By Emmanuel Uffot.
As the March 2, governorship election ticks closer barely a month ahead, Lagos apart from Ogun and Imo states will be the focus point because of the prevalent political issues playing out in the states. The three states have one thing in common, they are governed by APC governors.
For Ogun and Imo States, their governors ibikunle Amosun and Rochas okorocha are in the last lap of their second term,as such they would not seek for another term but want to install their successors. However, their anointed candidates were denied tickets by APC in the landmark controversial primaries superintended by Adams oshiomhole led national executive of the party. The duo, Amosun and okorocha who were aggrieved, were said to have moved their supporters to other parties to ensure they achieved that ambition even at the expense of their party in their respective States. But that of Lagos appears to be different. The governor, ambode who sought a second term was denied his bid by his god father Bola Ahmed Tinuba. His offence is not that he has not performed well,but according to the words of Tinubu he deviated from the laid down plan which in general perception connotes not serving him and the party members in the state. In fact a party leader had reportedly pointed out specifically that party leaders were not happy with the governor because of his Inability to” take good care” of APC executives and power brokers in the state and for failing to fund the party Specifically, they accused him of collecting the refuse disposal work under the Lagos state waste management agency to visionscape.
In ambode’s place Babajide sanwo Olu, a former Managing Director, Lagos state Property and Development Corporation, LSPDC, was picked as the APC candidate. Expectedly, Ambode’s supporters and many concerned Lagosians were said to have thrown their weight on Jimi Agbaje, a renowned Pharmacist turned politician who has been seeking to govern Lagos since 2011.
It could be recalled that Agbaje was a member of the Action Congress Of Nigeria, ACN, before moving to Democratic People’s Alliance,DPA, to pursue his governorship ambition after Tinubu had single handedly handpicked his anointed candidate without a recourse to a credible party primaries.
Although new then in the race but Agbaje had surprised many Lagosians with a commendable effort in the 2011 governorship race in Lagos by coming third behind the All Progressive Congress, APC, and PDP. In 2015, PDP drafted him as their flag bearer and it was a close contest with the APC candidate ambode. Agbaje may have become very popular among many Lagosians with a campaign theme that ‘ he wants to rescue Lagos from Tinubu. He said he frowns at a situation whereby one person is controlling the entire wealth of a metropolitan state like Lagos. ” I have an exception to the rule of one man in a metropolitan state like Lagos”. According to him, Lagos under APC refused to domesticate the freedom of information bill as everything is shrouded in secrecy.
He insisted that the time has come to handover the fortunes of Lagos state to the people. He asserted that the state government in the last 20 years has spent N7 trillion but that what is on ground was not commensurate with such a huge amount. He has promised to free Lagos from alpha…Beta consult, a tax collection firm linked to Tinubu which been collecting tax for Lagos state government for over a decade. On education, Agbaje say he will redesign educational structure in Lagos to promote vocational training. Also that his government will use technology to drive education in the state because of his belief that we are in a new world order and children today in public schools are not exposed to information and communication technology, stressing that his government will start from the first day in office to accomplish. His other developmental agenda includes, construction of roads that would be built with concrete, implementation of a multi- modal transportation system that would be based on good roads,rails, waterways and cycling paths. He said this will go a long way in providing solution to the chaotic traffic problem in Lagos.
Agbaje was said to have equally promised to bring Qualitative healthcare to the people. He said youth employment and empowerment would also be the priority of his government. However, as the stage is set for the election, political analysts are already making postulations on who among the legion of candidates the pendulum would swing in favour on March 2 in Lagos.
Many have argued that if the Independent National lectoral Commission, INEC,conducts a free and fair election in Lagos state, this could be Agbaje’s year. Their Projection is hinged primarily on the APC politics in Lagos currently. For instance, they argued that non- Yorubas constitute about 50 percent of the voting population in Lagos. And going by previous voting pattern, they are most certain to vote for Agbaje.
Similarly, of the other 50 percent which constitute the Yorubas, 20 percent are PDP while 30 percent are APC.
But the interesting twist on the issue is that the APC members which ordinarily should go for its candidate but analysts believe would be divided. The hard fact is that governor Ambode’s supporters, his close political associates,kinsmen and other independent minds in APC who are unhappy with the way he was denied second term bid may decide on voting another candidate but not Sanwo Olu. Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a chieftain of afenifere had once describe Tinubu as somebody with an attribute of a dictator.” That he wants to be dictating- I want this, I want that”. It is instructive to note that Agbaje’s humble disposition has endeared him to many Lagosians who see him as a gentle politician.
Jude Eze, a motor spare part dealer said ” if Agbaje wins we will be very happy because Lagos has always been controlled by somebody who picked whoever he wants to be governor and if those people are trying to be independent he wants them removed .
Agbaje has lampooned the APC candidate Babajide sanwo Oolu that he does not have his own personal agenda for the people of Lagos but instead was clutching in his pocket the agenda of his godfather. For many lagosians and political analysts time will tell as lagosians wait on march 2 to decide the next governor.
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