By Chukwudi Nweje
Governorship candidate of BOOT party in Lagos State, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, has decried the current state of Lagos, which he described as anti-people. He said the resources of the state are used to service few individuals and vowed to hand Lagos back to the people if he becomes governor in 2023. He also unveiled a 10-point agenda manifesto, and Solution Series, a weekly media event to proffer solutions to the challenges confronting Lagos State and Nigeria as the 2023 general elections approach.
Why do you want to be governor of Lagos State
My reasons for running for governor of Lagos State is to reset Lagos on a new trajectory of security and inclusive prosperity, return the wealth of Lagos back to the people of Lagos, birth a fairer Lagos that creates opportunity for all; not just for a few, and involve youths in governance, to prepare them for fast leadership transition, restore the sovereign power of the people, re-establish status of Lagos as reference point for free democratic practice; implement reforms in critical sectors for GDP growth, revenues and jobs, intensify industrialisation drive, leveraging on energy and infrastructure, transparency, progressivism, inclusivity, and protection of minority rights, and reposition Lagos as an investment destination that is globally competitive.
You aspired to pick the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress in May this year, what has changed since then?
I declared my intention to contest for the Office of Governor of Lagos State under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in May 2022. My commitment to serve our people in that capacity has neither waned nor withered, I have only moved to the BOOT Party.
You were a commissioner under the APC administration of Akinwunmi Ambode and you contested for the APC ticket against the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; now you will contest the governorship against him on the platform of BOOT Party, is this a protest?
You can say it is a sign of protest. The entire people of Lagos are protesting, and I am keying into that mass protest to galvanise them so that together we can take ownership of our state.
What we are doing is a struggle, but I made up my mind that I will not give up. Even when I was contesting in the APC, I already had a backup in the BOOT Party. I know the APC inside out and how they conduct their leadership recruitment process.
What I would do differently is that Lagos is a city-state, meaning that certain things must be in place. One, security must be very tight and multi-dimensional. Two, there is something I call the movement of GPS, which is goods, people, and services. Any society that is not efficient in moving these GPS will not be consistent, and that is why Lagos is the way it is. Today, you cannot move from point A to point B in a determinable manner because of traffic congestion. There is no city that would be considered smart if that is not possible.
Our objective on transportation is to reduce travel time. We must reduce the time people spend in traffic. The second objective is to provide alternatives to encourage car owners to leave their vehicles at home and ride in public transport system. The third objective is the fact that Lagos is a coastline state, and the lagoon flows from Epe all the way to Badagry until we can move people safely on water because there is no traffic there. So, we will reform our water transportation to encourage people to leave their vehicles at home. We will put a system that will move people safely on the water. As it is today our public transportation causes people depression.
If you become governor next year, what programmes would you pursue?
My priority areas would focus on security; energy, transportation, effective movement of goods, people, and services; sustainable financing/empowerment of entrepreneurs to create wealth; land reforms, smart city and environment, creative economy, entertainment, sports, and technology; land reforms; physical and social infrastructure; health and education; agriculture; and justice reform, human rights, and public order.
You mentioned returning the wealth of Lagos for all, what do you mean?
To put it bluntly, I am running for office to reset Lagos State on a new trajectory of security and inclusive prosperity, return the wealth of the state back to the people of Lagos, who are the true owners, and birth a fairer Lagos that creates opportunities for all, not just for a few, as we have it now. I will also involve youths in governance, to prepare them for fast leadership transition. Lagos State had been held in the stranglehold of an individual in the last 23 years, even as governance had been secretive, and lacking in accountability.
If elected, my administration would also pursue an accelerated passage and domestication of the Freedom of Information Bill, to encourage transparency and accountability, allocation of 50 per cent of all appointments to the youths, women and people with special needs, and recognition of the youths for social justice and a productive economy.
My administration will be an effective reform-minded administration that will emphasize security, which is the first job the constitution assigns to the government.
Talking about security, if you look at Lagos today, there is chaos?
The first job of government is security. Some people are tempted that the next after security is infrastructure, but it is not. The second job of government is to provide energy because even security, health and education must sit on energy.
The national leadership of Afenifere has endorsed the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, and here you are saying you have found favour with the same Afenifere in Lagos?
It is on record that the Afenifere set up the Alliance for Democracy (AD) Party which provided the platform that took over power in all the six states of the South West in 1999. But over time, these AD which transmuted into Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) and is not a major part of the APC has relegated Afenifere to the background.
Afenifere has been very good and supportive to the BOOT Party, and we will not take that support for granted. The government we have in Lagos today was installed by Afenifere but how has that government treated Afenifere, it has relegated Afenifere, it is not fair. Afenifere is an organisation of integrity and I have found favour with them because of my integrity, Olawale Olowu or any government he runs will not steal your money.
It is not everybody that comes into government to steal, stealing in government is a choice and I have been tested. I was in government for three and half years under Gov Ambode, I resigned voluntarily because of the way Ambode was being maltreated and I did not steal money. If anybody can prove that I stole money, let him come forward.