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Fashola’s post-tenure travails




IMMEDIATE past governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola has been in the negative side of the news since he left office on May 29 over some alleged corruption and malpractices during his eight years administration making it look as if he handed over power to a rival party.

The development has also raised posers on whether his successor, Akinwunmi Ambode, is working on a script to rubbish him or that his current travails is the continuation of the ‘perceived mutual war’ between him (Fashola) and “the godfather of Lagos politics”, former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

As the people of Lagos ruminates on what could have been the cause of the ongoing travails of Fashola, whose administration at one time was pictured as the image of good governance in Nigeria, another mind-boggling question is, who are those people that Fashola claimed have been paid huge amount of money to accuse him of corruption.

Could these faceless paid-masters be the aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who allegedly don’t want Fashola to move up the political ladder or could it be Tinubu, who is alleged to be averse to Fashola’s getting a federal appointment under President Muhammadu Buhari or that the former governor is about to be haunted by his past deeds in government?

Governor Ambode has a big role to play in clearing all these by telling the people of Lagos what the true state of Lagos finances are and the details of the handover note he received from his predecessor.

The allegations and Fashola’s defense
It is indeed worrisome that some of the allegations against the past governor, despite his achievements while in office, are weighty. He has however cleared some of it but his explanations remains hanging while Lagosians are waiting for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to address the matter.

Some of the allegations include the controversial N78 million spent on the personal website of Mr. Fashola, which he was accused to have approved, before he left office on May 29.

He is also accused of spending N1.2 billion on the construction of pedestrian bridges along Eti-Osa – Lekki – Epe Expressway “without specifying the number of bridges.”

The N17 million awarded for the provision of wall signage in three magistrate courts; N3.46 billion spent for the construction of a beach resort in Ilase; and N61 million disbursed for a Range Rover SUV and two Toyota Hilux vans as the official vehicles of the Chief Justice of the state.

Fashola’s is also accused of spending of N85 million for the repair and replacement of street signs and N330 million for the development of the residence of Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the immediate past deputy governor.

In his defense however, Fashola claimed that those asking the EFCC to investigate him have been paid huge amount of money to do so.

On the alleged N78mllion contract approved for the state website, he noted that the fund was not only meant for website development, it included mobile application development and other things.

He also dismissed the allegation of extra marital paternity, saying that he did not father any child outside wedlock but that he only adopted three children who were orphaned by the Dana Airline crash of 2012 and that he went through due process.

Fashola’s achievements in government
There is a popular believe that Fashola’s administration marked a historic turning point in the life of Lagos as the 13th governor of the state.
Prominent among some of the numerous strides he made while in government include the relentless fight against Ebola virus. His administration is also applauded for raising the standard of education in the state.

For instance the introduction of well-furnished new blocks of classrooms, distribution of free text books, provision of well-equipped workrooms and libraries, provision of buses for teachers and students to ease transportation problems, re-launching of uniformed voluntary organisations in the state’s public schools, implementation of Teachers’ Salary Scale (TSS), evolvement of the ‘Adopt a School Initiative’, among others are second to none in the history of the state.

On assumption of government, Fashola embarked on a huge infrastructure renewal of Lagos metropolis within the first four years of his term. He also made a giant stride in rural transformation and the commencement of the light rail project, which is still under construction.

His government also achieved a lot in the area of public safety and security. The former governor also succeeded in transforming notorious Oshodi, which was once considered a dent on the image of the state.

WHILE some alleged that Ambode’s government may be working out a deliberate script to embarrass his successor, particularly on the website revelation, a group, Lagos Indigenes Network Organization (LINO) dissociated the governor from the website upgrade scandal.

This is coming on the backdrop of the allegations by some groups loyal to Fashola who fingered Ambode as the brain behind the revelations, especially since the information detailing the contract was made available by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, an agency of the Lagos State Government on its website.

LINO’s Executive Secretary, Fouad Ade- Basorun said since his inauguration on May 29, Ambode has busied himself with developmental projects in the state and has no spare time to tarnish the image of his predecessor.

The group took strong exception to those linking the Ambode with the revelations. It said those involved in the saga were mischief-makers trying to cause chaos in the polity.

A member of the party who spoke on condition of anonymity however said that the allegations against Fashola are nothing different from what the True Face of Lagos claimed in their petition to the State House of Assembly in 2011, when it demanded that Fashola should be probed over some financial mismanagement.

The source also said that if at all the revelations are coming from the APC “I think it is necessary to commend the APC, at least for exposing our member who is found wanting but I can say categorically that neither APC nor Ambode, has nothing to do with Fashola’s present ordeal. The former governor has the duty to give account of his stewardship to the people of the state.”

He added that Lagosians should ask from Fashola why inner roads in the state are in deplorable state if he spent so much on road construction.

The ongoing issues of alleged corrupt practices indeed call to question the integrity of the party as it also demands a detail explanation from Ambode to disclose the contents of the handover notes from Fashola and disclose the true state of the finances of Lagos.

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  • johnny o

    Everything put together Fashola did well in Lagos during his eight years rule. He did way better than all other governors before him. The transformation of Oshodi, Yaba, Ajegunle and other slums into enviable places in Lagos was magical and highly commendable. Talking relatively (compared to even his predecessor) he was a bundle of achievement during his tenure. I have not seen any erstwhile administration in Nigeria that is not alleged to have embezzled. If there were looters they have hierarchies. If these allegations against Fashola are true he will still be a looter of a considerably lower grade whose achievement are commendable, noticeable and enduring. Afterword he is human and he did not claim to be an angel. I guess we should just leave him alone and see what his successor will do to surpass him. If his current problem is traced to his predecessor as alleged, then we should ask why both of them started disagreeing even during Fashola’s tenure especially during his bid for the second term. We heard rumours that both leaders had a big problem of what must be looted or not in Lagos state. Don’t forget I said they were rumours.

    • TAJ

      The attitude of condoning corruption because the Governor worked needs to stop. This grand theft of Public money needs to be further exposed and Fashola should face the music if found guilty.

      Lekki-Etiosa area has less than 6 pedestrian bridges. It is unimaginable that Fashola could approve 1.2billion for less than 6 bridges. This equates to 200Million per bridge!

      • johnny o

        Yes Taj you are right to the extent that we must all fight corruption in the nation regardless of who is involved. Is it really easy to say that under our situation. Our country is a place where the law is largely in support of the rich and highly placed member of the society. First the rich has all the resources to fight his way out of prosecution. But look at it this way. Most of the things said against Fashola right now are largely speculative. Don’t forget our constitution recognizes the fact that a man is deemed innocent until proved otherwise. In Fashola’s case, if we take away political talks and speculations out of the equation, he is still a success. That is my view in terms of what we can verify as achievements during his tenure. You may disagree but I also know that every leader in Nigeria is corrupt one way or the other. Should that be so? Obviously No. But unfortunately that is what we have. Why? We are still very poor, selfish, irrational, largely underdeveloped, unpatriotic etc. We can however say of our leaders that there are hierarchies in the level of corruption by each leader. Can we reach that level of utopia on corruption in our country? Let’s wait and see. Have you heard of the allegations against Larmorde (head of the EFCC)? have you heard of the amount of money involved? Now if the allegations are true, you can imagine what that amount of money can do for the development of our infrastructure. My view is if Fashola or any other leader for that matter is found guilty of corruption we should not allow them to escape justice. But before then please let us judge our leaders by their verifiable achievements.

        • Agnes

          I wish this standard of innocent until guilty was applied to jonathan an co

          • nnanta

            No ! The standard in this regard is ‘demonise anyone not in our camp’.
            ‘History will vindicate the just’.

      • Agnes

        You are absolutely right. Mediocrity rules in Nigeria. That’s why a pretender like Fasola can be ranked an action governor

      • nnanta

        Corrections please ! There are 3 foot bridges on Lekki Express Way at the following points ; Lekki 1st Gate, ‘Jakande’ Busstop [ie before Lekki Beach Roundabout and another one after the Lekki Beach Roundabout. I purposely left out the one in front of the infamous Oriental Hotel Maroko.
        I’m sure that we can remember the 6 pupils of Ikota Primary School who were killed by a crazy driver while they made dash across the Expressway in order to get to school !

    • MindYourself

      I would be surprised if Fashola behaved as an angel throughout his sojourn as the head of Lagos state. When we talk about corruption we talk about those who just lavished and divided our treasury amongst themselves with impunity. We were not using Christian standard as a gauge. If we must use Christian standard of integrity, who amongst us can stand? Even Buhari will fail talkless of Bola Tinubu. But this is not the standard we are using for Jonathan and his friends. Jonathan built so many billionaires during his time that satan would be wondering what sort of corrupt man is this. This I am sure Fashola didn’t do. Then, did he deserve all these ? Definitely No. Only the mischievous minds and narrow minded fellows would believe he should be one of the first set of people to be targeted on issue of corruption in Nigeria. And surprisingly, being pursued by the same government he campaigned for. What sort of signal are you sending to Buhari? Is it in order for him to also bite the fingers that fed him: to probe Lagos state from 1999-date and use the Christian standard? Today Fashola, whose government was picked as the best in Nigeria, is being accused of corruption simply because some people do not want him to be Minister. I said some people because I wouldn’t want to believe Asiwaju Tinubu has hands in it. But I believe he could easily call the governor to order. What they do not know is that we gave them this support but if they continue this way we may decide to withdraw it. If Ambode had shown any sign that he would behave this way he would have lost. Although Jimi Agbaje’s utterances didn’t help his situations at all. We await how their game will play out. If the President fails to pick the gentleman as a Minister in line with their orchestrated plans Asiwaju Bola Tinubu would have lost so much than he can ever imagine. When I wrote Jonathan a personal letter for him to just accept defeat without consulting with anyone and even his wife, he did and today some group of people are hailing him for his sportsmanlike attitude. Today I am writing you ( Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) to call your Ambode to order if you still love your popularity to continue to soar. You have a choice: disobey me and face the consequences. I have spoken.

  • New Nigerian

    Fashola is whistle-clean. He has no bank account with ill-gotten state funds in Nigeria or Overseas – If he did we would have heard about it by now. He has no one fronting for him that he was doing “arranged” contracts with – if he did we would have heard about it.

    The publications of the contracts to infer that they were excessively priced is a non-issue. he must have followed due diligence and not hand-picked people and just single handedly awarded contracts to them – if he did we would have heard about it.

    For me, this is about Ambode and his ability to build on the legacy of Fashola – a modern city state that is running very well and poised with developments like Eko Atlantic to put Lagos on the the world map. For Ambode, a public accountant to have allowed this non-issue to make the rounds put in question his credibility as someone who is ready to govern…he is learning what it takes to govern Lagos with mega-egos and influences – he better learn fast and assert his leadership, as we know the nature of a market by it’s opening hours….so the joke is rather on Ambode and his hidden puppet masters.

    • Agnes

      Seriously ? Whistle clean? I think you are joking right?

  • Mickey

    Fashola to PDP. That will be a sensational news. Don’t like both parties cos they are all politicians taking advantage of us but will like to see how the APC fans will take it. We keep deceiving ourselves that these politicians are any different, rather than criticise them/make them sit u, we curse/divide ourselves hence making it easy for them to get off the hook.

  • Kehinde

    Hmmmm! Compared to other Governors in 9ja, I think Fashola should be given a pass mark and not subjected to ridicule.