The people and government of Anambra State have paid a glowing tribute to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on his 58th birthday, describing him as urbane, selfless, hardworking, focused, intelligent and a man of integrity.
Governor Willie Obiano said in a congratulatory message to the minister which the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, released to journalists in Awka this afternoon, that he has followed with acute interest the minister’s leadership attributes right from the time the former was the Lagos State governor while he (Obiano) was working in the state as a top bank executive.
“I discovered early enough that Fashola is cut out for public service”, declared Obiano.
Chief Obiano expressed delight at “the fact that Fashola recognized that the way to make Lagos, a city of about 22 million, truly livable is to treat it as a megacity by providing it with unusual amenities, and he went about doing just that.
“We all remember with pride the building of a light railway to assist in mass transportation, the establishment of the Lagos Home Ownership Scheme (HOMS) and the transformation of the critical Lagos-Badagry Expressway from four to 10 lanes”.
The governor lauded Fashola for appointing Anambra indigenes to good positions in the government when he was the Lagos State governor, citing the example of Mr Ben Akabueze, the current Federal Director of Budget, who was appointed the “powerful Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning purely on merit”.
He also praised the minister for honouring other distinguished Anambra persons when he was the Lagos chief executive.
“Mr Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria”, recalled Obiano, “named the massive housing estate in Ikeja GRA after the former Commonwealth secretary general, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, whom he also declared a role model for prompt, appropriate and transparent payment of his personal tax”.
The Anambra governor lauded Fashola for being the only “non-Southeast governor who gave the Eternal Leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, what was popularly called a state burial when the Biafran leader was buried on March 2 2012, having died on November 26, 2011”.
Governor Obiano expressed happiness with the way Mr Fashola has been implementing federal projects in Anambra State since he became the Minister of Works and Housing.
He completed the Zik Mausoleum in Onitsha in January, 2019, which was started a whole 21 years earlier.
“It took more than two decades to complete”, stated the governor, “because previous administrations did not have the political will to do it”.
The governor commended the dedication which the minister has demonstrated towards the Second Niger Bridge whereas previous governments played politics with it.
“I am certain it will be commissioned next year”, added the governor.
Obiano described as impressive the rate at which the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing is working on the new federal Secretariat in Awka as well as federal roads in the state.
“If his predecessors had shown the same kind of zeal, these roads would not have been in a mess”, he said.
“Not to be forgotten is how he has worked hard to ensure that our dear state is refunded at least part of the N42b which we spent on the rehabilitation of federal roads since 2003 or so.
“We expect him to do more for the state as a detribalized and committed Nigerian who admires the pan vision of great statesmen like The Great Zik of Africa.
“Indeed, Anambra people have cause to rejoice with Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola on his 58 birthday”.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.