Lagos 2015: Group demands Ambode and Agbaje’s tax status

Jimi Agbaje

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, a coalition of anti-corruption organisations, has demanded from the Lagos State government the tax status of Akinwunmi Ambode and Jimi Agbaje, gubernatorial candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, respectively.

In a Freedom of Information, FOI, request to the state’s Finance Ministry, Thursday, the group also demanded information on the authenticity of a Letter of Appreciation publicized by Mr. Agbaje on Thursday, purportedly written to him by the ministry.

“We look forward to receiving these documents promptly and, in any event, within 7(seven) days of the receipt of this application as provided for in the Freedom of Information Act, 2011,” the group stated in the letter signed by Olanrewaju Suraju, its chairman.

Babatunde Fashola, the Lagos State Governor, and Mr. Agbaje had been engaged in a war of words after the governor accused the latter of tax evasion.

Speaking at the 8th Annual Stakeholder Taxation Conference in Lagos, on Wednesday, Mr. Fashola had branded Mr. Agbaje a “tax evader,” accusing his pharmaceutical company, JayKay Pharmacy, of failure to pay four years of Land Use Charge to the government totalling N1.6 million.

“I know that you have to vote next month but look at that candidate that would need to take over from me and be careful of who to vote for,” Mr. Fashola, a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had told the gathering.

“You will remember that in 2007, he (Mr. Agbaje) claimed that he was in DPA (Democratic Peoples’ Alliance) and later crossed to PDP.

“You know that he manages a pharmacy called JayKay Pharmacy, located at 9 Randle Close, Apapa. His pharmacy has not paid Land Use Charge for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.”

Mr. Agbaje responded by denying personally owing the state a penny and called the governor’s “fresh outburst” a futile attempt at mudslinging by a group about to face a formidable opponent.

He added that he should not be held liable for the tax liabilities of Jaykay Pharmacy because he was no longer the one running the company.

The PDP candidate further released a Letter of Appreciation purportedly written to him by the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi, and dated 30th January, 2015 (tomorrow). In the letter, the commissioner stated that ‘a review of the payment records from 2011’ showed that Mr. Agbaje has been “consistent with the payment of Land Use Charge.”

The letter which was published on Mr. Agbaje’s website on Thursday, 29th January, 2015, was dated 30th January, 2015.

CSNAC said that the discrepancy in the date raises a question on the authenticity of the letter.

“In light of these, CSNAC is hereby requesting, in accordance with the Section 2, 3, 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011:

– The authenticity of the said ‘letter of appreciation’ sent to Mr. Jimi Agbaje from the Commissioner for Finance.

– The tax status and evidence of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

– The tax status and evidence of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.”


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  • Okey

    This Lagos people ! They bother over a little space and over the minute. Have they bothered about the “Katsina mint” (“oluwole” 53 year old Result with no Certificate) ? Which is more is more important and fundamental ?

    • Grace Georgewill

      It is unfortunate that our youths have failed to understand what it means to have a sustainable democracy. No matter what the politicians promise you the truth is there would be the rich there would also be the poor. And the only freedom democracy has given the poor which the rich also has is the right to choose its leader. I can tell you the poor would loose that power too, if you and I don’t strengthen the opposition (APC). If we miss it now, this is the likely picture. Nigeria would be under PDP (one party) for the next 20 years because you would have whittled down the power of any opposition party and the only party would be PDP and as such the poor has no choice, young people have no choice. Whatever PDP gives us we would take. And remember PDP did not promise you they would give you a south president after 4years in fact from the zoning plans in PDP it would still go to the north. US, Uk has two strong parties in Africa South Africa is doing well why can’t we do it in Nigeria. 4years can help us strengthen our democracy in Nigeria such that we can have a choice to choose our leaders and there would be competitions among the parties to please the masses so they can be voted in again. Please don’t be blinded by ethnicity and religion vote to sustain our democracy. If we miss it. No young person would deny himself govt patronage to be nurturing a strong opposition. Be wise or we would regret it. It is not about Jonathan or Buhari it is about giving the poor masses the choice and the power to choose their leaders God help us.
      If you are a management student you would know that strategic planning is usually for a period of ten years to achieve your plans this is outside your quick wins. PDP has been in power for 16 years which of their major plans have been completed. After 16 years PDP is still talking about restructuring yet It is unfortunate that our youths have failed to understand what it means to have a sustainable democracy. No matter what the politicians promise you the truth is there would be the rich there would also be the poor. And the only freedom democracy has given the poor which the rich also has is the right to choose its leader. I can tell you the poor would loose that power too, if you and I don’t strengthen the opposition (APC). If we miss it now, this is the likely picture. Nigeria would be under PDP (one party) for the next 20 years because you would have whittled down the power of any opposition party and the only party would be PDP and as such the poor has no choice, young people have no choice. Whatever PDP gives us we would take. And remember PDP did not promise you they would give you a south president after 4years in fact from the zoning plans in PDP it would still go to the north. US, Uk has two strong parties in Africa South Africa is doing well why can’t we do it in Nigeria. 4years can help us strengthen our democracy in Nigeria such that we can have a choice to choose our leaders and there would be competitions among the parties to please the masses so they can be voted in again. Please don’t be blinded by ethnicity and religion vote to sustain our democracy. If we miss it. No young person would deny himself govt patronage to be nurturing a strong opposition. Be wise or we would regret it. It is not about Jonathan or Buhari it is about giving the poor masses the choice and the power to choose their leaders God help us.
      If you are a management student you would know that strategic planning is usually for a period of ten years to achieve your plans this is outside your quick wins. PDP has been in power for 16 years which of their major plans have been completed. After 16 years PDP is still talking about restructuring yet Nigerians can’t change to see if another party has something to offer. be wise.central African republic is in chaos, Zimbabwe is in comatose because of this one party system people like you are unknowingly imposing on yourselves. can’t change to see if another party has something to offer. be wise.central African republic is in chaos, Zimbabwe is in comatose because of this one party system people like you are unknowingly imposing on yourselves.

      • Okey

        I am sorry, you are highly mistaken on your assumption of an “opposition.” What we have are power hustlers, or is it, rustlers. The name of the game is Power Grab and I will NEVER be naive to take it for anything loftier and more enduring. Most of those who lost out in the PDP primaries and ran to APC have automatically become “progressives” and “agents of Change.” Take this classical case: Sen. Barnabas Gemade contested the PDP senatorial primaries on a Saturday and lost to Gabriel Suswam. Early morning the following day being Sunday, APC members came to his house to say: “Congratulations, Sir. You won in our APC senatorial primaries, here is your ticket, Sir !” Pronto Gemade became a “progressive and agent of Chanjee.” Please, exeunt from this naivety !

        • Grace Georgewill

          Mr okey you are right. But do you realize that It is still these same people that would be the tools for the change we so much seek and not you and I? They are the politicians they understand the game. There moving from one party to the other is helping to stabilize our democracy. Because they are unknowingly building a second strong party apart from PDP. The result is that if we can successful have at least two strong parties in Nigeria. We would Forster growth and development through competition of the parties to please the masses. You need only 4years. The real elections starts in 2020 when we have two strong parties. Be careful what you choose today. If we miss it. unlike buhari no young person will ignore govt contract or patronage to be striving to strengthen an opposition. This is our time to give the masses the power.

          • Okey

            Albsolute balderdash. In other climes, politicians remain in a party for 5o years and more. The roving from one party to another will certainly not bring maturity to our democracy, if at all, it will bring instability. Take another instance. West Idahosa (I refuse to prefix him with “Honourable”) from Edo State was a PDP House of Reps Member for 8 years. When he lost his quest for another 4 years, he ran to APC. October 2014 he lost to power scheming in APC and ran back to PDP, then there was nothing he did not say about “the undemocratic character of APC.” In December, 2014, he lost his senatorial quest in PDP. A few days ago he ran back again to APC now saying all maner of things against Jonathan’s capacity. How can you grow democracy through these characters ? I said I am not that naive.

          • Grace Georgewill

            In other countries they stick to one party because they have developed their democracy it’s our time to develop ours. When you have two strong parties you will see that people won’t be cross carpeting because these parties would have strengthened their internal processes and created an ideology which parties in other countries have. Your sentiments would cause you regrets in the future because you are gradually supporting a one party system in Nigeria. In Economics competition brings growth. It discourages monopoly

          • Okey

            Far from it. You are the one imprisoned by the falsehood and caricature of “Chanjee” which is nothing more than a power grab opportunistic movement. My point is the need for an enduring political behaviour that gives character and makes for the longevity of our political parties and democracy. Power grab opportunists seizing platforms to realize their greedy quest cannot bequeath the desired growth and longevity of the party system. It is only one imprisoned by blind sentiment that cannot see these characters for what they truly are. Which is very unfortunate.

          • Grace Georgewill

            I hope you know PDP is not better either. You also have the same greedy politicians there. If you are an economist you will know that competition breeds growth. Like you said if we don’t create this competition after February every body will be PDP and we will be faced with no choice and those greedy politicians you talk about will become real monarchs and kings while you will sit and look. You have that choice in your hands make use of it. There is no need to get abusive but please think it over. If you are young you have a future to protect.

          • Okey

            It is because I am young that I am highly circumspect in this affair. I look at both sides of the coin to see if there is a difference. I see none whatsoever. But I wonder the more how a party that stars OBJ, Atiku, Tinubu, Buhari and Amaechi, can constitute and offer us “Change” or even a veritable road map for Change. Be real, not sentimental or emotional.

          • Grace Georgewill

            I am more realistic than you can imagine. The politicians are playing into the hands of the masses when they create two strong parties. It means the power to choose will be with the masses. And by that they would sought for you by doing what is right. It is not you and I that would form the political structure allow them to build the structure so that the masses can stand on it. If we continue to leave one party to rule Nigeria. You will unknowingly creating a Monarch, dictatorship and oligarchy where only a group of people would force leadership on a country of over 10 million people and we won’t have a choice but to Sidon look.

          • Grace Georgewill

            How can you entrench good political behavior if you don’t create a system that would put politicians in line. If you create competition politicians would behave. Choose wisely. We the masses need that power to vote in and vote out these people if they don’t behave.

          • Okey

            Transmutation and running up-and-down political parties’ structures cannot not create that “system.” Losing party primary this evening and picking the ticket of another political party the following morning can make sense only to the highly gullible .

      • Okey

        Virtually, all those who “wasted” these 16 years are now in APC, perhaps now “Changed” ? When they do another 16 years in APC, they look for and go to another place for “Change.” Please. tell me another story.

  • Shoo

    There’s no honest or thinking government in Lagos state today

    The Lagos state government under Alhaji Raji Fashola is a criminal organization.
    It has no moral or ehical direction whatever and is no better than a den of thieves.
    Despite that Agbaje was negligent not to check the letter he received mid-January.
    It takes an incredibly crooked Commissioner of Finance to post-date that letter.
    Everything is wrong with a letter dated 30th January, 2015 but delivered on the 15th.
    That suggests how account books are being cooked under Raji Fashola (See below)