By Seni Tinubu
To start with, Number 4, Oyikan Abayomi (formerly Queens) Drive, Ikoyi, A 5- bedroom detached house on one acre of land which was originally the Lagos State Governor’s Guest House since 1973, now belongs to a former Governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
In retrospect, it might be difficult to come to terms with the fact that whenever someone in Lagos begins to wonder where their 4th mainland bridge went or what was the fate of the pipe-borne water project or even where the schools and hospitals had vanished to, there is a silence that contains it all.
The largest landlord in Lagos has done as he has pleased and the rest of the state just has to deal with it. To start with, Number 4, Oyikan Abayomi (formerly Queens) Drive, Ikoyi, A 5- bedroom detached house on one acre of land which was originally the Lagos State Governor’s Guest House since 1973, now belongs to a former Governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The certificate of occupancy of the property, valued at N450 million, was signed and released to him by his successor, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), in 2007 shortly after he assumed office.
Tinubu’s residence at 26 Bourdillion Road, Ikoyi was initially falsely presented as Oando Plc Guest House. Later, he purportedly bought it from Oando and used public funds to rebuild and renovate it. The Lagos State Government bought the property and paid an undisclosed sum to him and thereafter gave the property back to him under the bogus pension bill he signed into law shortly before he left office in 2007. The property is worth over N600 million.
The annex of the Lagos State Guest House in Asokoro, Abuja was bought by the State Government in 2006 for N450 million, purportedly to protect the main house from security breach. Shortly after Tinubu left office, the property was transferred to him under the pension plan he signed into law before leaving office.
The 250-hectares of land valued at about N35 billion and strategically located at the Ajah junction on Lekki Road was initially meant for a General Hospital for the people of Eti-Osa Local Government but was acquired by Tinubu and handed over to Trojan Estate Limited – a company owned by Deji and Wale Tinubu – to develop as Royal Garden Housing Estate at the expense of the taxpayers of Lagos.
The 1,000 hectares of land valued at about N75 billion located at Lakowe, near Abijo at Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area and given to Lekki Concession Company, which is partly owned by Tinubu and Fashola, is being developed as golf course and housing estate by Assets and Resource Management Limited as ADIVA project.
The prime land of 157 hectares with 2.5km of Atlantic beachfront, valued at about N10 billion was “taken” by Tinubu from the communities of Siriwon, Igbekodo, Apakin, etc in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area and given to Ibukun Fakeye-his crony to build a golf course and luxury villa with little or no compensation to villagers. In addition, Tinubu paid $20 million (N3 billion) out of public treasury to Ibukun Fakeye to commence the project in late 2006. Fashola has since released additional funding for this project, which is not owned by the state government.
The 14 hectares Parkview Ikoyi Estate foreshore land reclaimed by the Lagos State Government is now owned by Tinubu. While in office, he allocated to himself the former Strabag Yard beside the Lagos State secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja. The property has now been developed into a shopping mall as big as the Palms in Lekki. This is public property brazenly stolen and now owned by Tinubu, aided by Fashola.
The choice property at Lekki-Epe Road on which he built and owns the multi-billion Naira Oriental Hotel and the extension of multi-storey car park beside it is also a story of the misrule of Lagos State. Also, the multi-level recreation centre by Mobil Oniru Estate on Lekki-Epe road jointly owned with ARM and Tunji Olowolafe. All these assets valued at over N25 billion were obtained without paying a kobo to the Lagos State Government.
Tinubu raised a loan of N4.7 billion on Eko Akete project for which nothing was achieved before he turned around to sell the property to his Chagouri friends of Chagouri & Chagouri and Hitech Construction Limited at a ridiculously low price at the expense of taxpayers of Lagos. Tinubu applied to personally purchase the Federal Secretariat building while in office. When he couldn’t get to buy it, he directed Fashola to stop the eventual owner of the complex from developing it. The complex is presently wasting away courtesy of the Lagos Sate Government.
It took several months of horse trading and underhand payments before Fashola could allow the new owners of 1004 flats to develop the complex. Several other buyers of Federal Government properties and developers of properties in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Government Reservation Area in Ikeja were forced to succumb to the outrageous demand of Tinubu, Fashola and other officials of the state government.
The Critical Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in IKeja, built and equipped with state funds, is now owned personally by Tinubu. He has put one Dr. Sikiru Tinubu (a supposed cousin of his) to run the outfit. It is run as a private unit and the proceeds are pocketed by the duo. The unit charges its users exorbitantly and most Lagosians can hardly afford to pay its high charges. Much of the revenue is derived from fees paid by the State Government for patients referred there by its General Hospitals.
Several prominent Nigerians in the judiciary, police, the Independent National Electoral Commission and other sensitive agencies have obtained prime land from Governor Tinubu and incumbent Governor Fashola over the years without paying a kobo. Many of them had turned around to sell the land to third parties at substantial profit. Many top officials in police, INEC and the judiciary who participated in the 2003 and 2007 elections and tribunals in states where Tinubu has interest were compromised with parcels of free prime Lagos land and cash. If the Lagos State Land’s Bureau could publish the names and identities of beneficiaries of land allotees from 2000 to date, the scandal that will result is better imagined. Gbenga Ashafa, now a senator and one Mrs. Awofisayo were the conduits through which these acts were being perpetrated. Both were also the personally involved in various dubious land transactions on their own.
Seni Tinubu is a freelance writer who writes from Lagos.