Lagos State gubernatorial election is in the air. The two major parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), are jostling for the soul of the state. It is very imperative that the good people of the state should vote for the most credible and efficient candidate. I have thought about the capabilities of the candidates intensively and critically. I am firmly convinced that one of them excels over the other in so many ways. If anyone keeps an open mind, the person will arrive at the same conclusion with me. The state has been moving in a particular direction for so many years: The direction of growth and the direction of development. It is important we look at the progress the state has made over the years and compare it with other states in the federation.
Lagos state has made an astonishing and outstanding progress over the years to the envy of most states. It was Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that kick stated it all. He opened the eyes of Lagosians to the abundant wealth in the state and to creative leadership. He assembled men of sound mind and great vision. The transformation of Lagos since then has been most admirable. According to Kunle Oyewumi, Asiwaju Tinubu has been a good manager of people and other resources. ‘It was he who gave Barrister Babatunde Fashola the opportunity of serving as his Chief of Staff, saw the need to ensure a succession plan so as to sustain the trend of development in the State. Based on this premise and having discovered Fashola’s talents, the political titan anointed and ensured victory for him at the 2007 governorship poll.’
He went on to state that Fashola understudied Tinubu thereby living up to expectation and practically changing the face of Lagos. ‘Barrister Fashola knew the roadmap his erstwhile boss had set and he did follow suit. The trend continued during Fashola’s regime (2007-2015) as he sustained the feat of his predecessor by completing ongoing projects while executing new ones.
During Fashola’s regime, he never shied away from going back to the master strategist – Asiwaju Tinubu – for guidance, counsel and support.’
It will be absolutely wrong to hand over the state to the leadership of the Peoples democratic party. It is a loutish party through and through. This is not a harsh and narrow attribution. It is a statement of fact. They have done badly in almost all the states under their control. Moments of authentic happiness are vanishing rare in PDP controlled states. Democracy is the highest civic good and we have to vote in those that can deliver good leadership. APC in Lagos State has been a resounding success and this chain of intelligent governors must not be broken.
Hence, the need to vote in Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the next governor of the state. He is quite personable and engaging. This is resolutely affirmed by his actions so far. Sanwo –Olu is a unique combination of intelligence and startling humanity. He is electrically authentic. For those who complained that Raji Fashola was an elitist governor, in Sanwo –Olu we will have a man who will govern for the poor. He is truly a grassroots man and has visceral compassion for the poor. Recently, he was asked about his plan to arrest the decay in public education and healthcare in the state. The man of the moment gave what I consider to be the most intelligent and sensitive answer. ‘I think it is not fair to generally use words as decay and complete breakdown. They are extreme and also suggesting that government is not doing anything at all in the two sectors you mentioned. That is not true, but it may mean that we need to improve on what we have and do much better. If we begin to compute the number of people in Lagos who use existing facilities in the state, then we will realize why effective planning has been difficult. Our plan is to roll-out a lot of initiatives and improve on social planning. Our focus is on the people at the bottom of the pyramid. The very poor people you talked about, who do not have any choice. The school a child attends is a prerogative of the parents. Those who will take their children to private schools will still do, regardless of whatever government provides. It is the poor people who do not have a choice that the government must give their children the opportunities they need in life a priority.’
This is just who Sanwo-Olu is; a caring and compassionate man. We need such a man in Lagos. We need a man who will concentrate on the people at the bottom of the pyramid and help in reducing poverty in the land. He is humble to the bone and he believes so much in hard work. This is major reason I am rooting for him and the reason I will go out early to cast my vote for me.
Written by Ikechukwu Ahamefule Orji.