16th July, 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock Villa,
PROSECUTE MR. BABATUNDE FASHOLA; DON’T ELEVATE HIM – AN
APPEAL FOR PRESIDENT TO PREVAIL ON ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCIES TO DO THE NEEDFUL ON OUR EVIDENCE-BASED PETITIONS
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), is a group of civil-society, community-based and other non-governmental organizations with the objective of fighting corruption and corrupt persons by any means possible at all levels in Nigeria.
We are constrained at this point in time to bring to your attention our critical reaction to the unbridled speculation making the rounds for some time now, from the members of the public as well as the media, as to the fact that the immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, is being considered by the presidency for higher national responsibility. Feelers have it that his name is prominent on the list of the president’s nominees for key offices in your administration.
Whilst recognizing the president’s constitutional prerogative and right to make appointments as deemed fit, we, just like any other Nigerian, consider it a service to the nation, by providing information that might be helpful to your decision in that regard.
Your Excellency Sir, it’s gratifying that you have promised at various fora that, having recognized the need to ensure that square pegs are put in square holes, your appointments were going to be purely on merit and that tested technocrats, with impeccable records, would be given their rightful places in your administration, as a way of ensuring good governance to the people of Nigeria. It is against this background that our organisation is appealing to you to please take the pains to dig deep into Mr. Babatunde Fashola’s record of overall performance as well as that of financial propriety on the part of his government while in office.
Going by our corporate policy, we ordinarily do not react to speculations but given the grave implication of having to keep quiet, only to speak up after such appointment must have been made, would only amount to crying over spilt milk, we deem it necessary to use this medium to sensitize you on this development.
As could be seen from the attached copies of our previous petitions to both the EFCC and the ICPC over which no meaningful action has so far been taken, as well as books published by us on this subject-matter, it would be noted that our organisation never shirked its basic responsibility of blowing the whistle on issues centering on corruption in whatever form or guise in governance.
For ease of reference, please see as detailed below the afore-mentioned petitions:
February 3, 2010: To the EFCC and February 15, 2010 To the ICPC titled ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION AGAINST LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT: ICPC SHOULD INVESTIGATE – our reaction to THE PUNCH newspaper advertorial of January 28, 2010, under the title “The True Face of Lagos” on allegations of corrupt practices, signed by certain Mr. Kasali Martins and Dr. Tunde George who are Lagos residents, against the state government, which catalogued on a number of questionable claims of expenditure incurred by it.
January 20, 2011: To the ICPC titled RE: ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION AGAINST LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT: THE ICPC SHOULD INVESTIGATE – REMINDER AND FURTHER ALLEGATIONS – our follow-up action to the above and a fresh reaction to the INSIDER WEEKLY newsmagazine edition of November 15, 2010 which alleged series of fresh allegations of financial impropriety against the state government.
August 6, 2013: To the EFCC titled RE: ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION AGAINST LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT: EFCC SHOULD INVESTIGATE – REMINDER to the original petition of February 3, 2010 in which we made reference to the agency’s earlier invitation to us to come and adopt the said petition; an invitation we duly honoured, and expressed our displeasure at what appeared petition be the utter neglect or slow pace at which the anti-corruption agency had handled the matter and urged it to prevail on its personnel to speed up actions on our request to thoroughly investigate the allegations raised in the petition, make its report public and subsequently prosecute those indicted accordingly.
September 9, 2013: To the EFCC titled FURTHER REMINDER ON ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION AGAINST LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT: EFCC SHOULD INVESTIGATE: CACOL complained as it did earlier over the apparent inaction of the agency and reiterated its expectations as regard its request for expediency on the part of the latter.
February 25, 2014: To the EFCC titled FURTHER REMINDER ON ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION AGAINST LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT: EFCC SHOULD INVESTIGATE: We once again expressed our dissatisfaction at the apparent non-challant attitude of the agency so far on the matter.
May 29, 2015: To the ICPC and EFCC titled IMMUNITY IS NO LONGER AN EXCUSE FOR NOT QUESTIONING FASHOLA. RE; CALL FOR COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION INTO THE ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPT ACTIVITIES AGAINST THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT – FURTHER REMINDER: CACOL in its reminder, had detailed the series of its previous petitions to the agencies and had reminded both agencies that they owed it a duty to the nation and its people from whom the government derived its authority to governance, to expedite actions on the petitions as a way of acknowledging the people’s right to accountability from those they elected to govern them. It further reminded the agencies that since the then governor of the state in person of Mr. Babatunde Fashola automatically loses the immunity privilege from the 29th May, 2015, they (the agencies) no longer have any excuse for withholding actions regarding investigation and prosecution as demanded.
Finally, Your Excellency, we, like the majority of Nigerians, repose much confidence in your ability, going by your track record, and your promise to maintain and sustain a zero-tolerance stance to corruption and other related vices, in every facet. This is why we are hereby imploring you to give the necessary push to these aforementioned agencies to speed up actions towards establishing Mr. Babatunde Fashola’s culpability or otherwise and possibly follow it up with the necessary investigation and prosecution. It’s noteworthy too that Mr. Babatunde Fashola may have enjoyed so much of accolades from the media for exemplary performance as governor during his tenure, we make bold to say that all the media hype was a mere publicity gimmicks as they do not reflect the reality on ground. In the area of infrastructural development, for instance, especially as it concerns road networks, we implore you not to rely solely on media reports but make further efforts at using the machinery at your disposal to make on-the-spot findings and assessment of the true state of things in the state.
We must state here that we are not out to witch-hunt anyone; rather we are only serving as the voice of the voiceless and of course, the whistle-blower.
We also would like to sensitize you to the spill-over impact that mass protests and petitions from relevant quarters that might trail such appointment if eventually made, may have on your esteemed administration; this is why we consider it pertinent for you to do the needful by engaging in the necessary in-house cleaning ahead of the exercise.
We and other well-meaning Nigerians wish you success in your quest to bring about that comprehensive change that we have all this while been yearning for.
Executive Chairman, CACOL