Several weeks after the ruling All Progressives Congress officially kicked off its own statewide elections campaign, Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, finally flagged-off his campaign for governor last week, writes SAMUEL OGUNDIPE…
The campaign of the Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, officially started with a mega rally at Skypower Ground, Ikeja, on Monday, January 26th. The event had major political players of the party in Lagos State in attendance among whom were Chief Olabode George, erstwhile Minister of State for Defence, Senatort Musiliu Obanikoro, Babatunde Gbadamosi, Captain Tunji Shelle and Chief Ola Apena. Addressing audience during the flag-off, Chief George fretted that “Lagos has been mortgaged.” “Alpha Beta has been taking N5 billion every month from our treasury. We cannot continue like this, there must be change.” He said the ruling “All Progressives Congress is not ready to win, but I want to appeal to you to ensure there is no violence during the elections but also know that, we will not allow them to steal our votes again.” He, therefore, advised Lagosians to vote Agbaje whom he said is “okay.” Senator Obanikoro used his own remarks to disabuse Lagosians of the notion that the candidate of the APC is a competent former civil servant.
“Ambode does not have what it takes to govern Lagos,” he said. “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.”
Mounting the podium…
Taking over the podium after he was formerly unveiled by the party chairman as the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Agbaje used his brief statement to inform his sturdy supporters that “the present government has no human face for anybody, they only think about themselves. We have gone round and we have answered so many questions. They (APC politicians) say they want continuity, but we are saying that we want change. There is nothing like continuity. The election is for us to win but we must work for it. We’re going to show the people that we are on ground.”
On Wednesday, the party took its statewide campaign to Agege where it expressed a deep emphasis on egalitarian agenda for the people of the state. The event, which kicked off at exactly 2:30 p.m. had many of the party’s stalwarts in the state in attendance. Taking the microphone first was Capt. Tunji Shelle, the state chairman of the party, who accused the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, of keeping the people of the state in bondage for the 16 years it has been in power.
“Lagos has been in bondage for the past 16 years,“ he said. “To come out of the bondage, we all need to put hands together to ensure that PDP wins the coming elections in Lagos State.”
He accused the administration of Governor Bola Tinubu and his successor, Babatunde Fashola, of doing little for the people of the state despite the huge some of money they’ve both spent.
“Tinubu did nothing tangible for 8 years. After that, he went to bring a young man who also did very little with big some of money, he said.”
He promised that, if elected, Agbaje, the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the state, will properly manage the resources of the state because he’s a resource person himself.
“The incoming governor will do his best to ensure that all the yearnings of the masses are properly catered for. Okada riders who have been chased away from the roads will be brought back and their services will be improved upon so that everybody will want to ride on them.”
I’ll run government with human face, says Agbaje
Addressing the audience at the rally, the candidate, Jimi Agbaje, promised to run a government with human face. Agbaje, who addressed the party loyalists in Yoruba, said market women would no longer be displaced from the markets and their stalls would no longer be converted to shopping complexes.
“We won’t make life miserable to market women as local governments are currently treating them in Lagos.”
He also pointed out that the current APC administration in the state has lost the support of all the key demographics available in the state.
“Do they have students with them? Do they have market women with them? Do they have Okada men with them? Then who do they have with them?”
Incumbent Governor Babatunde Fashola welcomed the opposition to the campaign with the accusation that Agbaje has been a serial tax evader.
“JK Pharmacy has not paid Land Use charge for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He paid in 2013 and 2014, I think as election was close. They are owing this government, they are owing our state N1,639, 064.62,” Fashola said during a speech at the 8th Annual Taxation Stakeholders’ Conference organized by the state’s IRS. “I will advise you to avoid a tax evader,” he added.
Agbaje’s campaign wasted little time in refuting the claim by the governor, disclosing that the candidate had actually received a letter of recommendation from the Commissioner for Finance for not reneging on his tax obligations.
“Just in January, the Commissioner for Finance sent a personal letter to Mr. Agbaje, commending him for his faithfulness in payment of taxes relating to his residence,” a statement signed by Mr. Felix Oboagwina, the Director of Media of Agbaje’s campaign, read.
The campaign acknowledged Agbaje’s ownership of the pharmacy in question, but disclosed that the candidate had ceased being at the helm of the company’s affairs since 2006.
“Although he founded JayKay Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Agbaje left the directorship of the company in 2006, and this is in record with the state.”
Agbaje’s campaign across Lagos State continues with a stop at Campus Square, Lagos, and Ojota Motor Park, Ojota, next Monday and Tuesday, respectively.