Arts  

Marking Fashola’s 52nd Birthday With Three Books

Fashola Book CoverRather than the usual self-glorification of public office holders while still serving, accolades have started pouring in for former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in the form of documentation of his years in office in book form. The three books by his top media aid, Mr. Hakeem Bello include In Bold Print, captures snippets of Fashola’s thoughts; The Great Leap, a historical record chronicling some of his speeches and The Lagos Blow Down, co-authored with Dapo Adeniyi, and about the first controlled demolition of a building in the country.

As Fashola turns 52 on Sunday, these books will go a long way in explaining the man and his politics, even at a limited level, while fans of his political style continues to wait for his biography or autobiography, and his next political move, which they hope will be outside the insidious political influence of Ahmed Tinubu, who many felt was overbearing all through Fashola’s two terms and possibly stunted the many strides he might have made.

The books, according to Bello, who started out as an arts journalist with the old Daily Times, are some of documentation on the man Fashola, which he hopes will be enduring. He initially intended an autobiography of his former boss, but being a man not known to be vainglorious, he redirected Bello’s efforts to the Bank of Industry (BoI) building that stood precariously over the Lagos Island landscape, a building that had become structurally deficient, poorly maintained and posed serious threat to life and other properties in the neighbourhood.

He recalled, “Fashola asked me to document the process of demolishing the Bank of Industry building, and they started the process of controlled implosion of the building. The book The Lagos Blow Down details how Fashola decided to take the bull by the horns by saying ‘I cannot allow the building to kill my people and make a nuisance of the environment’. Of course, he discussed it with former President Musa Ya’Ardua, being a federal government building, before he went ahead to bring it down. Of course, Yar’Adua gave his assent.

“Also, putting together the speeches of the governor was a bigger work, but the publisher advised we scale down to 1000 speeches, to the major ones. So, we have the two inaugural speeches, the two budget speeches, in which Fashola stated that it wouldn’t be business as usual, and some major projects commissioned, the Eko Atlantic project that had former U.S. President Bill Clinton and, of course, former President Goodluck Jonathan present.

“In reading The Great Leap you have a bird’s eye view of Fashola’s development vision; there are a lot of planning, thinking that go into his development projects. There are quite a number of statements that are quite profound arising from his being vast.”

Bello said it was important to bring the books to the public domain for the awareness of the people so they get to know the contents and “what actually went down. The eight years of Fashola’s administration after Ahmed Tinubu – the two men made modest contributions to the development of the state. The books are produced for people to see the far-reaching achievements of Fashola”.

However, the three books are by no means the last watchers of political development will get from the former Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Bello. He’s planning a memoir of his years in Alausa. As part of his journalistic efforts, he created what he called ‘From Fashola’s Newsroom’, which he hopes to compile and publish. Also, there’s a review of ‘Every 100 Days’ of his principal’s activities also in the offing.

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