After their squabble over the Lagos State road project, the State’s former Governor and current Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Saturday, visited his successor, Governor Akinwumi Ambode, at the Lagos House, Ikeja.
He assured during the visit, that his Ministry had made representations to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on modalities to pay debts owed to State Governments, including Lagos State, for rehabilitation of Federal roads, over the years.
Recall, that Ambode had earlier this month, accused Fashola of frustrating the plans of the State Government, to reconstruct the road linking the Murtala Muhammed International Airport to Oshodi, and other State projects.
Responding to that accusation, Fashola had said: “My response is to ensure that members of the public are not misled by deliberate or inadvertent mis-statements” of the Lagos Governor.
He then explained that the request of the Lagos Government to take over the Oshodi-Airport road, as well as three other Federal roads in the State, was still being discussed at the Federal Executive Council.
While speaking on Saturday, the Minister added that the debts would be paid through bond instrument.
He also promised to assist, especially in the rural areas, Lagos State Power Initiative, to attain 24 hours power supply, through the generation of 3,000 megawatts of electricity, by 2022.
Fashola, who labelled the visit as home-coming, disclosed that he came with his team to Lagos, as part of a nationwide project monitoring exercise, to inspect jobs already executed on Federal Government projects.
The Lagos State Governor, Ambode, in his speech, said the visit was historic and expressed joy to have the Minister back at the Lagos House, for the first time since he left office on May 29, 2015.
“On behalf of the people of Lagos State, I would like to wholeheartedly welcome Mr. Babatunde Fashola, my predecessor and now Minister for Works, Power and Housing, and especially back to the Alausa office, where he actually left about 22 months ago.
“I want to say that this is a historic moment for us, notwithstanding that the Honourable Minister lives in Lagos, this is the first time he is stepping his feet into the Alausa premises, and we need to honour him for that and say a big thank you for coming back home.
“We are happy that the sense of collaboration that we have expressed here, is what we believe can carry whatever it is that Lagos stands for, moving forward. As you may be aware, Lagos is celebrating its 50 years of existence this year.
“The last 18 years has been so dramatic and historic, in terms of the growth and development that we have seen in Lagos, commencing from 1999, when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, came into office, and the eight good years spent by you and the two years we have done. So obviously, there is a remarkable change between 1999 and now.
“I continue to say that we would support the Minister in every way that is possible, everything that we have actually talked about in terms of debt by the Ministry as it relates to projects, the Minister is actually more vast than me in these areas, and in this agitations having done the same thing for eight years, obviously he is not somebody that we would want to convert to our passion or our request, because he used to be part of what we have always asked for.”
Post-Nigeria, recalled that the appointment of Fashola appeared to have opened a new vista of politics in the South-West geopolitical zone. It is believed that observers are sensing attempts to checkmate Tinubu’s political relevance in the zone.
On more than one occasion, Fashola’s name, alongside that of the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, were mentioned as the President’s henchmen, who were saddled with the responsibility of taking the region out of Tinubu’s political grip.
Those who believe this line of thought, are quick to pinpoint how Tinubu’s godson, Segun Abraham, was schemed out of the recent APC Gubernatorial primary election, in Ondo State.
The party’s candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), eventually emerged winner in the Guber election. His emergence was said to have been made possible by Fashola, Fayemi, and Amosun.
At the home front however, the APC structure is still firmly in Tinubu’s grip, with his loyalists occupying strategic positions in the State Executive Council. That notwithstanding, insiders have revealed to Post-Nigeria, that alignment of forces opposed to Tinubu’s control, are not relenting. It is believed that their efforts would become more manifest, as the 2019 general elections draw closer.