The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines a “Pig” as an unpleasant or offensive person; a person who is dirty or greedy. Based on this premise, leaders who deliberately run elitist, oppressive and draconian government can only be described by no other name, but pig.
Gov Babatunde Raji Fashola1
A government that causes so much hardship to the largest stratum of the socio- economic ladder, whereas such it engages in obscene affluence all in the name of white elephant projects that have no direct bearing on the suffering Lagosians is nothing but a pig.
It will be foolhardy for a man who requires pork to say he wouldn’t wrestle with a pig. How does he intend to get it? After all it has been said, “No willing pig provides pork; whoever desires PORK wrestles the pig down for it!
To set the record straight, the PORK we require from these PIGS is accountability; we don’t mind getting dirty to have it. After all, he who fears clay-stain moulds no pot.
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, is not concerned whether Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, has children out of wedlock or not. To us, that is a moral question for the conscience of perpetrators of extra marital affairs. But one thing we know is most of those who smoke are capable of perpetrating any other social vices including marital infidelity.
We are also less concerned about the politics of the National Assembly. However, what we are familiar with is party supremacy. Even at the risk of being misconstrued to have been sponsored by some politicians, we would want to believe that there should be honour among thieves and if somebody lifts your hands up, it is uncharitable to betray such person especially, the platform.
If anybody sabotages the position of his party and betrays the very caucus that brought him into prominence, such a one can also sabotage the position of the citizenry and that couldn’t have enhanced our confidence in such a person, rather it would only lower his integrity rating.
Basically, what concerns us more is the issue of suspected corruption embedded in the award and execution of contracts in the regime of Babatunde Fashola as illuminated by the award of this N78.3 million website contract. Every IT person CACOL has contacted put an over-bloated estimate of the cost of the website at about N6 million. We are not surprised that a contract that could have cost N6million could be ballooned to N78.3 million, because that is a trademark of Mr. Fashola’s administration.
The website contract is an eye opener and lending credence to the allegations of the ‘True Face of Lagos’ where most of the contracts awarded before 2010 were said to have been immorally inflated by the regime of Babatunde Raji Fashola.
If the former governor could be justifying the cost of his personal website, no matter what he uses it for, then there may be many more shenanigans to be unearthed by the relevant anti-graft agencies.
As a matter of fact, we see it as a way by which the former governor laundered at least N68.3 million out of the state coffers because the firm that put that website together had insisted that it only collected N10million.
We are not supposed to be IT specialists, neither are we going to go deeper into the analysis of the content, but from the look of things the use of the website is only opened to the initiates, so of what use is a N78.3 million website when several other developmental needs of the Lagos people he claimed he was ruling are begging for attention?
It is absurd that whereas Lagos State has its own website, the MDAs have their own websites; Mr. Fashola could still construct another website, not as the Governor of Lagos, but in his own name the with taxpayers’ money. This means that the entire N78.3m was spent on the need of the former governor.
Sometimes last year, well-meaning Lagosians were thrown off-balance when The PUNCH published a feature of some Lagos State schools where pupils sit on window sills, damaged furniture, blocks and even bare floors. CACOL’s homework, which was published in our books: ‘Lagos Open Parliament 1 & 2’, shows that many of the schools in Lagos State, especially those in the hinterlands are in various state of disrepair. Many are without windows, leaking roofs, inadequate toilet facilities among others.
Many of Lagos hospitals are mere consulting clinics whereas the health workers are badly motivated despite the ‘megacity’ claim of Mr. Fashola. The Bus Rapid System the governor got so much accolade at the initial stage has also become another story entirely. The original promise was that the BRT buses would be available to commuters 15minutes one after the other. The buses themselves are strategically dilapidated.
Our homework reveals that a double seater pupil’s desk could be constructed for as low as one thousand naira (N1, 000) depending on the materials used for it. One cannot but imagine how many of the desks the N78.3 million could get, if put to judicious use.
Also, the N78.3million would have bought first grade BRT buses at an average of N5.7million which means we could have gotten about 14 buses and improve the transportation system in Lagos State. Some of the transportation hurdles could have been alleviated if the N78.3 million had been pumped into the public transportation.
All these, and many more, are our areas of concern. The website is not our priority because until the story broke out a few days back, many of even the middle class elements that are the major users of internet (Modern Technology) do not know that the website was existing, which means that the priority had been misplaced. Only God knows how many of such expenditures would have been incurred on the part of the government.
Of course, we had once complained about the cable bridge. The bridge was estimated at a cost that shouldn’t be more than N6 billion but was said to have been constructed at a cost of N29.3 billion even when the 10 miles longest bridge on the ocean was constructed in the Asian country for $30million. Basically that could have been another means by which so much money had been siphoned out of Lagos State coffers.
About the saying of the pig Mr. Fashola has mentioned, we are no pigs. And since they are, we won’t mind fighting the pigs to get the pork. The history of integrity and the outcome of such accountability would be the stain removal that will remove the stain we could have gotten from fighting the pig. And until the pigs are brought down and we extract the pork, which is accountability we require from them, it would be protests without end.
This is also a warning signal to Mr. President that it is no longer a military regime in Nigeria, it is a civilian regime and we believed like he had promised, he would want to submit to civilian authority. We know that he is a man of integrity and accountability and we want transparency to be an act in his government.
For the umpteenth time, the basis of our petitions was to get Fashola investigated of all alleged cases and if possible prosecuted.
TRUTH is a muddy puddle, saying it is the STAFF; when the puddle is hit with the staff it splashes multidirectionally. It then behoves those who get stained in the wake to clean themselves up by rendering account of their stewardship on why they make supposed clean water dirty!
If we must cut the pork out of the federal and state budgets we shouldn’t stop at anything but get the pig out of the barn. This pig must be banished from our barn!!”
Debo Adeniran, is the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL)