Lagos: how best to sustain popular representation
There is an urgent need for Lagosians to keep vigil with the quality of their representatives across the board, from the local government to federal representatives.
A situation where individuals without the right pedigree, intellect or exposure, will be put forward in a bid to protect the selfish interest of a select few, at the expense of the larger community, must be strongly resisted, if not repudiated.
Lagos state is the 6th largest economy in Africa, with the lowest rates of poverty in the country and enjoys one of the highest literacy levels. It is only complimentary that with such a reputation, Lagos should be represented, especially at the federal level, by men of wit, exposure, decorum and sagacity.
To think that a delegation of 5 elders, as widely rumoured and confirmed by several sources, would seek to persuade Asiwaju to back the candidacy of Bayo Oshinowo, is not only shameful but grossly bewildering. Other than the belittling bread and butter politics at the grassroots level, where representatives stifle progress in their constituency in a bid to oil the party machinery.
To put it bluntly, it would be a case of lions being led by an injured sheep, if the Lagos East senatorial constituency is led by the said gentleman. To think that Bayo benefited from one of, if not, the largest dredging contract in Lagos state (Lekki and Oworonshoki axis), and would rather hire an Italian company to execute the project despite being against the Environmental Impact Assessment, while his constituents roam the streets jobless.
The truth is that what Bayo calls empowerment is tokenism can barely sustain any adult beyond a day’s meal. There is hardly any concerted effort to genuinely empower his constituents with Jobs, skills or a decent education. All he cares about is using public office to serve personal interest.
For what it’s worth, no one is suggesting the incumbent stays in perpetuity, but let lions replace lions. I’ll totally throw my weight behind an Abike Dabiri or a Jimi Benson, that have both shown capacity, exposure and experience but not for a man like “pepper” who has been unable to demonstrate the real capacity to lead.
I’m most delighted the Asiwaju turned the 5 elders away, admonishing them to adequately prepare their candidate for primary elections. The fact that party delegates would no longer be the sole determinant of who emerges the flag bearer but every card-carrying member of the party, is arguably the most important step in transforming our political system.
We as citizens must, perhaps, find meaningful ways to participate in our electoral process. Otherwise, greedy political elders would continue to undermine the quality of our leadership just like they have attempted to do with Bayo Oshinowo
It would be refreshing to see a debate between Bayo, the incumbent and other aspirants, on the issues they hope to influence in the national assembly, organized by an independent media. It would, however, be a no-contest as Hon Bayo can show very little for his 15 years stewardship in the Lagos state house of assembly.
There might be room for someone in Kosofe, or Ikorodu to get the party nomination as they have a line of cerebrally gifted individuals. The truth is however bitter, Hon Bayo will struggle to give Lagos a strong representation and should never be considered for such a high profile job.
Hon. Bayo Oshinowo has done nothing for his entire constituency. Rather, he has leveraged on a perceived political popularity to arm twist and blackmails the incumbent Governor to give him large parcels of land which are never paid for and billions of naira in contracts. No doubt, Pepe is empowered with a war chest he hopes to rely on to fund his ambition.
It would, however, interest you to know that several online polls have been conducted over the last few weeks on who should be representing the Senate next year which included all the foregoing contestants, 4 out of the 5 polls had Senator Ashafa leading with more than a 50% margin. This is a testament to the fact that Lagosians are appreciative of the incredible work Ashafa has done in the past 7 years at at the home front in Lagos East Senatorial District as well as at the National Level with the delivery of critical bills such as the Nigerian Railway Bill, the NIPOST bill, his Bill to curb drug abuse in Nigeria and a host of other legislative interventions that have meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians.
Itesiwaju ipinle Eko lo je wa logun.
*Alabi writes from Lagos
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