Babatunde Fashola is one of Nigeria’s most prominent politicians and former governor of Lagos State. This article will give you the inside scoop on everything you need to know about this influential figure, from his early days as a lawyer and human rights activist to his successful governorship and his role as the Former Federal Minister of Works and Housing.
Babatunde Fashola has been a pivotal part of shaping Lagos into the bustling mega-city it is today through major infrastructure projects and policy changes. Get ready to learn all about his early life, education, career, accomplishments, leadership style, and controversies.
Who Is Babatunde Fashola?
Babatunde Raji Fashola CON SAN is a Nigerian lawyer and politician who served as the federal minister of Works and Housing of Nigeria from 2019 to 2023. From 2015 to 2019, he was the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing. Raji Fashola served as the Governor of Lagos state twice, and his tenure started from May 29, 2007, to May 29, 2015.
Babatunde Raji Fashola’s Early Life and Education
Babatunde Fashola was born on June 28, 1963, at Island Maternity Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, to Ademola Fashola, a former journalist with the Daily Times of Nigeria, and Olufunke Agunbiade, a nurse. He has twelve siblings. He is a Yoruba man who originated from Lagos state, Nigeria.
Fashola earned his First School Leaving Certificate [FSLC] at Sunny Fields Primary School in Adelabu Surulere, Lagos, before moving on to Birch Freeman High School in Surulere, Lagos, and afterward, Igbobi College in Yaba.
In 1987, he graduated from the University of Benin with a law degree. After undertaking the statutory training for Barristers and Solicitors, he was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in November 1988.
His early experiences shaped his dedication to public service and gave him the knowledge and skills to become an influential political figure.
Babatunde Fashola’s Legal Career & Early Political Career
After finishing the professional training program at the Nigerian Law School in Lagos between 1987 and 1988, he was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in November 1988. He started his legal practice with the law firm of Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe, and Belgore, where he started as a litigator in specializations such as intellectual property and criminal law.
Babatunde Fashola entered politics after working as a lawyer for over a decade and a half. Fashola formerly worked for his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as his Chief of Staff. Fashola was also the Honourable Commissioner to the Governor’s Office during his tenure as Chief of Staff. He later became the governor of Lagos State from 2007-2015.
Babatunde Fashola’s Achievements as Governor of Lagos State
As governor of Lagos State from 2007 to 2015, Babatunde Fashola achieved many notable accomplishments. Here are some of his major achievements:
Fashola significantly improved Lagos’ infrastructure, including roads, public transportation, and housing. He built many new roads and bridges, expanded the Bus Rapid Transit system, and constructed new affordable housing units.
Fashola made progress in reducing crime in Lagos. He provided resources for more police, instituted new anti-crime strategies, and aimed to address the root causes of criminal behavior through social programs. Crime rates declined during his tenure.
Public Health Initiatives
Fashola launched initiatives to improve public health, including providing better access to healthcare, improving sanitation and access to clean water, and promoting wellness education. These steps helped raise life expectancy in Lagos.
Fashola’s policies and investments helped spur strong economic growth in Lagos. He improved the business environment, invested in infrastructure and human capital, and promoted tourism. Lagos became a more attractive place for companies and investors.
Fashola implemented education reforms, including building new schools, providing scholarships, and promoting vocational education. School enrollment and test scores rose during his time as governor.
Fashola took steps to protect Lagos’ environment, including improving solid waste management, preserving green spaces, and promoting sustainability. He helped make Lagos a cleaner, greener city.
Fashola’s administration was praised for transparency and anti-corruption efforts. He made the budgeting process more open and took action against government officials accused of fraud or bribery.
Fashola found ways to increase Lagos’ revenue from sources like taxation, tourism, and public-private partnerships. The higher revenue allowed the state government to fund new programs and infrastructure.
The Fight Against Ebola
Babatunde Raji Fashola’s greatest accomplishment as governor came at the end of his second term, in September 2014, when Nigeria was certified Ebola-free. Three months before, Patrick Sawyer, an infected US-Liberian citizen and ECOWAS official, brought the virus into the country through the Lagos airport.
Fashola personally took charge of locating and isolating around 1,000 people suspected of being contaminated since Patrick Sawyer’s arrival. He cut short a pilgrimage to Mecca, flew back to Nigeria, and immediately established an Ebola Emergency Operations Centre to tackle the difficult task of monitoring all those who may be infected.
A team of 2,000 officers was trained for the duty, which resulted in 26,000 door knocks. At one point, the governor was briefed up to ten times per day by disease management experts. He made a point of visiting the country’s Ebola treatment center to reassure Nigerians that they need not to panic.
Political Career and appointments
During his political career, Babatunde Fashola has held several important positions.
Fashola formerly served as the Chief of Staff to his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Fashola was also the Honourable Commissioner to the Governor’s Office. Babatunde Fashola was the first individual to hold both positions simultaneously.
Babatunde Fashola also served in several roles in Lagos state, including:
- Secretary of the Lands Sub-Committee of the Transitional Work Groups- 1999.
- Member of the panel of Enquiry into the allocation of houses on the Mobolaji Johnson Housing Scheme at Lekki.- 2000.
- Member of the State Tenders Board- 2002– 2006.
- Member of the Lagos State Executive Council-2002-2006.
- Member of the State Security Council-2002-2006
- Member of the State Treasury Board-2002-2006
- Chairman Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of Asset Distribution among Local Government.
- Minister of Power, Works and Housing 2015-2019
- Minister of Works and Housing 2019 to date
Through his roles in public service, Babatunde Fashola has gained a reputation as an effective administrator focused on good governance and improving the lives of citizens. His political appointments have allowed him to make a significant impact on infrastructure, environment, housing, and public transportation in Lagos State and across Nigeria.
Fashola, a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has earned numerous accolades and certificates of merit, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Benin Alumni Association. He also received the Lagos State Public Service Club’s Platinum Award for excellent contributions to development.
In addition, the Alliance for Democracy presented the “Igbogbo Bayeku Local Government Award” in honor of initiatives that contributed to the success of the party. Babatunde Fashola is also a Patron of the Law Students Association of the University of Benin and the second law graduate from the University of Benin; he is also the first member of the Nigerian Law School graduating class of 1988 to be conferred with the professional rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Babatunde Fashola is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association, and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari bestowed the Nigerian national accolade of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) to him in October 2022.
Fashola was elected a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) in 2008.
Babatunde Fashola is married to Abimbola Fashola, and they have two children together. Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola is a Nigerian journalist and administrator born on April 6, 1965, in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Fashola is known for being very disciplined in both his professional and personal life. Overall, Babatunde Fashola leads a fairly private life and values time with his close-knit family.
Babatunde Fashola has been a controversial figure throughout his political career. As Governor of Lagos State from 2007 to 2015, he was both praised and criticized for his policies and leadership style.
Fashola’s urban renewal programs led to the eviction and demolition of many poor communities across Lagos. Thousands were displaced with little notice or compensation. Fashola argued these “slums” needed to be cleared to improve infrastructure and the city’s image. Critics condemned the forced evictions as inhumane.
Fashola also closed many local roads to reduce traffic congestion. While improving mobility for some, many small businesses dependent on those roads suffered or closed down. Fashola said it was necessary to overhaul Lagos’s outdated infrastructure, but critics felt he favored elite interests over the common person.
Fashola was frequently called an autocrat who did not tolerate dissent or share power. He wielded influence over the state legislature to push through his agenda. Fashola saw himself as a CEO determined to get things done, though detractors argued he should have been more democratic and inclusive.
In August 2023, Fashola ordered the arrest of Chike Ibezim, the older brother of Nnamdi Ibezim, the publisher of Reportera, a news platform that sparked rumors that he (Fashola) was caught drafting a judgment in favor of his party in Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, which was being challenged in court.
Despite the fact that Chike, the man Fashola ordered to be arrested, was not the one who committed the alleged act, but his brother, he was arrested and detained by the Nigerian police for 26 days, exceeding the country’s legal 24-hour detention limit before being charged in court. Chike’s indefinite arrest has sparked significant concerns.
On September 9, 2023, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Works, led by Babatunde Fashola, was accused of inflating a road contract from N9.8 billion ($13 million) to N54.3 billion ($73 million). The road contract in question was for the building and renovation of the 41-kilometer Ijebu-Igbo-Ita-Ibadan Road, which had been on hold for more than five years after it had been awarded.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about Babatunde Fashola, the man who transformed Lagos into the megacity it is today. His impressive track record of achievements and dedication to improving infrastructure and governance shows what’s possible when you have strong, visionary leadership. The railway station in the Agege, Lagos, is named after Babatunde Fashola.
Though he’s faced many challenges and criticisms over the years, Fashola has persevered and remained committed to progress. His work ethic, results-oriented approach, and belief in Nigeria’s potential should inspire all of us to push for positive change in our own spheres of influence. Overall, Fashola is a leader worth watching and emulating.