• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lagos guber election and age

Nigeria’s 17million housing deficit data is baseless — Fashola

It was unbelievable to read media reports that no less a person than the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has turned age into a campaign and election issue in the state. He reportedly said that PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje, being the same age with President Goodluck Jonathan, is too old to be a governor of Lagos State.

This was a very laughable assertion by the usually taciturn governor who may have unintentionally exposed himself to the ridicule that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The soccer-loving governor who built a stadium in the heart of Lagos so that he and his friends could play football at weekends, not minding that some people might think they are overage for such expensive fun, needs to be told that age has nothing to do with accountable, selfless and responsive leadership which Jimi Agbaje brings to table in this year’s Lagos State guber election.

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Of course, given the way that Governor Fashola got to power on a platter of gold at his young age, it was understandable for him to assert that anyone older than him is a Methuselah for the post he is currently occupying. But the governor should be reminded that the best governor the state has ever had was a colleague of his late father, and that is Lateef Jakande who made education free and funded LASU so that students enjoyed free tuition. That’s quite unlike under Fashola when LASU students have had to riot over astronomical school fees under the rule of a government and party that got to power by associating its name with the ideals of Awo and Jakande.

Jakande was a dutiful executioner of the free education mandate with which the late sage put Western region ahead of the other three regions when he was the premier of the West.

A well-known statement says that the age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon. But Solomon specifically asked for wisdom from God instead of riches and position and it was as a reward for that insight that God gave him long life. Long life and ripe age therefore infer experience, skills and knowledge gained from performance. This can only be appreciated by people who paid their dues by getting to the top through merit and performance, not those who got there with the help of godfathers from whose apron strings they cannot free themselves.

This is why Jimi Agbaje’s appearance as PDP’s governorship candidate is a huge departure from the caricature of succession that has become the logo of the APC under the aegis of Bola Tinubu.

At well over 60, Tinubu can still easily manipulate inexperienced free riders and shuffle them in and out of power like a pack of cards. Yet Tinubu too paid his dues as treasurer of Mobil in charge of millions of dollars, and vintage human capital. He cut his teeth in the corporate world before becoming the hand of god that has manoeuvred people into office and setting them aside when he liked. This is because he knows that given their abject inexperience in politics and business, they could never be a threat to him even if they tried.

Of course, had Tinubu picked a consummate businessman and leader of men and resources like Jimi Agbaje eight years ago, the fate of Lagos State would have been positively different in terms of education, health, security, and even sports. Agbaje has a sterling leadership experience from the hurly burly of pharmacy, marketing and business. That is why Lagos needs experienced and tested hands, not handpicked governors, outgoing or potential, still in the nappies of leadership maturity and incapable on their own to move the state forward. That is the turf of Jimi Agbaje as this election will surely confirm.

Babatunde Jegede