By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: One of the governorship aspirants challenging the incumbent governor of Lagos state to the ticket of the All Progressives Congress APC, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has dismissed speculations that he was being primed by a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as replacement for the incumbent, Akinwumi Ambode.
The aspirant who has been reported to have gotten the endorsement of Tinubu and many APC stakeholders in Lagos, explained that his ambition “is about the Lagos we want to take to the next level”.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday at the APC national secretariat, shortly after he returned his nomination and expression of interest forms, Sanwo-Olu declared that his government would prioritise the welfare of the people.
According to him, the wide range of experience as I have a dream to obviously contribute a lot more as a Lagosian and son of the soil, I will just be able to let our people get to where they know that governance is all about people.
“Like I said, I am 53 years myself. There is no doubt that things would be said here and there. The man who is standing in front of you, a fully grown-man with several years of experience, like I said, it is about the Lagos of our dream, it is about the Lagos we want to take to the next level.
“I think it has nothing to do with our leader and there is no denial that he is our national leader and he takes the back position not only in the State but at the national and you know he has interest in the well-being and improvement of Nigeria’s dream.
“So, by extension, Lagos is a dream that he is pertinent about and we will continue to refer to him as our leader but most important thing is, I am in front of you, this is who I am, this is what I have come to express to you and Lagos, certainly will be a better place to live for all us.”
When asked whether he would feel betrayed if he were in Ambode’s shoes, he said: “The truth is, I am not in his shoes. But the truth of the matter is, what has been generating issue about me is a reflection of how people have come to understand the person I am. A whole lot of us have to redefine the Lagos Project…people think we are done with some other individuals, there are real people behind them that have offered those initiatives and I discovered those initiatives, that have brought out those policies, that have brought out those implementations of various plans.
“There are so many firsts that we can begin to attribute to my name in the eleven years that I have had to do with public service. Like I said, I had served three different governors, I have served two different ministries, two different times at governor’s office, heading the biggest different agencies of government.
“You know, the blueprint we had been looking at since 1999, some of us put it together. So, it is not an offence, no doubt about that, it is politics and this era we are into right now and for me as a 53-year-old man, if I cannot also do what I preach, then, I will begin to regret when I am 75 and I would say I didn’t do what I needed to do.”