Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is the Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos West Senatorial District. In this interview, he discusses his plans and prospects.
What informed your decision to run for the largest senatorial district in Nigeria, Lagos West?
First, it was the disdain in which the incumbent, Senator Yayi, treated his constituents with. The man literally abandoned us to play Ogun State politics where he hoped he would become governor. I was miffed and utterly gutted by such ‘absentee representation’.
Secondly and more importantly, the people of Lagos West have been long abandoned by the political class.
When you look at places like Badagry, Ajeromi, Mushin, you will notice a steady decline in infrastructural development and the quality of living. I couldn’t keep agonizing, and so I put myself forward to make a difference.
What kind of difference do you think you can make at the Senate?
I’m certainly bringing a new kind of thinking into governance, one that is inclusive, result-oriented, people-centric and given to accountability. I’ll be a representative who is at home with his people, understands where their shoe hurts and advocate tirelessly for them at the Centre.
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Furthermore, I intend to put forward certain critical bills with huge socio-economic benefits.
For instance, I’m will be proposing an Infrastructural Development Bill that would ensure special funding for the accelerated completion of specific federal infrastructure in Lagos state that a currently becoming a daily inconvenience.
I also intend to propose a bill that would grant Lagos the special status of generating and distributing our own power through the Independent Power Project. That way we organisations will increase their productivity and several jobs will be created.
Several Senators in the past have tried to push for a special status for Lagos and have failed, why do you think you will succeed?
Some of them have failed for the same reason that Senator Yayi failed. When you are not passionate about your constituents or you are totally removed from their daily reality. There is no way you can effectively champion their course.
Most of them have paid only lip service to the issue of a special status for Lagos and have done very little to achieve that. They have failed to carefully articulate the issue and build enough support amongst their colleagues. This will however change when I get in. With the quality of my engagement and interaction at the Senate, you all will be proud to be called ‘Lagosians’ again, I assure you.
There is a feeling in Lagos that the PDP is dead and can hardly make a dent in the coming elections, do you buy that argument?
Of course not, and we will prove this in February. I think we are under-estimating how angered people are with the party in power in Lagos State.
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The people are not blind, neither are deaf to understand how the political elite in Lagos have continued to over-tax them and have given very little in return. Just take a look at the roads that have been completely neglected or the tankers that are crippling businesses and constituting a nuisance on our roads. The people are angry, and they would speak through the ballot.
Do you have the financial resources to take on an incumbent Senator, who is also backed by the party in power at both the state and federal level?
I have been working hard and would continue to do so to raise funds and build the necessary coalition and support that would guarantee my success. A lot of young people are volunteering for my campaign and have also be making contributions. They realise it is about their freedom than it is about the ambition of Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour.
They want to be liberated from a political elite in Lagos that have given them very little and have taken much away from them. The people are desperate for a new beginning and they see that ray of hope in my candidacy – that is why you see them going out of their way to support me.
Victory for me will be victory for the common man, for the market woman and the young graduate who has been abandoned they the same people who were voted in to serve. God willing, we will emerge victorious.