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Do You Still Love Fashola?




In the past weeks so much has been said about the former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN. You will find that the days following his exit from office of the governor have not been that of a legendary saviour in shining armour, as one would have expected, but a mere mortal dodging sludges of mud slung at him as people make accusations, curse and call him out. Because a lot of these accusations are more or less beer parlour talk, unsubstantiated, I would leave them aside and focus on the one we all know about. This news is more or less 9 day old porridge but we've yet to talk about it here and I still want to hear your thoughts. I'm referring to Fashola's N78,000,000 website and his response. Read below and share your thoughts. 


When you wrestle with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty.”

This statement of profound wisdom informed my silence in the wake of manipulated and unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing recently being levelled against me. They started a few weeks to the end of my tenure, and have continued till date.

They range from allegations of extra marital paternity of children, to mundane and phantom conspiracy in the National Assembly, a debt profile for Lagos State and lately a website upgrade contract of N78million, which is being distorted.

In so far as the allegations of paternity are concerned, they are wicked and false. I have no biological children other than my two children.

Of course, I adopted three children who became orphaned as a result of the tragic DANA Airplane crash of 2012 and the adoption followed due process. Those who do not care whether they hurt innocent children or invade the privacy of other citizens in their mindless rage against me will have their rewards served upon them in the fullness of time.

As far as my alleged involvement in the National Assembly elections are concerned, they remain only the products of the imagination of those who made the allegations. I was out of the country at the material time and returned only in the early hours of that morning to Abuja, and from there proceeded to Lagos.

As far as debts of Lagos State are concerned, the fact is that Lagos had always had depts. her population is growing and for a long time she has run deficit budgets to cater to the needs of that growing population.

All the debts contracted in my time were approved by the Parliament in the annual budgets, some have been paid back and the financial status was healthy and stable when I left. The outlook for the state and her rating by Fitch was long-term foreign and local currency IDRs at ‘BB-‘, short-term IDR at ‘B’ and national long-term rating at ‘AA+(nag)’.

When we all pause and reflect and think, we will realise that there are a sizeable number of companies who are running business, who have no responsibility for Security, Public Health, Public Education and other responsibilities of Government, who borrow more than Lagos State Government, whether collectively or individually.

As far as the website contract is concerned, yes there was a contract, It went through procurement and was approved by the Government agency authorised to do so.

One of the services was an “upgrade” quoted for N12.5 million but awarded for N12 million. There were other services that were new; like a handover countdown clock, mobile Apps for Google, for IOS and iPad, forMicrosoft and for Research in Motion (Blackberry), which the existing website did not have, as well as the annual maintenance cost of managing the website.

It was for all these services that the contract was issued for N78 million, which the Lagos State procurement agency gave a No objection based on the advice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, who are the Government adviser on ICT matters.

In publishing this Contract award which was the Government tradition under my watch, the procurement agency’s website summarised it as “upgrade” only without detailing the other services and this has been distorted by the agents of hate as their suspected “smoking gun”.

For those who are familiar with mobile applications, they will know that users either pay for them online or download them for free.

What is usual is that applications for service are usually provided to users free, but somebody bears the cost.

Since these applications were to be made available to the public for free access and to assist Government communication, we decided to pay for them.

The entire documents are with the Lagos State Government and are available for those who seek the truth. For the record, since 2008, long before the Freedom of Information Act ever passed, we had put out our contracts on the State website because people deserve to know.
It is regrettable that a “summary” of the contract has been deliberately distorted to misinform the public.

This particular website came into being as a result of the decision I made to make my telephone number public for the several thousands of people seeking to reach me daily.

The website that is now under attack helped me to do my job and to respond to citizens, and the contract was issued to run till my last day of office. It stands logic upside down for to “fraudulently” award a contract and then have it published on a website.

To date, there have been 27.666 million hits on this website with 1,844 videos, 34,381 photographs, 2,531 Press Releases and 595 Speeches, among other items for public communication.

I have chosen to make this personal response because as the head of government at the time of the transaction, the buck as they say stops on my desk and also because of the many calls, text messages and mails coming from many people seeking clarification; and to prevent fiction from being mistaken for truth.

I expect that there may be more distorted allegations without evidence, for reasons that remain in the realm of speculation because, I have been informed reliably that large amounts of money are being paid to some of these agents to bear false witness.

I cannot conclude without responding to the crusade of CACOL and their ilk, seeking my prosecution on allegations that have no proof and writing “pre-emptive” letters to the Presidency.

In case they are unaware, I am not looking for a job. I expect them to know that allegations of wrong doing are not resolved without evidence, neither are they resolved in press conferences.

I have served my state, and by extension, my country for Twelve and half years and I did so with my heart.

I am taking the rest that I believe I have earned.

For those who still wish to remain in the mud, they should look in the mirror.

For those who wish to throw mud at me, they should look at their own hands.

As for me, I have moved on. My job is done.

***

Thoughts? I don't mind sharing mine with you; I've always loved Fashola, I loved him less after reading this, much less. Saying more would result in another post entirely. Let's hear yours. 


Comments

  1. Thelma at least you can summarize your reasons for now loving Fash lesser than before. All I read was a well detailed defense to the *beer palour* allegations of paternity and fraud. Or is there something else he hasn't adequately clarified?

    "...The entire documents are with the Lagos State Government and are available for those who seek the truth..."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly Memphis
      People keep forgetting he's but a mere mortal.
      My respect grew for him in leaps after reading this because he eloquently defended himself without any smear.
      Brown

      Delete
    2. Lols,Mr Brown,is there anyone who "isn't but a mere mortal? I hope anyone who is tried in court for corruption can borrow this statement?

      Delete
  2. Our priority as a nations stinks. Website my foot. J

    ReplyDelete
  3. The problem isn't whether due process was followed in awarding the contract for the website! The issue is the fact that's it's an Over-bloated contract!
    The Q here is,wld the (APC) broom of its fight against corruption reach this matter???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sasha as an IT consultant, I will tell you for free that the figures are not over bloated given the specific features on the website.
      The execution and delivery of these features on the website though is cause for another topic.
      Brown

      Delete
  4. In my opinion people need to be a bit more objective. Just like there are houses worth billions and some worth 3million, there are websites your younger brother in university can hack together, and those you pay professionals good money to do.

    As a lawyer you could work on a property business worth billions and expect a percentage running into millions of naira. My sister in law school can do same job (maybe not same quality, but hey.. ) and I thank her with N200k and she would be very grateful.

    In same vein many commenting on this issue do so purely from their paradigm but not looking at the big picture. I say this because I am in the IT profession and in my company we have had people call us for website jobs and frankly if after evaluation, the scope is what will charge N5m or less for, we will rather direct them to some smaller company. I wouldn't even touch it with a long pole, yet some years ago, I would probably have jumped at the job for 300k.

    Based on scope of what the site is supposed to be, I would not quote lower than the price it was awarded for. Perhaps though, it may not have been executed properly (especially in the looks / graphics aspect) however it seems to have been fully functional, fully featured and serving intended purpose all this while. I have not downloaded the mobile apps to evaluate and I am pretty certain most of those complaining have not either.

    Lets get real - do we think if Chams PLC or any major IT player in Nigeria got this job, it would be awarded for less? My white US friend can't understand all the noise as his company just recently completed a website job for a company for about $350,000 (please do the math) and that is an average job for them.

    What I may have issues with is due process in contract award - however I am not privy to this information and no blogger has been kind enough to share details of this so I reserve my judgement till then.

    For the record, I don't support any party, and have no affiliations whatsoever. Simply trying to make an informed input on subject matter.

    ReplyDelete
  5. How important is this website to Lagosians vis a vis other pressing issues to the extent that we paid 78 mil for it. It's still down to chasing rats while your house is on fire. Is creating a website good? yes. Should we spend that money on it? HELL NO says the average Lagosian with a 15k minimum wage.

    Should we not hold them accountable when they spend ridiculous amount of money on not so important things.I'm not questioning if the amount was fraudulently over bloated, I question why such huge amount should be spent on a website in the first place. I have never visited that website and I'm sure a lot of us have not.........but I know people that came to work with BRT and had to wait 1 hr for it and will probably wait another hr or an hr and half on their way home. If we spend such money on things like this don't you think we will be in a better place.

    It is not Fashola's money to spend as he likes on things that will not benefit the tax payer. I have one sentence for APC (I supported them). Charity begins at home. That his speech just rubbed me the wrong way. J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point J. You already summed it up. Our priority as a nation stinks! Always prioritizing the wrong and unnecessary things.

      Well... like yoruba people say... "Eni to ba ma kowoje, a da inawo le"

      Delete
  6. All those against this detailed analysis of how the money was spent with respect to having a website for a state like Lagos should go and check the GDP of Lagos, when you do, then tell me why it is wrong for a state with such GDP shouldn't have a website. and yet private companies pay equal or more than this... please please this is just a waste of emotions. if u think this is rubbing you somehow...

    Remember there was a permanent secretary in abuja who embezzled 23billion naira and he was being harassed to the point that he said they have collected everything from him and now they want to collect his house after all its ONLY 23billion he stole. GEJ ADMINISTRATION.

    And you are here finding excuses to execrate a governor who has given you the lay down on how a website was created for a state like Lagos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oga Uyi!!!!
      No be so o. Every thief (whether petty or grand) steals for a reason no mean say we no go talk say eim tif.
      Watin consign GDP of Lagos with N78m for this matter?

      Delete
    2. So u mean u don't think 78million for a standard state of the art website is true? We just had the opportunity of having two IT specialist tell us that that money is absolutely just for a website.

      So Wetin him 'thief' now? Cos I don't get why u would use the noun 'thief' to describe Fashola(directly or indirectly)

      Delete

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