Ahead of the rescheduled Thursday, May 26, governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, one surprised aspirant of the three aspirants on the party’s platform, Mr Abdul-Ahmed Olorunfemi Mustapha, has told Vanguard why he decided to wrestle power from the incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said. 2023 with assurrance to floor Sanwo-Olu at the primary tommorow, saying he has what it takes to address challenges confronting rLagos residents through accelerated develooments in sectors such as education, healthcare, IT, power and infrastructure as his topmost priorities.

Mustapha, a former Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, also has Wale Oluwo, a former Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources during the immediate past Governor Akinwumi Ambode to contend with at the primary.

Mustapha, who is believed to be favoured by power bloc in the party to succeed Sanwo-Olu based on a Muslim ticket alignment, speaks with Olasunkanmi Akoni on his aspiration, among others. Excerpts:

Why did you join the race to challenge the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, when by convention he should enjoy the offer of first refusal? Do you think you have what it takes to defeat him considering his popularity.

I decided to join the race because I believe Lagos grow at a very accelerated growth rate in partnership with the private sector.

The budget of Lagos State is enough to be able to account for accelerated developments that is needed to take the state to the next level such as building additional schools using the high educational facilities financing, creating additional infrastructure to be able to attract local and foreign investors into public space, including primary, secondary and tertiary.

Our goal is to accelerate the development of the state. If other states are going at 6 per cent rate, Lagos should be at 9-12 per cent growth rate respectively.

We believe there is the need for accelerated developments of the state. That’s one of the things that spurred us to contest.

I have the requisite skills worth 35 years of experience in finance, project management and Information Technology, IT, which will stand me in good stead. In the last seven years I served as an Assistant Executive Director with the City of New York which gave me an insight into workings of structures and methodology that was used to develop the city.

I hope to be able to bring those methodologies to bear in collaboration with the private sector and business communities and attracting investments to complement the existing Internally Generated Revenue and the mastetplan created by our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. So, its the need to accelerate development of Lagos that brought us into the race and we believe, with God on our side, I will emerge victorious.

What political pedigree are you banking on to defeat the incumbent governor because Mustapha is relatively known when it comes to Lagos politics?

I’m not really new in the system. I joined APC since the AD days, even before I return to the country from the US. I participated deeply behind the scenes putting structures in place, advancing the course for policy changes. Been a member of Presidential Transition Committee for the Muhammadu Buhari Administration and also assisting in putting infrastructure into place.

So, I have been a technocrat within the system all my life. I’m well known within the political circle to bring my ability in IT, finance and project management to bear if elected in assisting the party to win elections.

But you could have settled for Senatorial seat, what is your interest in the governorship seat?

My Governorship ambition, incidentally has to do with the issue of #EndSARS. It was very traumatic for me personally, I never felt so insecure and unsure as to the direction of the country. I saw this large percentage of huge population of youths that felt highly annihilated, estranged from the political structure and felt aggrieved against the system.

So, I summoned up courage to say I need to take the bull by the horn and see what I can do to contribute my own quota to the development of our dear state in particular and the country in general.

The #EndSARS experience was a huge awakening for me, fearful of our state, country and certainly believe that this time that we are in the call for men of good will not to stay on the sideline and come into the ring with fresh ideas to accelerate the development of the state and the country where the citizens are assured of good governance, availability of power supply which should translate into more jobs, increase in revenue for individuals, state, first class hospitals to be able to offer effective treatment, world class educational facilities that will be able attract and retain good teachers, transformation of the process, bringing the technology to help the economy.

So, it’s that yearning desire to accelerate development, through sourcing additional funding from private sector to build aggressive number of schools, hospitals, other infrastructure.

Another area we are looking at is the issue of security which is very key to our people using the process of people and technology. We will work together to ensure that additional Close Circuit Television, CCTV, cameras are deployed. Command and Control Centres will be set up in local government areas to be able to improve the response time of security personnel, additional drone procurement to increase capacity in making sure we have eye in the skies for effective monitoring.

So, within 18 months to 24 months , we will see profound provision of infrastructure in healthcare, quality education, improved power supply, effective transportation in collaboration with private sector to deliver the services.To ensure that in the next 2- 3 years in office there is 24 hours of electricity supply.

In some quarters it’s been peddled that you are APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu’s anointed candidate as replacement for Sanwo-Olu. Did you have any form of consultation with Tinubu and got his blessing before your declaration, because Tinubu had earlier endorsed Sanwo-Olu for 2nd term.

There is no truth whatsoever to that statement. I can categorically tell you that our National Leader, Tinubu does not have anything to my candidacy.

What’s your viewpoint about godfather? Is it positive of negative?

Well, each organization, political structure do have people who have vested interest in smooth running of the organization both locally and internationally. So, it’s something we can look from either direction as long as it will not constitute an impediment to free-will and expression of ideas and choice.

Godfathetism is something that has come to stay and we must learn to manage it. It’s is everywhere, Mosques, Churches, organizations. It’s just a question of finding the mechanism where interest lies, where you can cooperate with them as much as possible to be able to deliver greatest number of goods to the masses.

What are you going to do differently for Lagos to achieve greater heights.

What we are going to do differently is to deepen the relationship between government and private sector including international entrepreneurs. We will identify specific areas in education, healthcare, grand sourcing, changing the models as opposed to raising bonds. We will look into different verticals that will account for construction of basic infrastructure as enumerated earlier, procurement of equipment using manage least approach, to deploy Independent Power Project, IPP.

In your assessment, what do you consider as topmost priority programme for Lagos residents

My priority will be in the area of security and energy, improve mastetplan of Lagos, upscaling of doctors, nurses, telemedicine providing first class services, food security.

How will you tackle the influx of foreign nationals into the nation, especially without attacking them frontally.

Influx of foreign nationals, we will work with security apparatus to identify be the intruders with the aim to send them back to their respective country of origin. Various pin points will be properly manned to control the influx of the elements into the state.

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