The Governorship Candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has challenged Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to present the receipt of the make-up tax the politician is supposed to have paid after being publicly accused of evading land use charges on his business premises.
Agbaje, who last week denied paying N500,000 subsequent upon the Governor first going to town with the allegation, said neither he nor the Pharmaceutical company he founded had taken such a step.
Fashola had last weekend alleged that despite contesting the announcement the Governor made on January 27, the PDP Governorship Candidate had paid N500,000 of the total sum of N1.6 million reportedly owed from the backlog of three years’ Land Use Charge tax.
“Good enough, Fashola is a lawyer, so he knows the maxim that: He that alleges must prove. So I challenge the Governor to show Lagosians the receipt issued to either me or JayKay Pharmacy since February, when he told his first lie,” he said in today at the weekend in a statement by his Director of Publicity, FELIX OBOAGWINA.
He also found it strange that the Governor would equate an individual with a corporate entity.
“It is basic law, civil, contract, criminal, that an individual is different from an corporate body, and one cannot benefit from or suffer for what the other has done,” he said. “And I shall continue to wonder why a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) would insist on roping me in on what a company has purportedly done, even though he knows quite well what the law says.”
According to him, JayKay Pharmacy continued to maintain that it owed the government no land use charges.
It had noticed a matter of overbilling, written a protest letter to the Lagos State authorities, and was waiting for government’s response to the matter, while paying ahead to pay charges due to the computed value on the said property.
Agbaje was responding to what his camp regarded as the latest in the Governor’s campaign of calumny and mudslinging against Agbaje.
Mr. Agbaje reacts: “There is no truth in this latest piece of misinformation that the Governor is spreading around. He lied again, giving the impression that my company paid money after his initial outburst and his first lie. JAYKAY PHARMACEUTICALS has not paid a kobo since the day Fashola launched his initial allegation. To say that I have now paid N500,000 is a lie. My company sticks to the facts contained in its initial publication, which encapsulated its reaction to the Governor’s initial falsehood.”
However, according to Agbaje, the latest outburst exposed the real reason behind the Governor’s belly-aching, something he attributed to reprisals for him criticising the regime.
The PDP candidate had often said Lagos deserved to be better governed, especially with the blocking of waste pipes, the eradication of impunity and the right focus on key areas.
Agbaje said: “The result of Mr. Fashola’s efforts still puts Lagos as the 137th of 140 cities listed in the liveability index by the ranking of the Economic intelligence Unit (EIU). This means that if you take 140 cities worldwide where people consider good to live in, Lagos is the fourth worst place to live in. Apart from this, a World Bank survey shows that of the 36 states in Nigeria, Lagos is still the worst state in terms of the ease of securing Building Permits. It is still on record too that the party Fashola represents has delivered less than 5,000 units till date. It is still on record that more students in Lagos fail WAEC than those who pass.”
He also charged the Fashola-led APC government of not doing enough to tackle corruption in the state and the local governments.
“Even when we consider corruption, we are aware that Governor Fashola is yet to challenge anyone for corruption at the state level. Or is he saying Lagos is 100 percent corruption-free? Yet he goes about castigating the government. He should walk his talk and lead by example –expose and prosecute high-ranking corrupt officials in his government and the state civil service.”
According to him, one area of corruption was in the status and the running of the Lekki Toll Plaza, whose Pandora Box he predicted would soon be open to public view.
Accusing Governor Fashola of attempting to bully the opposition, Agbaje promised not to be cowed.
He said: “We shall stand up to bullies. It is quite illuminating that Governor Fashola is taking the issue of politics this personal and playing dirty politics. What Lagosians should ask is what is driving Fashola’s violent outbursts? What has Fashola got to hide?”