Lagos2019: Candidates Square Off In Governorship Debate
Candidates of four political parties contesting the 2019 Lagos State governorship election on Sunday, January 13th participated in a debate organised by ‘The Platform.'
The Candidates included Bababatunde Badamosi (Action Democratic Party), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (All Progressives Congress), Jimi Agbaje (Peoples Democratic Party) and Owolabi Salis (Alliance for Democracy).
The debate was aimed at affording the candidates the opportunity to explain their manifestos and how they intend to run the affairs of Lagos State if they're elected to office.
Veteran broadcaster, Victor Oladokun was the moderator of the event.
Sanwo-Olu said he would build on the successes of the current governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and would also seek to transform the economy of the state.
“The foundation has been laid already and that foundation is what I will build on,” he stated.
He said, among other achievements, he has garnered experience both in the public and private sectors for 13 and 17 years respectively.
Sanwo-Olu noted that he has been part of the new Lagos project, adding that the allegations that he was imposed on the people was unfair.
He said, “to be the governor of Lagos State, I’ve had a unique opportunity in the last 30 years to come up with a pedigree of having served three governors.
He promised to solve the traffic gridlock in Apapa in the first 100 days of his administration if elected governor of the state in March.
He said he had identified 62 traffic gridlocks across the state which could be resolved within 60 days.
“Within the first 100 days, I will tackle the gridlock at Apapa. I will need to clear up all the traffic and all the trailers at Apapa. I’ll make sure it’s a nightmare we will not see again,” he said.
He added that in the first 100 days, he would engage the private sector to drive the Lagos economy to prosperity.
Sanwo-Olu stated that he would convene a town hall meeting to tell the public service that there were new ways of doing things.
Candidate of the PDP, Jimi Agbaje on his part said that his policies would focus on diversification of the state’s economy.
Agbaje promised to bring fresh ideas in the governance of the state.
Agbaje said: “I will bring character to leadership in Lagos. If we ensure that government money does not go to private coffers, a lot more money can come to government.”
He promised to tackle the issue of traffic by deploying enhanced technology in running the traffic light system and the menace of waste using a ‘recover and recyle’ approach.
In solving the traffic issue, he explained that by getting the local councils to work again, pot holes can be addressed while exploring the options of multi-layered roads and a functional rail system.
He also promised to focus on town planning and even development in the state.
He debunked insinuations that he was an election politician, only being visible when election is near.
He said he had run for office on two previous occasions because he knew he had something to offer.
Agbaje contended that he ran a good race in 2015 and that he was sure that the people were still behind him.
“We will win this election,” he said equivocally, but quickly added that if it was not rigged.
Agbaje also alleged that the Lagos State Government frustrated the plan of technology giant, Google, to introduce Internet in schools in the state.
He said pupils in Lagos schools were not exposed to technology, saying that the government blocked Google's plan for selfish reasons.
“The new knowledge out there is about innovation. Our children today in public schools have no exposure to technology. So, for me, technology is important. If you put technology, every primary school will have Internet connection. And if you have Internet connection, you must have power and teaching. And you are using technology to drive education. It is very key.
“Those that have been there for the past 20 years have put obstacles for technology. We have heard that Google wanted to give us free Internet, but they keep putting blockage for vested interests and that is what we are going to correct,” he said.
Salis, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, said the major problem confronting Lagos is imposition. He explained that the commonwealth of the state was in the hand of an individual.
He also lamented that the masses were being short-changed.
“I want to release the commonwealth to the people. And we are going to remove all the violent brigades in Lagos.
“Lagos is the image of the African black nation and I am going to open Lagos to the rest of the world.
“This state should not be ruled this way,” he said.
He pledged the commitment of his administration towards meeting the needs of the rural poor in the state if elected into office.
Gbadamosi, candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) lamented that civil servants in the state are poorly paid and promised to review their salaries if elected.
Gbadamosi also promised to review public sector pay if elected as governor and ensure that the workers are efficient and effective.
Gbadamosi said: “The first thing I am going to be looking at very quickly is public sector pay. What we pay as civil servants and what we demand from them – there is a massive gulf between the two.
“Our civil servants are very disgracefully paid, and we want them to deliver the 21st Century service to us in Lagos State. That is not going to happen at the sort of pay levels we are offering them right now. So, we are going to upgrade civil service pay very quickly.”
Second on Gbadamosi’s agenda is the traffic situation which has been a source of concern for Lagosians over the years.
“We are going to be looking at traffic – simultaneously, at the same time (with public sector pay). We are going to be looking at the traffic situation because we are spending too many man hours in traffic,” he said.
In his estimation, every Lagosian spends an average of six hours every day going to work and back.
“This has to stop,” he said, adding, “We are going to introduce high volume, high-speed passenger ferries across Lagos.”
Beyond the two issues, Gbadamosi explained that power was critical to everything.
“Thirdly, we’ll be looking at power because without power, we can do nothing. When God wanted to create the earth, he started with light. He said, ‘Let there be light’ and light was and then everything else came after,” the ADP candidate said.
To fix the problem, he promised that if elected, his administration would “put light in a minimum eight local governments within 18 months as part of our Lagos Integrated Regeneration Plan, an emergency plan that we will put together”.
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