IN LAGOS, AREWA, SOUTH-SOUTH LEADERS STAND UP FOR FASHOLA
The endorsements came from unexpected quarters. Recently, many groups came together to express their solidarity and support for the second-term bid of Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola.
Arewa, Ndigbo and South-South indigenes in Lagos, at an event, put aside their ethnic differences to align with the governor, pledging their full support for his re-election bid.
They are not the only ones that have pledged their support for the governor. Many other groups, including the Sisters' Forum, a non-governmental group of young Ndigbo women have also pitched their tent with the Lagos State governor.
At the International Trade Fair Complex in Ojo, Lagos, Arewa, Ndigbo and indigenes of the South-south states came out en masse to declare their support for the Lagos governor. Some Igbo and Arewa leaders were, expectedly, in attendance for Fashola's re-election bid. At the event were the leader of the Arewa in Lagos, Hon. Ahmed Kabiru, Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Revd Ben Akabueze and Abia State governorship candidate under the platform of the ACN, Chief Paul Ikonne.
Before then, a group of Igbo professionals in the state had also given their full support for Fashola's second term bid. At a forum in Victoria Island, members of the group had engaged the Lagos governor on many issues confronting Lagosians with Fashola explaining his plan for Lagos if he gets re-elected. At the end of the exercise, the group pledged to support the governor, asserting that Fashola had performed creditably as governor of Lagos. They said they were fully convinced that he would perform even better once he gets re-elected.
So why would Arewa leaders openly come out to pitch their tent with the ACN candidate? According to the leader of the group, Ahmed Kabiru, an opinion poll was conducted among members of the Arewa Community in Lagos, a group that he claimed has over one million members. Their intention was, he said, to enable the group queue behind one of those seeking office as the state's number one citizen in the coming polls. He explained that a committee was set up to assess the credentials and past records of all the governorship candidates in the state with a view to picking one that members of the group would cast their votes for. 'At the end of the exercise, Fashola ranked first among other gubernatorial candidates from the political parties,' he said.
He explained that the committee conducted an opinion poll among Arewa community resident in Lagos, asserting that the Lagos State governor emerged first among all the candidates, with the committee scoring him 72 per cent. Fashola's cumulative average was put at 68 percent.
According to him, Fashola scored 73 percent in the education sector, 78 percent in health, 74 in public works, 58 in transportation and 52 in environment.
He, however, put the governor's performance in the transport sector as 58 percent and 52 percent in the environment sector. He explained that Fashola's relatively poor performance in those sectors was due to the excesses of officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officers.
Also at the event, Ikonne, Abia State ACN governorship candidate, said Fashola has revolutionized governance in Nigeria, maintaining that Lagos has become a reference point across the federation. He urged everyone in the state to sustain the broom revolution in the state and vote en masse for Fashola.
'We must sweep away the government of kidnappers. We must sweep away the government of bad roads. We must sweep away the government of fraudsters. We must sustain the broom revolution. We can only do that by voting and defending our votes. This is the only way the on-going socio-economic transformation in the state can be sustained.'
At the Sam Shonibare Centre in Surulere where the Sisters Forum organised a solidarity rally for the governor, founder and leader of the group applauded Fashola's sterling performance in office, especially in the areas of infrastructural development and women empowerment, among others.
'Governor Fashola has fulfilled all his promises by constructing several roads in the state, such as the Cele-Okota Link Bridge, the Sabo-Yaba Road and the LASU-Iba Road.
The administration has also given succour to thousands of women who have been trained at the various skills acquisition centres across the state. Many women have also benefitted from the Lagos State Micro Credit Finance Institution (LASMI) just as public schools have been renovated and many new ones constructed. On the strength of his achievements, Fashola deserves re-election due to the socio-economic transformation he has brought to the metropolis,' she noted.
Addressing the crowd of about 100,000 supporters, Fashola pledged to do more for the people of Lagos if he is elected governor again. He informed them that his government has completed more than 2170 housing units which would be sold out to Lagos residents at an affordable price through mortgage.
'Our government has shown in the last four years that we are a government for everybody, not a government for the Yoruba alone. And if we are re-elected at the April 9 gubernatorial polls, our cabinet will consist of the best brains in the state regardless of ethnic or religious leanings.'