#OduahGate And Fashola’s $450k Boreholes: Is Nigeria A Nation of Hypocrites Or A Hypocrite Nation?

By Peregrino Brimah

In October of 2013, on the 15th of the month to be precise, Nigeria was lit up with the Stella Oduah scandal. The so-named #OduahGate. Our then minister of Aviation under the Jonathan administration was hounded and eventually forced out of office for a “scandal” SaharaReporters broke of her purchasing for N255 million two bullet proof BMW’s that according to PremiumTimes should cost tops, N128 million. In effect Stella fleeced Nigeria of about N100 million; that’s about $625,000!

We saw all holier than thou activists, newspapers, bloggers and the like screaming to the high heavens about Stella’s misappropriation. She was called all sorts of names and eventually she was rightfully kicked out of the government by a reluctant Jonathan. Indeed this scandal was one of the main factors that fueled angst against the Jonathan administration and sent it packing.

Fast forward to now, 15th of October, precisely two years later. A newly nominated and now confirmed minister, the former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola was accused of misappropriating N139 million ($870,000) for the dredging of two boreholes, according to Lagos state government and as contained in all main media outlets.

The cost of a borehole around the world is about $1000 [PDF].

In essence, new minister Fashola’s government spent what could drill give or take, 800 boreholes to drill just two. Or we may say,his government misappropriated/looted/coveted $868,000! Over $230,000 more than we stoned Stella for.

And we just supervised his nomination, confirmation and as we all observed, those same “activists,” those same media…we have reviewed comments by all the many names of 100k+ fans and likes popular activists, the same people that cast the stones at Stella and the common reaction is, “Fashola slammed it.” PremiumTimes gave him an 8 or 9/10 for performance despite recognizing and criticizing his lackadaisical response to serious queries of the gross abuse of the funds by his administration which in their words he gave an “obfuscated” response to.

Fashola’s response to the tribunal was a slight to the panel and Nigeria as a whole. He put his finger up the “Change” act’s nose. He said, “I am a Lawyer and so I should not be expected to do the numbers.” This was the height of recklessness and political office-holder insolence. He further said, “I do not personally sign the cheques.”

Well Stella Oduah does not sign the cheques either. Diezani never signs the cheques. The response Fashola gave was elitist, condescending, averse and insultingly perverse. “I hope my loyalty will not be questioned,” he further said in honesty.

Is this what we are? A nation of hypocrites? Is it about “loyalty” for all the activists and media that hounded on Stella but praise and positively appraise Fashola?

Of course the Senate loves him and confirmed him. They need the likes of him to protect them and their extravagant ways as well as his and their coterie of cabal: cement, phone and oil monopolist bed-mates.

So aloof and unabashed of his grievous crime as executive governor of the state whose reckless spending was under review, does this not mean that as a new Minister, millions of dollars / billions of Naira will likewise be formally looted and a straight-back, raised chin political-position-dependent Fashola will again tell us that he does not sign the cheques under his ministry?

I am lost for words. I hope I got something wrong here. Perhaps he did not spend the acclaimed sum on just two boreholes. Perhaps it was ultra-efficient, acres cooling water fountains and farm rigging systems. Perhaps this is why he brazenly slighted us in response. Hopefully he knows it is semi illegal for his government to be drilling boreholes when it should be providing pipe-borne water. I must be wrong. Of course, If I was wrong, he would/should have told us the correct thing at the screening…no? Please correct me if I am right [RO].

$12,500 beds, $450,000 boreholes and $400,000 personal websites?

I have said enough. 2019 cometh.

Nigeria will make it!

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

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Fashola’s ‘Pig And Wrestler’: Tinubu Personified, By Ridwan Omooba

Nigeria is too big and multi-ethnical for its ownership to be solely proclaimed by a man. This is a call from all Nigerians who believe that the best way to make Nigeria great is to have a strand mindsets by setting our motives straight to making things work for better and making a way for a new Nigeria for which we all have been praying, longing and yawning since some decades ago. A man who was generally described as hero of people’s democracy for his dogged opposition over the times and coalition with others which was the bedrock of the change we have today, Bola Tinubu, in his greed to be in charge of everything has been distorting and heating the polity since after March 28 general election, when the battle for who rules the National Assembly kicked off, precisely speaking, his strong antagonism to the Senate Presidential bid of Senator Bukola Saraki. However, the political fallout of 9th of Juneagainst his candidate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan threw up many politicking and media sponsorship against the person of Saraki who defeated his anointed candidate. The Xerox Tinubu has also been heard of opposing the governor per excellence, Babatunde Fashola from being appointed by President Buhari into Federal Cabinet despite Buhari’s interest in Fashola’s reformation and transformation ability. The question here is, could all these be his deceptive tactics to gain upper hand in Nigerian political history? That’s very impotent because Nigeria is wider than a sole political thin god and Buhari’s body language doesn’t in any way support thin-god ship.

In advanced economies, good governance is seen as obligatory responsibility of governments to the governed but the contrary is at its play out in Nigeria here. In reality the greatest reward of any country with revolutionary polls as strongly demonstrated by Nigeria in the last elections, is good governance. Barr. Babatunde Fashola, a former governor of Lagos  is generally undisputable on competence and brilliance which resulted in many monumental achievements that were wittingly left unconcerned by his predecessor and political godfather, Bola Tinubu. Of course Fashola’s unmatchable track records in Lagos alone, is worth a depiction of who truly have people at heart between Fashola and Tinubu.

Fashola’s case has however vindicated Sen. Saraki and active listening Nigerians who tried to interfere in the National Assembly crisis in his speech titled “When you wrestle with a pig, the pig get happy and you get dirty.” That speech is in its entirety, a personification of the current political imbroglio. Nigerians are highly interested in knowing the ‘Pig’ and ‘wrestler’, so as to advice the wrestler who fights every competent man on his path, not to get stained with the pig’s natural dirtiness which doesn’t translate to the pig’s wickedness.

Mr. Fashola is an irrefutable transformational man whose administration in Lagos marked an historical turning point in the life of lagos state as the largest city in Africa. His largest achievement in administration took place a year ago, and was done without an earthmover in sight. That was when Nigeria was officially declared Ebola-free, which first spread to the country over three months ago, when Patrick Sawyer, the infected US-Liberian citizen and the ECOWAS official, imported the virus through Lagos airport.

For some of us who knew what Lagos looked like more than a decade ago up till Tinubu’s administration, we definitely applaud Fashola’s beautification and transformation initiatives. Talking about public security and safety, rural transformation and infrastructural renewal of Lagos; Babatunde fashola towards achieving security as one of the most important pre-conditions for human existence, the Fashola government, turned most hide-outs and joints that previously served as bases for impostors and armed robbers into beautiful environment. I watched Channels TV yesterday where Oshodi Lagos and its long curtailed social vices by Fashola were reported to be resurrected. Then I thought of why Fashola wanted to name his successor by himself which was one and last of the points of political collisions between the gentle technocrat, Fashola and his thingod, Jagaban. On assumption of his administration, Fashola boarded on a huge infrastructure renewal of Lagos metropolis. The main focus formed the key city highways.
The Fashola administration has also seen a great progress in the rural area, as over 110 rural development projects were finished under the rural water and sanitation structure.

Still on his achievement as a former governor of Lagos state; given the generally acclaimed status of education in the improvement of the society, the Fashola government has given education the attention it earns. Later, the reintegration and creation 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 comfort transportation problems, re-launch of uniformed voluntary administrations in the state’s public schools, implementation of Teachers’ Salary Scale (TSS) for teachers in the state public schools, evolvement of the ‘Adopt a School Initiative’, among others.

With all these vivid achievements, don’t you think the “Pig” deserves to be honored? Don’t you think the Pig is better than the wrestler? Don’t you think the pig deserves to be given a national audience? This is a call for Nigeria to say no to any deceptive wrestler who believes he can use a deceptive tactics to defeat the Pig who is already happy.

Am glad Nigerians are seeing clearly those involved in the National Assembly crisis. They can now see it clearly with their eyes those stratagems interfering in the affairs of the open Nass. Those people who wants to have it all by going against the wish of the people and imposing their puppets as candidates on the people based on their own egocentric reasons not competence. This is outrageous.

These is also a call to the president of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari to embrace with the leadership of NASS which has earlier shown interest to partner with his administration by their openness and accountability of NASS and quality legislations, so as to bring peace and making a better reforms that will favor the masses. I see governance and leadership as the yin and the yang of successful country. If you have leadership without governance you risk tyranny, fraud and personal fiefdoms. If you have governance without leadership you risk atrophy, bureaucracy and indifference.

National Assembly crisis has partly been over as the members of the Unity Forum embraced peace with the leadership of the Senate by rallying round him and President Muhammadu Buhari will soon appoints his cabinet in which  the “Pig” will soon get a juicy appointment. Nigerians will be happy again and the wrestler will be disappointed by watching how the Pig gets happier when the ministerial list is out.

Ridwanomooba
Sudrid2015@gmail.com

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The Problem With El-Rufai, Fashola’s Demolitions, Attitude To The Poor By Peregrino Brimah

Barely had the new Kaduna State governor occupied his seat when he banished begging in the state. The deed was painted as a reaction to a terror attack, but it was apparent the terror attack was an immediately available convenient excuse to achieve his aforethought agenda to end the “irritating” habit. The bomber was not a pretend-beggar.

Within two months of being in office, the governor next began the aggressive demolition of illegal residences in an entire Alhudahuda community.

In similar reaction to hawkers, beggars and illegal land occupiers, governor Fashola of Lagos is remembered for his demolitions and clamp down on begging. Numerous communities in Lagos were demolished during his eight years, rendering the occupants homeless in an instant. And whoever was found homeless, who could have been made homeless by the very demolitions, was rounded up, kept in “concentration camps” and deported to any state of the Lagos government’s choice. At least 3000 Nigerians were deported through his tenure. I described these dumpings, typically on roadsides at outskirts of states in an earlier article.

While the principle of the demolition of illegal structures is legal, the problem is the reality of the States and nation. Is it fair for El-Rufai to give notice and demolish in just two months? Can he argue that notice was given by previous administrations he himself accuses of being hopeless, unresponsible and unreliable and as such, the occupants should have expected this sudden inconvenience?

There are some fundamental blunders and potential crimes in the cases of both governors and they are borne of the same stock. Let’s present it simply:

You must never demolish homes where there is no social welfare.

You must never banish begging where there is no social welfare.

You must never deport Nigerians irregardless of social welfare availability. (section 41(1) of the 1999 constitution). When you ban begging, assuming/after there is housing for the poor and welfare, then you can arrest and jail the beggars who violate, but you still cannot deport them around Nigeria.

The actions of both governors are borne from the same cloth– elitism.

El-Rufai is the epitome of the Elite. I have for long been as anxious and worried about him as I have been excited. He is the archetype of elitism just like Fashola is or became. These men represent the definition of the elite. They are “pure blood.” They detest destitution. They believe every man must be affluent or is less than a person. Their reaction to poverty is instantaneous, harsh and uncompassionate. I do not care that Nigeria’s billions have been looted and the nation has been run into the ground by friends of mine, leaving you no opportunity for gainful employment. I do not care that if you do not beg from tonight, you will starve and may die. I do not care that this country has only fed and built for the rich; that we developed Abuja to be as good as any developed city, re-paving the roads every year, while leaving the rest of the nation to rot. All I want is for you to get out of this property this minute and to get your filthy selves off my streets.

This is the Fashola/El-Rufai mantra. This is the decretum behind their policies and state actions.

So you see, while it is beautiful and beautifying to rid Lagos and Kaduna of destitutes, the prerequisites for such decree must be set in place first.

Before Fashola bans Okada, he should build a thorough Lagos metro transport system to enable Lagosians get around without each person depending on a car and as such not only leading to traffic deadlock but environmental pollution. Build the metro system first before you build Eko Atlantic haven for the wealthy; then you can ban Okada and the transport-time will not increase as a hardship for Lagosians.

While you can never or rather, should never deport Nigerians according to the provisions of our constitution (section 41(1) of the 1999), before you can banish street begging, establish a welfare system and homes and feeding stipends (Food stamps) for the poor, then you can ban them from begging.

Likewise, before you demolish illegal structures, provide public housing as America did since the early 90’s. This is the way of God, this is the way of logic, this is the way of peace, security and progress. The El-Rufai/Fashola way, with the chronic institutionalized disadvantagement leads to suffering, terror and death.

I believe both men are Muslims. In Islamic records, the banishing of alcohol followed a stage-wise process. First Muslims were told to decrease their consumption, then it was banned. This is the way of the prophets. The great leaders of old will not go to bed if any of their constituents was hungry. Things have so changed now… and this is why we have MEND and Boko Haram in Nigeria. It is the protection of the rich and deprivement of the poor that has brought the Wrath of God on Nigeria.

The sudden demolitions in Kaduna have only one outcome as did the deportation of beggars by Fashola. These lead to deaths. Already El-Rufai has three deaths on his hands. According to DailyTrust, three Nigerians have already died as a consequence; “Ali Yayo, a resident of the community behind Alhudahuda, whose house was demolished, was said to have suddenly slumped and died. “There were also Sani Anle and Murtalele who also died after their houses were demolished. At least, seven residents of the area are receiving treatment at various hospitals in Zaria. One of them is Abubakar Mai Sirfani.”

We should not look for a day of reckoning when a blind, crippled or other destitute, an old man, woman or child will ask what they did that the governors denied them an existence or dumped them on the side of the road.

While Nigerians celebrate change, it is advised these governors and men with great ideas are reasonable and conscious of economics and management of/for the poor. If they feel they have wronged Nigerians, they should make atonement. Otherwise a class war will be inevitable in Nigeria.

Praying their indulgence, I [for ENDS] write for the poor.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

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IT Firm Denies Receiving N78 Million For Fashola’s Website, As Nigerians

The IT firm named by the Lagos State procurement office as receiving N78 million for the upgrade of former Governor Babatunde Fashola’s personal website, has denied being paid the amount.

Info Access Plus Limited said its quotation for the job was N12.5 million, and that the state eventually spent N10 million.

The figure contradicts details released by the Lagos State procurement office, first reported by the budget analytic firm, BudgiT.

The listing shows N78 million was spent on the website.

Curiously, for a company that specialises on building and upgrading websites, a Google search for Info Access Plus, revealed that Info Access Plus Limited has no website of its own.

According to information technology experts, www.tundefashola.com, created by the firm for the former governor, is a WordPress website and an upgrade could not have cost more than N300, 000.

The news of the expenditure has elicited outrage from Nigerians, with many using their social media accounts to lambast Mr. Fashola, widely seen as one of few upright politicians who could be given a cabinet position by President Mohammadu Buhari.

Mr. Fashola’s spokesperson, Hakeem Bello, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comment.

In its reaction, the IT firm, Info Access Plus Limited, questioned the motive of the procurement office in releasing details of the spending.

The firm also denied that the website was for Mr. Fashola as an individual, saying it was for the “governor of Lagos State.”

It also denied receiving N78 million for the job, yet, the firm compared the website with other internet products delivered at millions and even billions of dollars.

Read the statement below:

Our attention is drawn to the twitter campaign alleging that the Lagos State Government (LASG), led by His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN spent Seventy Eight Million Naira (N78M) to upgrade the www.tundefashola.com web site, a site dedicated to giving citizens unfettered access to the Governor’s daily activities and open access to information. It is imperative to state here that, the website in question is not Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola’s personal website but an official website which reports and documents his official activities as a way of socially accounting for his stewardship to the people of Lagos State. This initiative of having an official website for the Governor was to build on the earlier commitment to open access which saw Governor Fashola being the first serving governor to publish his telephone number on the pages of newspapers. As pressure mounted on that number, the website and all of its social media handles became alternative platforms for people to directly engage with their elected governor.

While we do not hold brief for the Lagos State Government, the selective loading of contracts awarded and executed by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency is itself suspect and aimed at a pre-determined end. The statement of the Contract Line Item and the cost ascribed on the website of the agency are therefore misleading and mischievous.

For avoidance of doubt, we are by this medium therefore laying bare the facts for the public:

Introduction

The former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, set out to streamline easy access to himself, while in office and to document his activities for the citizens.

From 2008 and up till May 29, 2015, the www.tundefashola.com web site has processed thousands of press releases/speeches, more than 6 million pictures, thousands of videos to generate world class, content-rich online information collaterals for the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN.

The same www.tundefashola.com web site provides great opportunities for the Lagos State Government, as it collates all activities of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, and his government during his two terms.

What Did LASG Get For the alleged “N78M”?

  • N12.5m was quoted for the upgrade of the www.tundefashola.com web site, which includes complete re-design of all the hundreds of page templates. Meanwhile, the LASG spent less than N10m on this and not N78M being bandied on the social around.
  • Info Access Plus Limited will provide free technical support for the entire life cycle of the web site.
  • Info Access Plus Limited will manage the contents of the site, which consist of press releases, speeches, photos, videos, etc for one year.
  • Info Access Plus Limited developed and managed the first and only web-based 1-year Countdown Clock to May 29, 2015 on a 24-hourly basis off the back of this same service cost for a period of 1 year from 2014 to May 29, 2015.
  • Info Access Plus Limited developed mobile apps for the top four platforms, namely Apple iOS, Google Play, Microsoft Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry World off the back of this same service cost.
  • Info Access Plus Limited will provide free technical support throughout the life cycles of all these mobile apps also off the back of this same service cost.

For the Records

  • In addition, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, personally paid for the www.brforg.org web site, even when he was the Lagos State Governor. He felt that www.brforg.org is the online presence of his Non-Governmental Organization, BRF Organization. Again, we state for the records, that the website in question is the official website of the Governor of Lagos State and not Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola’s personal website as being disparagingly alleged by the campaigners.

Quality Software Development Takes Serious Effort, Time and Resources

Signed on Behalf of Info Access Plus Limited

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Ambode Sacks Fashola’s Sister, 75 Others

Lagos state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday hit his predecessor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola hard below the belt with the sack of the immediate past governor’s sister, Ms Yinka Fashola as the General Manager of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency, LASRRA.

Ms Fashola was not the only target of the sack, other family members, friends and associates of the former governor appointed into various agencies and parastatals were equally booted out in an order sacking 76 of them at a go. A statement to that effect yesterday said the governor approved the dissolution of all Boards of Parastatals and Agencies of Government in the State.

“The Governor while stating that the dissolution takes immediate effect, however disclosed that the Civil Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and the State Independent Electoral Commission are exempted.

“Governor Ambode commended the modest contributions of the members of the dissolved Boards, just as he wished them well in their future endeavours”, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Governor has also approved the appointment of Mrs. Abimbola Shukrat Umar as the new Accountant General of the State. Mrs. Umar, prior to her new appointment, was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

A holder of the degree of Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Economics (1983) from the University of Ibadan and Master of Science in Corporate Governance (2013) from Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds United Kingdom, Mrs Umar is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and Nigeria Economic Society.

She also cut her teeth for over 15 years in the private sector, particularly with the renowned KPMG International before joining the Lagos State Civil Service as Chief Accountant in 2002. Her appointment, according to the statement, takes effect immediately.

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Fashola’s Address To Lagosians On The April 11 2015 Gubernatorial Elections

Dear Lagosians,

First let me thank you all for turning out to vote on the 28th March 2015 and for doing so peacefully to make history by electing the All Progressives Congress candidates in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Once again, I must address you as we approach Saturday’s elections, when you will be electing a Governor who will continue after me and consolidate on the progress we have built together.

You will also be electing members of the State House of Assembly who will make laws on your behalf to assist the Governor and his team in the Executive arm.

Although your votes will be cast for one political party or the other, let me remind you that you will actually be voting for your wellbeing, security, prosperity and future.

You will also be voting for the future of your children. You will be choosing candidates and a party that you will entrust your lives to.

Think hard, think clearly, think deeply. Ask yourselves a few questions.

Who has shown a better record and example of protecting and securing you between the political parties?

Which of the parties cares more when disasters happen?

What is the record of the parties as it relates to the promises they have made to you in the past?

Which of the parties do you see regularly and which one do you see once in a while?

Which of the parties do you see when your life or property is threatened by epidemics like Ebola or by unfortunate accidents like plane crashes?

Which of the parties is showing that you can become home-owners without knowing anybody?

Which party has responsibility for providing electricity for you, and which one is taking up the responsibility to light up your streets and communities at night?

Which of them cares more about your children and their safety?

Indeed ask yourself; which of the parties threatened you with thugs on that sad Monday of March 16th and which is seeking to protect you by supporting the police; with patrol vehicles, fuel and other equipment?

Ask yourself when last you saw the Federal Fire Service in Lagos. The proud men and women of the Lagos State Fire Service have taken over admirably.

Ask yourself who should be supporting the police and who is actually doing it?

Dear Lagosians, your choice of who to vote for will be easy if you answer these questions within yourself honestly.

Indeed, you have clear choices to make between parties that use your resources to develop your society and community on the one hand, and the party that chooses to bring money to you for distribution when election beckons.

So you can choose between schools for your children, hospitals for your community, roads for your transportation or in the alternative, you can choose to have these services monetized once in four years.

Remember, that choices have consequences and your vote will decide the choice that shapes your lives.

Dear Lagosians, it is tempting to take the right and opportunity to vote for granted. It is tempting to think that it is too much trouble.

I agree that the process can be made much easier. But it is no excuse to refuse to vote.

Out of 5.8 million registered voters and 3.8 million PVC collections, only about 1.5 million turned out to vote, on the 28th March 2015.

Think of all the pain, the effort, the sleepless nights it took to get the PVCs to you. Think of the best way to show that the effort was not wasted or in vain.

It seems to me that the best way is to have all these 3.8 Million voters come out to vote.

By refusing to vote, you surrender decision making to a few and you will be bound by the consequences of your choices.

By refusing to vote, you do a great disservice to many who have lived before you, who fought very hard at great personal costs to themselves, to earn you this right.

By refusing to vote, you dishonour the sacrifice of patriots before you who fought for the right to vote.

Remember that when they were fighting for the right to vote, they were not fighting for yesterday, they were fighting for today and tomorrow.

They have handed today to you and I, can we secure tomorrow for the next generation?

Remember that since the capital of Nigeria was moved from Lagos 24 years ago in December 1991, Lagos has been abandoned by the Federal Government.

Ask yourself when the last major new road in Lagos was built by the Federal Government. It was the 3rd Mainland Bridge completed in 1990.

The assets the Federal Government left behind almost became a burden but for our resilience to maintain them. Today the Federal Government is owing Lagos N51 Billion which remains unpaid.

This is not in accord with the spirit of the promise made to Lagos when the Federal Government first declared Abuja as the capital in 1976.

The Head-of-State at the time, the late Gen Murtala Muhammed, said then and I quote him:

“…Lagos will, in the foreseeable future, remain the nation’s commercial capital and one of its nerve centres. But in terms of servicing the present infrastructure alone the committed amount of money and effort required will be such that Lagos State will not be ready to cope.

(But we have coped at great sacrifice)

“It will even be unfair to expect the state to bear this heavy burden on its own. It is therefore necessary for the Federal Government to continue to sustain the substantial investment in the area. The port facilities and other economic activities in the Lagos area have to be expanded.

“There is need in the circumstances for the Federal Government to maintain a special defence and security arrangement in Lagos which will henceforth be designated a special area. These arrangements will be carefully worked out and written into the new constitution. Kaduna and Port Harcourt are to be accorded similar status and designated as Special Areas…”

Sadly, no Federal Government and indeed not the PDP Government has done anything to redeem that promise for the 16 years it was in power or to protect Lagos.

Instead of assisting Lagos, they attacked her. If you remember FERMA, in 2006, the same PDP seized your Local Government money and resisted the attempt to bring Government closer to you by creating more local Governments.

On Monday 16th March 2015, the same PDP continued in their tradition of assaulting Lagos. Their supporters took over a major road in Lagos and threatened your peace and security.

On Wednesday 18th March 2015, the President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari came to Lagos and said Lagos will receive compensation for the role she has played in maintaining Federal Government Assets.

Yesterday on Tuesday the 7th of April 2015, he was here in Lagos in his first political engagement since he became President-Elect and he reiterated his commitment to support Lagos.

This is what I will vote for. This is what I urge you to think about as you vote on Saturday.

This is the place that every Nigerian calls his home. It is the home of displaced people. It is the place where the homeless arrive and are made welcome.

It is the place where generations of Nigerians have arrived without knowing anybody but have, through the opportunities and inclusion, become somebody.

This is the place where the Late Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya and Owelle Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe consummated the handshake across the Niger and played politics without bitterness.

Tell those who try to divide us that our greatest strength has always been our diversity.

Tell them that you feel safe here, and that I have continuously assured you of your safety as the basis of our mutual co-existence.

Tell them that our waterways have been assets of prosperity and sustenance, for transport, recreation and fishing and they will remain so.

Let nobody now attempt to re-write that history for you.

When they reel out false statistics about Lagos, please ask them the statistics about the places they governed for 16 years.

When they reel out statistics, please remind them that those statistics don’t stand in isolation, they are the burden of a whole nation and many parts of West Africa that Lagos state bears.

When they promise you heaven and earth, remember their broken promises on power, security and many more.

Ask them to show you a plan, if they can produce one, which is doubtful, ask them whether they have implemented it elsewhere.

Tell them that you have seen the Lagos Development plan for 2012 – 2025, that the Lagos Light Rail Project, the Adiyan Water Works Phase II of 75 Million gallons a day, the solar power for all schools and many more which are part of the plans for you and your children and which are already being implemented.

Tell them that you will vote to keep a plan that you can see, that is already working, instead of a plan that you have not seen.

Ask them what happened to Vision 20:20, to the 7-Point Agenda and to Transformation.

Tell them that your bird in hand will not be traded for a dozen unseen birds in the bush.

Tell them that this election is not about money, tell them that it is not about ethnicity and it is not about religion.

Tell them that this election is about the place you call your home, the place you earn your living and the place where your investments are the safest.

Tell them that you will not play ethnic or religious politics with your survival. Tell them that you will not vote with anger.

Tell them that you will vote with common sense and for experience.

Tell them that you have seen Lagos survive without Federal support, and you wish to see her flourish with Federal support.

That will be the most historic thing you will have done, putting Lagos in the centre with your votes.

History and tomorrow beckons. Don’t turn your backs.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN

Governor of Lagos State.

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March For New Nigeria – Text Of Governor Fashola’s Address At The Progressive Governance Session

Protocols:

I want to thank all of you for taking time off your very busy schedules to be part of this session; especially a few days to the elections, which by all accounts could be historic and critical for the soul of our dear country.

Election is a referendum on the performance of the incumbent government and a decision whether to keep it in office or vote it out of office.

As Progressive Governors who are committed to Good Governance, this year’s 1st Quarter Progressive Governance Session is designed to present our assessment of governance challenges in Nigeria today as well as our proposals on what needs to be done to move our country forward, post- May 29, 2015.

The parameters of the referendum are defined by issues of national security, economic management, social issues and the like. So I will start by reviewing briefly the record of the current government and share with you what they say they have done.

Let me start with the Economy, and share with you a text message that I received from a Nigerian film maker in Nollywood on the 14th of March 2015.

This is what he said:-

 

“I will like to bring to your attention that there is a reliable information that our film has been pirated to be released in Alabaon Monday. I also want to confirm to you that the criminals committing this act are known and can be handpicked. There was a meeting with NCC last week where to our surprise they invited the so called pirates for negotiations and discussion on the previous works that they pirated. I am devastated sir and not sure what to do. Am not sure what you can do in your capacity as the executive governor of the State but I believe your approach to resolving issues in Ladipo could bring a lasting solution. This new development will not only bring a big set back to my business and the industry at large but will discourage a dedicated filmmaker like myself from going all the way in the name of being a Nigeria. Please do something sir”.

It must be clear to everyone that the greatest problem that people in the entertainment industry have is that their intellectual property rights are not being protected.

This is a law enforcement issue, rather than a cash solution that the PDP and its government has continued to proffer.

It is simple copyright law enforcement and the PDP simply does not get it.

 

Roads:

As far as roads are concerned, and they are critical to the economic development and prosperity of our people for the movement of people, goods and services, the record of performance offered by the Federal Government is that they have constructed 25,000 kilometers of road.

How true that is, is to be measured by the complaints of PDP Governors themselves, who say Federal roads in their States have been neglected.

How bogus this is, is the realization that the distance between Lagos and London is approximately 5,025 kilometers.

Has the PDP Federal Government constructed roads that go the distance of Lagos to London 5 (Five) times?

Is it possible to do this by a Government that has never had a capital budget of up to 40% in 6 (Six) years?

Housing:

As far as housing is concerned, please note that after being unable to account for $20 billion which is the equivalent of N3.3 Trillion at N165/$1.00 at the time the money was unaccounted for; after losing 400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand) barrels of oil per day for years, when oil was trading at $100 per barrel, meaning that we were losing $40,000,000.00 (Forty Million United States Dollars), the equivalent ofN6,600,000,000.00 (Six Billion, Six Hundred Million Naira).

Our country’s solution according to the PDP is to borrow $300 million from the World Bank in order to provide mortgage refinancing for all Nigerians.

What this means, is that every Nigerian must first buy a house with a mortgage loan, and then apply for his share of the $300 million as a refinancing facility.

That is the PDP model for housing.

I know that in Ogun State, there is a better model that places emphasis on housing construction in order to create jobs.

I can speak better about my State, where we are building public housing and allocating it to residents at a mortgage rate of 9.5% payable over 10 (Ten) years.

I know that construction is going on in no less than 25 sites, and we have not borrowed one kobo to fund this initiative.

It has been funded by tax payers’ money.

Jobs:

As far as employment is concerned, again their own service record is the place to look.

They say that they have created 2 (Two) million jobs. On a straight line analysis, this would suggest at least over 50,000 (Fifty Thousand) jobs in each of the 36 (Thirty Six) States and Abuja.

Simply ask yourself, how many people you know, who got those jobs. Were they part of the jobs in which people died while stampeding for employment in the immigration service?

Why is unemployment at 24% if this economy is working?

What I know is that between only (Four) construction companies over 5,000 (Five Thousand) workers have been laid off in this first quarter of 2015 and in the last two weeks at least 2,400 (Two Thousand, Four Hundred) bank staff have been laid off.

Security:

It is easy to summarize the security situation.

Thousands killed violently. Hundreds kidnapped routinely. 219 girls missing, citizens and even the Federal Government relying on alternative security, like ethnic militia to secure pipelines.

While all these happens, year on year, amounts close to N1 Trillion have been budgeted and expended on defence and security; yet there are unanswered questions of availability of equipment, while a new set of billionaires masquerading as security experts have emerged.

The answer of the PDP Federal Government and Mr. President himself is that General Buhari, who left office in 1985 did not equip the security forces.

Clearly the PDP forget that Nigerians remember that they have been in office for 16 (Sixteen) years, and President Jonathan has to account for 6 (Six) of those years.

They have killed Skekau, the supposed leader of the terrorist group at least 4 (Four) times.

During one of those killings for which they claim success, they signed a ceasefire with him; from which he quickly played his part by attacking more Nigerians.

After the 4th (Fourth) killing, there are now instructions to capture him.

Lies:

Ladies and gentlemen, there are two common denominators in the record of service of the PDP Federal Government.

The first is FAILURE and the second is LIES.

They have failed in their management of the economy and they have been untruthful about how bad the economy is.

These numbers are important. They dimension the real difficulty Nigerians are dealing with.

I expected that when the PDP Governors gathered in Lagos, on their poorly conceived mis-adventure, they would have spoken about these issues.

Instead, they were seeking to stop the use of Card Readers which their Government approved.

They forgot that they were the ones who approved the use of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC).

They forgot that they postponed the elections because they said enough PVCs had not been issued.

Now that PVCs have been issued, should we not verify and authenticate eligible voters with the Card Readers?

  • We recognize the issues in the Nigerian State

 

  • We keep a track on them

 

  • We have made them the issues in the election as you will have heard from our Presidential candidate and his running mate
  • No amount of Goodluck can help the PDP escape from these issues.

 

  • Our candidates have kept the Nigerian electorate focused on the issues of jobs, security, and corruption

Our opponents urge that they are moving forward.

The question to ask is what their definition of forward is.

  • Moving the rate of exchange of the Naira to the dollar from N120 to $1.00 toN198 to $1.00 is not the way forward
  • Managing an economy where employers cannot keep people at work because of bad government policies is not the way forward
  • Unemployment is not the way forward. Employment is the way.
  • Inventory of imported raw materials trapped in the port is not the way forward to economic recovery.
  • Fuel queues arising from Government failure to pay importers is not the way forward.
  • Blaming the opposition for fuel shortage is not the way forward.
  • The largest economy in Africa that cannot generate electricity is not the way forward.
  • The avoidable loss of human lives, and the unresolved disappearance of 219 (Two Hundred and Nineteen) young girls is not the way forward.

It is the opposite of development. It is the opposite of industrialization. It is the opposite of job creation.

It is the way backwards.

It is not the way to continue.

Ladies and gentlemen, like Vision 2020, like the 7 Point Agenda, like the comparisons to Martin Luther Kings, Lee Kwan Yew, Nelson Mandela, Barrack Obama, and the Transformation Agenda, all of which have been abandoned because they are not true, it is obvious that our opponents in Government, have lost their way.

They are reading the Developmental Map of Nigeria upside down. So they do not know the way forward.

The Nigeria ship of State is heading in the wrong way because the captain cannot navigate.

This is the most important reason why PDP and the President must be voted out of power.

In 2011, President Jonathan made a total of 91 (Ninety One) electoral promises around power, security and the economy.

Majority of them remain unfulfilled.

Between then and now, he set up a total of 28 (Twenty Eight) Committees as his Government’s response to critical national issues such as Nuhu Ribadu fuel subsidy scandal committee, Steve Oronsaye harmonization of Government Agencies and Department Committee, Justice Alfa Belgore Committee on Abuja Parks and Zoo, Edem Duke’s Committee on Proliferation of Small Arms, Ibrahim Sambo Presidential Fact Finding Committee and PriceWaterHouse Coopers forensic audit of the missing oil receipts in the region of $20 billion.

The President has either forgotten or refused to either make public the reports of these Committees, or implement them.

The President resumed work only 6 weeks ago, because of elections.

Nigeria needs a full time President not a part time one.

General Muhammad Buhari will be a full time President, ready to work every day.

A full time President will re-set and re-direct this Nation and set her back on the right path.

That is the way forward.

The second major reason is that after 16 (Sixteen) years of start and stop, policy changes and no verifiable results, this country will benefit from a fresh pair of hands, that will have another look at the problems that have defeated the PDP for 16 (Sixteen) years.

We simply cannot continue on this road that has failed us, and expect different results.

A vote for change is the first step in the expectation of different and better results.

Instead of running on their record of service, the Party in power has chosen to become film makers, making one poorly scripted documentary after the other.

The tragedy is that after one year of TV propaganda dating back to March 2014, their bird has refused to fly. There is nothing to sell. The good governance road show died on arrival. And the captain was initially honest in Lagos to admit failure.

The PDP led Federal Government has no credible record to defend nor a roadmap to rectify the damage they have done to our body politic, our economy and all our institutions.

It is perfectly understandable that when you have an indefensible record like theirs, you resort to despicable diversionary campaign, the like we have not seen before.

We have demonstrated and must continue to demonstrate that there is a gulf of difference between the APC and the PDP, not only in our visions (if they have any) and in our policies, but that we are willing to engage with them in a transparent and accountable manner.

Our party, the APC has presented a year 2015 Election Manifesto, while the only known Manifesto of the PDP is dated 1999.

We are committed to reinventing governance in Nigeria in order to solve our socio-economic and political challenges.

We were farsighted when we established the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), where these kinds of questions and issues have constantly been interrogated through effective research, knowledge sharing, consultations and policies, at our quarterly fora.

So when the APC talks of change, what kind of change are we talking about?

How do we plan to redefine the concepts of leadership and responsibility?

The objective here is to demystify governance and restore ownership of the country to the Sovereign- the Citizens!

It means that we must be accountable to the sovereign for our performance and how responsive we are to their wishes and demands.

It means that the citizens will always retain the right to “hire and fire”.

It means that we must embed the Rule of Law, political and civil liberties in our political culture. The culture of unbridled impunity must come to a grinding halt!

APC does not believe that the Federal Executive Council should be reduced to a bazaar which merely awards contracts to leaders of ethnic militia posing as socio–cultural groups, to the detriment of constitutionally established institutions and in subversion of the procurement laws.

Were these contracts advertised? Where was due process here?

We are certain that this session will, in many ways, give more clarity and further insight into the kind of change APC represents.

The other presentations will amplify many of the issues I have addressed so far. While not underestimating the enormity of the challenges that will face an APC led Federal Government.

The APC is proud to have as its flag bearer, a patriot with the public stature and integrity of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who has unreservedly committed to this vision and mission as reflected in his Covenant with Nigerians and campaigns promises.

It is not by accident that teeming millions of Nigerians are showing their support effusively for Gen. Buhari.

What I have confirmed since the emergence of Gen. Buhari as our Presidential candidate, is that Nigerians still believe in the virtues of probity, selfless leadership and commitment to the greater good inspite of the 16 years of failed PDP government and leadership that they have been unfortunately saddled with.

For many years I have heard complaints about PDP’s dismal management of our national life.

Many Nigerians have expressed understandable frustration that PDP could not be defeated because there was no formidable opposition.

Our leaders have heard these frustrations. They have organized rather than agonise.

They have sacrificed their smaller parties and leadership role to deliver the first ever political merger in the history of Nigeria.

They will all vote for the APC, but they cannot elect the APC into Government. That is the duty of the Nigerian electorate if we must experience change, and save our country.

With the emergence of APC, PDP began to unravel.

With the mismanagement of its top leadership it began to dismember, losing its most vital parts; and making history for all the wrong reasons.

It is the first political party that I know that lost 5 (Five) Governors to the opposition without an election.

It later lost the Speaker of Parliament, and eventually its former leader and Chairman Board of Trustees.

The giant is tattering and about to fall.

For every goliath, there is a stone.

The APC is PDP’s stone and the people of Nigeria must rise like David to bring this plundering goliath down.

The merger was historic. But it will be more historic if Nigerians elect that merger to office.

The people of Nigeria will have taken power by doing so.

Let me underscore once more that while the APC is ready, willing and able to take on the huge tasks of regenerating our country once more, APC is humbled by the enormity of the challenges it has to deal with in the next few years.

Once more, let me re-affirm the commitment of the PGF to continue to provide the platform where our party, governors and other stakeholders will continually engage, reflect on critical issues and challenges, and more importantly proffer implementable policy options to address these challenges- indeed more than a talk shop!

It is now my privilege to invite you to listen to the presentation of our leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the other panel presentations on “Sustaining Development in Times of Dwindling Resources”, to be followed by an interactive session among the participants.

God bless us all as we work to protect our democracy.

Thank you!

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN

Governor of Lagos State

March 23, 2015

 

Opinion expressed on this page is solely that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Abusidiqu.com and/or its associates.

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