‘Agbaje’s vision for Lagos is clear’
Greg Agwunobi is a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with TUNDE AKINOLA in London, Agwunobi said the party’s governorship candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, is the best man for the job. Excerpts:
Agbaje caught my interest when he visited London to visit the United Kingdom and Ireland chapter of the PDP. After he delivered his speech to us, with my knowledge as an urban and regional town planner, I could reason along with his developmental agenda. I bought into what he called the tripod agenda for Lagos State.
He has a vision to urbanise every corner of Lagos State. He gave us a feasible example of Oxford Street in London, when it was the only place one could shop in the UK and how today, one can go to places like Shepard Bush, Westfield, Stratford, Brent Cross, South End and many others to shop. Oxford Street has been replicated in many places. He made us understand that Ikoyi can be created in places like Mafoluku or Abule Egba areas.
I could see the possibility in his agenda and the strength in him as a person ready to deliver the dividends of democracy. He made sure he did not condemn anybody but stated that as much as the incumbent governor, Babatunde Fashola, has done what he could, he will make sure he builds beyond what he has done to make life easier for residents of the state.
He gave the example of the Atlantic City, which he felt should not have been
where it is now because it will further congest the Lagos Island. He felt the Island should be decongested by situating the Atlantic City in an area like Badagry.He is a detribalised person that was educated in Saint Gregory College.
This was a school that had students from different parts of the country. Lagos is a metropolitan city and nobody can take that away. The more the non-indigenes of Lagos prosper the greater the state become because they are the majority of the landlords in the state. Agbaje has a plan to make Lagos not only an economic hub in Africa but in the world.
Strength of Lagos PDP
First of all, there is nothing like the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Lagos State. The defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is not APC. We do not know what they can do yet. You will believe me when I say Jimi Agbaje is the man for the job because he has been tested in many capacities and his integrity is intact.
PDP has the grassroots of Lagos. Do not forget President Goodluck Jonathan won singlehandedly in Lagos State during the 2011 Presidential election. Agbaje has the grassroots support because APC is not like ACN that was a Yoruba party. It is an entirely different arrangement that has not been tested. PDP has the grassroots to win Lagos and Agbaje is the man.
He is someone that has liaised with the people that have been alienated by subsequent governments in the state. That is how to build what I describe as human capital development. Instead of the current single elite, which is ruling and not leading in Lagos, Agbaje has gone to the ordinary people that have been marginalised.
Agbaje knows that the plan for Lagos to be a global economic hub cannot be handled by having only a crop of Yoruba elites, but a broad spectrum that encompasses all stakeholders from different parts of the country.
Agbaje and perceived godfathers
Even here in the UK, there are men in grey suits. But Agbaje is not the kind of man that can be controlled by any undue force. During his time in school, everyone knew him to be a man of his own mind. However, he will not undermine the political elite of Lagos because he needs everybody on board. He will work with them and take advice from them but he can never be controlled by anybody.
Achieving these in an era of economic downturn I said earlier that Agbaje caught my attention because he has a clear vision on how to create wealth for Lagos State. Wealth creation is not only through old derivation formula. Lagos has the capacity to generate its own wealth through maritime. Maritime activities only can feed the whole of Lagos State and spread to other parts of Nigeria and the state has the capacity to develop other local markets. He is not only focusing on oil derivation emanating from the Federal Government, there are local activities in Lagos that he has identified. He has discovered how to generate money from the people who have been neglected by the current dispensation.
He will be able to generate money for Lagos by making people to be useful to the system by contributing to the state’s economy and it will be a win-win situation in the long run.
If you have actually watched him speak, you will notice his seriousness. The job of being the Governor of Lagos State is a very serious one because Lagos is actually bigger than some African countries in both land mass and economy.
PDP UK support without Diaspora voting.
We have people in Nigeria that we can influence in one way or the other. These are the people we can mobilise to vote for our candidates. I was the Vice-President of the Ohaneze group here in the UK and Ireland and we have been urging our members in Lagos to vote for Agbaje. We just do not want Agbaje to look like he is favoured by a specific tribe so we are talking to all groups in the state.
We are reaching all our people across the state to come out and vote and I can say categorically that we will deliver not less than 10,000 votes for Agbaje. That is something if we add this to the efforts of other like-minded people working with us.
Agbaje’s alleged inexperience in governance.
You see, when the military relinquished power in 1999, those at the corridors of power just hijacked it. They were just mere opportunists that knew nothing about leading the people but the time has come now for technocrats and tested people to come into power. Today we are looking for seasoned hands and Jimi Agbaje is here to deliver the dividends of democracy to the good people of Lagos State.
Nobody can say he is not successful in his line of business. This is not the first time he is contesting and as we all know, it is not cheap to run for governorship position in Nigeria. People like Agbaje will be in power to serve. I want to use this opportunity to call Lagos migrants to come out and make Lagos State happen and be part of the true change. Agbaje is the best thing that can happen to Lagos State.