Immediate past governor of Lagos State,Babatunde Fashola,on Thursday replied to various criticisms trailing his administration, summarising his reply by saying “when you wrestle with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty.”
In a press statement issued on Thursday to “set the records straight” over the raging N78 million website upgrade, paternity issue and the National Assembly election, Fashola said the statement of profound wisdom informed his silence in the wake of manipulated and unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing recently being levelled against him.
“When you wrestle with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty. This statement of profound wisdom informed my silence in the wake of manipulated and unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing recently being levelled against me. They started a few weeks to the end of my tenure and have continued till date.
“They range from allegations of extramarital affairs, paternity of children, to mundane and phantom conspiracy in the National Assembly, a debt profile for Lagos State and lately a website upgrade contract of N78 million, which is being distorted.
“In so far as the allegations of paternity are concerned, they are wicked and false, I have no biological children other than my two children.
“Of course, I adopted three children who became orphaned as a result of the tragic DANA airplane crash of 2012 and the adoption followed due process.
“Those who do not care whether they hurt innocent children or invade the privacy of other citizens in their mindless rage against me will have their rewards served upon them in the fullness of time.
“As far as my alleged involvement in the National Assembly election is 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 I proceeded to Lagos.
“As far as debts of Lagos State are concerned, the fact is that Lagos had always had debts. Her population is growing and for a long time, she has run deficit budgets to cater for the needs of that growing population.
“All the debts contracted in my time were approved by the parliament in the annual budgets, some have been paid back and the financial status was healthy and stable when I left.
“The outlook for the state and her rating by Fitch was long term foreign and local currency IDRs at ‘BB-’, short term IDR at ‘B’ and national long-term rating at ‘AA+)nga)’.
“When we all pause to reflect and think, we will realise that there are a sizeable number of companies who are running business, who have no responsibility for security, public health, public education and other responsibilities of government, who borrow more than Lagos State government, whether collectively or individually.
“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 N12.5 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 Minstry 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.’
“For those who are familiar with mobile application, they will know that users either pay for them online or download them for free.