By Tunji Bello
Since everyone has a right to their own opinion, I don’t get involved in the different political debates taking place on this platform. But we must learn to distinguish between political prejudice and the truth.
Your response to Gov. Sanwoolu’s interview was completely incorrect and irrelevant, especially in light of Tinubu.
I was a part of Asiwaju Tinubu’s cabinet and the group that designed the seven rail lines for Lagos State in 2005, together with the current governor. First, a cabinet delegation was sent to three South American nations. When they returned, we modified their recommendations and determined that Lagos needed some of what they had seen.
Our committee produced 7 rail lines, the Blue line of which was initiated by a team member at the time and Fashola, his successor. Sanwoolu, another team member, then started the red line. Lekki Corridor is served by the Green line all the way to Epe, while Epe is used to link the Purple line to Ikorodu.
In other contexts, the federal government is typically tasked with covering the states’ rail costs. However, though our State has been suffering the most, no kobo has arrived from FG until today. Tinubu was unable to begin the project because Obasanjo confiscated our local governments’ cash since more LGS were being created, and we had to support them for almost two years.
I was a member of the negotiation team that Tinubu led with the consortium that provided the funding for the Lekki-Epe Expressway. One of the attorneys for the consortium was a seasoned member of our estate’s legal team. One of the methods to be able to repay the money raised by the consortium was to install the toll gate.
Similar to how I laughed when they said Tinubu owned the Oriental Hotel. My ministry granted the famous Hong Kong owner of the former Golden Crown Chinese restaurant in Ogba, Ikeja, and the drainage clearance to build that hotel. When they were opening it, they named the underground restaurant there after Tinubu, and despite the owner’s repeated denials, some have claimed Tinubu owned it.
To address the chaotic traffic situation in Lagos, which other states have imitated, Tinubu founded LASTMA. At the time, I was the editor of National Concord, and Kingsley Osadolor was the editor of the Guardian. We were both members of the founding committee that recommended setting it up in the year 2000.
Additionally, Tinubu started the BRT and the creation of BRT lanes. When the lanes were completed in April 2007, I went to see Tinubu to ask him if we could commission it. He told me to wait for Fashola to take office before commissioning the lanes.
You see, even if you disagree with Asiwaju and think nothing good can come of him, you cannot dispute his deliberate leadership or his legacy. He is the most tolerant leader, and his administration has never hesitated to include members of different ethnic groups. Although he is not without faults, you cannot dispute his rightful place in history.
— Bello, a former cabinet member in Tinubu’s administration is the current Commissioner of Environment in Lagos and wrote the above in response to a post on his estate association WhatsApp group