The race to the Alausa seat of power in Lagos State, South West Nigeria, more than ever before, is getting hotter.Â Five governorship aspirants are jostling to unseat Governor Babatunde Fashola to become the next governor of state, come 29 May, 2011.
Recent events, one of which culminated in a governorship debate organised by Channels Television has clearly separated the chaff from the wheat; the contender from the pretenders wanting to gain power without vision for the state.
At the Channels Television debate, the governorship aspirants who slugged it out with Fashola were Dr. Ade Dosunmu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Yomi Tokoya of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; Dominic Adegbola, All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and J. K. Randle of the Social Democratic Mega Party, SDMP.
The debate exposed the antics of pretenders who want to rule Lagos at all cost without a clear vision on how to move the state to greater heights.
For instance, Randle, though a chattered accountant and a man who had greatly contributed to the growth of Lagos State, could not tell millions of Lagosians what he has in stock for them to warrant their votes.
He used the occasion to settle personal scores with Fashola, which led to the governor humiliating him.Â After that, Randle was never himself.Â He basked in the euphoria of the â€˜insultâ€™ poured upon him by the governor, which many analysts said he deserved.
Randle first attacked Fashola, saying that he has tried to see the governor for over three years now and has not been able to do so, questioning what type of people were allowed to see the governor if he as importantÂ as he is andÂ as a 62 years old man could not see the governor.
Fashola replied that he resumed around 7:30 am and closed around 3:00 am to attend to the pressing needs of Lagosians, saying that the commissioners were on ground to address the problems of people.
He added that he knew the case Randle was referring to, saying that he built his house on a drainage and it was demolished, adding that for such issues, he had no need to have a meeting with him.
Randle was so pained that he told millions of audience watching at home that he had received the worst insult from the governor and wondered what morals the governor was leaving behind since he could not respect elders.
This was what Randle stood for all through the debate as he was not able to marshal out his points enough to convince his hearers that he had the magic to transform Lagos. At the end of the debate, he refused to embrace Fashola or shake hand with him as he did others.
Randle was not able to stand the rigour of the debate as he was engrossed in bitterness with Fashola all through. He said he had been insulted by the governor who now seemed a fiend to him. He fizzled out. Is he not one of the pretenders?
Then came Dosunmu, the PDP henchman, who has won an award of picking holes in all the achievements of Fasholaâ€™s administration rather than tell Lagosians in concrete terms what he has for them.
All through the debate, Dosunmu was criticizing Fashola, especially in the area of tax, but could not spell out clearly how he ought to govern Lagos and his quest to reduce taxation.
He banks on the Federal Government to help him withÂ to govern Lagos.Â Dosunmu has similar things in common with the PDPâ€™s governorship candidate in 2007, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, who always said he would run to the Federal Government for assistance.
The analogy is, how can a failed Federal Government help Lagos to develop when hundreds of its decayed infrastructure litter the length and breadth of the state without it doing anything about them.
The point is clear that any one aspiring to be governor of Lagos State who intends to depend on the Federal Government to govern Lagos lacks the vision to move the state forward.
Dosunmu was later caught napping when he told a blatant lie in a the debate and his opponent, Fashola capitalised on the opportunity to humiliate him.A furious Fashola branded him a big liar.
Dosunmu told Nigerians that he and Fashola at a certain time applied for a public service job together.
Fashola was annoyed at Dosunmu’s statementÂ and promptly, embarrassed him, saying; â€œIt is unfair for you to tell Lagosians a lie.”
The governor stated emphatically that there was never a time he applied for a public job with Dosunmu, saying that the PDP candidate only wanted to lie to Lagosians in order to gain their favour.
According to Fashola, he had never applied for a public job all his life until he was called by the former governor of Lagos, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to become his Chief of Staff.
He said he had always been a private sector man and was called to serve by Tinubu because of his prowess in the private sector.
When Dosunmu was asked to tell Lagosians clear statistics about the literacy level in Lagos State, he said he had no idea. He was also asked by a student to tell Lagosians how he ought to transform public schools in the state.
Dosunmu did not answer the question.Â He only said he went to public school; knew the problems faced by public schools and would tackle them.Â He did not give details of how he would do so.
Analysts are of the view that an intending governor of Lagos State should arm himself with enough statistics and information on how to govern the state and move it to greater heights. Is Dosunmu another pretender?
The other two aspirants, Tokoya and Adegbola did not haveÂ convincing ideas on how to move the state forward. They mostly join Dosunmu in criticizing Fashol. Are they also among the pretenders?
Fashola, on his part, won the heart of everyone at the debate. He was able to marshal his points enough to convince millions of viewers at home that he is up to the task of taking Lagos to the Promised Land.