Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola like many others high powered executives in Nigeria is bleeding the citizens of Lagos dry as the lawyer turned politician is engaged in primitive consumption and accumulation of wealth. And this he is doing either by proxy or bald-faced budget manipulation.
Orijoreporter got the inside scoop on the budget proposals for his office and his kitchen cabinet, prepared by the Office of the Chief of Staff over the years, which highlight how Gov. Raji Fashola has been obtaining huge sums by fraud. In the 2010 and 2011 budget proposals, the governor budgeted N350 million and N385 million respectively for recharge cards for his telephone lines, that of his Chief of Staff, and his Special Assistants. Those monies were also meant for the payment of NEPA Bills, and Water Rates.
Inside sources told orijoreporters that not only that the monies were approved, what was eventually allocated at the end of the years, were far above those figures. The case of other items budgeted for were much the same, including medical care for the governor, his personal assistants, staff, and security personnel where N140 million and N154 million were proposed by the office of the Chief of Staff for both years. It is said that a large chunk of such monies end up in the pockets of Gov. Fashola and his cronies.
Another area that the governor has used to feed his addiction is the area of contracts where over 70 percent of LagosState government’s contracts, particularly in the construction sector were awarded to his proxy, one Tunji Olowolafe, a trained medical doctor and once a cab driver in London. Tunji’s company, Duex, which has been fronting for Gov. Fashola has cornered the Lagos State Government’s contract market.
A mutually beneficial relationship, the duo recently acquired A.R.M, an asset management company, and pension administrator. They are equally behind Four Point Sheraton Hotel, which is located at Lekki, opposite former Lagos governor, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s hotel.
Gov. Fashola’s performance in his first four-year tenure was quite impressive, however, this time around, he has been helping himself to the money in the treasury. His cronies and relations have also benefited from several contracts he facilitated for them. One of them is one Soji who is married to the governor’s younger sister. It is said that Soji recently acquired a choice property at highbrow Allen Avenue, behind the popular OshopeyPlaza from the money he made from LagosState government.
Also, one of the governor’s cronies recently got the contract to produce the Lagos State brochure for the state’s 45th anniversary, which was held sometime this year, and was paid the sum of N20 million by the state government.