Former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola was among the nominees sent to the Senate on Tuesday, and as expected he has a lot of people talking, mostly for the right reasons.
The ministerial nominees sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari was officially made public on Tuesday 6th of October.
Following the release of the list, there have been speculations and counter-speculations regarding who should get what appointment and what-not.
There are those who believe Lai Mohammed should be Minister of Information, due to his background in publicity and PR. Some say former PDP chairman Audu Ogbeh should be Minister of Agriculture by virtue of his reputation in the agricultural sector.
Perhaps the biggest dilemma is on what appointment Fashola should be given. There are those who say he should be in the Ministry of Transportation. Others opine that he should be in Power, and they all have good reasons. But the most popular opinion is that he should be made Minister of Works.
1. He gave Lagos a major infrastructural face-lift: From roads to hospitals, and even sporting facilities, Fashola made sure to leave no sector untouched. The General Hospitals received not just cosmetic fixes as we've become very used to in Nigeria, he took significant steps in ensuring that the delivery of services improved drastically.
If his state-wide accomplishments could be scaled down to one location, it would have to be the Nigeria's busiest and arguably the most notorious bus stop; Oshodi Underbridge. Oshodi went from chaos to order in a jiffy. People who know Lagos can testify.
According to the Daily Independent, between May 2011 and March 2015, a total number of 161 roads stretching over 147,347km was completed. This helped to improve improve the road network and ease the traffic nightmares of Lagosians, which brings us to the next point.
2. Traffic Management: Not only did his administration create the most advanced intra-state road transportation system in Nigeria, the BRT, his administration also made efforts to provide alternative means of transportation like providing a more enabling environment for water transportation.
Also, the he kicked off the Lagos Mono rail project which will also reduce the traffic burden on Lagos roads when completed by the Ambode administration.
3. Power: By law, state governments can't provide electricity for private consumption. Nonetheless, Fashola's administration still made some commendable strides in providing electricity for government infrastructure in Lagos, reducing energy costs by 40% according to Punch. In fact, Fashola said at the commissioning of the fifth Independent Power Project (IPP) facility, "Let the EKO DISCOs sign a contract with me, giving part of their concessioning to the state government. In about six to eight months, there will be power in all homes in Lagos State."
4. Ebola: Perhaps what he is most endeared for is the way his administration handled the Ebola crisis in 2014. This not only saved Nigeria from the plague, but it also made Nigeria the first country to completely eradicate the virus. That counts, a lot.
Also, Nigerians won't forget Dr. Adadevoh who put her life on the line for all of us.
5. He is a 'Big Picture' kind of man: Rumour has it that there was this civil servant at Alausa who to thought of a strategy to ease the burden of traffic in Lagos. He wrote a proposal for the creation of a Traffic Management Authority that is now LASTMA. That man was Fashola.
The thing is, Fashola was not perfect, there are areas his administration didn't do enough in. There are areas Lagosians believe he could have achieved more.
But no matter how much we criticise and even vilify him, there's one thing we can't take away from him; the fact that he sees the big picture and understands the business of governance, something that is not very common in Nigeria.
Come October 13, he will be screened by legislators led by Senate President Bukola Saraki.