The Compelling Vision of Governor Fashola, By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

“The slumming of a big city such as Lagos took quite some time…”

The book on the reconstruction of Lagos State by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), written by Emeka Anthony Odikpo, resonates with me. Any government without vision, careful planning and intense execution will definitely not achieve much success. Of course, a government that is built on crystallized vision such as that of Governor Fashola is already light years ahead of its contemporaries even before the added vigour in implementation.

As Mr. Odikpo states in this work, the impact of Governor Fashola in Lagos State has been nothing short of phenomenal. This work has also examined in details the policy statements and documents behind such projects as the Eko Atlantic City project, the Light Rail project, the public transportation policies, the greening projects, the healthcare policies of the government and other areas of governance and came to the conclusion that the projects are epochal and profound. I sincerely agree with the analysis and conclusions offered by Mr. Odikpo. Governor Fashola has truly had a remarkable effect on Lagos State. The Light Rail project has already impacted on the lives of the people of Lagos State in several ways. Thousands of jobs have been created by the project and, over the years, even more jobs will be created for the effective running of the rails. The project being on the land gateway into Nigeria undoubtedly adds cubits to the reputation of Nigeria amongst her West African neighbours. The positive effect on the lives of the potential users of the rail service will also be great.

Mr. Odikpo further states that the government’s efforts towards beautifying Lagos have been remarkable and impressive. I wholeheartedly endorse this. An overview on such projects, such as this work, brings home forcefully to you the fact that the beautification was actually the product of meticulous planning. The slumming of a big city such as Lagos took quite some time and a lot of negative effort or lack thereof to accomplish. On the other hand, the de-slumming and beautification must have taken quite some imagination. Mr. Odikpo carefully articulates this imagination; he then proceeds to elucidate on the vigour applied by the Governor in implementing the policies.

A book such as this serves the essential purpose of challenging prospective leaders. These leaders can achieve even more if they utilize their brains to their full extent, eschew corruption and be vigorous in ensuring due implementation of their policies. I have spent the better part of my life fighting for the election by our people of visionary and strong leaders. My sincere hope is that my efforts must yield dividends at the national level. This book will undoubtedly prove useful to all leaders and even followers in Nigeria desirous of accessing sagacious leaders.

This book will further prove useful as a historical document. Our penchant for not documenting history is rather disturbing. In other climes the ideas behind the leaders in government, academia, business, science, sports and the society at large are regularly packaged into books. These types of biographies, or sometimes even hagiographies, are a staple by themselves. These books are more effective than reading generic motivational books that do not pertain to one individual. Books on industry figures like Lee Iacocca and Steve Jobs have proven remarkably successful across the world. Books on political leaders like Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and others have equally been successful. My sincere hope is that the art of writing and reading biographies should become a part of our culture in Nigeria.

I have no doubt that this work by Emeka Odikpo will prove useful to any person interested in learning the dynamics of good governance. It will also be of immense benefit through the years as a detailed capture of historical moments in Lagos State under the watch of the inimitable Governor Fashola. The compelling book, Fashola: The Historic Reconstruction of Lagos, by Emeka Anthony Odikpo, is due for public presentation at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos on Tuesday, May 28 by 10 a.m.


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