“I am passionate about Lagos. I believe Lagos State can be as good if not better than a lot of other commercial capitals of the world.”
Babatunde Gbadamosi (BOG), gubernatorial candidate for Action Democratic Party (ADP), Lagos State, believes his party will defeat the major parties in next year’s election. The politician cum estate mogul speaks on why he wants to become the governor of Lagos State.
What is your party’s experience like with direct primaries?
ADP was the first to introduce direct primaries and other political parties jumped at it. Some parties accepted it because of their altruistic motives. Lagos State being the premiere state should move at a f aster pace while other states should emulate it. Unfortunately, it did not work out like that for them; the result was arrogance of power. If a certain individual has been in power for the past 20 years, then you begin to see things like that. The individual will then tell the rest of Lagos that this is what he/she wants and the people would have no choice but to go along with it.
Why do want to be the next governor of Lagos State?
Being the governor of Lagos State is not a child’s play and I have seen over the last 20 years how some people seized the reins of power and have turned the state into their personal toy. I am interested in running for the position because I believe I can bring value that the state has never seen before. I can fix roads, bring in high speed trains, and there will be 24 hours power supply, children will have the opportunity of going to schools. I can provide free education and high quality health care. I can redevelop the economy of Lagos and put in a number of things such as industry, tourism, science and technology and agriculture, to add value to whatever we have presently. With my experience as a politician and a successful real estate developer, I can do anything that Lagos requires to be a first world state.
What machineries does ADP has put in place to unseat the government in power?
What we have in my party is a group of experienced politicians and a whole lot ordinary Lagosians that are interested in seeing progress in their lives. People want real change. They don’t want a situation where they will be continually be dictated to by a group of selfish individuals. They want better schools for their children, better and more affordable health care. People need homes, they need jobs. The government has not created an enabling environment for employers of labour. These are some of the things that I want to address when I become the next governor of Lagos. As a successful business man and one that has the interest of Lagosians at heart, doing things that will move the state forward will not be difficult.
I am passionate about Lagos. I believe Lagos State can be as good if not better than a lot of other commercial capitals of the world. For example, Singapore, Dubai does have not have what Lagos have but if Lagos were to be properly managed, we would have been greater than Dubai. We can do better with the resources that we have. As the second largest economy in West Africa, we ought to be better than Accra, Abidjan, Banjul, Dakar but we are not. These are issues that I plan to take on board very quickly. Fortunately, it is all about the built environment. Construction technology has grown in leaps and bounds just as Lateef Jakande had provided 20,000 affordable housing units 35 years ago, alongside all the other things that he did. Can’t we do better today? The rate of advancement in construction technology says that we can do it at a far more cost effective rate.
Reports say most Nigerians are extremely poor. Do you believe that?
Poverty is a big issue in Nigeria but you have to bear in mind that the poverty the country is experiencing is artificial. It is deliberately induced by the people who came into leadership since we had democracy. But there are things we can do about it. Food is expensive because farmers are being killed by hoards of herdsmen and they are discouraging people from becoming farmers. If there are no farmers to grow the various food items, then food would become scarce. There is no auto pilot farming because people would have to go to farms to grow these crops.
Another fact is the total abject mismanagement of the economy. It is difficult for the people to understand but the Federal Government has been doing all it can to degrade the economy and drown the people in a sea of poverty. It is the only reason Nigeria will suddenly fall from been the fastest growing economy in the world at a time to suddenly become the poverty capital of the world.
How can corruption and godfatherism be handled?
The government has clearly shown how not to deal with corruption. If you are going to deal with corruption, you don’t do it on the pages of the newspapers or on television by making all sorts of allegations that you cannot substantiate. The government has not been able to start and finish any prosecution of any individual that has been accused of corruption. All we see is that people are clamped in detention illegally because the courts of the land have pronounced that these people should be freed and the president that is supposed to uphold the constitution that will engender confidence in the country and stimulate economic growth is not obeying these court orders, then, it stands to reason that if anybody who has capital and is looking for a place to invest, the person will certainly not go to a place where court orders are not been obeyed.
On godfatherism, the truth is that godfatherism and corruption have affected the economy too. Lagos State has been degraded despite the huge amount of Internally Generated Revenue and the federal allocation that it has received, that is why we have nothing to show for it.
How do you intend to source for funds for your campaign, considering that you don’t have a godfather?
In America for example, President Donald Trump decided that he has had enough of what was going on there and decided that he was going to end it, just like what is happening in Lagos State, I have had enough of the situation, I am not alone. There are many Lagosians of well known means and have trooped out in their numbers with a mission to rescue Lagos from the clutches of some greedy individuals and that is why they are supporting me. We want a change and if one of us happens to be the avatar for that change, then everybody is going to support it.
Are you going to run a government without taxes?
Taxation is an essential ingredient of government but where previous administrations have gotten it wrong is that they have never really applied it honestly to the problems confronting Lagos. Why are there no coastal roads in Lagos after 20 years? It took Lateef Jakande three years to build the Lekki-Epe Expressway. And previous governments have not been able to expand that road all these years. The only answer is corruption and I want to put an end to all these anomalies.
My administration will apply the taxes prudently to the problems confronting the state. One of the things that I intend to do is build the coastal road, a 10-way lane from Ayorinde Ligali Road to Ode Omi to the border of Ogun State. The reason is to build a tourist corridor in Lagos where we can begin to compete with Accra, Dakar, and Banjul and then we hope to compete with Dubai for the money they realise from tourism. We have an advantage over these countries because of our huge massive Nigerians in the Diaspora. When they go on holiday, they visit all the notable tourist attractions in the world. What do these places have over Lagos that has attracted a lot of people to these countries? It is the convenience that they have, such as good roads, airports and that is what we intend to bring to Lagos.
We also plan to revolutionise agriculture in the state on a large scale farming that has never been seen
in Nigeria and perhaps anywhere in world. We are looking forward to providing food security that will make Lagos to be a net exporter of food to the rest of Nigeria and West Africa. If Israel has a world plan to supply food to the Middle East in the middle of a desert then Lagos has no excuse not to do such.