The Nigerian Information minister threw the first jab.
The Lagos State Government on Tuesday described comments made by Labaran Maku, the Information Minister, on how the state had “benefited so much” from the federal government as laughable.
Mr. Maku had, at the 2013 ministerial platform on Monday, said that Lagos State had benefited so much from the federal government that the state governor “has nothing significant to do in his state than mostly environmental and traffic maintenance.”
In a statement signed by Lateef Ibirogba, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, the Lagos State government described Mr. Maku’s “outbursts” as his stock in trade.
“We pity the country if the man with the status of (Honourable) Minister of Information can descend so low as to misinform the world with such impunity,” said the statement.
“Although his reason for such inflammatory remarks is still hard to discern, he would have done himself and the nation much good by limiting himself to his brief rather than dabbling into issues he knows next to nothing about,” it added.
In his speech, Mr. Maku had stated that Lagos and Edo states, both controlled by the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, enjoy the most federal government infrastructures of all the 36 states in the country.
Mr. Maku, a former journalist, noted that the federal roads in Edo State were so smooth “you could put your mat on the roads and sleep on it.”
“Lagos too rests on federal infrastructure, the governor has nothing significant to do aside environmental sanitation; Lagos State is the luckiest state, even the BRT lanes are on federal government roads,” Mr. Maku had said.
The Lagos State government’s statement said that Mr. Maku has lost touch with the ethics of journalism “within a short time.”
The statement went ahead to list some of the achievements of Babatunde Fashola, the state governor, which include, among others, the ongoing expansion of the Lagos-Badagry expressway into a 10-lane highway, the 39 kilometre Lekki-Epe express road, as well as the ongoing expansion of the Mile 12-Ikorodu road.
“The issue of Environmental Sanitation raised by him (Mr. Maku) betrays his understanding of the pedestal for good governance in any society,” Mr. Ibirogba said.
“It becomes apparent that the (Honourable) Minister was befuddled by the state of development in Lagos, the nation’s former capital that had been left to “rot away” but which the BRF (Babatunde Raji Fashola) administration is taking to higher heights.
“That the BRT buses run on federal government roads is quite laughable. One may wish to ask that since the capital moved to Abuja, who has been maintaining most of the infrastructure left behind by the Federal Government.
“The questions are why has the Lagos – Ibadan road becoming daunting to the federal government and why has the federal government failed to replicate the BRT system in Abuja or all over the country?” he added.
The statement also noted that President Goodluck Jonathan himself was so impressed with the state’s Eko Atlantic City project that he promised to replicate it in other parts of the country.
The Nigeria Good Governance Tour, a brainchild of the information minister to monitor state and federal government projects across Nigeria was severely criticised by both Lagos and Edo States.
Mr. Ibirogba said that Mr. Maku’s comments were based on personal interests rather than objectivity.
“The fact that we did not allow Maku to take credit for our project in Lagos in the name of “Good Governance Tour” does give him the latitude to attempt to discredit a performing governor who continues to receive accolades from across the nation and internationally,” the statement added.