By Olusesan Daini,
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”- Martin Luther king Jr.
Being sincerely disposed to error is excusable, but activating ignorance and making deliberate attempt to walk a population of 26 million people into the proponent’s political frenzy will not be accepted in Lagos state of today.
Perhaps, the Jimi Agbaje, Lagos People Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate, recent utterance in public and inscriptions on campaign banners, that Lagosians needed freedom, at a time when Lagos is been unanimously considered the dominant and major contributor to Nigerian economy, goes against Oxford Dictionary, which defines freedom as a state of having free will; the power or right to act, speak or think freely.
Could it be that the governorship candidate has separate meaning contrary to world accepted definition of freedom such that gave him the right to portray Lagosians, the 21st century citizens and indigenes, as having deficiency of free will and lacking the power or right to act, speak or even think freely, the position of which obviously indicated how Mr Agbaje thinks about average Lagosian – a person with no right whatsoever.
Moving away from core issues and riding on emotional chagrin, Mr Agbaje goofed to have portrayed Lagosians as lacking political and democratic freedom. First, it must be noted that democracy is a game of number anywhere in the world. At a point in this country, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was the ruling party by majority decision of Nigerians; today, it is the All Progressives Congress. Also, states have been won and lost by both parties as reflection of the freedom Nigerians enjoy to make choices in the political space. Lagos is not different. One Permanent Voters’ Card is equal to one vote, and that Lagosians have continuously preferred the APC government based on conviction on the party’s ability to deliver good governance does not translate to lack of freedom whatsoever.
In APC’s Lagos State that gives no political and democratic freedom to Lagosians in the context of Mr Agbaje’s definition of freedom, six federal constituencies and six state constituencies were won by the PDP candidates in the 2015 general election. Three out of these 12 seats are currently being occupied by Lagosians of Igbo descent. The longest serving Publicity Secretary of the party and longest serving Commissioner of Finance are both of non-Yoruba ethnic origin.
Mr Agbaje’s attempt to launder his political deficit on the threshold of freedom fighting is not a goal! Also, claiming to wash Lagos financial mess under the APC is like wearing a fragrance to perfume shop to impress the owner. On two occasions that Mr Agbaje has contested to become Governor of Lagos State, his main financials were host of popular names on the looters’ directory who were members of the PDP and have participated in mindless looting of our national treasury.
The reign of PDP saw needless blockade of developmental strives such as independent power plan project, creation of additional 37 Local Governments, repair of Federal Government Roads under concessional plans, harmonisation of State traffic enforcement agency to provide assistance to Federal Government’s on federal roads within Lagos and lots more. All these anti-development policies were firmly supported by Agbaje in his several utterances on the matters. In fact, he supported the freezing of Lagos State allocations from federation account for three years during Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.
At a point, Agbaje, the proponent of mischievous freedom agenda, threatened Lagosians and the entire Yoruba race that Nigeria would explode should PDP lose Lagos State and Presidency in the 2015 general election. According to him, “Niger Delta militants would unleash terror”, which indeed came to pass before they were curbed at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in 2015.
PDP is a party badly damaged leaving no trusted person of integrity as member till date – that is the platform Jimi Agbaje has been running and considers best for the good people of Lagos State.
On economic freedom, only three per cent of the State’s population have their wealth affiliated with earnings around politics and governance as active party members or serving political appointees; the rest 97 per cent are out there succeeding as industrialists, entrepreneurs, career personnel and creative talents. Lagos State is a place where someone with two pairs of shirts and trousers can become a billionaire in another one year due to enormous opportunities and freedom that are abound. No single person is capable of controlling Lagos State’s economy to himself because it is vast, diverse and limitless under a competitive economic atmosphere.
Agbaje’s attempt to divide Lagsosians along emotional line and drag them into campaign of denigration under the guise of freedom advocacy is a ruse, unpopular, uninteresting and does not represent a clear, unambiguous manifestoes for ensuring a greater Lagos, which Agbaje’s has failed to concentrate his efforts on but which APC’s Babajide Sanwo-Olu is critically addressing.
The 21st century thoughts respects facts, evidence, clear vision and deliverables in the political manifestos, which is the key thing that sells before electorates in Lagos State. As a multi-cultural and diverse ethnic base, Lagosians want issues addressed not sentiments capable of dividing the people. Agbaje needs to hearken to President Barrack Obama’s truism that any politician who divides the people for the purpose of winning election will not be able to govern them as divided people; neither would he be able to unite them back as a government.
I don’t see Lagosians trading their peace, continuity, steady development and unity they enjoy for any flimsy coax. That Agbaje thinks Lagosians lack free will, the power or right to act, speak or think freely is the biggest insult to an environment that would have been the fifth largest economy in Africa if it were to stand as a country. Agbaje is tactically misrepresenting thoughts of Lagosians, dismantling their intelligence base, reducing them to C class citizens akin to a war torn societies around the world.
Undoubtedly, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has, in his brief media appearances, demonstrated proficiency and ability to take Lagos to a greater level given his vast knowledge for 13 years. Mr Sanwo-Olu has served as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions and Managing Director of the Lagos State Property Development Corporation spanning through three successive administrations of Governors Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode consecutively.
Lagos State is the present and future of Nigeria. It is therefore very clear that only a person with clear ideas, experience and proven track records in governance is worthy to assume exalted position of a Governor of Lagos State, not an emotionally riddled and inconsistent fellow.
Daini is the Director, Media and Publicity, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (BOSICG) and Chairman, Igbogbo Bayeku LCDA.