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Monday, 24 August 2015

Inside details of how Fashola, Ambode fell out

In from Olumide Olaoluwa …
It was always a matter of time.
The much suppressed animosity between Lagos state governor, Akinwumi Ambode and his predecessor, Raji Fashola was going to be full-blown. Last week, it became a subject of public knowledge.
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 Fashola’s website through the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor.
The move, it was gathered, was sanctioned By Ambode to give the public a clear picture of alleged financial atrocities committed by his predecessor.
Fashola left a whopping N430billion debt for the new administration as against the N15billion he inherited from Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It was also learnt that Fashola had spent over 70 percent of the 2015 budget projection of the state as at the time he handed over on May 29.
A document obtained by Ripples indicated there was a domestic debt of N69.666 billion; N225 billion debt from bond issuance and N207.499 billion from external loan from foreign bodies.
It also indicated that the internal loans from commercial banks “have tenors of four to six years, while the multilateral financing agencies including the World Bank, French Development Agency and others, are on concessionary borrowing terms, such as 20 – 40 years tenor and average of 1.75 per cent per annum interest rate.”
On the bond, the document showed that the state government under the immediate past governor issued a bond of N275 billion, though N50 billion had been paid from the total sum in 2014, thus leaving a balance of N225 billion.
On the domestic debt, the document stated Fashola incurred about N69.666 billion, indicating that the Ambode administration “is expected to pay N14.27 billion this year; N13.68 billion in 2016; N34.68 billion in 2017 and the balance of N6.85 billion in 2018.
“On the overall loan, the mode of payment is that Ambode would pay N15.96 billion in 2015; N16.796 billion in 2016; N48.57 billion in 2017 and N10.644 billion in 2018. The debt will be serviced the remaining debt with N59.313 billion in 2019 and N86.54 billion in 2020 as the remaining N180.397 billion would transcend beyond 2020.”
The development was said to have angered Ambode, who reportedly protested to close aides that he was being set up for a big fall.
The duo, it was gathered, have not seen since the hand-over or even had a formal or informal exchange, a development said to have been a fallout of the deep-seated animosity between them.
While Fashola believed that Ambode was imposed to rubbish his achievement, his successor is alleged to have insisted that Fashola was determined to financially cripple his administration hence the huge debt he left behind.
Sources close to Ambode confided that the governor is bent on exposing the shady ‘deals’ under Fashola though it was gathered party officials are said to be prevailing on him to have a change of mind because of the possible backlashes on the All Progressives Congress(APC).
Ambode is particularly said to have been irked that Fashola has a larger-than-life perception rating in the public, contrary to the alleged financial recklessness under his nose.
Read also: Lagos: Ambode may inherit N316b debt

Fashola, on his part, is banking on the fact that as the poster boy of the APC, he will be insulated from any probe or exposure.
Investigations revealed that the recent online campaign on the N78million website management fee under Fashola was one of the strategies to cut the former governor to size.
It was further discovered that several other mind-boggling revelations on his stewardship will be released by the current administration to rock the boat.
Already, civil society groups have been mobilised to petition anti-graft agencies on the reported financial misdemeanor under Fashola’s watch.
Two of them have already approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to demand for investigation against the former governor.
Meanwhile, Fashola, has defended the decision of his government to spend N78.3m on the upgrade of his personal website,
The former govenor, in a five-page letter on Thursday, admitted that the money was actually spent on his website, but that the breakdown of the transaction was left out and was the cause of the confusion.
He said, “One of the services was an upgrade quoted for N12.5m but awarded for N12m.
“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 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”.
Fashola stated that the website helped him to do his job effectively when he was governor, and that “It is regrettable that a summary of the contract has been deliberately distorted to misinform the public”.
You may also like: Oba Akiolu reveals how Tinubu, Fashola almost tore Lagos apart

The former governor hinted of an alleged plot by some unnamed individual to smear his name.
He said for instance, there were allegations of having extra-marital affairs and having children outside marriage.
Fashola, also reacted to criticisms on the over N419bn debt his administration left behind, noting 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 berated human rights group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, for dragging him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and 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 years.
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