We support an open probe of Fashola because he’s innocent

By Ade Erinle
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We have watched with disdain the unrelenting nature of the group called The True Face of Lagos in its quest to effect the probe of Governor Babatunde Fashola of our dear state. We wish to state that all supporters of the governor are intune with an open investigation in the State House of Assembly because we are convinced that the allegations against him are nothing more than political vendetta. It is public knowledge that Governor Fashola does not do crooked deals. The reason why he's popular today is because, he operates an open, accountable and equitable government. His adversaries may not like it, but the generality of the people of this state are satisfied with his conduct. Ordinarilly, we would have commenced a campaign advising the governor to ignore all the allegations, but we want him to put his traducers to shame, and the only conclusive way to do it, is for him to submit himself to the investigation by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

We would therefore urge the governor to refrain from embarking on litigation to prevent this exercise as was previously done. In our view, he will inadvertently give the impression that he has a lot to hide. We believe that is not his intention. Let's look at some of the ridiculous allegations. It was alleged by The True Face of Lagos that Governor Fashola spent N7.7 billion on a 2 kilometer road. For God's sake, how on earth can a governor of Fashola's calibre do such an unthinkable thing? Any decent Lagosian will look at such allegation with askance and with a huge hiss. There are other ridiculous allegations: That Fashola gave N250 million the Nigerian Bar Assiciation at a time when Lagos teachers and doctors were on strike for improved welfare package. That Fashola spent N420 million on hiring of private security, within 6 months (January to June 2009) despite his heavy investment in the Police Force through the State Security Trust Fund. That Fashola spent N1.5 billion to demolish the Bank of Industry (BOI) building in Lagos Island, paying a company introduced by one Tunji Olowolafe, only for him and his cronies to claim the land adjacent to it. That between January and June 2009, Fashola's government fuelled 225 vehicles in his office alone with N135 million. These figures amount to about N800, 000 per day, at a time that petrol was sold for N65 per litre and government always get it cheaper, but BRF claimed to have bought it at N85 per litre.

That Fashola awarded the contract for the construction of a road and drains inside Gbagada General Hospital for over N1.8 billion to the same Tunji Olowolafe's company (DEUX Projects Limited). That the sum of 1.5 billion naira of un-appropriated funds, without approval was claimed to have been spent on demolition of Oshodi. That Fashola spent over N5 billion on two helicopters that are making money for private pockets in the Niger Delta. That the Beautification Programme of Fashola administration is reeking with corruption. He allegedly spent over N13 billion on planting grass and flowers. That the State's CCTV project was awarded to Fashola's relation who claimed to be acting for CISCO. The contract was awarded for $62 million dollars, while the rejected quote for the contract was $30 million. This was a pilot scheme. That Fashola's wife travels abroad once bi-monthly and takes N30 million per trip from the State coffers, apart from her monthly subvention. That Fashola handed N5.1 billion worth of contract out of N5.6 billion naira contract in the Ministry of Health to Olowolafe and paid 70% upfront in cash.

These are some of the fictitious allegations contained in the petition circulated by the True Face of Lagos group. We know that it is impossible for Governor Fashola to have committed these infractions. This is why we of the Eko O ni Baje Group support an open investigation by the state house of Assembly. Enough is enough of all these yeye distractions. Now is the time for Governor Fashola to put his adversaries to shame, by submitting himself to the investigation by the EFCC and the state parliament. Once all these allegations are dismissed, Governor Fashola should then concentrate of going for a much deserved second term in office.

By Ade Erinle
Eko O ni Baje Group ([email protected])