By Olasunkanmi Akoni
12 governorship candidates, yesterday, tried to outwit one another in getting the support of Lagos voters in the March 2 governorship election while presenting their plans and programmes at a debate.
Organised by the Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion) in collaboration with the Dioceses of Lagos, Badagry and Lagos Mainland, the debate was held at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, G.R.A, Ikeja, Lagos.
The audience was thrilled by what seemed to be a drama during the debate in which 12 of 41governorship candidates took part.
The candidates were: All Progressives Congress, APC, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Jimi Agbaje; Alliance for Democracy, AD, Owolabi Salis; Action Democratic Party, ADP, Mr. Babatude Gbadamosi; African Democratic Congress, ADC, Muyiwa Fafowra; ANDP, Segun Musa, National Conscience Party, NCP, Funsho Awe; ANP, Barrister Ladipo Johnson; Abundant Renewal Party, ANRP, Arch. Abiodun Dabiri; Young Progressive Party, YPP, Adebisi Ogunsanya; Labour Party, Olurotimi Olulana; and Social Democratic Party, SDP, Adetokunbo Pearce.
With the General Manager and Editor-in- Chief, Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye; Mr. Babajide Otitoju of the TV Continental, TVC; and Mrs. Funke Treasure of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, as panelists and Professor Dapo Asaju, Vice- Chancellor Ajayi Crowder University, as moderator, the debate lived up its billing.
Most of the candidates promised to improve on healthcare, education, security, power, housing, environment, transportation rejuvenation, and infrastructural development, elimination of multiple taxation, civil service salary review, and creation of youth employment, among others. Most of the candidates promised to reduce the tax burden on the masses, while at the same time getting the rich into the tax net.
Olulana, who first took to the floor in the debated, which lasted for over four hours, while responding to one of the questions by the panellists threw the audience into laughter when he said he would appoint Sanwo-Olu as Commissioner for Finance and Agbaje as Commissioner for Health, if elected.
Sanwo-Olu, Agbaje, Ogunsanya (the only female candidate), Salis, and others expressed different opinions on healthcare delivery.
Sanwo-Olu promised to improve and increase the number of Public Health Centres, PHCs, to cater for health issues at the grassroots, provide free health services and prevent the current “brain drain” in the sector through improved salary structure for doctors and nurses.
They all agreed on the urgent need to tackle transportation problems in the state through holistic approach as soon as possible.
Sanwo-Olu, who came in with largest number of supporters, said if elected his administration would fix all the 52 identified traffic gridlock spots across the state within 100 days. “In the first 100 days, I would engage the private sector to drive the Lagos economy to prosperity. I will convene town hall meetings to tell the public service that there are new ways of doing things.”
Agbaje, similarly, promised that he would address traffic gridlock in the metropolis by fixing potholes, as well as address the issues of waste management in collaboration with the private sector.
The candidates also expressed different views on the issue of indigeneship. Muyiwa gave a rebuttal when Agbaje alluded to the fact that there is New Yorkers indigenship in the United States, contending that such never existed.