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Nigeria news: opposition queries Fashola over N36b consultancy

The Opposition Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) has described Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola’s tenure so far as a bag of mixed blessings, but insisted that the party’s Candidate Mr.. Jimi Agbaje would have run a more humane, more democratic, more transparent and more accountable government had he won the 2007 governorship polls.

DPA, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, said that the two years have shown that Lagos can still work, although it blasted the government for harbouring waste in the system and paying no less than N36 billion to the Alpha-Beta Consultancy Limited from the internally-generate d revenue of over N240 billion Lagosians paid in taxes in the last two years.

“You can count the number of businesses that make N2.1 billion a month on one finger. If you pour N36 billion into any sector for two years, you would solve its problems forever. But it is scandalous that this amount goes into private pockets,” DPA pointed out.

It acknowledged Fashola’s commendable achievements. But DPA said he had plagiarised its Candidate’s programmes and had failed to justify the colossal income accruing to his regime in the last two years.

The party felt its own Governorship Candidate in the last elections would have run a better government.

“Mr. Jimi Agbaje spent eight years preparing to govern Lagos and encapsulated his ideas in a blueprint he tagged ‘Caring, Thinking, Working.’ This programme Fashola has plagiarised without acknowledging its author,” DPA said. “If the photocopy has turned out so well, imagine how glorious the original would have been.”

According to DPA, Fashola was governing Lagos in a time of unparalleled earnings, enhanced internally generated revenue and oil windfall, and citizens should expect much from him.

However, the party complained that the Governor had failed to block areas of wastage, encouraged corruption and dehumanised Lagosians.

“Fashola’s programmes may be good but he has shown insensitivity to the human factor in governance. His programme implementation has failed to consider adequate rehabilitation, compensation and alternatives for displaced people being thrown out of homes, shops and businesses,” the statement said. “The unemployment rate has shot through the ceiling, with no visible plans for jobs, mass-oriented low-cost houses or an identifiable poverty alleviation programme.”

The party regarded the government’s much-vaunted BRT scheme as a bag of mixed blessings and evidence of one-way thinking that had failed to consider the complexity of the state’s transport problem. DPA said it had partially alleviated transportation headaches but led to increase in traffic holdups and transport fares..

Warning that the regime had failed to make accountability, transparency and quality control count in government contracts, DPA scored the regime low in failing to manage the human factor in the repercussions of development and for exhibiting impunity in its dealings with the public.

In all, DPA felt that Fashola could “shine as a performing Governor simply because of the ineptitude of his colleagues in other states; after all, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”