By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
“How can someone be talking about freedom in Lagos? Are we in the 18th or 19th century when slavery was the order of the day? Lagos has always been free.”
Those were the words of Babjide Sanwo-Olu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos state, responding to comments made by the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Jimi Agbaje.
Agbaje, in his campaigns, has been talking about freeing Lagos from “pseudo-democracy” and “godfatherism”.
But while addressing a large crowd of party leaders and supporters during a stakeholders meeting held at the party secretariat in Ogba, Sanwo-Olu stated that it will be foolhardy for anyone who thinks that Lagosians are in bondage to expect a vote from them.
He continued: “The State is the 5th largest economy in Africa, the cynosure and envy of all other States across Nigeria. It is the bedrock of the nation’s economy, where everyone that is enterprising record success without any form of hindrance. It is obvious that Jimi Agbaje and indeed the PDP do not have anything to say, so they had to resort to freedom. This won’t fly, it won’t sell, Lagosians will not buy it.”
Amidst cheers from the teeming APC supporters, Sanwo-Olu questioned the role that Agbaje and PDP as a party have played in the development of Lagos State. He said it is the same freedom that Agbaje is clamouring for that has made him to run the governorship race three times in a row.
“We have freedom here in Lagos and that is why someone like Jimi Agbaje can aspire to govern the State three consecutive times. Although he has failed in all two attempts, I can guarantee you that he will fail this time around because Lagosians don’t trust him or his party, the PDP. Where were they several years ago when our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in concert with other members of the State Executive Council toiled day and night to revamp Lagos economy from paltry 600 million Naira monthly Internally Generated Revenue, which could not pay Lagos State staff salary, to over 30 billion Naira.”
Sanwo-Olu reassured the party faithful that APC will have a resounding victory in the 2019 presidential and governorship election in Lagos State but warned members against complacency, saying that they should be guided by the saying, ‘’it is not over until it is over’’.
“We cannot afford to be complacent. The coming elections should be an easy ride for us if we do the right thing but this should not be a reason for us to take a back seat or fold our arms. This is the time to roll up our sleeves and work even harder to consolidate on our gains.’’
The stakeholders meeting was attended by a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the incumbent governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, his deputy Dr. Idiat Adebule, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and other State leaders of the party.