26 PARTIES TEAM UP TO UNSEAT FASHOLA
In preparation for the 2011 polls, 26 registered political parties yesterday announced their resolve to contest all elective offices in Lagos on the ticket of one political party. All candidates of the coalition known as The Coalition of Lagos State Political Parties (COLASOPP) are to campaign and contest under the name, logo and emblem of the adopted political party. Although yet to settle for any party, the main aim of the coalition is to take over the administration of Lagos in 2011.
At a press conference in the Ogba area of Lagos yesterday, the chairman of the Board of Trustee of COLASOPP, Dr. Adegbola Dominic who is also chairman of the Action Party of Nigeria (APN) said the coalition would contest all elective offices from governorship to councillorship in Lagos.
Although the group and their parties remain largely unknown, Daily Sun gathered that the strength of the group is coming from key members of the Lagos business community who are believed to be disenchanted with the new tax regime in the state. They say the new order has made it even more expensive to do business in Lagos than it ever was in the eight years before Fashola's election.
Among those believed to be gearing up to fund the push to ensure that Fashola does not return is a billionaire industrialist who has interest in automotive business. There is also another billionaire banker who is said to also have vast interest in the telecommunication (GSM) business.
The team is believed to have galvanized key members of the orgnised private sector in the state to ensure that Fashola does not return.
To further swell their ranks, the group is also waving a seemingly irresistible carrot in the direction of the Igbo community in Lagos, as the financiers of the coalition are promising the Igbo community the deputy governor slot.
The calculation, according to Daily Sun findings, is to see how the decisive Igbo votes, thought to be in the neighbourhood of 30-40 per cent of the registered voters in Lagos can be swung to the coalition and effectively kick out Fashola.
Although Dominic did not go into detail about the bigwigs behind the coalition, he said the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), as represented by Fashola had failed Lagosians and tended to concentrate his development efforts in the areas where the elite live, while leaving out the rest 70 per cent of Lagosians who are in the rural areas.
While speaking at the press conference, Dominic described the ruling ACN in Lagos as a fluke saying: 'The orchestrated achievement of Governor Raji Fashola is mere media hype. We are determined and indeed ready to shock those pretenders when by the grace of God we dislodge their pretentious administration in the 2011elections. We have the means, we have the people and we have strong reasons to take over from Fashola.'
He described the much-touted achievements of the Fashola administration as a disaster because the amount of money that came to Lagos in the past 12 years since the ACN was in charge of affairs would have transformed many nations in Africa if such huge amount ever came their way.
Dominic said: 'The ACN has been in government in Lagos State for the past 12 years and the so-called achievement is in fact a disastrous performance when you consider the enormous resources at its disposal from the Federation Account and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). It is estimated that the ACN government in Lagos State has squandered N38.4 trillion in 12 years. Many African countries cannot boast of this amount of money in 20 years.'
The Lagos ACN, Dominic said, had been spending Lagos money to sponsor failed governorship candidates in other states of the federation.
Recently, a group,' the true face of Lagos' accused Governor Raji Fashola of gross financial impropriety. One would expect the governor, an eminent professionals in such circumstances, to insist and submit himself for investigations. Instead, the governor and his friends went to court to frustrate the process.'
The coalition rolled out what it called a catalogue of failure of the ruling party in Lagos. It includes: 'massive unemployment, roads in deplorable condition which are impassable during raining season, schools turning out illiterates, educational institutions regularly on strike, masses living in slums, healthcare disorderly and under funded, doctors and other paramedical staff almost permanently on strike, chaotic traffic.' It further noted that 'the economy of the state has deteriorated in the past 12 years.'
Dominic pointed out that the State government has concluded plans to erect tollgates on a number of roads to enrich a few elites at the expense of the masses.
When it was pointed out to Dominic that the 26 political parties in the coalition are not known to wield any political influence in Lagos, he said: 'It is not the strength of the parties that matters, the important thing is that when we come out and people listen to us, we are confident that people would vote for us.'
Chairman of the coalition, Chief John Nwuche remarked: 'Watch out for us. We will surprise you. We shall not capture Lagos. That is the language of the military. But we are set to win at the 2011 elections in Lagos.'