LERSA tackles Lagos gubernatorial candidates over Lekki
They describe their location as unique and challenging. The stretch of land spanning 1004 flat through to Epe in the Lekki peninsula of Lagos State has witnessed rapid development in residential and commercial buildings. But despite the general look of new money in the area, residents complain of lack of adequate social amenities and infrastructure.
Although generally identified as being occupied by the nouveau riche in the state, residents of Lekki peninsula complain of marginalization and neglect by the state government, stressing that they are about the only set of Nigerians that pay toll to go in and out of their places of abode.
It was in a bid to find a common solution to those problems that the residents founded the Lekki Estate Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA), the umbrella body for over 77 gated and ungated estates, from 1004 to Epe. General Secretary of the association, Mr. Gbemi Adelekan, explained that ever since the residents came together, they have been able to draw attention to the myriad of existential challenges facing residents, especially the anti-tolling and ground rent protests that took them to Alausa, the seat of Lagos State Government.
While speaking when LERSA hosted the gubernatorial candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Jimi Agbaje, to a town hall meeting, Adelekan disclosed that the residents wanted to hear how they intend to tackle the challenges if elected governor. He said the decision as to which of the candidates would get the people’s votes depends on how far they were able to convince them, stressing that attendees were free to pose questions to the candidates.
On the vexed issue of Lekki tolls, APC governorship candidate said there is sanctity of contracts, and he would not rush into making any promise to dismantle them, even as he disclosed that if elected he would consider the suggestion by residents to pay N5,000 per vehicle yearly. But the gubernatorial candidate of PDP, Agbaje, promised to dismantle the toll gates in Lekki if elected, pointing out that though the toll gate was built by a concessionaire, it had since been bought over by the Lagos State Government. He promised to build the Coastal Road on a Public Private Partnership basis for Lekki if elected, adding that the improvement in education and health were the main priority for his candidacy.
Like Sanwo-Olu, Agbaje attended the Town Hall meeting alongside his running mate, Mrs. Haleemat Busari, and PDP candidate for Lagos Central Senatorial District, Mr. Sunbo Onitiri, as well as other candidates for Lagos. APC deputy governorship candidate, Femi Hamzat, who was also a commissioner of works in the state, explained that Lekki was not the only estate being tolled, stressed that building a water scheme in the state could take so much money.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who came midway into the meeting, explained that he is also a Lekki resident, and remarked that the Federal Government was doing much in the area of infrastructure development. He explained that contrary to insinuations TraderMoni scheme was not intended to buy votes, but a reenactment of safety net progarmme experimented by President Muhammdu Buhari when he was military governor of Northeastern state.The highpoint of the meeting was the handing over of a compilation of priority projects for Lekki residents to Sanwo-Olu and Agbaje.
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