‘How AD will win Lagos guber race’
Defeat is not an option for Lagos State chapter of Alliance for Democracy (AD).
The gubernatorial candidate of the party, Chief Owolabi Salis, maintains that if there was any time for AD to bounce back, it would be in the forthcoming governorship and state Assembly elections.
Salis told The Guardian that his party would inflict the worst defeat on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s poll. Popularly called ‘Oba Mekunu’, Salis was a member of New York Bar.
He said he decided to participate in the election due to his passion for the less privileged and to guarantee a formidable and beneficial economic status for the citizenry, stressing, “If the elections are free and fair, AD would defeat the ruling party.
In AD we don’t involve in illegality, because we don’t rig election, indulge in vote buying or imposition. We know the implication of these illegalities, because by the time the beneficiary gets into the position, he would not be loyal to the masses but to his godfather.
“Recently I saw a party throwing branded bags of rice to people at campaign. To me, it is an insult on Lagosians. How can a ruling party do such a thing? At least, there are dignified approach they can adopt instead of throwing food at people.”
Salis, who spoke to a section of the media in Lagos, bemoaned the high fees attached to the purchase of expression-of-interest and nomination forms by political parties.
According to him, “There is a trend in political practices in Nigeria whereby the under-privileged cannot aspire to a leadership role in the country anymore. Just because you want to contest for a political seat, you will have to pay millions of naira. This is too expensive for the poor. In my party, we decided not to charge the interested candidates because at AD we are not concerned about party interest; we are much more interested in individual interest.”
The guber hopeful said if elected, his administration would retrieve the state’s commonwealth from private individuals, adding: “An Individual has been in control of our resources in Lagos and is using it to enslave, divide and control us all. It is time to take Lagos’s commonwealth back and give it to the people.
“My administration will be revolutionary. I will make sure some of the powers are domesticated to the grassroots by setting up an executive council in every ward and a ward governor will be elected who will oversee all activities at the wards.”
While assuring that his policies would be targeted at the grassroots and geared towards eliminating imposition and systemic slavery in the state, Salis said: “I will stop slavery of our youths in Lagos State and lead them to a better life. A successful government is that which is able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in basic needs of education, housing, transportation, health, food and others. It is not a government that pillages the common wealth and neglects the needy for the interests of a few.
“It is vital to let true democracy thrive in Lagos for an actual mega city to emerge, as Lagos holds the key to Nigeria’s growth, to propel Africa and the black race into reckoning worldwide.
“I am so concerned about the policing system in Nigeria. The present government has created a lot of violence in the nook and crannies of the state and this is already consuming everybody. So many people cannot sleep with their two eyes closed.”
Salis promised to run an inclusive administration, regretting that a lot of people in power use the youth to perpetrate violence while their own children are pampered with comfort.
He promised to promote the independence of the judiciary and encourage judicial decisions to advance the interests of the people.
According to him, “One thing my government would do is to support the justice system so that the jurists can make decisions in the interest of the state. This is vital and I know what to do and how to do it.
“As a sustainable member of the New York Bar and also a member of Nigeria Bar Association, I see a lot of difference in the practice of law in Nigeria and that of New York, which is the most dynamic bar in the world.
So I want to bring down the differences in those values of law, and make law very interesting. We are going to work with the judges; we are going to take decisions to advance the socio-economic interests of the people of Lagos State. Any decision by the judges will be to the progress of the society.
“As a practicing lawyer, I can tell you there is so much to be done by lawyers in Nigeria. Ours is a huge population. So, you can use law to expand the economy and empower the masses.”
He urged his party members to brace up for the challenges ahead by mobilising members and residents to secure victory in the upcoming election.
He urged the electorate to be vigilant over their votes, saying they should make their vote count, because whoever is elected as the governor has the power to make important decisions that would affect the living standards in Lagos State.
“It is the right of every Lagosian to monitor their votes” “You don’t just vote and go home. You must make sure you observe the election and ensure the right thing is done. Sit down and see what people are doing at the poling unit and ensure that the votes are counted in your presence and recorded. Is the right of every Lagosians.”