The IT firm named by the Lagos State procurement office as receiving N78 million for the upgrade of former Governor Babatunde Fashola’s personal website, has denied being paid the amount.
Info Access Plus Limited said its quotation for the job was N12.5 million, and that the state eventually spent N10 million.
The figure contradicts details released by the Lagos State procurement office, first reported by the budget analytic firm, BudgiT.
The listing shows N78 million was spent on the website.
Curiously, for a company that specialises on building and upgrading websites, a Google search for Info Access Plus, revealed that Info Access Plus Limited 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 Mr. Fashola, widely seen as one of few upright politicians who could be given a cabinet position by President Mohammadu Buhari.
Mr. Fashola’s spokesperson, Hakeem Bello, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comment.
In its reaction, the IT firm, Info Access Plus Limited, questioned the motive of the procurement office in releasing details of the spending.
The firm also denied that the website was for Mr. Fashola as an individual, saying it was for the “governor of Lagos State.”
It also denied receiving N78 million for the job, yet, the firm compared the website with other internet products delivered at millions and even billions of dollars.
Read the statement below:
Our attention is drawn to the twitter campaign alleging that the Lagos State Government (LASG), led by His Excellency, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN spent Seventy Eight Million Naira (N78M) to upgrade thewww.tundefashola.com web site, a site dedicated to giving citizens unfettered access to the Governor’s daily activities and open access to information. It is imperative to state here that, the website in question is not Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola’s personal website but an official website which reports and documents his official activities as a way of socially accounting for his stewardship to the people of Lagos State. This initiative of having an official website for the Governor was to build on the earlier commitment to open access which saw Governor Fashola being the first serving governor to publish his telephone number on the pages of newspapers. As pressure mounted on that number, the website and all of its social media handles became alternative platforms for people to directly engage with their elected governor.
While we do not hold brief for the Lagos State Government, the selective loading of contracts awarded and executed by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency is itself suspect and aimed at a pre-determined end. The statement of the Contract Line Item and the cost ascribed on the website of the agency are therefore misleading and mischievous.
For avoidance of doubt, we are by this medium therefore laying bare the facts for the public:
The former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, set out to streamline easy access to himself, while in office and to document his activities for the citizens.
From 2008 and up till May 29, 2015, the www.tundefashola.com web site has processed thousands of press releases/speeches, more than 6 million pictures, thousands of videos to generate world class, content-rich online information collaterals for the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN.
The same www.tundefashola.com web site provides great opportunities for the Lagos State Government, as it collates all activities of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, and his government during his two terms.
What Did LASG Get For the alleged “N78M”?
N12.5m was quoted for the upgrade of the www.tundefashola.com web site, which includes complete re-design of all the hundreds of page templates. Meanwhile, the LASG spent less than N10m on this and not N78M being bandied on the social around.
Info Access Plus Limited will provide free technical support for the entire life cycle of the web site.
Info Access Plus Limited will manage the contents of the site, which consist of press releases, speeches, photos, videos, etc for one year.
Info Access Plus Limited developed and managed the first and only web-based 1-year Countdown Clock to May 29, 2015 on a 24-hourly basis off the back of this same service cost for a period of 1 year from 2014 to May 29, 2015.
Info Access Plus Limited developed mobile apps for the top four platforms, namely Apple iOS, Google Play, Microsoft Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry World off the back of this same service cost.
Info Access Plus Limited will provide free technical support throughout the life cycles of all these mobile apps also off the back of this same service cost.
For the Records
In addition, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, personally paid for the www.brforg.org web site, even when he was the Lagos State Governor. He felt that www.brforg.org is the online presence of his Non-Governmental Organization, BRF Organization. Again, we state for the records, that the website in question is the official website of the Governor of Lagos State and not Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola’s personal website as being disparagingly alleged by the campaigners.
Quality Software Development Takes Serious Effort, Time and Resources
According to Bloomberg, the Obamacare Enrollment System web site costs more than $2 Billion.
All these private sector driven Operating Costs still run into several billions, while taking serious effort to reduce waste.
It’s evident from these stated facts that good products take huge amount of planning, time and resources.
Was the Facebook built and maintained with less than $500,000? Anyone making this claim is dubious.
Signed on Behalf of Info Access Plus Limited