Often, bad politicians claim credit for initiatives and projects they neither initiated nor started. This is a challenge political office holders face when they exit office. The struggle to claim credit is so tough that it generates headlines in major tabloids and TV channels. A strangely elected incoming official utilizes every avenue provided to launder his/her image and in the process, lists achievements of the past administration(s) as his/hers. Such is the pettiness of the Nigerian setting. Only few politicians have not towed this line.
In Ogun State, the gladiators were Otunba Gbenga Daniels and Sen. Ibikunle Amosun. In Anambra State, Dr. Willie Obiano and Dr. Peter Obi are always in the news. In Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Peter Ayodele Fayose are still sorting themselves out. In Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji was did it with Chief Orji Uzor Kalu while in Edo State; it was Adams Oshiomole against Prof. Osariemen Osunbor. The list is endless.
Even former President Goodluck Jonathan has not been spared the troubles of sitting back while watching the nascent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari lay claim to his sterling legacies in the power, works, finance, defense, education, agriculture and oil and gas sectors of Nigeria’s economy. Perhaps, if his handlers had considered creating an electronic archive of his achievements, the new government would have lacked impetus to lay claim to any of his transformation projects. Unfortunately, a couple of his aides who should have formed a strong ring of protection around him and his ambition devoted more of their productive time to other activities. They never thought they should introduce the smallest form of innovation to the business of governance. They considered it unnecessary to cover the back of their benefactor.
Already, so much has been said of a certain N78.3M utilized by ex-Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola for the purpose of building a website for “himself”. By all ramifications, the figure quoted is outrageous but it took me a few minutes to understand why www.tundefashola.com could not have been initiated and built for even N10M. What I saw is no joke. Unless it is proven that civil service finance rules were flouted to fund the website project, anyone making noise over it should just shut up or go gulp a glass of original Rambo insecticide.
Our holy online pundits from the PDP and APC divides have talked about the bidding process that led to the award of the contract for the building of the website; they say the procedure is irregular. I find their views abnormal because I have personal relationship with a couple of them that have and still feed from crumbs that fall off the table of men and women that wrecked Nigeria. Suddenly they seek to decipher good from evil. Shege!
Another section of Nigerians talked about the contractor – Info Access Plus Limited not having an online presence. They talked of a “hurriedly” opened twitter account and the non-existence of a website. They clearly are unaware of several companies working out of covert duplexes in Victoria Island and Ikoyi in Lagos as well as Port Harcourt, Uyo, Calabar and Warri that rake in turnover amounting to billions of Naira each quarter yet have no presence online. To them, every organization must exist on twitter like the application can pay bills in real life situations. Anyways, I urge them to quickly graduate to real life. Business is for businessmen. Businessmen mind their business; they aren’t hungry bloggers!
By my estimation, www.tundefashola.com is not just the regular website we come across in our clime. I consider it a carefully built archive of records bearing specific Intel on the eight-year administration of ex-Lagos Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. In a very intelligent remark, ‘Tunde’s media bombers said “From 2008 up till May 29, 2015, thewww.tundefashola.com web site has processed thousands of press releases/speeches, more than 6 million pictures, thousands of videos to generate world class, content rich online information collaterals for the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN.” The statement added that “The same www.tundefashola.com web site provides great opportunities for the Lagos State Government as it collates all activities of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, and his government during his two terms.”
The above position of the ex governor’s team did not differ from mine when the story first broke out because I thought Nigerians were being inordinately mischievous to criticize that novel initiative of ‘Tunde Fashola. The same category of Nigerians who readily tell tales of how they accessed online information on the activities and achievements of world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Yeltsin Boris, Richard Nixon, Junichiro Koizumi, Benjamin Franklin, J.P. Patterson, and Bill Clinton suddenly think our process of democracy does not deserve to be so deepened. Suddenly, Nigerians who would ordinarily bore me with glorious experiences of world class institutions that have existed for over 100 years yet have detailed information of all their past activities in a single database think we are yet matured to have such a structure as a product of ours. Shame on us!
The last election was a learning point for me; I won’t speak for other Nigerians. Immediate events that followed it have taught me big lessons. Perhaps ‘Tunde Fashola learned from the experiences of some Nigerians that emerged governor before him who today would have a challenge pointing to any of their legacies while in office; because an unfriendly administration held sway at a point and cleverly claimed credit for work done before. Maybe ‘Tunde foresaw a situation (as we see at the federal level) where legacies of the immediate past administration is being claimed by the current one. Perhaps, Tunde imagined that an administration might emerge one day wherein policy documents and blueprints of a former government widely perceived to have failed will be adopted, streamlined and fine-tuned before they are handed out to a set of more serious persons to execute.
Give it to ‘Tunde Fashola. We are mates in the class of smartness and intelligence. Any Nigerian, unsatisfied by his explanations should urgently initiate legal actions against him or forever remain silent.
Chukwunonso Elvis Ezeani is an avid thinker, reader and researcher. He tweets@NonsoEzeani1
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