·Buhari signed APC’s death warrant by assenting Electoral Act 2022
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Lagos State Governorship Candidate in the 2023 poll, Dr. Olajide Abdulazeez Adediran, popularly called Jandor, in this interview speaks on his agenda for Lagos development, relationship with Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and his choice of Nollywood star, Funke Akindele as running mate among others.
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Assistant News Editor
Why did you leave the All Progressives Congress, APC for the PDP?
The major reason why we left APC is basically because of what is happening in the party. We had a reconciliatory meeting over certain disagreements as result of the imposition of some aspirants by the owners of the party and it did not go down well with us.
So, we left APC for PDP because we want selection choices to go back to the people. The party does not believe in “Can Do Ability.” The party only believes in decisions taken by individual(s) and everyone must abide by the decision. We want true democracy, that’s why we left.
They said you left because of the quest for governorship ambition at all cost
I left not because of desperation but because of my aspiration. It’s a known fact that the moment you become an APC candidate in Lagos you are already marked. It is unpardonable for you to have ambition in APC, especially for governorship.
We had to leave because we truly want to govern, free Lagos from the shackles of self-made leaders. We truly want a new Lagos and we are not joking about it. We understand the nitty-gritty of this game and we know majorly, if it’s not APC then it is PDP and we just have to look for a better alternative which is the PDP. And today what we were unable to get in APC we were able to do in PDP because they believe in ‘can do spirit’ and PDP is a true democratic party.
Considering the fact that Lagos has been the stronghold of APC, how confident are you to win?
We are very optimistic we are winning this election. People are tired of APC. There is always a terminal point and as far as Lagos is concerned they have reached the terminal point. It is a fight for the soul of Lagos, I want to be a governor that will be chosen by the people and they want that change. It’s not about Jandor, it’s beyond me. They have seen that Lagos is not working and they want a working Lagos.
They want a Lagos that is not only wealthy in words or on paper; they want Lagos where they can freely express themselves. We want a free Lagos and we don’t want a hard Lagos.
I keep saying it when some people talk about the choice of my deputy. I see this hypocrisy coming from the ruling party, issuing a statement saying we are unserious for presenting somebody in the movie industry as a running mate. And this is a party that is giving Desmond Elliot a third term ticket in the House of Assembly.
That does not worry me, what worries me is the conspiracy of silence in that industry. A ruling party called the entire industry as an unserious set of people who can’t be deputy governor of their state and they all kept quiet.
But I defended my deputy because she is not just an entertainer but also a filmmaker who can put pen to paper and conjure fertilizers of ideas and put them to use. Or is it because she is a woman? They should appreciate that to change the narratives we are making sure that a popular deputy is brought in to share my ticket. Check Makinde, Wike’s deputies, even Adeleke’s deputy, they are relatively unknown but we are doing things differently with Akindele who is equally qualified to be a governor.
However, we understand the frustration from the ruling party. They have seen that we are serious and they have to act.
What are your immediate plans for Lagos if elected?
The first thing is to change the face of Lagos, to let people heave the sigh of relief. To change Lagos State, we must ensure that we have a tech approach to Lagos governance. Things must work fine this time around. The process of landed property, hospitals, and transportation among others must work according to tech.
The second one is to ensure the rule of law because the rule of law should not be one way thing but both sides. What do I mean, you don’t have a governor that is not following the rule of law by running one way and you don’t want citizen to do otherwise.
Let’s follow the law as against the rule of force and we must have what we call equity and inclusiveness.
Another is accountable representation; if you are representing the people, you must account for everything that has to do with that office.
The third is transparency. It is only when a government is transparent that citizens can trust it. During the EndSARS saga, the youths made five demands and the government met all the demands but the youth refused to leave the road because there is no trust. We have to come and build trust. In all, what we are aiming for is to achieve a wealthy state for all irrespective of class, ethnic background, religion, class, and sex, among others.
People are worried about your financial capacity to withstand the incumbent. Some are saying you have Fashola and Chief Bode George’s financial backing. How true is this?
I can’t deny knowing Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, having worked as a consultant for him for years. But he has never invested one Nara in this project since we started.
Recently, somebody broke it down to us that it is not money that does it. It is vision, like the Dubai story which came as a result of vision.
This project ‘Lagos4Lagos’ came with a vision with nothing from anywhere and we started seven years ago and today it is what people want to buy into because they see how we have been able to drive that vision from inception till this moment. Now, everybody can see it is doable and achievable.
I am saying it for the umpteenth time, Fashola is someone I respect. Even if he asks if he could help now, I will say no because we are almost there. So, we have a whole lot of people that are supporting the Lagos4Lagos movement. We have been sustaining the movement through our personal resources.
Chief Bode George is our national leader in the state, but let me tell you, there is no godfatherism, no “Baba sope” in PDP. A lot of people were saying that it was him that imposed or sponsored my deputy governor on me but he showed to everybody it’s not so because when I was to pick my deputy, I took that person to Chief Bode George who accepted the candidate after asking me so many questions if I was sure. He never imposed anybody on me and he accepted that person and presented the person also to leaders of the party. What we have in PDP is not godfathers but God members.
What is your assessment in terms of INEC’s preparation towards holding free and fair elections?
First, I will take you back to when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Electoral Act 2022 into Law. I commended him for signing the death warrants of APC in Nigeria, particularly, in Lagos State. We saw how it played out in Osun and Ekiti states elections. It now shows that elections will be won and lost at the polling units. And elections can’t be upturned anywhere anymore.
This shows that a lazy politician cannot win an election in Lagos. So, for us we are confident that APC is gone in Lagos and I’m going to be the next governor. And we are very optimistic that is why they are harassing us. They know that their days are numbered. With what we have seen recently, we believe INEC will do wonders, especially with the introduction of electronic transfer of results and accreditation.