IT took the conspicuous absence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the book launch of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, for many to realize that all is not well between the mentor and the mentee.
But for those who are politically discerning, the cat and mouse relationship between the two former governors of Lagos State, has been on as far back as 2011 before Fashola started his second term in office as governor of Lagos State.
It was common knowledge then in 2011 that Tinubu did not want to give Fashola the party’s governorship ticket for second term.
But through the intervention of people like Oba Rilwan Akiolu and Governor Rauf Aregbesola (who was yet to be a governor then), Tinubu reluctantly gave him (Fashola) the party’s ticket for second term.
As soon as Fashola secured his second term in office, he went to his old ways of ignoring Tinubu and the party. The first thing Fashola did to spite Tinubu, according to our investigations, was during the swearing in of members of his cabinet on July 3, 2011.
Contrary to what many believed, ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that it was Fashola himself that replaced the name of Engr. Ganiyu Johnson with that of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure on that day and not Tinubu as was speculated.
We also gathered that against Tinubu’s advice, Fashola refused to remove Nike Animashaun, who was an ally of Mr. Tunde Olowolafe, a Lagos State big time contractor during Tinubu’s tenure but who later joined Fashola to purportedly work against Tinubu’s interest.
But rather than sacking Nike Animashaun, Fashola made her a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology. A position which made her more powerful than Head of Service (HOS) and commissioners in the state.
Fashola, we further learnt, never honoured or acknowledged any request or favour sought by Tinubu.
We were told of how Tinubu instructed Fashola to give a three-time commissioner in the state a contract which he promised but never did.
It got to a stage that Tinubu advised people who came to him to get something from Fashola to seek another person because if Fashola heard his name, that person would never get what he wanted.
It was common knowledge then that Fashola was interested in his successor and that he was behind the candidature of Mr. Supo Sasore and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
He, it was alleged then in political circle was behind the orchestration of electoral primary in choosing the party candidates, particularly the governorship candidate for the 2015 elections.
When his two candidates Hamzat and Sasore lost the primary to Ambode, he poured the anger on the local government chairmen who he felt assisted Ambode to win by refusing to extend their tenure or appoint anyone of them as executive secretary of the LGs and LCDAs. This was against Tinubu’s directives.
Again, he was said to have joined the party’s governorship campaign at the last minute. He never wanted to.
ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that the state government’s contribution to the campaign fund was a paltry N50 million compared to N22 billion that Tinubu spent during his own campaign in 2007. When he was told that was not enough, he was said to have asked them, where did they want him to get money or do they want him to go to jail?
The party chieftains in the state knew the paucity of fund was responsible for their loss of eight House of Representatives and House of Assembly seats in the state. They also know that many of the contracts and projects executed by Fashola’s administration were over inflated and the money was going to private pockets. So, to many politicians whatever is happening to Fashola now is payback time.
The absence of Tinubu and prominent politicians in the state from Fashola’s book launch is a way of paying Fashola back in his own coin for treating them with disdain while in office.
– TOLANI ABATTI