The insinuation that Lagos State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might go into the next governorship election scheduled to hold in March disunited has been dismissed, as former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George, the party’s standard bearer, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and other leaders have resolved to shelve their differences and work towards defeating ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
One of the major edges APC has had over PDP in previous governorship elections is the infighting among the leadership of the opposition. But this time, George, Agbaje, former Minister of Works, Prince Adeseye Ogunlewe, and others have resolved to work as a team ahead of the next election.
PDP leaders are also hoping to take advantage of the current crisis in Lagos APC, especially the controversial manner in which the incumbent governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, was denied a second time ticket in favour of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is the anointed candidate of the national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While speaking during a meeting held at the Ikoyi office of the former deputy national chairman last week, George said, “I want to make it absolutely clear that this assembly is about the strengthening of peace and the deepening of amity in Lagos PDP. We are here to discountenance the deliberate misinformation running riot out there. Contrary to the misleading opinion in some sections of the media, our party is not disrupted by any infighting. We are woven in a united vision, summed up in a thoughtful unanimity of purpose.
“We are emboldened by a well-articulated truth and summative defining purpose and shared beliefs.”
He insisted that Lagos PDP remains one and indivisible family, stressing that there was no rancor in their midst, adding, “There is no bitterness or hatred. We are no longer contesting anything with ourselves. Jimmy Agbaje is our unifying gubernatorial candidate. We support him wholeheartedly and with total commitment.”
He added that the next governorship contest is now against the monstrous, dictatorial, and reckless godfatherism that has held Lagos hostage for the past 20 years.”
George also condemned the violence that rocked APC inaugural campaign just as he expressed sympathy with some journalists who sustained injuries during the fracas, saying, “We can’t continue with this madness. We need a real, progressive, fundamental change.”
Meanwhile, Agbaje promised that his government would ensure the development and wellbeing of all citizens if elected. Addressing his supporters at town hall meetings held across Oshodi-Isolo on Wednesday, he said the next election provides the best opportunity for the people to displace APC.
Meanwhile, the running mate to APC flag bearer, Obafemi Hamzat has assured Private School Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Lagos chapter of robust relationship with their administration, if elected in March.
Addressing the association during a seminar yesterday, Hamzat urged private school owners to vote him and Sanwo-Olu, saying, “There are ready-made modalities to meet with the delegates of the private school owners in the state to iron out their needs. If we must improve the state of education in Lagos, government must partner with private owners. One of the issues to be addressed is that of multiple taxation.”
The former commissioner for works also disclosed that it was wrong for government officials to close down any school when students are in session, saying their government will look into that aspect. He also promised that their administration would partner with good private schools to help take some students in places where there are no adequate public schools to accommodate them”
Other areas he said their administration would look into if elected include grading of schools, approval process for private schools, which he said any school that meets necessary conditions would get its approval within 20 days.
He said private schools were very essential part of Lagos because of the volume of students’ population.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Owolabi Salis, has described the governorship election as one between the powers that-be in the state and the people. Salis made the statement in Ifako-Ijaye, when he met members of Cherubim and Seraphim Church. He said the man being backed by the powers that-be in the state was never ready to contest the election, but that he was dragged into the race for his godfather to continue his rulership of the state as usual.
“So, his vision for the people is zero,” he said. “He’s loyal to that person because he knows if he becomes the governor, the same person also has the power to get him out. I told the baales that one of the candidates contesting the election is a product of imposition and people are seeing him as special.”
He noted that if there was fair play in the politics of Lagos, there would be no place for potholes “because the person who is governing the state will be careful enough that if he refuses to perform, he would be voted out but they won’t allow fair play.
“Lagos is not as it used to be. Lagos was like London to people outside the state. People respected those who lived in Lagos; they worshipped them when they returned to their villages because it was the best place to live in and it was the same with Nigeria. People looked to Nigeria for leadership, but not anymore.”
Salis also said education is a major area to focus attention in the state, as only the rich could afford the best education for their children while children of the poor are left to sort themselves out in shabby and poorly maintained schools.
On health, he said, “I can score Lagos State zero in the area of health. The state’s attitude to the health of the people only encourages more local hawkers of herbal concoctions that do more harm rather than heal. Many who don’t know how to treat themselves with agbo are forced to because getting treatment from clinic is expensive. Almost all the mortuaries in Lagos are privatised and people cannot bury their dead relatives if they are unable to raise the amount demanded. Not only the government lacks respect for the living, they also deprive the dead of their dignity.”
On his mission to the church, Salis said, “They all understand what the problem is, but they have been keeping quiet. The same way I spoke to other religious leaders of the need to come out because they are really the voice of the people.”