Fashola’s post-tenure travails
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.