Agbaje, Sanwo-Olu Battle for Soul of Lagos

Agbaje, Sanwo-Olu Battle for Soul of Lagos

….Rebuilding of Schools, Health Care Facilities, Provision of Jobs Dominate Agenda The two leading candidates for the governorship seat in Lagos state have fired their first salvo, as they aim for the soul of voters, in a state reputed as one of Africa’s biggest economies and comprising some of the country’s most discerning electorates. While

….Rebuilding of Schools, Health Care Facilities, Provision of Jobs Dominate Agenda

The two leading candidates for the governorship seat in Lagos state have fired their first salvo, as they aim for the soul of voters, in a state reputed as one of Africa’s biggest economies and comprising some of the country’s most discerning electorates.

While Mr Jimi Agbaje, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, says the option is between a “People’s Lagos” and “One Man’s Lagos,” setting a tone in synch with popular spleen against the overbearing political leverage by former Governor Bola Tinubu since 1999, his major challenger, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressive Congress (APC), who promised to run a “listening government,” says Lagos has always enjoyed freedom for several years.

Sanwo-Olu who officially launched his campaign on Saturday at a political rally held in Kosofe Local Government Area (LGA), said his administration would construct the Agboyi Bridge to ease vehicular traffic in the area, while also promising to deliver modern housing scheme for low-income residents.

The rally drew people from all the 16 LGAs and Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos East Senatorial District.

The APC candidate reiterated his pledge to run an all-inclusive government if elected, stressing that his government would listen to the wishes of all Lagosians. He said his campaign manifesto had been redesigned to accommodate requests made by residents.

While promising to initiate policies that would lead to employment generation, Sanwo-Olu said his administration would increase the number of primary health centres and expand their operations to cater for more residents in the senatorial district. This, he said, is part of his programme to deliver quality and affordable healthcare in all public-owned hospitals.

He said: “Today, our campaign for the governorship election has begun and there is a purpose for starting the campaign in Kosofe. In the past weeks, we embarked on state-wide consultations to listen to your wishes and expectations. Now, the campaign has taken off and we are here in Kosofe to speak to our people at the grassroots. This is a demonstration of our resolve not to run an elitist government. We will listen to you.”

“As part of our programmes, we will provide quality and affordable education for your children from basic school to tertiary institutions. All the schools owned by the state would be upgraded and they will be equipped with modern facilities. We are planning to increase the number of primary health centres and also strengthen them, so that more people can have access to quality healthcare.”

“In line with our plan to ease traffic situation in Kosofe area, I have considered people’s request on Agboyi Bridge and I promise that my administration will deliver the project if elected.”

Agbaje who officially kick started his campaign penultimate Saturday in Ibeju Lekki and narrowly lost the race in 2015 to the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said that his mandate is to free Lagos state from”one man’s” thumb.

According to him, the state deserves someone with the mind to execute projects and appoint people without interference from supposed godfathers, adding that: “this I promise to do when I become governor”.

Contrary to thinking in some quarters, he said, Lagos is not working because it is the vested interest that had determined the direction of the state in the last 20 years.

Agbaje who addressed some party members and journalists noted that the state had spent over 6 trillion dollars in the last 20 years with nothing significant to show for it.

He said Lagos is the only mega city in Africa without effective transportation system, berating the slow construction of Light Rail System which has taken more than a decade to complete.

The APC candidate said Lagos as currently constituted does not guarantee a future for Lagosians, noting this explains why many youths of Lagos were migrating abroad, promising to restore hope to Lagosians many of whom are looking for the slightest opportunity to travel abroad.

“The average Lagosians do not see a future in today’s Lagos”, he said, while anchoring his campaign on three thematic areas of liveability, economy and the future.

Agbaje said the 2019 poll is a contest between “people’s Lagos” and “one-man Lagos”, adding that he is on the side of “people’s Lagos,” noting that he would improve on his performance in 2015 to emerge winner of the election, saying, “This time around, we will beat them flat”.

“They said I am their customer but they have forgotten that the customer is king. They are already afraid. We are ready for them. If they give us one, we would give them two. If they give us two, we will give them three”, boasted Agbaje, saying 2019 would be a year of victory for him, after two failed attempts.

Though there are over 40 candidates from different parties eyeing the state’s governorship seat, APC’s Sanwo-Olu and PDP’s Agbaje are believed to be major contenders.

Agbaje, who also contested against former governor Babatunde Fashola, now Minister of Power, Housing and Works in the 2011 election, promised to shock the APC and its candidate in the election.

“I will beat the APC in 2019; mark my words, I will not only beat them, I will beat them flat. I am sure of winning because Lagosians are behind me.”

“The support we were given in 2015 is still there, intact. We will expand on it in 2019. I am in the race because I am passionate about Lagos.”

The governorship candidate said the APC had failed the state in all the ramifications, calling on residents to vote out the party for lack of progress.

He said he had the capacity, the experience and sincerity to deliver the Lagos of everybody’s dream, if elected.

Agbaje said he had a robust plan to provide jobs for the teeming youths, who in turn would drive the prosperity of the state, adding that he would improve security in all parts of the state to safeguard lives and properties.

He also said the problem of gridlock was becoming unbearable, promising to implement actions to ease movement of vehicles and pedestrians.

He said he would improve essential services like health, education and accelerate infrastructural development of all parts of the state.

Asked if the gale of defection of prominent PDP members would not affect his chances, he said the exit of a few individuals would not stop his victory.

He said the party was not in any way affected by the defection, adding that party members were more determined than ever to liberate the state from APC.

“It is normal for people to change parties, but the question is, what is the impact? When Obanikoro left, did anybody go with him? When Salvador left, our former chairman, he left alone. The people are still in the party. Chief Bode George is here, so are all the great party men.”

“So, we are winning in 2019. No doubt about that. The people are tired and they want a change in PDP,” he said.

The event featured a rainbow coalition of various social, political and cultural groups. Supporters came from various localities in the state including Ajegunle, Mushin, Ikorodu, Agege, Badagry, Ikeja and several other areas to witness the grand event in Lekki, Lagos.

According to Agbaje, 1000 megawatts of power would be targetted in four years to muscle up and boost the economic fortune of Lagosians. He said the plank of his health care programme would be built around health insurance schemes.

The PDP candidate also promised to restore the glory and standard of education in the state by providing more accessible quality education as opposed to the current ineffective system.

“I am running a believable administration and I am in the race for service, not for self. They are in politics for selves”.

He also used the opportunity to introduce his deputy, Mrs. Haleemat Oluyemisi Busari, and promised that they would “carry the load together” instead of the culture of making the deputy a “spare tyre”.

The duo promised to hold more town hall meetings in the days ahead to engage supporters and voters on the programmes for the state.

“We need a governor that the buck stops on his table. I promise to be that governor. The buck will stop on my table and Lagos will go back to his glory as the future is bright,” he said amidst thunderous applause.

But the APC governorship candidate, Sanwo-Olu said that Lagosians are free citizens and not in bondage in what seemed to be an overt response to the campaign theme of his opponent.

Sanwo-Olu stated this last Sunday at the Palace of the Akran of Badagry, Aholu De Wheno Menu Toyi 1, during a consultative visit to the traditional rulers in the Badagry division.

In a direct response to the candidate of the PDP, Agbaje, who said Lagosians were in bondage, Sanwo-Olu said Lagosians had not been enslaved under the APC-led government, noting that the state had achieved accelerated prosperity since 1999 due to the tenacity and purposefulness of the ruling party.

Highlighting the numerous infrastructural needs of the Badagry division, the APC flag-bearer promised to speedily address some of the listed concerns of the people.

“Some have started talking about freedom and insinuated that Lagos is in bondage. Unfortunately, we cannot begin to talk about freedom in the 21st century. This is insulting to humanity and the people of Lagos especially because slavery and bondage were abolished in Badagry several decades ago. When they talk about freedom, we ask them freedom from what? We have had our freedom and everyone in Lagos is free. We have since moved away from the era of slavery, to era of prosperity with deep-seated aspiration for greater Lagos,” he said.

“We are aware of the challenges facing the people of Badagry on the rehabilitation of the expressway and we are promising that our administration would immediately hit the ground running and ensure the completion of that important road immediately we assume office by your votes.”

Sanwo-Olu reminded the royal fathers of the economic importance of tourism to the GDP of the state, maintaining that he would ensure a speedy completion of all projects that will improve the quality of lives of the people.

“It is no brainer that once we fix infrastructure, it will automatically jump-start development in the area. That’s why it has become expedient for us to look critically into this before we can even think of other things. I am promising you today that Badagry will assume her pride of place in tourism if you give us your votes,” he said.

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