Foluronsho Coker has proven his mettle in public service
Folly Coker served the Lagos State government in different capacities from 1999 till Wednesday, October 2016.
He was appointed commissioner of tourism, arts and culture by the current administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in October 2015.
A portfolio that rightly passes for a square peg in a square hole given his antecedence in managing different portfolios in past administrations as well as his solid influence and connection among the crème de la crème on the Lagos entertainment scene and society circles.
Abayomi Babawale lists five reasons why the sacking of Folly Coker is a wrong move and a costly one.
1. His Experience
Folorunsho Coker is far from being a novice to governance in Lagos state. Prior to his appointment, he served as the personal assistant to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu from 1999 until 2003 when he was then officially appointed to the cabinet to serve as the deputy chief of staff in the governor’s office.
It was while he was in office as deputy chief of staff that he was appointed as the managing director of the Lagos State Number Plates Production Agency.
In 2014, former governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola appointed him as a member of the Lagos State Executive Council and special adviser on Central Business Districts.
2. He is highly visionary
Folorunsho Coker as commissioner, was a man brimming with confidence and filled with innovative ideas required to change the perception of culture, arts and tourism in Lagos as well as transform Nigeria’s mega city to a first choice in terms of tourist destinations in Nigeria.
Key among his innovative ideas was the creation of the “One Lagos Brand” which was to serve as the umbrella for all the yearly events to be hosted by the Lagos state government.
Some of his innovative but unaccomplished ideas to attract more tourist attention to Lagos include Lagos Easter Fiesta,Badagry Heritage Festival,One Lagos Boat Regetta,Governor’s Ball, Flavours of Lagos (Food & Beverage Festival),One Lagos Beach Festival,One Lagos Beer Festival and One Lagos Fiesta.
3. He re-branded Lagos Countdown
Lagos Countdown is an annual New Year’s eve event at the Bar Beach Victoria Island, Lagos. The first Lagos Countdown was held in 2012 as an attempt to drive up tourism and make an event similar to New Year’s events in New York, Sydney, and other major cities around the world.
Lagos Countdown used to be a day event held on December 31 since its inception. However after coming on board in October 2015, Folly Coker and his team re-branded the “Lagos Countdown” to “One Lagos Fiesta”, transformed it from a single day event to a carnival of sort which held in five different locations Epe, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos Island and Bar beach for five days between December to December 31.
This provided an ample opportunity for Lagosians irrespective of their location to enjoy the “One Lagos Fiesta” and celebrate the yuletide season in style. The Fiesta was graced by many A-list artistes as it also served as a good platform for the up and coming ones to showcase their talents.
The re-branding of the event gave the concert a renowned identity among Lagosians both home and diaspora as well as a wider acceptance, participation among music artistes, fun lovers and stakeholders in the Lagos entertainment scene.
4. He is competent
Folly Coker constantly proved to be the best man for the job anywhere he found himself. In his last assignment, he displayed so much competence which was quite amazing for a person who was stepping into a fairly new terrain.
This rightly reflected in the way he successfully managed the affairs of the ministry and the unique methods he deployed in achieving his initiatives and ideas.
5. His influence is massive
Folorunsho Coker perfectly cuts the figure of a highly influential personality who stands tall among his peers. This seemingly played a pivotal role in making his job as commissioner quite interesting.
He enjoyed an unflinching support and partnerships from corporate bodies, government agencies, politicians and celebrities alike. His influential status culminated in the reason why he achieved so much in the short duration he was in office.
The impact of his ministry was felt in Lagos and beyond the shores of the country. It remains to be seen if his successor will be as influential or successful as the erstwhile commissioner.