The Shadows of Light

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

Light casts shadows! Does that sound new to you? Well it need not be, everything good has it’s down sides, that’s why there is a need for management. We need to be able to manage whatever good thing we are doing, in such a way that the negative effects of it are not so brutal. If you really think about it, you can locate a downside for any good thing.

The shadows that light casts are a function of the obstacles on the pathway of light.  In the seasons of darkness, when direction is unclear and things are scattered, light brings clarity, brings hope, brings opportunities, but within the pathway of obstacles, the darkness that exists behind these people is hightened. A case study of the shadows that light brings, is what is currently happening in Lagos State Nigeria.

I have never met Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola one on one before, but if I have respect for any of the current political leaders he’s number 1. I live in Lagos, and I have lived here for about 8 straight years, and never have I seen so much development and improvement as I have seen in the last 2yrs. I have tried to imagine what Nigeria would be in 4yrs if we had 36 Fashola’s in our 36 States and 1 correct president, Nigeria will literally fast track to become the most desirable place to live in. I see every sense in relating Fashola with the prayer of the 19th century poet, Josiah Gilbert Holland who fervently prayed – “Give us Men, Men from every rank, fresh and free and frank; Men of thought and reading, Men of light and leading, Men of loyal breeding, The Nation’s welfare speeding; Men of faith and not of fiction, Men of lofty aim in action; Give us Men – I say again, Give us Men!” There is no doubt in my mind, that Fashola is out to be one of such men.

My attraction to him started from his demonstration of humility of moving around the Lagos metropolis without sirens. Deciding that if the traffic makes people go-slow, then he as the administrator must go slow as well. He has then moved on to demonstrate to Lagosians that he’s not just there to occupy the office, but to perform, and he is performing. I can confidently say that if you took pictures of some areas of Lagos 2yrs ago, you would have in your hand today a precious possession because the face of Lagos has changed and is changing. Oshodi is transformed and transforming, the roads are getting better, order is being restored, trust me, only a fool will say nothing is being done! If indeed morning shows the day, then what we have seen in the morning of Fashola’s leadership is an indicator of more to come.

Clearly noteworthy in Lagos state, is the invisible yet strong presence of Asiwaju Tinubu as the leader of the political machine for Lagos and increasingly AC. Fashola is like Solomon, his reign is without war, because he has a father Tinubu like David, who ensured and still ensures that he can focus on administration.

Haven said all these about the light in this administration however, I’ll like to point out that the shadows are fast gathering. The reformation of Osodi, is a wonderful site to behold, but in that same breath, it has thrown a lot of hawkers, and small time market people into petty thieves. Incidents of robbery of laptops, of phones, of one chance rides, of shooting are on the increase. I don’t know if it connects to you, but in the bid to create an ordered environment, the displaced people are taking on other vices.

A colleague of mine had an incident 2 days ago, he was robbed of his laptop, ipod, digital camera, mobile phones and a lot of particulars at gun point. What I found really alarming in the incident however was not the robbery, but the number of accomplices involved. There were at least 3 guys directly dispossessing him of his valueables, there were another at least 3 bike men on standby for the guys to use to escape from the scene as soon as the robbery was done, and there were onlookers not to far whose silence probably meant that they were part of the system. When by the next day, we discoverd that one of his phones had dropped off in a taxi, and the taxi claimed he was working around PWD not far from Oshodi, the entire picture fell into place as I had guessed it. Obstacles in the presence of light were casting shadows.

These are shadows that the present administration in Lagos need to watch out for. I know that a lot of people are being employed in KAI, and I know that there have been many monumental improvements in infrastructure, health, education e.t.c., but we need to pay special attention to ensure that miscreants don’t make a sham of our light. Some recommendations so strong in my mind include empowering the police, creation of state law enforcement agents, leveraging on technology to create quick alert systems, empowering the people to be their brother’s keepers. When the punishment for wrong doing comes late, people carry on pertpertrating ills. What get’s rewarded is what get’s done, and what doesn’t get punished doesn’t stop.  The light is shining no doubt, but darkness needs to be found out and smaller lights created to ensure the overall balance of light.

To all else who are in any office that requires the creation of good, it is normal for the shadows of evil to spot every good work. We have to however think through and be deliberate in our management of the ills. Sometimes we can push on inspite of, and sometimes the consequences of ignoring the obvious can destroy the good. Or what do you think?

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