Agbaje, Sanwo-Olu absent as guber candidates debate good governance
Good governance formed the crux of the debate, organsied by Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and Strategy and Innovation for Development Initiative (SI4DEV) for candidates contesting the gubernatorial election in Lagos State.
Candidates took turns to reel out their manifestos to the people, in their quest to upstage the candidates of the two major political parties in the state-All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Congress.
While exuding confidence and passion for the people in their arguments, the contestants looked forward to a better state, lamenting the ills of the current administration that has been in power for 20 years.
The debate, which was held at Civic Hive, Yaba, was moderated by a radio presenter with Inspiration FM, Mr. Adeniyi Kunnu.
Among those who participated were the candidates of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Babatunde Gbadamosi, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse, Labour Party (LP), Prof Ifagbemi Awamaridi, Alliance National Party (ANP), Barr Ladipo Johnson and National Conscience Party (NCP), Mr Funsho Awe.
Others were Youth Progressive Party (YPP), Princess Adebisi Ogunsanya, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Arch. Abiodun Dabiri, Advance Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Oluwasegun Mutairu Musa, Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Mr. Francis Adebayo, and Africa Action Congress (AAC), Oluwaseun Ajireloja.
Candidates of APC, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and PDP, Jimi Agbaje, were, however, absent.
The Coordinator of YALI, Lagos Chapter, Ugochi Obidiegwu, said the debate was necessary for the electorates to know what each of the candidates has to offer the people in terms of good governance.
She lamented that the younger ones were not given enough opportunity to participate in politics in the country, adding that the current crop of politicians were not living up to the expectations of the people.
According to her, “Sometimes, our politicians chase shadows; they should get more involved in what is going on at the grassroots level. They need to create an enabling environment for small businesses and also make it easy for the younger ones interested in politics to come in.”
Also, YALI Programme Manager, Julius Ilori, hinted that the debate was organised to create a platform for prospective candidates to engage the electorates and explain their manifestoes and ideologues should any of them wins the coming election.
While speaking on governance and economy, Gbadamosi, said part of his manifesto involves reviewing the salaries of civil servants in the state.
“The situation where a street sweeper is earning N7, 000 a month is unacceptable,” he said. “We are going to review the salaries of civil servants, compensations and benefits among others. I believe this will make their earnings be in line with current economic realities today.
“We are going to be transparent about how we spend taxpayer’s money; this is very essential in a democracy. The people have every right to know how government spends their money; this is their sweat; therefore, every penny will be made public.
“Currently, I boldly say that Lagos does not have an economy. What we have is ‘squeezeconomy.’ This is an economic situation where the government squeezes the people and businesses until they run bankrupt. The pillars of our economy hinge on these five: technology, agriculture, industry, agriculture, tourism.”
On his part, Awamaridi bemoaned that the huge Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state has not impacted positively on the masses as only the rich in the state have been benefitting from it.
“But it has contributed to the super rich and slave masters. For instance, a particular slave master in the state has a jet, while the state itself does not have any. Corruption is so much that it is seriously having adverse effect on the economy of the state.
“If elected, we will direct wealth from the super rich to the poor and vulnerable. We are going to achieve this by making sure that the wealthy are given special tax.”
On his part, Johnson noted that public servants would be given adequate training to measure up with their counterparts in the private sector. “We need good governance to deliver on economy and other things and we are going to start with the public servants by training and retraining them,” he said. “We are going to ensure that after every executive council meeting, all decisions, except on security, will be published in the national dailies. This way the people will be carried along in governance. Also, we will domesticate the Freedom of Information Act (FOA) that has been passed by the federal government. Lagos governance is shrouded in mystery because they are hiding things from us and we have to make governance open.”
For Awe, noted that governance that is not centred on the people couldn’t deliver to the masses.
He said, “The pure definition of democracy is government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Everything we are going to do will be centred on the people. Right now, we have seen the condition of the people; we are going to create a government that will better the lot of the masses.
“Lagos used to be the industrial hub of Nigeria. We have industrial estate in Ilupeju, Ikeja, Isolo, Apapa, but recently, many of them have been bought over by churches while some have become warehouses. The economy of the state is not productive as it ought to. If we are not producing then there will be unemployment and crimes will be on the increase. We have to create a situation whereby the state will become productive; that means we need to get the industries back. We have to rejuvenate the economy.”
On her part, Ogunsanya said if elected as governor of the state, she would make sure that wastages are blocked while avenues through which people siphon money from the state are stopped.
“My government will create a good economy within rural areas by creating jobs, by opening up avenues to tap the natural endowments that are there. We will develop them into industries through public private partnership where these rural migrants can find jobs and won’t need to come to urban areas.
“A lot of people come into Lagos without knowing where to stay. Over 300,000 people are wandering all over Lagos with nowhere to stay. That will take care of that.
“My government has devised four ‘Es.’ First one is to educate the citizens and develop the human capital. The second one is to enable innovations and creativity. The third one is to empower the people to ensure that infrastructure is provided where necessary, with road and electricity generation and everything that will make a company functional because the amount of money that is spent to power industries makes the cost of production very high. The fourth one is to ensure that poverty is eradicated.”
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