#SoundOff: Fashola Has A Track Record Of Leaving The Poor In Tears...

#SoundOff: Fashola Has A Track Record Of Leaving The Poor In Tears [MUST READ]

By Charles Novia | Op-Ed Contributor on November 13, 2015
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Calabar-Odukpani Babatunde Fashola Lagos Senate
FILE: Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State briefing the press at the end of the 2nd quarter of the state's 2013 budget in Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday, July 11, 2013 | NAN Photo

I told myself that I’m not going to comment too much on politics as before for the next few days because I’m in a period of “waiting and seeing”.

But beyond all the plautitudes for Tunde Fashola as the new Minister for Power, Works and Housing, I have to be objective in my opinion in the next few lines.

That Fashola did well in Lagos State as Governor is not a doubt but that too could be arguable to a lot of people. One must appreciate that he gave his best to his job in that regard.

But the developments in Lagos under Fashola came with a heavy price. High taxes for the poor and a huge debt profile for the state. Some of the roads built were budgeted with eye popping figures; the Falomo link bridge costing as much as one billion naira per kilometre! Not to talk of the Lekki Concession Road and the Ikoyi Link Bridge. Fashola’s government had populist programmes but ultra-capitalist hidden agenda which debatably impoverished the poor but pleased the rich. His government was a siege government of perceived developments but sometimes inconsiderate official racketeering. He had a brilliant media team though who blunted sharp perceptions of these infractions.

Taking Fashola to the national stage would be a test of his abilities. That he would do well ( as popularly presumed) is not in doubt but doing well is an amorphous definition. The task is herculean.

In the Works section, he has roads and infrastructure to contend with. Given his antecedents, he might work on the major federal highways but I can bet my last dollar on one thing; Fashola will make sure that TOLL GATES return to the federal highways once more.

I can bet this will happen within the next one year.

I can bet that for every structure Fashola fixes, the people will be made to pay heavily for it through increased or outrageous taxes. Antecedents are there to prove this.

A capitalist administrator doesn’t change overnight. And when his policies would be at variance with Buhari’s populist ambitions to alleviate the suffering of the people, I can bet that Fashola would have his way or bully his way through.

This is not written with anything against the man but with an analysis of his stewardship as Governor.

He tried. But the poor  people cried.

At the national level, poor people don’t cry as such. They throw stones.

Charles Novia is an award-winning filmmaker. He is founder of November Productions and November Records. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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