It is no longer news that Babatunde Fashola has been appointed as the Honourable Minister for Power, Works and housing – 3 sectors that are crucial to the development and growth of the Nigerian economy.
Before this appointment, Babatunde Fashola was the Executive Governor of Lagos State for 8 years before handing over to the present Governor of the State, Akinwunmi Ambode. In his time, he was known to have brought change and improvement in the city – in line with the vision to make Lagos State live up to its title as the Centre of Excellence.
He was the Governor who uprooted illegal structures, pruning them down to make room for adequate space on the roads. He demolished shops that were erected too close to the roads, without fear or prejudice to any personality. He went further to inaugurate the BRT buses, which for a long time did the job – until the buses began to break down and more buses packed in the workshops as against being on the roads.
He also was responsible for the banning of Okadas in major areas in Lagos State – an act that I can’t really say that I have gotten over with the growing traffic in Lagos this season. However, it was done to cut down the amount of okada accidents on the highways and restore some level of sanity to the roads.
Now, he is being charged with the responsibility to look into the failing power supply in the country, the construction of roads that get awarded but never completed, and that which he already started in Lagos State, provision of shelter through affordable housing. This implies that Nigerians are expecting to see a drastic change in the power sector, better roads (I pray particularly for those that reside in Akute as that road has been abandoned for years now) and better housing policies for all.
As much as all of these sectors are as important as any other sector and it will be good to allow the minister unravel his plans for us to see. The issue of power is one that has been over-flogged over the years and one that I believe is key to the all round development of this country. With constant power supply, there will be the reduction of sound pollution caused by the millions of generators that go on as soon as power is out and a better cost of living. We will all agree that the reason for some of the expenses that we incur is as a result of the extra money that businesses need to spend on diesel – which they need to input in their products or services offered to consumers. For instance, there are some salons that have 2 rates- one when there is power supply and the other when there is no power supply.
In order to alleviate the fear of the labor market and to also reduce the agitation of the thousands of unemployed graduates, the availability of power supply will create more jobs. Many companies have folded up as they could no longer cope with the cost of production. Has anyone noticed that some companies like Dunlop, are no longer in Nigeria? Do your research and you will discover that power supply was one of the major reasons why they folded up, making many jobless. Imagine the number of companies that will spurn up as soon as they know that they no longer need to worry about the cost of diesel to power their machines. The media for instance, particularly magazine companies, may be able to print at cheaper rates in Nigeria, not running into debt and being able to pay their staff adequately.
The stakes are high for Honourable Babatunde Fashola; but following his past record in Lagos State, I believe that he can meet our expectations. I know that he said some months ago that he needed to rest, but dear Minister, we will have to cut into your rest. It is a long walk and can be achieved – only if he has a powerful team on board. A team that believes in his vision and chooses not to be corrupt, but to carry out the assignments that they are given diligently, with the fear of God and love for humanity.
Is this a new dawn for Nigeria? Only time can tell, for Rome was not built in a day. However, I believe that we can evidently see some change in a matter of time because, Rome was equally not built forever.
Congratulations to the Honourable ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May your portfolios be your bond and may you deliver that which Nigerians expect from you which will be, justification for the tax payers money which you shall be paid. Long live Nigeria!