The atmosphere at the MUSON centre in Onikan, Lagos, where Babatunde Fashola, the immediate-past governor of the state, held a book launch on Tuesday, was far from what it was during his time in office.
Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos; and all the governors of the ruling party were surprisingly absent.
John Oyegun, national chairman of the party and other key personalities of APC were also not at the occasion, lending belief to speculations of infighting between Fashola and some chieftains of the party.
Fashola has faced some challenges in recent times amid rumours that he might be appointed into the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He was accused of leaving the state in huge debts and awarding a N78 million contract to upgrade a website registered in his name.
The brilliant lawyer denied all the allegations, saying he also inherited debt from his predecessor.
However, what Fashola’s book launch missed in politicians, it had in technocrats.
Fola Adeola, prominent banker, who was among the special guests, described those in attendance as the real friends of the former number one citizen of the centre of excellence.
“I believe everybody who came here today considers Fashola as a friend, brother, cousin, so I greet everyone,” he said.
“I am so happy that it is in my time that Governor Fashola happened and my prayer is that we will not wait for too long for another Fashola to happen. In my dictionary, Fashola represents every good thing.
“Everything evolves and dissolves, things come and go, Fashola, SAN and a former governor is now the only thing that will remain constant and the people who are here today are simply telling him that no matter what, they still remained his friend.”
On his part, Fashola thanked the author and his guests for honouring the occasion.
“I think it will be wrong for anyone to believe today belongs to me but it is not. It belongs to Hakeem Bello, who painstakingly documented these three books. It also belongs to Dapo Adeniyi, who worked with him and to everyone who joined us in this event,” he said.
The books – The Great Leap, Bold Prints: Thoughts of Babatunde Fashola and Lagos Blow Down: West Africa’s First Controlled Demolition – chronicle the tenure of the former governor.
Supo Sashore, who Fashola ordinarily would have preferred to succeed him, was among those in attendance.
Tinubu, Amosun and some other key personalities of the APC sent representatives.