Nigeria’s shining light politician faces corruption charges

Nigerian President Buhari’s key member of election campaign faces corruption allegation for misusing finances as governor during his previous term in office

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

President Buhari and Fashola (R) during election Campaign in Lagos-Archive

The former governor of Lagos state Babatunde Fashola, has been accused of corruption scandal that threatens to  damage his reputation as President Muhammadu Buhari’s admired candidate for his cabinet and for Buhari’s government to present a clean image.

Fashola stepped down from office as governor of Lagos in May after a maximum two terms in office. He was accussed by the main opposition party PDP, of misuse of finances in office.

The former governor was accused to have awarded inflated contracts alongside leaving large debts of over $2.1 billion (N400 billion) to the current governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode.  

Fashola has dismissed the allegations, describing the claims as “manipulated and unsubstantiated.” Meanwhile, some of his supporters have suggested the accusations are part of a political campaign by the oppositon party to prevent him from being assigned to a top position in the new government of President Buhari.

The former governor was once seen as a well performing amongst a new breed of Nigerian politicians thanks to his honest and oriental approach to governance.  

It’s normal for a flurry of corruption allegations to be levelled at immediate outgoing officials, apparently Buhari will be particularly eager for these to be proved wrong – and swiftly – so he can appoint Fashola as his cabinet member. The former governor is still seen as a credit to the APC government, according to Amaza saying, “Fashola is actually effective despite all his shortcomings and his popularity will bring the Buhari administration plenty of goodwill.”

The core agenda of the Buhari’s campaign was a promise on the war against corruption, with the then presidential candidate declaring at a rally in March that his primary goal if elected as the president of Nigeria, would be to kill corruption before it “kills the nation.” Fashola’s apparently transparent  image lent the campaign some much needed credibility.

TRTWorld and agencies