Did you know that Babatunde Raji Fasola, as believed by many, the man who brought order to Nigeria’s most lawless city, Lagos also had a his fair share of corruption allegations?
Outside Nigeria, Babatunde Fasola got applauded a lot of time. In fact, The Economist Magazine referred to him as “a rare good man” in an editorial published in 2011. In 2015, the International Crisis Group also said he was one of seven outstanding personalities worldwide. How incredible!
It is important to note that Fasola’s tenure was not without its controversies. No man is without blemish. The demolition of slums in many neighbourhoods during his Lagos “urban renewal programme” rendered thousands of low-income citizens homeless, while the city’s business and political elite benefitted from redevelopment contracts.
Within weeks of handing over governorship in May 2015, allegations of financial and personal impropriety began to surface. Mr. Fashola was said to have spent 78.3m naira upgrading his official website, 139m naira on the drilling of two boreholes at the government secretariat and is accused of awarding a 640m naira construction contract to the popular German engineering company, Julius Berger for the reconstruction of a car park and other associated works at his official residence, the Lagos House in Marina.
Civil society organisation The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) called out for Fashola to be investigated, and the group sent out around eight petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), with full details of the allegations.
CACOL’s executive director Debo Adeniran mentioned that the Lagos State government under Fashola wtinessed “frivolous spending on white elephant projects, lack of due process in budget implementation as well as inflation of costs in contract awards”.
In response, Fasola wrote an official statement, debunking these allegations, saying: “When you wrestle with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty”, in which he called the claims “distorted allegations without evidence”.
While these allegations remains unconfirmed, some observers traced Fasola’s the scandal to his now soured relationship with former godfather, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Regardless of all these allegations, Raji Fasola was tipped to be Muhamadu Buhari’s good luck charm owing to his credibility and was immediately given a ministerial appointment in the Buhari’s administration as Minister of Works and Housing.
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