The governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has stated that he left the camp of the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over differences in principles.
“I take exception to the rule of one man in a metropolitan state like Lagos,” said Agbaje, who parted ways with Tinubu in 2007 to join the Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) as its governorship candidate.
This is coming just as Agbaje lamented the inability of successive administrations in the state to account for the expenditure of over N7 trillion revenue in the last 19 years.
In a statement issued by the Media Officer of Jimi Agbaje Campaign Organisation, Olaolu Olafipo, after a television programme over the week, the candidate said he opted to join the PDP because the democratic principle being practiced by the ruling elite in the state ran contrary to his own idea of democracy.
The PDP Lagos gubernatorial candidate said: “I have no personal rift with him (Tinubu). What exists between us is all about differences in value and principle. When we were together, I discovered that his own idea of democracy was not what I was taught, so I had to take an exit. I am saying that what we are running today in Lagos is a one-man Lagos. A Lagos where somebody says when he is going to bed, Lagos is going to bed, to me that can no longer be tolerable. Lagos must be made to work for the people of Lagos.”
Agbaje promised to ensure that all residents became stakeholders in the governance of the state, if he was elected into power.
Appraising the mode of governance in the state, Agbaje described the ruling party as foisting opaqueness in public spending, pointing out that, the ruling class in the state had refused to open up its activities to the people of the state who were not getting value for taxes they paid.
“It is unfortunate that Lagos State under the control of the APC has refused to domesticate the Freedom of Information Act. Everything in government in Lagos State is shrouded in secrecy,” he said, adding that, “The time has come to hand the fortune of the state over to the people.”
While lamenting the state’s untapped enormous potentials, Agbaje however promised to run a government that would promote the time-honoured character of welfarism Lagos was synonymous with over time.
“Seven trillion naira is what the state government has spent in the last 20 years, and what have we got to show for it? If you look at the average for education in Lagos, only 20 per cent of our children have passed WAEC in five years. The question is, are we getting value? The answer is, we are not getting value at all,” Agbaje said.
According to him, Lagos ranked poorly when compared to others in the livability index compiled by reputable organisations across the world owing to the inability of successive governments to put in place programmes, policies and infrastructure that would make life better and meaningful to the people.
“Lagos has continued to rank as one of the worst places to live. In terms of livability, what are the issues? We are talking about health, education, infrastructure, our culture and our environment. These are things that we are looking at. I can go on and on but I wish to tell you that successive governments have failed in these areas,” he said.
The PDP governorship hopeful also lamented that despite the fact that the state has emerged the fifth largest economy in Africa, successive administrations since 1999 failed to provide basic amenities that would ensure that residents lived comfortably like their peers in other mega cities of the world.
In a related development, Agbaje, has accused the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASSAA) of declaring an all out-war on his advertisement boards.
He spoke as five LASSAA operatives were allegedly caught in the early hours of Sunday morning and taken to Pedro Police Station, shomolu, Lagos by some members of the public who claimed they saw them loading Jimi Agbaje’s boards into a truck on the Third Mainland Bridge.
The culprits gave their names as: Julius Opebenyo, Tunde Akanbi, George Benson, Yinka Adejuwon and Saba Edgal.
Although the truck into which they loaded the boards managed to escape, the apprehended men wore LASSAA uniform and some had the agency’s identity card.
Agbaje reported that his publicity devices, including A-Frame boards and flags, had been broken, vandalised and carted away by LASSAA operatives, who left untouched those of his opponent, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement, weekend, by his Director of Media and Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, Agbaje described the LASSAA’s clampdown on his publicity paraphernalia as malicious, partisan, provocative, wicked and illegal.
Furthermore, the statement urged the police to quickly apprehend and prosecute any LASSAA agent found culpable in the damages done his boards.
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