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LAGOS RULING CLASS HAS FAILED, SAYS GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT

By NBF News

Despite the fact that I have been outside the country for sometime, I have not lost touch with my country. Before I left Nigeria, I was a grassroots man and I remain a grassroots man till date. That I left the country does not mean that I immersed myself in the culture of the people in which I found myself, in fact, over there; I was a strong member of the NADECO forum in the United Kingdom.

Starting from the grassroots?I started from the grassroots; it's just that I did not make a lot of noise about it. Perhaps, I chose not to contest for office at that level because I felt that my contribution will be better felt at the gubernatorial level. The kind of authority that one needs for the things that can be done to make things better for the people is only available at that level. At the local level, the chairmen are hamstrung as you can observe in Lagos State right now. They have no access to finance because the Internally Generated Revenue(IGR) that accrues to them is being taken by the states and I can give a few examples.

The tenement rates is something that is constitutionally guaranteed to local governments, but what we have in Lagos State is called Land Use charge that is being collected by the state against the dictates of the constitution. The local governments are completely powerless to do anything about their condition.

My chances against the incumbentThe incumbent's supposed popularity is a matter of perception which is created by the media. I will accuse the media for being biased in the area of public perception. That is not the real situation in the hearts and minds of the people of Lagos State.

For instance, we are in Ikorodu now, and we are driving along Orilowo Road. If you look very clearly, you will see that there is hardly any government presence; the same is true of Alimosho, Eti-Osa and virtually most of the local governments. The only place you can see government's presence are Victoria Island and Ikeja and even those are restricted to mainly thoroughfare areas which are easily visible on the roads. Even those that are going on are based on the aesthetics and not the practical. For instance, you will find flower planting projects going on in some places whereas the road on which it is being planted will not be accessible. Most times when it rains, cars start floating because of the flood. The excuse that will be given is that Lagos is a high flood area, but so are Amsterdam, Venice, New York and Singapore. Those places do not seem to have the kind of drainage problems that is plaguing Lagos, yet, the same group of people that have run Lagos since 1999 are the ones still in charge.

The power of incumbencyIt's a different ball game now. We have had 12 years of being under the ruling group and we can now see very clearly that beyond sloganeering and noise-making, they have not done very much. We have just passed through Obafemi Awolowo Road here in Ikeja and we can see the situation of things, and I believe that Lagos will not be more dilapidated than this.

The difference I will makeWhat I intend to do is to attack the infrastructure situation as if we are emerging from a war. Indeed, we have been at war with the people who have decided to corner all resources of Lagos State at the detriment of the people.

My agendaI intend to sort out the infrastructure, education, and health issues that we have but all these things cannot be fixed unless we have power. If we do not have power, even if I fix the roads, it will not resuscitate the industries that are more or less dilapidated right now. If industries have power, they will be able to employ more people. The roads need to be good; we need to have alternative means of transport and we need to get the state functioning well. I know the buzz word in Lagos right now is light rail, but I can tell you that it will not work right now. What we need to have is standard gauge rail which is what I have in mind. A standard gauge rail can carry heavier loads. One of my policies to control traffic is to restrict heavy duty vehicles to night movement only, which will be better for all those concerned.

PDP vs Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN)The PDP is the most popular party in Nigeria and Lagos State is made up of Nigerians. So, it will be foolhardy to think that the PDP does not stand a chance in the elections. You remember that in the 2003 and 2007 elections, the margin between the PDP and the ACN was very close. Some might even argue that the ruling party used its power of incumbency to ensure that they won the elections by all means. But this time around, we are going to protect our votes, and we are going to work very hard to ensure that no stone is left unturned, and we are going to win the elections.

Why I choose PDPI believe in the ideals of the PDP. It is the only party in Nigeria where corrupt officials are made to pay for their corruption. The fact is that some PDP governors have been removed for corruption. Some have been tried, and sentenced for corruption. it is only in the PDP that this can happen in the whole of Africa. In addition to that, it is a party that sticks by what it says even at the national level. When the former President said that the country was going to put Nigeria in space, some of us thought it was a lie, but we now have a satellite in space.On medicare, the government paid a lot of attention to it. All our national medical centres were taken care of and were upgraded and the staffing is a lot better than it used to be.

GodfathersimIn every democracy, there is always a source from which people emerge. In Nigeria, we choose to call it godfatherism, but in other countries some people use the word 'political dynasty'. In the US for instance, will you say that John Kennedy was Ted Kennedy's political godfather? Would you say that Ted Kennedy was Bill Clinton's godfather? People have to emerge from somewhere, so I do not buy this idea that a boogey man somewhere is controlling things from behind. I do not know of any godfather and I have never met one. I do not have a political godfather, what I have is God the father.

My motivation My motivation is to turn things around for Lagos State. We are supposed to be the financial hub of the nation, but from the way things are, it does not seem to be the case. Tiny cities like Abidjan, Accra and others are beating us to it, and we there needs to be a turn around that is why I am in this race. If we sort out our power issues, health, and infrastructure, we will be able to get unemployment down to the barest minimum.