the best governor of Lagos State. The best governor of Lagos is a futuristic idea. Every governor of Lagos should be better than the last one. My innermost interest in the next election is for Lagos State, for who will best protect and advance the interest and the course of the state,” he said.

But he said his administration has set a good platform by enacting laws and policies for the next administration after him to continue the success story.

“In terms of policy sustainability, we are fortunate that, over the years, the government of Lagos State is becoming more institutionalised and therefore it is becoming easier for every successor to improve upon what his predecessor has done,” Fashola enthused.

Harping on steps his administration has taken in the area of transportation in the state, he said the government is currently proffering solutions in different areas, adding that there is nowhere in the world where regional government has embarked on such massive transportation works as the state government is currently doing.

His words: “If you look at what we are doing today, there is no state that I can think of that is undertaking the size of transportation solution that we are implementing at the same time in the whole world. They either do one light rail line or one major highway or one major project.

“I don’t know any state in the world that is building the 60 kilometre Lagos/Badagry Expressway, 50-kilometre Lekki/Epe expressway, 20-kilometre Mile12/Ikorodu, a 27-kilometre lite rail, four major jetties and terminals at the same time and also partnering to instal a cable car system.

“Only national governments do what we are doing. That is what is emboldening us to build more homes in Ikorodu, more homes in Agbowa, in Epe and Badagry because we know that by the time they are completed, any journey from there to the city centre will be a maximum of 45 minutes to one hour because we know we would finish them.”

Fashola also gave an update on the proposed Lekki International Airport, revealing that all preparatory works on the proposed project had been done, with the concept design completed as well as international bidding carried out to get the funds for the project.

He disclosed that between five and seven international bidders had indicated interest in the airport project, saying that the project would be purely private-driven while government only provided the needed environment for the project.

For the governor, the Lekki International Airport will not just add to the number of airports in the country, but will be an international airport that can compete globally.

“Those kinds of airports are not the airports government build and run. Government has acquired the land; government is fencing the land; government is doing the commercial, technical and financial study, and we engaged consultants to do that.

“There are people whose business it is to build airports. Some people build airport only for business purposes; they do it for a living. Those are the kinds of people we are talking to. They don’t run it, and7 that is why we have decay. We are looking for people who will build airport and keep it running with all the modern facilities and concession what is needed to do, as government cannot do it,” he said.

For now, all eyes will be on his likely successor, given the number of those who have signified their intension to replace him. And like any other achiever, he should be concern on who succeeds him.

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