From eradicating street thugs (agberos) to decongesting the Central Business District, some of the prominent governorship candidates in Lagos State have shared their visions for the state ahead of Saturday’s poll.
The standard bearers for Labour Party (LP), Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abdul-Azeez Adediran aka Jandor; and National Rescue Movement (NRM), Akin Braithwaite, laid their plans bare on Monday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.
Rhodes-Vivour, who hopes to maintain the LP’s momentum in the presidential election that saw Peter Obi coasting to an unprecedented victory in the Centre of Excellence, spoke about improving the employment situation and leading an accountable administration.
For Jandor, who spearheads the foremost opposition party in previous governorship elections, his candidacy is no accident, but a project seven years in the making.
On his part, Braithwaite is concerned about an impending uprising caused by an unemployment crisis and plans to tackle the issue by creating programmes that provide jobs.
Free Of ‘Agberos’
The LP candidate says his party is offering a “unique proposition”: a Lagos that works for the people and is centred on transparency and accountability.
Rhodes-Vivour’s promise is a Lagos in which innovation will be the key guiding principle and that the issue of tax-collecting thugs commonly referred to as agberos will be curbed.
“We’ll also have a Lagos that will be free from the agbero situation because we’ll convert these young men that are wasting their lives away on the streets, gaining N120 billion every year for some unknown person that’s not accounted for, and we’ll give them skills that will allow them to be productive members of society,” he said.
The architect promised platforms that would be provided to deliver the dividends of democracy for the people of Lagos, adding that development would not be tied to the apron strings of the state government.
Assuring Lagosians he would run an open and transparent government, he said his sole focus would be on regaining the trust of the people, industries, and the private sector.
Rhodes-Vivour added that his administration would ensure that Lagosians have a state that is number one in terms of ease of doing business.
“We have a Lagos that actual waste management happens in, not the current situation of picking and dumping; a waste management that is domiciled at the local government level.
“We’re looking to ensure that we have a robust local government system that’s manned by people that are potential governors, visionaries, and people that love their people and are committed to creating the best local governments and delivering the best possible services,” he said.
Iconic Infrastructure Like Dubai
As Jandor puts it, before you can proffer a solution to a problem, you must first have a full understanding of that problem.
His observation was the “story of somebody who just handpicks [s] someone who never prepared to be in office”.
This formed the backdrop of what he described as a seven-year sojourn in public administration, during which “we started going around everywhere in the state of Lagos so that we first have a full understanding of the state of our state”.
According to him, with the wealth of Lagos today, the state should have iconic road infrastructure and bridges.
“You don’t need anybody to keep telling you Lagos is rich and what we [always] hear is, Lagos is a rich state. We need to see that wealth on the streets of Lagos.
“When you go to Dubai, you don’t need anybody to tell you Dubai is rich. The moment you enter Dubai – you don’t even need to ask for their bank balance. But in Lagos, it’s only what we hear,” he said.
Speaking on the necessity for the unburdening of the state’s ever-congested road networks, the PDP candidate expressed a need to be deliberate in ensuring that he and his government “open up the space”.
He said, “In terms of transportation if you want to decongest the Lagos CBD, you will start from the number of people that go on the Third Mainland Bridge in the morning from the mainland. What are we going to do?
“On the left side, you’ll see an expanse of land at Oworonsoki; we are going to build a park and ride there and dredge that water all the way.
“We’ll come up with a policy: if you’re the only one in your car, you’re not going on Third Mainland Bridge. You’ll have to park in that place and join the ferry to take you to the CBD.”
Emergency Job Creation
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Braithwaite also shared his ideas, some of which are using technology to create jobs for the masses, and the implementation of staggered resumption time for workers to tackle the traffic congestion in the state.
Dissecting some of his programmes, the NRM candidate noted a need to borrow “just a little bit more”, explaining that at the end of the day, jobs are going to have to be created.
“One of the big problems that Lagos has today is unemployment; it is too high. We are at very critical levels of unemployment, which [could] tip us over into an uprising,” he said.
“So, our government would have to do a lot, like an emergency rollout plan to make sure that we actually have public works and other programmes that will start to feed employment opportunities out there.”