Governorship candidates of most of the leading political parties in Lagos yesterday participated in the first gubernatorial debate where they all discussed their agenda for the state ahead of the February 28 governorship election.
The 2015 gubernatorial debate was organised by the Diocese of Lagos State (Anglican Communion) in conjunction with the Dioceses of Badagry and Lagos Mainland at Archbishop Vinning Memorial Church Cathedral (AVMCC), GRA, Ikeja.
The governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Mr. Jimi Agbaje; Mr. Bolaji Ogunseye of the Alliance for Democracy (AD); Ayodele Akele of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Pastor Kayode Jacobs of the Mega Progressives Peoples Party (MPPP), Chief Victor Adeniji of the KOWA Party (KP), Mr. Ishola Aregbesola of the Action Alliance (AA), Akinola Obada of the Independent Democrats (ID) and deputy governorship candidate of Labour Party, Pastor Biodun Popoola, who represented the party’s candidate; Mr. Rotimi Olulana, all discussed at the event.
All the governorship hopefuls who reeled out plans of actions after the expiration of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s tenure in May, vowed to give special attention to education, health care, security, employment, transportation and to address the issue of official corruption, if voted into office.
While addressing the audience, Ambode said his administration would provide adequate security for Lagosians, embark on employment generation and also integrate sectors in the state as way to make the state economy more buoyant.
He also assured the people that his government would take necessary steps to insulate the economy of the State from the consequence of the drop in oil price.
While pointing out that inexperience on the part of President Goodluck Jonathan was why the federal government has not been able to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigeria, Ambode who prides himself as having requisite experience to move the state forward after serving over 27 years in the state’s civil service, said the tradition of performance and competence that the state is known for could be jeopardised if put in the hand of an inexperienced leader.
“Lagos State has continued to progress in the last 15 years and there is need to sustain the development. So, the people of the state need an experienced person like me to continue the good programmes of the previous administration in the state,” he said, urging Lagosians to vote him as Fashola’s successor.
Ambode said the state is not ready for experiment and as such, the people should vote for an experienced candidate like him, who had served the state diligently for over 27 years as a civil servant.
“My vision is to have a safe, clean and more prosperous state that is driven by quality service, equity and justice. I know Lagosians are looking for somebody who can take them to a more prosperous Lagos State.
“We will create a Lagos State that will work for all. I will provide strong leadership. Coming from an accounting background, I will be accountable to people of the state. We will give people all the good tenets of governance and allow people to have a voice and participate, in government which governance is all about.
“We would create opportunity that will allow people to be more comfortable than you have ever been. We will give people selfless service,” he vowed.
On his part, Agbaje, who also put up a brilliant performance at the debate, said his government would give special attention to primary education as panacea for breeding intelligent generation of youths.
He also said he would give opportunities to residents to realise their aspirations, irrespective of their ethnic background and that his administration would embark on massive housing scheme, economic empowerment, infrastructure and transparent leadership, adding that the “PDP government will cooperate with the government at the federal government to bring rapid development to the state.”
Agbaje stated that: “My vision for the state is to create a global megacity of well educated, healthy, skilled people living in a secured and prosperous environment.
“To achieve this, I will focus on primary education and vocational skills which have been neglected. I will provide security of lives property and the environment. I will also provide mass housing scheme, economic empowerment, infrastructure and transparent leadership.”
The AD candidate, Ogunseye, said his administration would give opportunities for small businesses to thrive at the grassroots. He said his government would also address the problem of corruption by blocking leakages in the state.
“We will encourage grassroots millionaires. We will provide 25, 000 new micro and small businesses as a way to create more jobs. We will also provide housing, security, food supply and roads,” he told the people.
Akele of the NCP, on his part, said if voted as governor of the state, his government would make sure that the people in all the rural communities feel the presence of government and that his administration will tackle insecurity, stressing that: “By creating jobs for the unemployed you are in a way addressing insecurity.”
Akele promised that an NCP government in the state would expand existing roads and acquire additional 50, 000 buses into the state transport system as a way to ease the problem of transportation.
He said he would stop the toll gates and put a stop to the last Saturday monthly environmental sanitisation exercise currently in practice in Lagos State.
Adeniji of the KP also dwelled on providing security and facilitating better living of standards and improved welfare for residents.
The governorship candidate of MPPP, Jacobs, said if voted as the state governor, his administration would ensure best practice salary for teachers and ensure that civil servants are properly remunerated and also improve the the quality of education in the state.
“Government will not neglect the private schools but will ensure that all teachers are qualified and well paid,” he noted.
At the close of the debates, APC members were however jubilant that the party candidate put up a relatively stronger showing and had a more lasting impression on the crowd with his deep and detailed knowledge of the state as he answered questions with accurate data.
Agbaje also received cheers from the crowd when he reeled out his human capital development plans, which he hopes to target at catching the next generation youths by providing them world class education from childhood at the primary school level and how he would ensure that the civil servants in the state are well trained and adequately remunerated.