THE DEMOTION OF RAJI FASHOLA
When he was constituting his first cabinet in 2015, after about six months in incubation, President Muhammadu Buhari had hinged all his hope on two prominent Nigerians, who he believed, had possessed the magic wands that would make him realise his “change” agenda in a jiffy.
These two men were Babatunde Raji Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Governor of Lagos State; and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, also a former Governor of Rivers State. While Fashola superintended over the affairs of Lagos as the richest and most viable commercial state in Nigeria, Amaechi presided over the affairs of the oil rich Rivers State. Both of them were alleged to have practically singlehandedly borne the burden of President Buhari’s 2015 electioneering campaigns.
To compensate them for the very good job they did, and to demonstrate the confidence he had for them, President Buhari had not only rewarded them with ministerial appointments, but also elevated them to Super Ministers, with triple and double portfolios respectively.
While Raji Fashola was assigned the portfolios of Works, Power and Housing, Amaechi was in charge of Transportation, which then had included rail, marine and air transportations. These were very sensitive and critical ministries that could make or mar President Buhari’s Presidency.
Not long thereafter, President Buhari decided to cut off Aviation from Amaechi’s portfolio, and handed it over to someone else, as a full fledged Ministry, while Fashola was left to continue to shoulder the responsibility of his three ministries.
President Buhari had looked on to Fashola to perform his miracles, after all, the man was quoted to have said that “any serious regime will fix Nigeria’s electricity problem in six months”. Probably, that was why the President had appointed him to that Ministry, and left him there ever since, to perform the miracle.
But throughout Fashola’s almost four years as a Super Minister, Nigerians have had their worst in terms of critical infrastructure. The country was virtually in darkness all these years. In fact, some people had changed Fashola’s portfolio to “Minister of Darkness”.
Similarly, most of the roads all over the country were in terribly bad condition, no repairs, while no new ones were built. People die almost everyday on these road because they have become death traps. In the same vein, there were practically no new houses built, while the old ones have not been maintained.
If there is anything, the Buhari regime has helped to demystify a lot of people, people some of us had thought were invincible, that they were super humans, have been reduced to minions, almost to nonentities, and non-performers.
In President Buhari’s new cabinet, Fashola has been stripped off of the important portfolio of Power, because he had not performed, he had succeeded in keeping Nigeria in darkness for four years! That is not something to celebrate, something to be happy about.
Now that Fashola is limited to the portfolios of Works and Housing and he would no longer have direct access to the President, by the time he routes his memos to the Chief of Staff to the President and get them attended to, a lot of time would have gone. In the end, the man would not have succeeded in achieving anything, and this would further rubbish his image.