The dominant word in the ongoing gubernatorial campaigns in Lagos State is ‘Change’. But the word means different things to the two dominant parties in Lagos – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Even though the popular slogan for the APC is change, the party wants continuity in Lagos.
For the PDP, the word means change of government in Lagos State. The party does not want the continuity of the APC government in the Centre of Excellence. So, at every campaign in the state, the word change resonates. With the slogan of the APC, which has governed the state in the past 16 years albeit under different nomenclature as change, the party faithful chant the word even though they want continuity in Lagos.
The PDP, which is seeking to take over the reins of power in the state in the April 11 governorship election, after four unsuccessful attempts, is equally chanting change.
The PDP governorship candidate in the state, Mr Jimi Agbaje is promising to change for the better if he is elected as governor. Speaking at the flag-off of his governorship campaign in Ikeja, last December, Agabje said he is the change the state needs.
According to him, the present government in the state has imposed enormous hardship on the people of the state. Consequently, there is need for change in the administration of the state. Agbaje told a crowd of party stalwarts and supporters that a PDP-led administration in the state will give the state a new lease of life. He promised that as governor, he will do away with the many “anti-people” policies of the APC administration in the state and run a government with a human face.
The PDP governorship hopeful said the state government has gotten about N4trillion as revenue since 1999 without much to show for it. While soliciting the votes of the people of the state in the governorship election, Agabje noted that if elected governor, he would run a caring administration that will change the state and the lives of the people for good. “ We are saying that the market women should have confidence in us. We are telling Okada riders to have confidence in us. We are not going to deport non-indigenes,” he pledged. The leader of the PDP in the state and former Deputy National Chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George agrees with Agbaje. He said everyone in the state, including the opposition APC, agrees that there is need for a change in the administration of the state, promising that PDP will give the people the change they are clamouring for.
Underscoring the need for change, George said that: “in the last 16 years, the (APC) has taken us on a journey to nowhere. The APC has told us that they want change, they have not impacted anything on the lives of the people. I want to implore you to reject the APC with our votes. They want change, we will give them a change.” He added: “ Ask them who owns Alpha Beta. Alpha Beta takes 5billion naira from our treasury every 30 days. They have mortgaged us.”
The party leader, who said PDP is a party to trust, urged the people of the state to vote massively for Mr Agbaje and other PDP candidates in the election.
Besides, George said there is no more dissenting voices in Lagos PDP, pointing out that the party was now united and ready to provide the state a credible alternative. Also speaking at that same rally, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 2, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, said the APC governorship candidate in the state, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode does not have what it takes to govern a state like Lagos. According to him:” This is the time for change in Lagos. I am going to be honest with you. Ambode doesn’t have what it takes to manage a state like Lagos. Ambode was forced to resign as a civil servant. “We have case of the puppet and the puppeteer. Both of them must be thrown away. “ Our candidate is his own man and not an archaic civil servant that does not have what it takes to govern Lagos. We do not want an emperor in Lagos but a man with the fear of God.”
Emphasising the need for change in the governance of the state, the state publicity secretary of the PDP, Mr Taofik Gani said even the governorship candidate of the APC in the April 11 election, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode agrees that the ruling party in the state has not done much for the state in the past 16 years, hence Mr Ambode is promising to declare an emergency in all sectors of the state.
He said he has no doubt that the people of the state are tired of the APC government in the state and so will be voting for a change of government in next weekend’s gubernatorial elections.
“Even the APC governorship candidate’s campaign jingles; posters and other messages are clear vote of no confidence in the services rendered by Governor Fashola. This is because Mr Ambode has himself declared emergency in virtually all the sectors of governance in the state by proposing trust/emergency funds in the sectors. This is a vindication of our assessment that Governor Fashola has failed in actual governance.
“We are good to go and defeat APC in the coming elections. Fashola was able to cajole Lagosians for some years with pseudo and momentary projects whilst neglecting areas of governance that affect the masses most. In spite of the huge state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) and the over #136B SURE-P largesse over the years, Lagosians are still lacking many ordinary social services. Where they are available, Lagosians pay exorbitantly to enjoy such. Such basic government obligations like: qualitative and affordable education; pipe borne water; affordable health services; low cost housing, Transportation, employment & empowerment etc are either not available or abysmally inadequate, yet Governor Fashola has spent over #260B on propaganda. All these are now known to Lagosians.
“Indeed, Ambode, the governorship candidate himself has condemned the Fashola administration by declaring emergency in such areas as: creation of employment; education; low cost housing; conducive business environment and affordable taxation. But how do they want Lagosians to vote for their continuity?,” Gani stated.