By Okunade Adekunle
A former Lagos Commissioner and governorship aspirant, Dr Abdullateef Abdulhakeem, has announced his resignation from the governing party, All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday.
Abdulhakeem, who recently declared his intention to run for Lagos governorship in 2023, made his resignation known on his verified Facebook page.
The ex-commissioner said he was grateful to all his leaders most especially the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, stressing that, “Asiwaju is a great leader who fought tenaciously for democracy.
“When I joined politics he was there for me and assisted me greatly to occupy very enviable positions in the government.
“He has developed so many other individuals in very many capacities. May Allah reward you abundantly.
“To all other leaders of our party too numerous to mention, may the good Lord continue to be with you. I thank all past governors I worked with and apologise to those I may have offended while switching support due to party loyalty.
“I appreciate the current governor Babajide Sanwoolu who is really working hard to make Lagos state better. I urge all Lagosians to join hands with the governor to move Lagos to a greater height.
“The speaker of the House of ASSEMBLY is a personal friend and brother who has been very generous to me. Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, may the Lord continue to bless you. I appreciate your support and we shall remain brothers.
“To all other members of our party including my mentor Otunba Oladele Ajomale and the state Chairman of our party, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, Baba Olusi and all members of the GAC, I pray that may our Lord continue to be with you.
“I launched a movement IYEPE 2023 because I believe that the Nigerian Constitution allows freedom of expression and the rights of all citizens to participate in bringing about the needed transformation in all sectors of the economy.
“I am an indigene of Lagos state and an Awori by birth. I, therefore, have a duty to take positive steps including admonitions and practical reorientation of our people towards the ideal society we crave for.
“My desire is to win the pleasure of my lord which no political position can replace and that is why I am not desperate. I will be totally FULFILLED when I am able to make efforts to enlighten our people about good governance, welfarism, the growth and development of the youth, the care of the elderly, the growth of the private sector, the ideals of Constitutional Democracy and better lifestyles for the leaders and the led.
He said that his political movement was rejected by some close leaders he respects and that he decided to leave the party in order not to create disunity within the party.
“Please do not persecute or victimise my followers who have chosen to stay in APC. I leave them all in the care of the Lord. I am more concerned about paradise and I am not afraid of death. I will continue to preach the word of God and invite all Nigerians regardless of their religions, colour and race to be determined to be different. WE CANNOT CONTINUE THIS WAY.”
Reliable sources within the APC disclosed that Abdulhakeem’s resignation was as a result of his declaration to contest for governorship in the state in 2023.
Recently, the former Commissioner declared his intention to succeed the incumbent governor of the state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, saying that it was time for residents to experience best of what Lagos could offer in all human endeavours.
Abdulhakeem, who was Home Affairs Commissioner between 2015 and 2019, said that his intention to contest was also a response to call by Lagosians who had been following his trajectory in public offices and found him worthy of leading the state to prosperous and enviable heights.
He explained that the need for residents across the state to experience what Lagos could become when managed by a good manager of human and material resources necessitated his intention to lead the state and give Lagosians pride of place in the management of their affairs.
While addressing his supporters during the official declaration at Ostra Hall in Ikeja, Abdulhakeem said that it was time for residents across the state to take up the challenge of participating actively in politics and freely choose their leaders.
He said that it was necessary for residents across the state to break the yoke of political apathy and ensure their votes count by supporting his ‘vision for a better experience in Lagos’ irrespective of political, ethnic, and religious affiliations.
“The country is basseted with myriads of challenges and there is need for more competent hands in leadership positions to ensure prosperous states and country is bequeathed to coming generations”, said the former Commissioner.
Abdulhakeem, who is yet to make known the political party he would be contesting, said that with support from the people, his movement would deliver on promises of taking the state to greater heights.
“We are not talking about party alignment yet because this is still a movement and we should talk about the vision now, later we can talk about the platform. We are not afraid to talk about platform as you have seen during my speech praising Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for what he has done for me and that tells you that. Who even knows that by 2023 there would be anything called APC or something called PDP? Nobody knows and the political process is evolving and it is when we get there that we will cross the bridge.
“It is a movement where the masses would come out and say enough is enough, and when that happens, it means the vote will count. The old style of politics would soon expire and it will no longer be business as usual. So, with your support, we will replace incompetency with competent hands,” said Abduhakeem.
“It is only where votes count that there will be development. The reason we are poor is because our votes do not count. If votes count, our leaders would be responsible, they will automatically be accountable. But in the absence of that, the result is what we are witnessing now, underdevelopment everywhere which is what has led to political apathy and that is what they want, but we won’t allow that.
“The movement is meant to raise political awareness. There is apathy in the country and not so many people are involved in voting these days. You can see that the numbers have been going down in Lagos state. Out of about 24 million people we have in the state, the last voting exercise witnessed less than 1.5 million voters, so you can see that there is a gradual level of disinterestedness by the public. So, we have started this movement to raise political awareness and encourage people to have hope that we can have a transformation,” he said.
The former commissioner, who is a former member of the state’s House of Assembly, stressed that as the leader of the movement, he would bring to fruition the vision of transforming Lagos and its economy by encouraging residents to participate in politics and ensure things change for the better.
“We expect Lagosians to believe that nothing is impossible and to know that a time is coming when votes will begin to count and when that happens, let us ensure that we support the idea to bring into leadership people who have what it takes in terms of commitment, competence and fear of God and that is what I represent and I believe that I will have the support of the people when the time comes. Right now, it is not about the campaign, it is still a movement and when we get to that bridge, we will cross it,” Abdullateef said.
If elected, he said, he would assemble his team from arrays of talents across the state in delivering on his mandate by proffering solutions to all challenges and set the state on the path of progress which residents would be proud of.
“We are going to ensure that we bring talent together to discuss the challenge of each sector and we are going to look at best practices in the world and how most of these problems have been resolved world over and we are going to apply that. So, I believe we have the talent around but many of them have folded their hands and are not involved. With that, we would resolve all challenges and I believe we are out for a better Lagos state.”, said Abdulhakeem.
In less than 24hrs of his declaration, the Speaker of the House, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, terminated the appointment of Abdulhakeem whom he appointed late last year as Special Adviser On Islamic Affairs.