Wednesday, 29th November 2023

APC, PDP, LP bicker over Sanwo-Olu’s second term plans

By Kehinde Olatunji
12 June 2023   |   4:06 am
As Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, begins his second term in office, opposition parties have cautioned residents against having high expectations that he will perform better.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

As Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, begins his second term in office, opposition parties have cautioned residents against having high expectations that he will perform better. They noted, “circumstances that led to his dismal performance in the previous term are still prevalent in the state.”

They, therefore, urged Lagosians to disregard promises he made during his inauguration speech on May 29 as another “failed social contract with the people.”

To the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) in the state, Sanwo-Olu was foisted on the people to protect the interest of the godfathers that had held Lagos by the jugular since the return of democratic dispensation in 1999.

But the ruling APC has disagreed with the pessimism of the opposition, saying that the overwhelming support given the governor during the last election to win second term was a referendum that Lagosians have implicit confidence in the governor to improve on his first term achievements.

During his first term, Sanwo-Olu unveiled T.H.E.M.E.S, an acronym for his administration’s six strategic development agenda, namely: Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology.

The governor also promised to add gender equality, social inclusion and youth development to his second term development agenda. In addition, he also promised to work “relentlessly to make Lagos a state where economic opportunities abound, where the state’s infrastructure is robust and resilient, and where the rule of law prevails.”

But, the opposition parties have a contrary perception of Sanwo-Olu’s administration. According to them, almost all the sectors, including the economy of the state have worsened in his first term, and, therefore, Lagosians should not expect much.

Specifically, LP lampooned the governor for always making promises without having a record of walking the talk and described him as the “worst Governor ever in the history of the state.”

The Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the party, Olubunmi Odesanya stated that Sanwo-Olu “was brought in to replace a highly cerebral personality (Akinwunmi Ambode), but failed to meet up with the expectations of the people. Rather he danced to the tune of his godfathers, who have held the state by the jugular since 1999. Can anyone point to his achievement in office? Practically none!”

She said during the first four years in office of former governors, Babatunde Fashola and Ambode, people could point to infrastructure done by them. “In the regime of the current failure, we cannot point to anything to justify the humongous resources of the state.

“We were deceived with the red and blue rail, which were ‘launched’ a few weeks before the 2022 elections but are currently non-functioning as we speak. After the initial ‘test run’ of the rail lines, the governor and government have gone to bed churning out lies to the residents.

“We do not want to talk about what is happening in education, health care, roads and others because no achievement worthy of our attention in these sectors. Can he point to any major project he has started and completed in the last four years other than the usual grand standing of failure?

“This is the same man that ran to Abuja on the same day of his second term inauguration to attend the inauguration party of the President. He abandoned his own state to attend an event that is of equal importance to his own. Did Tinubu abandon Lagos State to attend Obasanjo’s inauguration party in 2003? While we agree that his party captured both Lagos State and the federal, must he abandon his state?

“This is the sycophancy that he has always been known for. This is a man that has no respect for his own office but is ready to do anything and everything for those who made him governor.

“We in the Labour Party do not expect anything spectacular from him, but another renewed failure, while we await the retrieval of our stolen mandate using his army of thugs. Lagosians are wiser, this is not the governor we voted for.”

On his part, the Lagos State PDP Publicity Secretary, Hakeem Amode, said the party was surprised by the claims of Sanwo-Olu during his swearing-in that he had met the expectations of the people and his audacity to make more promises.

Amode wondered if the governor was referring, “to the rate of poverty he met at 4.5 per cent in 2019, which is now 8.5 per cent, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data or the unemployment rate he has taken to 37.16 per cent from the 14.6 per cent when he came into office in 2019.”

According to him, many residents in the state are convinced that Sanwo-Olu has failed them on all fronts because he could not justify the huge amount of money he has spent as budgetary allocations in the last four years. He stated that the state is begging for good governance on a daily basis.

According to the PDP spokesperson, Lagos residents have scored the governor low in all-important areas such as healthcare, education, transportation, security, housing and several others.

He said: “His T.H.E.M.E.S agenda is a total failure and when he said he would be embarking on T.H.E.M.E.S Plus from 2023 to 2027, then it is clear that Sanwo-Olu has nothing to offer the people.

“The governor, unlike his predecessors, has no landmark project that he could say he embarked upon in four years, and this is known to most residents of the state.

“He said the swearing-in for second-term offered him an opportunity to acknowledge expectations of the electorate, and to rededicate his administration towards meeting and surpassing the people’s expectations.

“This is indeed surprising as the governor has nothing to show for his first term, when he ought to have worked hard to seek a second term.

“Now that he is going on second term, we wonder what would motivate him to meet the expectations of the people.

“He has given nothing, but empty promises, and we in the Lagos State PDP believe that a leopard will never change its skin and we will not allow Sanwo-Olu to mismanage the resources of the state as he did in his first term.

“We will pursue our case against him in the court of law to a logical conclusion, so that the PDP can take over power in Lagos and give the residents the real dividends of democracy.”

But Lagos State APC disagrees and berates PDP’s criticisms about Sanwo-Olu’s achievement during his first term in office.

The party in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Seye Oladejo, said APC would have ignored the biased opinion of the PDP, but it was important to set the record straight.

Oladejo said there was no better response than the referendum that the last gubernatorial election in the state represented with the massive votes for Sanwo-Olu across the length and breadth of the state and across ethnic, religious and gender divides.

He said Lagosians remain proud of Sanwo-Olu’s achievements in public transportation, health-care, education, the environment, job creation, tourism, security and safety, sports, youth and women development, among others.

Oladejo said: “It was an eloquent testimony to the glittering performance of the state government in all sectors as represented by the much acknowledged THEMES mantra.

“Without doubt, it’s reckless and irresponsible politicking to blindly refuse to acknowledge the state government’s achievements in checking the COVID-19 pandemic, which literally saved the Nigerian nation.

“The completion of the various projects inherited from his predecessors underscores his commitment to the prudent management of the state resources.

The THEMES PLUS is simply an agenda to complete what was started during the first term, take it to the next level and further improve the fortunes of all Lagosians through responsible and responsive governance.

“It should be more of a serious concern to the PDP that it has lost relevance by yielding its perpetual second position to a tottering party. The Sanwo-Olu administration will resist all childish attempts to distract it from its constitutional responsibilities and successfully cater for its teeming populace.”

Meanwhile, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has urged Sanwo-Olu to put the interest of Lagosians first in all his dealings, urging him to carry the people along in implementing policies and programmes.

Lagos State IPAC chairman, Olusegun Mobolaji said: “He should not see Lagos as an estate of APC but Lagos for all the residents of the state, regardless of tongues and status. Partisanship has ended with the electioneering. Sanwo-Olu should be a democrat, who will protect the interest of all. He needs an all-inclusive government.

Mobolaji, however, suggested that appointments and positions should not be limited to APC members alone.

He said: “Other parties should be informed to get real-time updates and real hand information on happenings in the state. It will help his administration to do better.”

The IPAC chairman said that Sanwo-Olu should remember that the unrestrained activities of some state agencies would have affected his re-election, hence the need to checkmate all excesses.

“We want him to look at road managers called LASTMA (Lagos State Transport Management Authority), Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC) and officials of Parks and Garages Management.

“They should not be left alone to operate anyhow. The governor should look into their activities to end the nuisance they are constituting in the state,” he advised.

Mobolaji added that the state was generating a lot of revenue that should have made development faster and more rapid than it is.

He said the governor should make people’s taxes work for the residents’ general good.

“Sanwo-Olu should give more to the people. The revenue of the state should reflect in the lives of people and the infrastructure provided for them,” he said.