Nine gubernatorial candidates in Lagos have seized the opportunity provided by the gubernatorial candidates debate to sell their ideas to Lagosians but it was clear from the episode that the real contest in the February 28 election is between Jimi Agbaje and Ambode Akinwummi of the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress
| By Fidelia Salami | Feb. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE battle for the soul of Lagos State ahead of the February 28, governorship election is becoming interesting. The two major candidates in the election are using every available means to canvass for votes in the state. Jimi Agbaje, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress, APC, seized the opportunity provided by the governorship debate which featured nine other candidates from lesser known political parties to sell themselves and their programmes to the audience at the venue debate and Lagosians who watched it on television.
The debate which was organised by the Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion) in collaboration with the Dioceses of Badagry and Lagos Mainland at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, AVMCC, GRA, Ikeja, on January 15, had four panelist including Femi Adesina, managing director, Sun Newspaper and president, Nigerian Guild of Editor asking the candidates questions which they responded amply to convince Lagosians that they are the best for the plum job at Alausa.
The panelists paid more attention to the candidates of the APC and PDP much to the annoyance of Ayodele Akele of National Conscience Party, NCP, who flared up but was ignored by the four panelists. The major candidates also presented their manifestoes and programmes to the people of Lagos.
Agbaje said if elected that he has bold ideas to rule the state and bring in fresh perspectives that would move Lagos forward. According to him, he is committed to true federalism and that states and federal government should do the same for true dividends of democracy to reach everyone. He said that Lagos needs a change and should not be a one party state, adding that he has a vision of creating a mega city in Lagos, and that he understands the private sector better because the public sector is very slow.
“It is important that people must be well educated and secured. The state must create opportunities for the people irrespective of their tribes and religion. People must realise their aspirations. And the way forward is education that is about innovations, emphasising on primary education and giving our children the foundation required. Teachers will be looked after. Vocational and technical skills will also be encouraged. New urban communities will be created. Youths will be empowered. Services will be improved. Housing will be produced in mass as well as shelter which is very important to the people. Security will be tackled; economic development and leadership will be enhanced,” he said.
On his part, Ambode said if he wins the election that he would make sure that leaders in the state were accountable to the people and create job opportunities. He said he has a vested interest in Lagos to render selfless service to the people of the state. “It is about people and issues, and the issue is between the interests that protect the future of our children. I will make sure the resources of Lagos is evenly distributed, stick to the tradition of a more prosperous Lagos State that is driven by excellence, tackle security issues, create more jobs, integrate other sectors of the economy to thrive, encourage Independent Power Project Scheme, IPPS, and light up the streets of Lagos,” he said.
After the debate, Adesina, one of the panelists, told Realnews that the purpose of the debate was to enable Lagosians have first hand information of the people aspiring to govern them. He said the platform enabled people to know the candidates personally, their background and plans for the state. “Most times, people vote for candidates they really do not know, but with this kind of debate, they can fully assess each candidate on his own merit. It is a trend that should be encouraged,” he said.
Godwin Omene, former deputy managing director, Shell Nigeria, who attended the debate, also told Realnews that it was a good development for the Anglican Communion to have interest in the politics of the nation. He said the Bishop is very keen on this and the primate equally supports the initiative that churches should take part in politics because they would have goodies from there in a good way. “If I am called I will definitely make my contributions which will make Lagos state go further, because as you know Lagos state is all in all, because Lagos is a commercial city. What is more, energy consumption of the whole country, forty percent of it is here in Lagos. The out-going governor has done extremely well, I want to support that particular situation,” Omene said.
The event was attended by politicians, members of the diplomatic corps, law enforcement agents, theologians, students and other dignitaries.