By Ehi Ekhator, Naija Center News
A former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola shot himself on the foot when he came up to the public yesterday to admit that he spent N78.3m to upgrade a wordpress website, a free application with a premium version that barely cost $500.
He shot himself even more when in the process of explaining the way the money was spent, called his critics pig by saying “When you wrestle with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty.”
Fashola said that apart from N12m that was actually paid for the upgrade of www.tundefashola.com, other things like mobile apps for Google, IOS, Microsoft and Research in Motion (Blackberry) where included in the N78.3m
He explained that the Lagos State procurement agency gave no objection on the advice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, who are the Government adviser on ICT matters. If ICT in Lagos actually knew what they were doing, they would have known that it was outrageous to cost a website upgrade at N78.3m.
He said “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”.
What Fashola in his explanation failed to realized was that the amount was not N1m. He also failed to realize that there are millions of Nigerians who are very privy to what it actually cost to design an expensive website.
23 hours before Fashola released a statement, the website Whois was updated. Meaning, some details about who registered the site and who designed the site were adjusted.
According to the information page, the site was registered by Info Access Plus Limited just as the government alleged, but the official email of the claimed designer was [email protected] but the website www.einfoplus.com was completely unreachable.
A closer look at the information page of the einfoplus.com did not provide any organization name. This simply means that the organization who provided its information on Fashola’s website forgot to provide company information on its own official website info page.
Meanwhile, the address provided by the purported Info Access Plus is 46, Ajanaku Street, Opebi-Ikeja, Lagos.
NAIJA CENTER NEWS correspondent visited the above address on Sunday and found that it is an estate. There were many police at the entrance which was an indication that it belongs to one top government officials. There was no signboard, and one of the gatemen who spoke to our reporter confirmed that there was no business or a website builder office and it’s a residential area.
Due to continuous stare by the police at our correspondent, he left the area in order to avoid attack or unnecessary accusation that may throw him in jail if his identity was blown open.
Fashola, the bride of the media as he is fondly called quickly take a swipe on The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) for calling on and writing to the President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate him in his letter of explanation, boasting that he is not looking for a job.
He said “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.”
Obviously, for a man who spent 78.3m naira on a website upgrade shouldn’t be searching for a job.
On Sunday, CACOL fired back at Fashola. The Executive Chairman, 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 pigs.
“A government that causes so much hardship to the largest stratum of the socio-economic ladder, whereas 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!’
CACOL investigation on how much it costs to build a website like that of Fashola pinned its price at N6m.
“Every IT person CACOL has contacted put an over-bloated estimate of the cost of the website at about N6m. We are not surprised that a contract that could have cost N6m could be ballooned to N78.3m, because that is a trademark of Mr. Fashola’s administration.”
Fashola administration has been marred with different allegation on Financial misappropriation as many of his critics believed that his administration was run in secrecy.
Also read: Fashola the deceptive broad day robber