By Dare Ojole
Joseph De Maistre, the French polemical author, moralist and great exponent of the conservative tradition, who lived between April, 1753 and February, 1821, is credited with one of the most politically correct axiom that has reverberated over time. “Every nation gets the government it deserves.“
Here, however, we will not be looking at any nation in particular. We will be talking more about Agege, a highly populated metropolitan area of Lagos. It shares boundary with Ikeja, the heart of Lagos where government decisions are taken. As we have seen today, it is only a mischief-filled person who is not blessed with a heart that recognises development and progress that would not see the good that Agege has become.
Recently, Agege was described, figuratively, as a small London by an aide of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa. And this has not been disputed by anyone. What is also not in dispute is that Agege never had it this good. Its nearness to the seat of power, in terms of distance, had only a minor influence on its growth. Before the emergence of Obasa as Speaker, Agege was just there – on a ‘straight line’ not curving upwards.
Even the stunchest of critics understands inside him that Pen Cinema used to be a heartache for motorists and users. You could remain on a spot for many minutes in the midst of an endless crowd of street traders and pedestrians. A distance of less than one kilometre could cost you two hours of your time. With a bridge that was unveiled in 2021, Pen Cinema now has a road network that has been declared of international standard. Obasa happened to the road positively.
This is just one. Agege has some of the best road networks in today’s Lagos. Any need mentioning other areas of success? Check out the push by the Speaker to ensure the education of the majority. This drive is a topic on its own.
When Obasa, a quiet down-to-earth figure, decided to take the mantle of leadership of the legislative arm of government of Lagos in 2015, many, especially the apolitical residents of the State must have laughed it off. They must have thought he was only seeking power for himself. The man knew his direction. He understood what Agege wanted and he knew that such a vantage position would make it easy to attract the dividends of democracy to his people. Today, these same residents now champion the “Speak Again” mantra. They have seen the result, the influence that such a position wields and ushers.
It is easy to hear “Agege l’oga wa”. This translates to “Agege is where the boss comes from.” Obasa towers, politically, above his physical size.
The Neighborhood Safety Corps, initiated through a bill by the Speaker, today has thousands of employees and effectively complements other security agencies. The Lagos Sports law is another that has expanded youth participation in the scheme of progress. Get to Agege and see how the youth speak glowingly and excitedly about Obasa.
For those who find it mysterious that Obasa has continued to earn the mandates of the people without much hassles, the least is to try and understudy what makes the Speaker thick among his people. Despite the nature Nigeria’s politics, Obasa remains one of the small number of political office holders in Nigeria who could be in the midst of his Agege residents without any safety concern. A Speaker, he continues to live with the people, sharing in their challenges and seeking the best for them. He has never been known to run from his constituents only to return at the twilights of election. Does that sink?
Why do you then think he will not continue to get the mandates of the people anytime he desires to serve them? The primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held recently in the constituency speaks that much. Apart from the fact that he won without an opponent, his leadership skills were brought to bear before the exercise. The primary election in Agege was one of the most peaceful in the State.
Agege people know what they want. They know that having their own at the top is one of the best things to continue to happen to them. They know that Obasa is selfless and would always stand for them through thick and thin. He remains a course for study, not a subject of envy.
Ojole is the Senior Special Assistant on media to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.