Dayo Oketola, Sesan Olufowobi and Gbenga Adeniji
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s main contender, on Sunday declared his intention to vie for the Lagos State governorship ticket of the All Progressives Party, promising to restore the glory of Lagos State.
The former Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pension, who spoke at the City Hall on Lagos Island on Sunday, stated that he would consolidate on the feats of the builders of modern Lagos if given the chance to govern the state.
Sanwo-Olu came into reckoning last Tuesday after he obtained the state governorship form.
He was immediately backed by the APC powerful Mandate Movement in Lagos, led by a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The chairmen of the 57 councils in the state followed suit by declaring support for Sanwo-Olu.
Sanwo-Olu, at the Sunday event, said since 1922 when the first election was decreed in Lagos, the history of the state had been shaped by “various democratisations and climaxes of Lagosians” on those who ruled them.
The aspirant said the contest for who governed the state threw up great men like Herbert Macaulay, Akintoye Ajasa and Dr Adeniyi Jones.
Sanwo-Olu said, “If elected, I shall immediately embark on full restoration of the glory of the state and make the people the cornerstone of government.
“I will restore the environment that has become the source of serious anxiety to Lagosians. I will relieve residents of the state the persistent gridlock that has made life brutish for all of us.
“Our government’s focal point shall be to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of the people of Lagos State. I have invited you all here to join me in this journey to take Lagos to a new dimension by transforming the manifesto of our party into the programme of action.”
He further said there was no way to review the history of Lagos without recognising the contributions of Brig. Mobolaji Johnson, who was the first governor of the state, and Pa Lateef Jakande, the first civilian governor of the state.
“Modern Lagos, since the inception of this administration, is blessed with innovators and visionary leaders. And that is why I must recognise the man that led the modernisation of Lagos, a celebrated tactician and national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“The press has planted in the hearts of everyone the courage displayed by our national leader in reforming revenue collection in the state, the conversion of government operation from analog to digital and the establishment of a transparent system of running Lagos as a smart city.
“This vision put together by eminent Lagosians prepared our state for the challenges ahead.
“I declare that I shall be a true party man in the real definition of the words and in running an inclusive government according to the ideology of the APC.
“Loyalty in my view is the currency of politics. I shall be loyal to the people of the state and the leadership of the party.”
Members of the National Assembly from the state attended the event, including Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Jimi Benson (Ikorodu federal constituency), Jide Akinloye (Eti-Osa), Rotimi Agunsoye (Kosofe) Joseph Bamgbose (Badagry) and James Faleke (Ikeja).
Others were party leaders such as Cardinal James Odunmbaku, Demola Seriki, Chief Kaoli Olusanya, Dr Tola Kasali and Omolola Essien, the chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government area and chairman of Conference 57; the group for all the council chairmen in the state
We’ll readily welcome Ambode, says PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has said the party will readily welcome Ambode if he joins it.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos, Taofik Gani, said, “I cannot confirm if Mr Femi Otedola has joined us or has been given a nomination form to contest. Although strong leaders behind his team are working towards that, but it is not something that is official yet.
“But the Lagos PDP will be happy to welcome Femi Otedola who is an established businessman. He will definitely be a political asset for us as we want to win in 2019.
“Also, we are ready to accommodate anybody as long as that person is going to add to our interest and that is me confirming to you that we will readily welcome Governor Ambode if he is sent packing by the APC.
“Any member of the party that is against us having somebody join the party is an enemy of the party. No matter what interest you may have, you will not let that selfish interest override the general interest.
“Hon. Jimi Agbaje came into the party when he was seriously opposed, he was lucky to get the governorship ticket. This is not to say that I’m concluding that we are going to give anybody who comes in now the ticket. We are going to provide a level-playing field for everybody to participate.
“What I can tell you now is that the political structure of the PDP is bigger than what the APC has. The PDP has been at the national level for 16 years; even though APC has been controlling Lagos, we do have our numbers and structures. With the structure we have, if we have somebody like Ambode, it will be a 100 per cent victory.”
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