One-time deputy governorship candidate to Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former governorship aspirant of All Progressives Congress (APC), in the last governorship election in Ondo State, Dr. Paul Akintelure, has maintained that Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State APC standard bearer for next year’s governorship, will emerge victorious.
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What is your take on state of the nation?
Nigerians are preparing for the 2019 general elections, so everybody is looking forward to new leaders emerging in some cases and politicians are jostling for elective offices. That has created some kind of tension which ordinarily ought not to be. More so, politicians are just defecting at will, thereby ignoring party ideologies for parochial interest. That also is heightening tension in the area of security, economy and others in the country.
Do you think Sanwo-Olu has the capacity to defeat Jimi Agbaje of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), given that he is contesting for the first time unlike his opponent who Lagosians already know?
Yes. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Babajide Sanwo-Olu will defeat his opponents at the poll. PDP or other party candidates cannot match ours. Lagosians will always cast their votes for APC because it has the track record of good governance.
In the past, other state governors and their officials visited Lagos to inquire about our infrastructure development successes with a view to replicating same in theirs. Residents of Lagos know the party and individuals to vote for on the day of election.
But some see Sanwo-Olu as a product of imposition, won’t that affect his chances?
Nobody imposed him on the party that I can confidently tell you as an insider. Sanwo-Olu is the choice of the people. He was chosen by the masses, majority of which are party members who believe that he has listening hears and capable of meeting their aspirations in line with the vision of the good governance policy of the state.
Do you think that Sanwo-Olu will carry stakeholders in the state along, including non-indigenes as his predecessors did?
He is everybody’s friend. I know that all the stakeholders will enjoy his government because he is a detribalised and non-discriminatory gentleman. He once headed an agency of government where he gave everybody equal opportunity irrespective of tribe and religious background. So I believe he will run an all inclusive administration when voted for as governor.
How does he intend to sustain the vision, legacy and excellence of his predecessors?
Sanwo-Olu is a man of excellence. He is creative and dogged in his quest to succeed. In fact, due to his knack to achieve positive result, Governor Ambode having spotted the gift had appointed him to head Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC),to assist in achieving the developmental goals of his administration and he gave a good account of himself.
Rivers State has overtaken Lagos in investment destination, according to a recent report by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) what is your take on that?
Well, that can be attributable to infrastructure deficiency. I assure you that Sanwo-Olu will address that when he becomes governor. In any case, a serious minded and profit-oriented organisation and investor should know that Lagos is the place to be. Infrastructure, security, population, market, among others, are better in Lagos and as such return on investment is higher and quicker.
Do you have any fear ahead of 2019 general election?
No. There is nothing to worry about. The election will come and go. Nothing negative will happen. It is just that some of our religious leaders are creating unnecessary hypes. They are dishing out all manner of prophesies that are frightening the people, thereby causing anxiety in the land and heating up the polity.
What is your advice to the electorate and to Sanwo-Olu in case he wins the gubernatorial election in Lagos?
I enjoin electorate to shun vote buying .Involvement in such act is capable of throwing up the wrong candidate, because when such a person occupies the position of authority, he will not consider the people’s interest, but that of his and cronies. They should vote for credible candidates that are capable of delivering dividends of democracy to their communities. Furthermore, they should not just vote for any party, but should consider some individuals on their merit. This is because most people are no longer following party ideologies; rather they want to fulfil their parochial interests as they defect from one party to the other.
Sanwo-Olu on his part should know that Lagosians expect much from him. So he should not ignore the stakeholders and their wishes, particularly his party members who have considered him for this position. Lastly, he should try to diversify the economy of the state with a view to generating more revenue for the state. He can embark on agriculture, particularly, livestock farming. He can explore available lands in the state for the project. For instance, large expanse of lands at Badagry, Ikorodu and others can serve. Besides, he should construct more road networks within the grassroots so that rural dwellers can feel the impact of his government.