Vows to reverse toll in Lekki PDP accuses Ambode of spending over N6.7 billion on campaign
Ojo M. Maduekwe
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, on Sunday disclosed that the over N4 trillion received by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government in the state in the last 16 years was not commensurate with the achievements it was flaunting.
Speaking at a media interaction, Agbaje also vowed to reverse all illegally acquired properties in the state by some vested interests.
The PDP governorship candidate who spoke on a wide range of challenges bedeviling the state, said he would equally abolish the collection of toll on the Lekki-Epe road if given the mandate in next month’s election.
He stated that he had no godfather that would influence or hamper service delivery to the people if elected as governor.
Agbaje, who contested for governorship in 2007 under the defunct Democratic People Alliance (DPA), noted that his campaign for next month’s election is predicated on change in the affairs of the state.
He added that the Governor Babatunde Fashola –led administration has been arrogant in its conduct towards the people.
To buttress the point that he has no godfather, Agbaje explained: “They said they didn’t make you governor in one place because you cannot be bullied or forced to do things you don’t want to do, then on the other hand they now said you have gone to another godfather, so its now a case of saying I ran away from one godfather to go and work with another godfather, but such an issue didn’t arise. I don’t have a godfather in the way that they have put it. There is no godfather.
“When it was time to choose my running mate, I chose my running mate, nobody chose her for me. The issue of godfather hampering whatever service delivery is not even on the table. I want the people to believe me that it won’t happen.”
While identifying the confluence of vested interests as the bane behind the implementation of several policies of government in the state, he expressed his determination at ensuring that the political, social and economic life of the state does not growl any longer under the bondage of vested interests if elected as governor.
“In Lagos, you may find good programmes on paper but you will see that the implementation is being affected by vested interest. Anything that Lagos does has to be in the interest of what I called vested interest. So, if you look at the light rail, the BRT is not working again because there are vested interest factors involved.
“We have a vested interest that is affecting the social, economic and political life of our state. You cannot have any big project in Lagos unless you take into consideration vested interest that is affecting our state and we are saying that it is time to remove Lagos from this bondage.
“The properties acquired by the vested interests, the ones we can take back, we will take back, those ones that have been acquired illegally and cannot be properly accounted for, we will take back. The ones we cannot take back and has been done in a way that the people have been shortchanged will be addressed. That is why I said the election is about continuity or change,” he said.
The PDP candidate also allayed fears of being abandoned by leaders of his party in the campaigns.
He said, “People said that they haven’t seen Chief Bode George behind me, he is an elder of the party and he is not the one that is going to run the campaign, it is clear that we are united and there is a unity of purpose in our party and the desire to win the state is above any other consideration.”
Refuting insinuations that he lacks requisite experience in public office, the trained Pharmacists, noted that that assertion was only a political vituperation aimed at undermining him. He explained, “Even the national leader of their party (APC), the only experience he had before he became governor was probably thee months as a senator, he had no government experience, so we should keep the politics aside and come in with fresh ideas. The issue is whether I am qualified or not.”
While asserting that the APC government in the state cannot be said to be a true description of progressives, he promised to develop the economies of the riverside areas of the state through a model termed, ‘ocean economy.’
He added that his enormous goodwill and popularity among residents would make him victorious come February 28.
In a related development, the state chapter of the PDP has accused the governorship candidate of the APC, Akinwunmi Ambode, of breaching Section 91 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
In a statement made available to THISDAY at the weekend, the PDP said Ambode had spent at least N6.7 billion on “employing expatriates, board adverts, radio and television jingles, souvenirs, vehicles and campaign houses etc.”
The PDP alleged that the funds for the campaign were from “the over N32 billion federal government local government funds for three months now diverted into the Ambode campaigns.”
The party also claimed that “Fashola has deployed all government property and paraphernalia to support Ambode. Such include: BRT/LAGBUS, footbridges, school fences, government offices, roads, state media outfits, to mention a few.