Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos state, on Wednesday revisited the controversy surrounding the alleged use of N78 million for the upgrade of www.tundefashola.com, his personal website.
Critics of the former governor had accused him of enriching himself at the expense of the state. And during the ministerial screening at the senate, Fashola was asked if he truly spent N78 million on the website and more than N300 million on sinking a borehole.
In his response, he said he was not directly responsible for the cost of the website.
“Some people may be surprise to learn that as governor of Lagos state, I don’t know about other states, I didn’t sign cheques, none of my commissioners signed cheques. I have never signed a cheque, I don’t fix contract prices, it is an institutional process,” he said.
“The only training I have is that of a lawyer, but in order to execute works on a project, we need the input of architects, we need the input of quantity surveyors, we need the input of structural engineers and we have consulting ministries.
“For civil works, it’s the ministry of works, for science, it’s the ministry of science and technology. The statisticians are there to fix prices from biro to iron rod to cement. It is approved and it becomes the benchmark price of government procurement; nobody can award any other contract over that benchmark.
“All of these things nobody has alleged that I have corruptly enriched myself, and I couldn’t be the master of all on technology, I need something to do my work and you make procurement in senate, who is involve how much you buy your stationery.”
Responding to a question relating to his concept of loyalty, Fashola said: “May our loyalty never be tested,” and the senators chorused “Amen!” He went on to shed more light on his understanding of loyalty, using a story to drive home his point.
“The concept for loyalty is very strange. You know why I say so; in the course of my work, there was a family that had a parent who had a kidney malfunction and the diagnosis was that the patient needed a transplant and needed to go overseas, we had procedures in government where we helped people who applied to get overseas treatment,” he said.
“When we had paid and they were to go, the question was who will be the donor? We found out that the only matching kidneys were those of her two daughters and none of them was willing to give a kidney for their mother, that was their supreme test of loyalty.
“So, I always pray that my loyalty will not be tested, because you do not know, you may have to take a bullet for somebody, it may be a father for a child.
“In public life, I have remained loyal to courses that I assigned on to and all my life, really nobody has fairly accused me of giving my word and going back on it.”