By Gbenga Oke & Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS—The chilled political relationship between two former governors of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Mr. Babatunde Fashola came to the fore yesterday, when the mainstream of the state’s political class abstained from the launch of three books on Fashola’s stewardship of the state.
However, a testimony of Fashola’s credentials among technocrats was evident as the occasion had a surplus of professionals from various sectors of the society, who thronged the event for the launch.
The anxiety that preceded yesterday’s book launch was aptly echoed by erstwhile chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Fola Adeola, chairman of the occasion, who described those who came for the launch as brave.
The notable political players from the state present were immediate political associates of the former governor, former governorship aspirant, Mr. Supo Sashore, former deputy Governor, Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu, former commissioner for finance in Lagos State, Mr. Wale Edun, Senator Munirudeen Muse, Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Funmilayo Atilade and Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the spokesman of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Also present were the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Mr Gbenga Makanjuola, who represented Senate President Bukola Saraki, Mr Lanre Babalola, Jide Sanwoolu, Rotimi Oyeko, among others.
Tinubu was represented by Prof. Tunde Samuel, a former commissioner in the state. Governor Ibikunle Amosun was represented by Otunba Bimbo Ashiru.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Adeola said he considered those who attended as those who have the interest of the former governor of Lagos at heart.
Adeola hails attendees for bravery
According to him, “I believe everybody that came here today considers Fashola as a friend, brother, cousin, so I greet everyone and welcome them. I will also say some people are here just because they are brave and not afraid. The people who are here today are simply telling him that no matter what, they still remain his friend”.
He went further, “I can tell you that with some faces I have seen here, I think I am fine. At least I can see Palace representatives and majority of our old friends, so for me, it will be a day to remember. I am so happy to be alive in my time that Governor Fashola happened and my prayer is that we will not wait for too long for another Fashola to happen”.
“I was in Benin and somebody was talking about Lagos State and Fashola, I was surprised and wondered where they knew him from. Also, in Kano State during Governor Kwankwanso’s tenure, a young man was saying his governor is trying to replicate what Fashola is doing in Lagos in the state. So in my dictionary, Fashola represents every good thing,” he stated.
My accomplishments not complete without people — Fashola
In his remarks, Fashola said the success of his tenure was made possible because of the people who worked with him while in office.
He also said the book launch was all about Mr Hakeem Bello who painstakingly documented the three books being launched.
He said: “I think it will be wrong for anyone to believe today belongs to me but it is not. It belongs to Hakeem Bello, who painstakingly documented these three books. It also belongs to Dapo Adeniyi, who worked with him. And to all those who joined us in this event, what you have done is to join us in celebrating Hakeem Bello, a gentleman, family man whose passion for his work epitomises his fidelity in what he believes in.
“We need to know that there are people who started this journey before me especially my predecessor in office, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. There are also men and women who served with me while I was n office for eight years. So, those achievements would not have been possible without these people who served with me who also include judges in this state.”
The sky is your limit — Tinubu
Tinubu, who was represented by Prof. Samuel in his message said Fashola’s rugged intellect to public service differentiated him from his peers while he was in office.
“Fashola acquired a lot of apprenticeship in a wired political engineering and this further helped his actions while in office. I am happy that your ruggedness in office has shown Lagosians and Nigerians that Asiwaju took a very good decision when he made you his Chief of Staff and later two time Governor of Lagos state” he added.
He however concluded, “We are happy about your success in office and we believe the sky is your limit”.
Amosun, represented by Otunba Ashiru compared the challenges encountered by Fashola in his effort to improve infrastructure in Lagos to what late Chief Obafemi Awolowo faced when he was the Premier of the Western Region.
The three books launched yesterday were The Great Leap; In Bold Print and The Lagos Blow Down.
Moses Ogunleye.His words “What you have done in Lagos, the legacy will continue to remain forever. When late Chief Obafemi Awolowo decided to build the Cocoa House, there were several protests from Nigerians that the country was not ripe for such a structure, but he stood with the plan and today; it has remained in the annals of the country’s history. And for Fashola, look at the cable bridge between Ikoyi and Lekki, no one believed that it could happen. You have just left office but Nigerians still need your experience,” he said.