I don’t dabble into various political duels going on on this platform or anywhere as everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But we must learn to separate political hatred or propangada from facts.
The response to Governor Babajide Sanwoolu’s interview was totally inaccurate and out of point particularly as it relates to Tinubu.
To put the records straight: Asiwaju Tinubu designed 7 rail lines for Lagos State in 2005 and I was a member of his cabinet as well as a member of the committee that designed it including the present Governor. First was a cabinet team sent to 3 South American countries that came back and we decided through modifications that Lagos needed part of what we saw.
Out of our committe came 7 rail lines out of which Babatunde Fashola who succeeded him and a member of the team at that time started the blue line. And Sanwoolu who was also a member of the team started the Red line. The Green line is for Lekki corridor all the way to Epe and Epe to connect the purple line to Ikorodu.
Ordinarily, in other climes, it is the Federal Government that is supposed to foot that rail responsibility for states. But no kobo has come from the federal government till today as our State has been bearing the brunt. Tinubu was unable to start the project as former President Olusegun Obasanjo seized the state’s Local Governments funds due to the creation of local government development areas for almost two years and Asíwájú needed to provide for them.
Tinubu also started the Lekki-Epe Express way and I was in the negotiating team with the consortium that financed it. A senior lawyer in our estate of residence was one of the lawyers for the consortium. Setting up the toll gate was part of the ways to be able to pay back the funds raised by the consortium.
Just like when they claimed Tinubu owned Oriental Hotel and I laughed. The ministry of environment that l presided over at the time gave the Hong Kong owner of the Steel Company in Ogba, lkeja and famous owner of former Golden Crown Chinese restaurant since 1970s the drainage clearance to build that hotel and when they were opening it, they labeled the underground restaurant there after Tinubu and some have repeatedly said Tinubu owned it despite the owner’s repeated disputations.
Tinubu created LASTMA to solve the chaotic traffic situation in Lagos which other states have copied and I was Editor of National Concord then with Kingsley Osadolor as Editor of the Guardian as members of the founding committee that made recommendation for setting it up in year 2000.
Tinubu also initiated the BRT and the construction of BRT lanes . I remember when the lanes were ready in April 2007 going to meet Tinubu to let us commission it and he told me that he planned to leave it for Fashola to kick start his administration.
The truth is, anyone may not like Asiwaju and may not believe that any good can come from him, but nobody can deny his purposeful leadership and neither can anyone deny his legacy. He is the most tolerant leader and has never looked back in accommodating other ethnic groups in his administration. He is not a perfect man and has his faults as well but you cannot deny him his right place in history.
Bello is current commissioner for the environment & water resources.
By Tunji Bello.