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Rain Of Tributes At Launch Of Books On Fashola

Chairman of the event, Mr. Fola Adeola (left); former Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and former Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu at the launch of three New titles: ‘‘The Great Leap” ‘‘In Bold Prints” and ‘‘The Lagos Blow Down” edited by Hakeem Bello at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.                                                                                                       PHOTO: CHARLES OK

Chairman of the event, Mr. Fola Adeola (left); former Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and former Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu at the launch of three New titles: ‘‘The Great Leap” ‘‘In Bold Prints” and ‘‘The Lagos Blow Down” edited by Hakeem Bello at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. PHOTO: CHARLES OK

All eyes were on former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday when three books were presented in his honour. Memories of his strides while in office came alive as The Great Leap: Speeches by Governor Babatunde Fashola, In Bold Print: Thoughts of Babatunde Fashola, and The Lagos Blow Down: West Africa’s First Controlled Demolition were launched amid fanfare and tributes. While the first two were edited by Fahola’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, The Lagos Blow Down was co-edited by Bello and publisher and film producer, Dapo Adeniyi.
 
Held at MUSON Centre, Lagos, eminent personalities paid tributes to Fashola, saying that his administration made fundamental progress in Lagos. Among them were a former Deputy Governor of the State, Alhaja Latifat Okunu; Founder and Chairman of Fate Foundation, Mr. Fola Adeola; All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was represented by Prof. Tunde Samuel; Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, who represented Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, a representative of Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and State’s Chief, Hon. Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, alumni association members of the University of Ilorin, family members of the authors.
 
Although all the books had their different stories, the experience behind The Lagos Blow Down particularly stirred dramatic reminiscences. This was as a result of a documentary showed, which brought the memory closer home. It showed how Fashola had to take the daring decision of bringing down the dilapidated Bank of Industry building to stem imminent dangers.
 
Commenting on the exercise and the book, which was reviewed by a town planning expert, Moses Ogunleye, Fashola noted that when he became the Governor and commissioned the reconstruction of roads in the city, the contractor handling the area suspended work on Broad Street, saying he could not expose his workers to the danger posed by the eventual total collapse of the building. 

He said, “We asked them if they could do the job of bringing the building down and they said it was well beyond their scope and so the search for the company to do the job began until we found the company called the Wreckers”, and added that the company lived up to its name by bringing down the building without causing any damage to the surrounding structures.

“I still lack enough words to describe how almost surreal those last 10 seconds were. I am sure that if anyone recorded my voice at the time it must have been shaky. But indeed go on we must because we were propelled, not by fear but by a larger cause to save human life and protect property”. 

Fashola described Bello as being diligent, dedicated and someone who made friends for his boss.

In his remarks, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was represented by a former Commissioner for Education, Professor Tunde Samuel, said the event had cemented the positive performance audit of Fashola. Samuel said, “As I used to tell you any time we chatted that whatever you do today is an insurance for tomorrow. Your surrender value has been further energised by today’s event. Your ability to intellectualise, your rugged determination to succeed have been well recognised by all. You have demonstrated the ability to combine the two very effectively to reach your goal in the service of the state.”

In his review presented by a seasoned broadcaster, Angela Ajetunmobi, Professor of Mass Communication, Olatunji Dare said Fashola’s performance was outstanding.

Dare said, “Fashola’s accomplishments as Governor of Lagos State have been universally acknowledged. Most recently, the global conflict prevention organisation, International Crisis Group, named him one of seven outstanding personalities worldwide to be honoured with its annual Stephen J. Solarz Award ‘for his commitment to resolving social, economic and security challenges in one of the world’s most challenging urban environments.’ Previous recipients of the award have included former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
 
In his review of In Bold Print, a lecturer in the Department of Dramatic Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Wumi Raji, not only analysed the books, he also sought to de-construct Fashola’s political philosophy, saying the fact that it was neo-liberal meant that it had to bear some contradictions, especially as people received some of the tough decisions he had to make.

Raji said, “In Bold Print: Thoughts of Babatunde Raji Fashola is a small pocket book representing a compendium of quotes extrapolated mostly from the over one thousand speeches delivered by Fashola during his eight year tenure as governor of Lagos State. The Great Leap on the other hand is a careful selection of forty of the speeches grouped into ten uneven parts. The smaller book presents Fashola as a man of vision and ideas, and an inspiring leader.

The thoughts documented in it cover a vast gamut of fields including leadership, ethics, plight of the people of the African continent, governance, education and globalization. Some of them clarify the basis of some of Fashola actions while in office”.

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