At the peak of the struggle between the Lagos State Government and Okada riders about four years ago, Governor Raji Fashola did say that one of the major reasons his administration banned the trade was because it was a dangerous transportation mode. I thought the Okada riders had been fully persuaded by that argument until I saw a graffiti on a banner of the Lagos APC candidate for the Lagos governorship election around the Magodo gate on Thursday which read: “Bring Back Our Okada”.
Abiodun Aremu is an established activist who fought on the side of Okada riders back then and gave the unkindest cut to Governor Fashola. He was not convinced by the danger alarm of His Excellency and he used a personal habit of the governor to nail him when he said: “There is a warning on every pack of cigarette that smoking is danger ous but Governor Fashola still smokes”.
I am not in a position to confirm if the governor still smokes. If he is still in the habit, he may have to check the pack he picked from last Wednesday and ensure he does not go near that brand again as it is certainly very harmful to what he says afterwards.
The “Eko Oni baje” man climbed the podium at the Sky Power ground to campaign for his party governorship candidate for Lagos 2015 and in the process made a faux pas that would haunt him and his party in this elections cycle.
The governor searched for what he could use to put down the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP),Mr Jimi Agbaje and went for a wrong one.
Fashola declared that 57-year-old Agbaje is too old to govern Lagos. His words:
“Today, at 52, I am counting the number of black hair on my head. Akinwunmi Ambode is the man that can do it. If you put an old man there, he cannot do it. If you call him in the night, he may not pick your calls”. I was about laughing off the statement of the governor when I realized the keyboard I was typing on had beaten me to it doing muhahahahahaha!
Here is a governor who is widely believed to have hustled to be running mate to the 72-year-old presidential candidate of his party for the February elections just a few weeks back. If Fashola had been picked as the running mate and his principal had called him Falolu instead of Fashola on the podium the way Osinbajo was called “Oshingade”, would he still come and be attacking a 57-year-old on account of age? Even now, would Fashola hold the broom behind his Party’s 72-year-old presidential candidate when their campaign train hits Lagos chanting “change”? He would tell Nigerias that an octogenarian is the “best man for the job” while a 57-year-old is too old for Lagos? The governor should be returned unopposed if nominated for the Nobel Prize in hypocrisy! It really does not end there. The youth leader of APC, Ibrahim Jalo is a 52-year-old man. Has governor Fashola complained to his bosses in their party that a 30-yearold should have been better to lead the youth? Elections would be holding in two other states in the south west in February and Fashola’s party has candidates for these elections. In Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is 56 years while Senator Abiola Ajimobi in Oyo state is 65. Would Fashola support younger men in other parties against these men?
Where was our “actualiser” when 57- year-old Rauf Aregbesola was sworn in as Osun governor weeks back? One Igbo proverb I love says those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by the gods should not be on the frontline among the boastful. Governor Fashola was 44 when his predecessor was looking for a cashier and not necessarily a governor to “actualise” his “plan” for Lagos and found him to be “the best man for the job”. How men quickly forget where they come from beats me hollow!
If he had to fight on his own steam to be anything in Lagos, he probably would be at the level of aspiration at 52 when he is about to complete eight years in office? Does he think he is wiser than the Leke Pitans, Tokunbo Afikuyomis, Hakeem Gbajabiamilas, Ganiyu Solomons, Tola Kasalis and numerous others who wasted quality years of their lives queuing behind Jagaban for their turn that would never come?
*this was published in the Daily Times dated Monday, January 19, 2015