When a bundle of joy landed into the family of Alhaji Ademola Fashola/Madam Cecilia Omolara Fashola, on June 28, 1963, not everybody around who was jubilant to welcome the new arrival would know that, a future performer, achiever and Messiah that would put joy into the lives of the masses had sneaked in like the biblical thief in the night.
However, as the toddler of that day progressed in life, it became crystal clear that the tot named Babatunde in fact arrived with a trainload of joy and blessing for his fatherland, a geographical project called Nigeria.
The traits of greatness started manifesting since his early days as pupil in primary school up to his Secondary School at the prestigious Gbobi College, Yaba Lagos down to the University of Benin, Edo State where he studied Law and became a learned scholar after his one year sojourn at The Law School (1988). Just as a golden fish has no hiding place in the ocean, his brilliance made him shine like a special star in the sky and that ‘exposed’ him to the people in charge to ‘drage’ him out and decorated him with the prestigious robe of the Senor Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
His administrative acumen that exposed him to higher political activities started during his tutelage as a Chief of Staff under the then Lagos State Governor and current presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He performed so marvellously so that when the search for Tinubu’s successor started towards the 2007 general elections, the name, ‘Tunde, as he was fondly addressed by his elders became the sing song on the lips of those with foresight and inner stethoscope.
Those who were against his candidature then should be forgiven as they were misled by his highest degree of humility, superlative respect for people and his unassuming disposition even with his brilliance, capability and competence. Though very vocal and outspoken, Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF), as the Chief of Staff to his boss then was never too forward, he used to mind his business as assigned to him by protocol. It was the gain of those attributes he reaped when his ever vigilant and thoroughly observant boss, Tinubu, pushed him out for the succession job and did he do it well for eight years like his boss?! The rest is history now as the history of Lagos State, albeit, Nigeria can never be complete without the name of one agile and gangling and dark-complexioned footballer occupying a very large space in the history book.
And there is no doubting the fact that, Fashola has shown that, hard work pays. His achievement as governor of the most populous state in the country, Lagos, has led to his current position of a minister handling the backbone of any country’s economic growth and financial development-Infrastructure. President Muhammadu Buhari, a lover of Infrastructure development did not look far when constituting his cabinet before he picked Fashola out of the lot to handle for him and since then he has never regretted it. Concentrating fixedly on the ball, Fashola, has since been very busy transforming the country into an Eldrado through world standard roads and solid Housing Projects.
He is doing the work so whole heartedly that, in several quarters, another name for Fashola is ‘Mr Infrastructure!’ And his performance that earned him accolades, commendations, laurels and Awards both home and abroad has never been a surprise to us in the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), especially we members of the Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), as he has won our periodic Dignity Test severally.
And as he celebrates his 59th birthday anniversary today, we of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), join the rest of his admirers, family and well-wishers to wish him happy birthday and many more fruitful years in the service of God and humanity.
Comrade Razaq Kolade Olokoba (RKO)
Right Activist, Convener, Civil Society Organizations and National President, Campaign for Dignity in Governance wrote from Ilorin, Kwara State.