By Okunade Adekunle
A former commissioner in Lagos state during the administration of Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Dr Abdullateef Abdulhakeem has declared his intention to succeed the incumbent governor of the state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in 2023.
According to him, it is time for residents to experience the 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 the 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 of his ambition 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 bassets 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 that 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.