Friday, August 14, 2015

www.tundefashola.com. Fashola defends N78m website, slams CACOL


A former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has defended the decision of his government to spend N78.3m on the upgrade of his website, www.tundefashola.com.Fashola had come under fire after the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency posted a report on its website stating that N78.3m was paid to a firm, Info Access Plus Limited, for the upgrade of his website through the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor.However, Fashola, in a five-page letter he personally signed, admitted that the money was actually spent on his website.He, however, said the breakdown of the transaction was left out and that that was the cause of the confusion.He said, “As far as the website contract is concerned, yes there was a contract. It went through procurement and was approved by the government agency authorised to do so. One of the services was an upgrade quoted for N12.5m but awarded for N12m.“There were other services that were new like a hand over 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 N78m, which the Lagos State Procurement Agency gave no objection based on the advice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, who are the government’s 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 and their suspected smoking gun.”He, however, said the contract was published in a way as to misinform members of the public.“It is regrettable that a summary of the contract has been deliberately distorted to misinform the public,” he said.He said the website helped him to do his job effectively when he was governor. He said till date there have been over 27 million hits on the site while thousands of videos and pictures had been uploaded on the site.The former governor hinted of an alleged plot by some to smear his name. He said for instance, there were allegations of having extra-marital affairs and having children outside marriage.He said the allegations were baseless. He said the only children he had outside marriage were the two children he adopted after their parents were killed in the 2012 Dana plane crash.The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is rumoured to be in a cold war with the National Leader of the All progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said he had no hand in the June 9 National Assembly elections in which the leadership of the APC lost out.He said he was outside the country until the morning of the election.“As far as my alleged involvement in the National Assembly elections are concerned, they remain only the products of imagination of those who made the allegations. I was out of the country at the material time and returned only in the early hours of that morning to Abuja and from there proceeded to Lagos,” he said.Fashola, while reacting to recent bashings by the Peoples Democratic Party over the over N419bn debt he left behind, noted that all the loans taken by the state were approved by the House of Assembly.He said the debts were being serviced, adding that the debt profile of the state had not affected it negatively.Fashola also berated human rights group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, for dragging him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and for calling on President Muhammadu Buhari not to give him a political appointment.He said he did not care if he was given a political appointment or not as he had served Lagos State for over 12 yearsHe told the people of Lagos to expect more allegations soon as he had been told that several people had been given money to assassinate his character.He said, “I expect that there may be more distorted allegations without evidence for reasons that remain in the realm of speculation because I have been informed reliably that large amounts of money are being paid to some of these agents to bear false witness.“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 wrongdoing are not resolved without evidence, neither are they resolved in press conferences.”While taking an indirect swipe at those leaking information about his deeds in office, the former governor said, “For those who still wish to remain in the mud, they should look in the mirror. For those who wish to throw mud at me, they should look at their own hands.”

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