Chinelo Obogo, with agency report

Governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, has listed three critical programmes that would form the plank of his administration when elected into office in March.

He also said his administration would put in place an affirmative policy that will address the dichotomy of indigenes and non-indigenes.

This he added would be done in a manner that would ensure equity in the distribution of wealth and opportunities in the state.

Agbaje spoke during a debate organised by the Lagos West Diocese of the Anglican Communion at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Anglican Church, in Ikeja, yesterday.

Addressing his audience, including candidates from other parties, clergymen and members of the public, Agbaje said:

“We’ve decided to put our manifesto on three legs, a tripod, which will include: Liveability, the economy and the future. When I talk about liveability, I mean, what is the quality of life being lived by the average Lagosian?

Appraising the quality of lives of the people of the state, Agbaje said all the needed support that would ensure quality living were not being provided by successive regimes in the state.

He said the contributions of both indigenes and non-indigenes to the socioeconomic development of Lagos could not be discountenanced.

Under his watch, the PDP candidate said efforts would be made to ensure the two segments making up the demographics of the state cohabited in a manner that would ensure growth and development.

“Our people, who are indigenes of the state, must appreciate that it is the contributions of other people who come to Lagos that make it tick. Lagos is a cosmopolitan city, where everyone should have a space, but, that does not detract from the fact that indigenes of the state would be relegated.

I will ensure an affirmative plan of action or policy is put in place to ensure, at least, 25 percent of opportunities coming from the state are reserved for the indigenes.”

While lamenting the gross deficit in the available infrastructure in the state, due to huge immigration numbers, Agbaje said the focus of his government would revolve round human capital development.

“In terms of liveability, we are talking about the quality of life of the individual. We talk about education. All of us here have family members who can- not secure a job. We shall solve that problem,” he said.

To address the problem, he promised priority to quality education at the primary school level, saying the foundational aspects of education had been neglected in a sustainable manner.

On the economy, Agbaje said with the prevailing performance indications, Lagos had underperformed, but promised that his administration will ensure the state lived up to its full potential as an economic hub, not only in the country, but in Africa.

Meanwhile, tempers flared among candidats during the debate which had earlier started on a friendly note. It became heated when candidates were asked how they intend to tackle corruption.

Twelve governorship candidates, including those of the two major political parties; the All Progressives Congress (APC) Babajdie Sanwo-Olu and the PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje participated.

Others were Babatunde Gbadamosi (Action Democratic Party), Funsho Awe (National Conscience Party), Muyiwa Fafowora (African Democratic Congress), Segun Musa (Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party),

Owolabi Musa (Alliance for Democracy), Ladipo Johnson (Alliance National Party), Abiodun Dabiri (Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party), Adebisi Ogunsanya (Young Progressives Party), Adetokunbo Pearse (Social Democratic Party) and Ifagbemi Awamaridi (Labour Party).

Gbadamosi alleged that most corrupt practices in the government are done by poorly paid civil servants and promised that when he becomes governor, he would increase worker’s pay and put mechanisms in place to stop leakages.

Agbaje said the only way the state government could show transparency and accountability is if it domesticates the Freedom of Information Act and noted that anything besides that would only be cosmetic and not holistic. Awamaridi said if he wins, he would establish an anti corruption agency to try corrupt officials.

On his part, Fafowora said any candidate whose campaign is being sponsored by the state government or by contractors is corrupt and should not be suggesting ways to end corruption. But Sanwo-Olu hit back at the other candidates, saying corruption is the consequence of the failure of parents to raise their kids properly. He said no one should blame the government if parents fail to discipline their kids.