The immediate past governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, approved an outrageous N78.3 million from the state’s treasury for the upgrade of his personal website, details of the contract awarded in 2014, show.
The mind-boggling expenditure published on the state public procurement office’s website, was first exposed by foremost budget analytic firm, BudgiT.
Other questionable expenditures incurred by the administration include N1.2 billion vaguely spent on the “construction of pedestrian bridges along Oti-Osa Lekki-Epe Expressway”. The spending did not specify the number of bridges.
In the same year, the government also awarded contract for the provision of wall signage in three magistrate courts at the cost of N17 million.
The Fashola administration further spent N3.46 billion for the construction of a beach resort in Ilase and N61 million for a Range Rover SUV and 2 Toyota Hilux trucks as the official vehicle of the Chief Judge of the State.
The document shows that the administration also spent N85 million for the repair and replacement of street signs.
Other curious expenses contained in the document include N330 million spent for the development of the residence of Mr. Fashola’s deputy, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, and N94 million spent on “printer consumables”.
The contract for the refurbishing of the former governor’s personal website, www.tundefashola.com, was awarded to “Info Access Plus Limited”, by the office of the chief of Staff of the governor.
Curiously, for a company that specialises on building and upgrading websites, a Google search for Info Access Plus, revealed that the company has no website of its own.
According to information technology experts, www.tundefashola.com, created by the firm for the former governor, is a WordPress website and an upgrade could not have cost more than N300, 000.
The news of the expenditure has elicited outrage from Nigerians, with many using their social media accounts to lambast the governor, who was widely seen as one few upright politicians who could be given a cabinet position by President Mohammadu Buhari.
As the time of filing this report, the spending was trending on Twitter with 9,481 tweets.
Twitter user @Ruud_bishop exclaimed: “Wait!!!! At 350 naira to a pound, somebody that fears God, built a WordPress site for 222,857 pounds?”
A blogger, Chukwudi Iwuchukwu, said on his Facebook page that “he consensus is that the cost was grossly exaggerated and over-inflated. A WordPress website, like http://tundefashola.com/ should not cost more than N3million, according to expert opinions.”
A Twitter handle said, @cchukudebelu, said “1. The lesson from Fashola is “all have sinned & fallen short of God’s glory”, now let us seek redemption. My point: there are no saints.”
Another Twitter user, Tolu Ogunlesi, tweeted through his handle, @toluogunlesi,: “How can you build a WordPress website for 78 million naira? Are you mad? Or am I the mad one for thinking you might be mad?”
“@bubusn also tweeted “No. 78.3m? Nah. Unless the website can tell you what Fashola did for every single Street in Lagos + accurately predict so will win BPL”
When contacted, Mr. Fashola’s media aide, Hakeem Bello, dropped the call after this reporter introduced himself and did not answer subsequent calls to his mobile number.
He has also not replied text messages sent to him for asking the former governor to explain why such huge amounts were spent on the projects.