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.


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“When You Wrestle With A Pig, The Pig Gets Happy And You Get Dirty” – Fashola

“When you wrestle with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty.”
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.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 N78 million, which is being distorted.

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 debts. 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+(nga)’.

When we all pause to reflect and think ,we will realise that there are a sizable 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, for Microsoft, and for Research in Motion (Blackberry), which the existing website did not have, as well as the annual maintenance cost for 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 was ever passed, we had put out all our contracts on the State website because I believe 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 of 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.

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