A former President of the Catholic Brothers United (CBU), Mr Vincent Uba has said that Nigeria had recorded tremendous improvement since the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Uba in an opinion released on Sunday said that the remarkable improvement in the country can be comparable to the unprecedented development in Lagos state in the last couple of years.
With particular reference to the tenure of Baatunde Fashola, now Minister of Power Works and Housing, Uba said that Nigeria was witnessing changes similar to those seen in Lagos.
According to him, the mantra “Eko o nibaje” (Lagos will not spoil), which was used by Fashola while contesting for election should now be upgraded to “Nigeria o nibaje”,
He added that President Buhari was achieving similar giant strides stressing that by the end of Buhari’s second tenure, Nigerians would have how much work the President had been doing and would come to terms with the promised change and the mantra “Nigeria o nibaje”,
He said that the power sector had improved tremendously with Fashola as minister, adding that the appointment of Fashola to head three ministries should have convinced Nigerian that President Buhari is a detribalized Nigerian.
Read the full text of the release:
“NIGERIA O N’IBAJE
When in 2006 – 2007, His Excellency, Alhaji Babatunde Fashola, came out to contest the governorship election of Lagos State with the slogan “Eko o nibaje”, I tried to find out the meaning which I was told means “Lagos must not spoil”.
The slogan did not sound serious to me. It didn’t sound captivating as a campaign slogan. However, in May 2007, he won election and took over from his former boss, Senator Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
No sooner did he take over than that slogan started to make sense and meaning to me. His immediate predecessor having left, left a visible legacy of transformation of Lagos, the man Fashola quickly showed that he is a man who has come to work, a man who has come to serve, by keying into the transformation agenda of Tinubu and assiduously working to improve on it.
He began to show that Lagos must not only remain the center of excellence in the real sense of the word but also ‘must not spoil’.
He started to make the impossible possible. Recall the dreaded traffic situation of some parts of Lagos before he took over as governor; Oshodi, Mushin, Ojuelegba, CMS bus stop, Iyana Oba, Mile 2, Agric after trade fair, to mention only a few.
Fashola initiated action plans that eventually made these areas notorious for horrible traffic congestions, have free flow of traffic. Yes, the traffic jams in these areas magically disappeared and decency and discipline returned to these roads.
I remember hosting one of my cousins who came back from abroad and he passed through Oshodi. He couldn’t believe what he saw – free flow of traffic all through. Testimonies upon testimonies continued to mount on how traffic situations at other locations equally drastically improved
Recall that refuse dumps dotted almost every corner of Lagos. I hope we have not forgotten how heaps of refuse became embarrassing scenes, thus making Lagos to be rated among one of the dirtiest cities in Nigeria. Lagosians complained bitterly.
When Fashola took over, those refuse dumps and heaps started to disappear. Today ‘filthy Lagos’ has given way to beautiful scenes and sceneries.
Today some parts of Lagos especially bus stops that used to be homes for touts and destitutes now look like some places in European cities. The roundabouts that used to look like dirty scrap sites are now beautifully adorned with beautiful landscapings, lush green grasses and flowers. Trees that make the environment look fresh and airy have taken over.
Just two months ago, for the first time since the BRT came into operation, I boarded one of the busses. From the time I boarded to the time I reached my destination, I had an exciting experience that made me to exclaim, “Is it what I have been missing”.
I saw a replica of European buses-neat and air conditioned interior. In fact I have had to abandon my car and started patronizing the BRT bus since then.
What about roads? This man transformed Lagos roads. You cannot count the beautiful dual carriage roads at every part of Lagos. From Bank Anthony way (reconstructed and converted by Fashola and now reflects one of the beautiful ambiences of Ikeja), Iba, Iyana Oba to Idimu, Ogba, Surulere, Mushin, Ijesha, Cele, Orile Coker, Mile 12 to Ikorodu (a road that makes every Lagosian who passes through it sing praises to Fashola),
I can only mention these few areas. Then the big one, the Lagos Badagry Ten-lane road which he started and was still under construction before he left office, will be another interesting landmark achievement he (Fashola) initiated.
Fashola made Lagos the real centre of Excellence. Yes he actually showed that Lagos should not or must not be spoilt. There was nobody living in Lagos who could not acknowledge the good works Fashola was doing or did. Fashola made Lagos to become the pride of Nigeria and those of us who are not indigenes of Lagos wished that the same kind of development be replicated in our respective states of origin.
Fashola also made visible impact on water, security and health. Remember the Ebola saga, how Lagos State helped to stem the scourge of that dreaded disease in the country, courtesy of Fashola. President Muhammed Buhari once acknowledged that singular feat. In fact Fashola was the best and most handworking governor from 2007 – 2015.
When in 2015, President Mohammadu Buhari appointed him as the Minister of Power, Works and housing, I jumped up in joy. I did not know that Buhari like I did, knew and saw what Fashola was made of. It was at that point I was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that President Mohammed Buhari means well for this country. For President Mohammed Buhari to appoint Fashola to be in charge of three ministries, gave credence to the fact that President is indeed out to rescue this country.
That singular act by the president made me or should make us know that he is not sectional as people now suggest. As I was rejoicing over his appointment, I remember leading a delegation as the President of Catholic Young Men Association (CYMA), now known as Catholic Brothers United (CBU), to her Excellency, the then First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola at State house Marina in her capacity as a Patroness of CYMA now CBU.
In my speech/address to her, I acknowledged the good works of her husband (Fashola) and wished and prayed for the time when “Eko o nibaje” will be taken to the next level – “Nigeria o nibaje”. Her Excellency then laughed over this comment. For me that comment made in 2012 was not only a desire but also prophetic.
Today it seems that that comment is becoming a reality. As a minister, in charge of works, we are beginning to see the hands of Fashola in Nigerian roads, despite the current recession in the country. Road constructions and rehabilitations are now on going.
How about power, the sector that seemed to have defied the efforts of previous administrations, a sector that billions of dollars have been pumped into, and yet nothing to show for it? Today what do we see? There is marked improvement of power in ways never witnessed in the history of this country.
I remember being in my residence at Maryland, Lagos about three months ago and there was power failure, the neighbourhood was immediately greeted with tumultuous shouts – shouts of surprise and disbelief that light could be on for a period of almost two weeks uninterrupted as against the regular shouts of joy we are used to when NEPA brought light after days or weeks of blackout. Everywhere in Nigeria now, it is generally known that power availability has improved tremendously.
Before now, I used to spend about N54, 000 a month on fuel to run the generator with the negative health implications occasioned by air/noise pollutions. Now I save more than forty thousand naira monthly with added health advantage.
In my village, we hardly had electricity, but now my village can have a day uninterrupted electricity supply. Do not forget that this is a sector that is generally believed that if fixed, challenges of other sectors would have been fixed.
Nigeria is without doubt witnessing the hand of Fashola in power. Thanks to the President for putting a round peg in a round hole. Even though we are not yet there, we’re heading to the time when if there were to be a power failure, it would be unusual as is obtainable in developed countries.
I am convinced that by the time Buhari would have completed his two terms as the President of this country, we would be there. We should applaud Fashola for this feat and also applaud Buhari for choosing him.
From where I come, there is this adage that says “Etoo dike na nke omere, omee karia” meaning “ if you praise a brave and hard working man for what he had done, he will do even more and better”.
Unfortunately, we Nigerians are not known to have imbibed this culture of praising one when he or she has excelled. We are only known for complaining when situations are bad. But if situations become better, we easily forget the past.
The improvement we have recorded in power sector so far, I believe is a tip of the iceberg. Power as the most vital sector in this country is beginning to witness positive changes which will eventually translate to positive changes in other sectors and areas.
Then and only then will one boldly say that “Eko o nibaje” will have been taken to the next and higher level – “Nigeria o nibaje”. Yes, it is my firm belief that the foundation of “Nigeria o nibaje” would have been laid by the time Buhari completes second tenure as the president of this country.