-Major parties go into elections polarized
Kunle Adelabu & Wale Jagun.
All seem set for the conduct of elections into the 20 Local Government(LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Lagos State by the State Electoral Commission after about three years of dilly-dally.
After the expiry of the tenure of the last elected political officials and their subsequent exit from the various councils, the state government appointed executive secretaries and later sole administrators to oversee the affairs of the councils.
However,in preparing for the council poll, the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission(LASIEC) registered 12 political parties which presented candidates for the Chairmanship and Councillorship posts.
A total of 1,300 chairmanship and councillorship candidates from various parties are on the electoral list for the elections across the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs in the State. More so, LASIEC has fixed the councils’ run-off for July 29.
Justice Ayotunde Philips, (Rtd), LASIEC Chairman, has also assured the political parties and there respective candidates of free and fair elections.
The 12 political parties that have presented candidates for the Chairmanship and Councillorship positions are Accord Party ( AP ), Action Alliance ( AA ), Alliance for Democracy ( AD )All Progressives Congress ( APC ), Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ), Labour Party ( LP ) and All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA ).
Others are United Democratic Party ( UDP ), United Progressive Party ( UPP ), Kowa Party ( KP ), National Action Council ( NAC ) and Peoples Democratic Movement ( PDM ).
In Ikorodu division which has one LGA and five LCDAs, only three parties – APC, PDP and Labour Party are visible while Accord Party is playing catch-up.
While the APC, which is the ruling party, is fielding six chairmanship and 32 councilliorship candidates in all the councils in the division, PDP is fielding 3 chairmanship and about 25 councillorship candidates, Labour Party has only one chairmanship candidate and that is in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA and about 10 councillorship candidates while Accord Party has no chairmanship candidate but will field about five candidates for the councillorship positions.
Though, APC is approaching the elections as a polarized party as many members are still aggrieved, especially in Ikorodu Central LG and Ikorodu North LCDA,due to the controversies surrouding the primary elections conducted in the respective councils while little or no reconciliation moves were made.Despite this,the party is expected to have a smooth sailing in the elections due to its popularity among the populace and also being the party with firm structure across the length and breadth of the state.
The controversies that have embroiled the party since its aborted chairmanship primary in Teslim Balogun Stadium,Surulere, created so much chaos and confusion within the party that candidates could not campaign until a week to the elections because no one was sure of what is coming next.
But since about a week ago when the campaign train of the party took off in Ikorodu,there has been no stopping as the campaign train has gone round the six councils with exceptional outings in Ikorodu Central, Igbogbo/Bayeku and Ikorodu North LCDAs.
Unlike APC, the main opposition party, PDP, had a rancor free primary in May through a consensus while there was still enough time to embark on campaign to present and sell its candidates to the electorate.But unfortunately, the party too was enmeshed in complex controversies from the national to ward levels.
For about two months after conducting its primary elections in Ikorodu, nothing was heard about the party and its candidates. The recent Supreme court judgment on the leadership crisis rocking the party at the national level, which favoured the Makarfi led executive committee faction, has further caused confusion within the party in Ikorodu division as Lagos State Chapter of the party is firmly in the hand of the Ali Modu Sheriff faction which Ikorodu division exco also belong.
Right now, no one can precisely state what the faith of the PDP candidates produced by the Sheriff faction is. But despite these uncertainties, the candidates, about a week ago, started canvassing for votes.
The third feasible party, Labour Party, has its body formed by its original members while its soul and blood is loyal to the PDP Makarfi led faction. Nothing was heard about the party after the 2015 general elections until recently when the aggrieved PDP members went into alliance with the party.
The only council where the party is fielding 100% candidates in the coming council elections is Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA.
Signs of the Accord Party presence can mostly be seen in Ikorodu North LCDA where the party is fielding some councillorship candidates.
Generally, there may be voters apathy due to hard economic situation, insecurity, lack of information regarding candidates contesting in the elections and the perception by the electorate that the ruling party will always win, no matter what.
Ikorodu Central LG
Since about a week when APC’s campaign train took off, it has been navigating the nooks and crannies of the town to canvass votes its chairmanship, vice chairmanship and councillorship candidates and also to sell the party’s agenda to the electorate.
The firmly established structure of the party is greatly helping the party’s flag bearers,particularly its chairmanship and vice chairmanship candidates, Hon. Wasiu Adeshina and Princess Folashade Olabanji-Oba, in making up for the lost time.
While the party is still trying to reconcile its aggrieved members, most of whom formed an integral and formidable camp within party, the campaign has been going on without stopping, though the lingering crisis is not expected to have significant adverse effects on the party’s chances.
The party’s flag bearers also seem to have huge financial strength to prosecute the elections. Recently, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Babajimi Benson, Member, Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, acting Commissioner for Tourism/Special Adviser on Arts & Culture, Hon. Nurudeen Solaja, Member, Lagos State House of Assembly and Prince Lanre Sanusi, a businessman and loyal party man, were reported to have given financial support to the six chairmanship and 32 councillorship candidates of the party in Ikorodu division.
Financial support is also being expected from the state government and other sources for the APC candidates.
The candidates have also been campaigning vigorously about their respective programmes with emphasis on areas such as health, infrastructural development, education, security, youth/women empowerment, tourism development and Internally Generated Revenue(IGR)among others.
In terms of media and publicity, APC is also conveniently in the driver’s seat. Its candidates’ posters and billboards are conspicuous and strategically located across the division, while it has also dominated the social media platforms relating to Ikorodu.
The APC Chairmanship candidate, Hon. Wasiu Adeshina is also very well known having served as Executive Secretary of Ikorodu Local Government and Publicity Secretary of APC. He has also served in many capacities as an administrator. He also has the backing of who-is-who in the party.
The issue of Sabo market demolition, harsh economic situation, insecurity and people’s yearning for true change are some of the factors that may count against the ruling party’s candidates in the division.
On the other hand, the main opposition party, PDP, is fielding Alhaji Saheed Abolaji and Prince Kamilu Owoeye as Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship candidates respectively.
The two candidates are relatively known, except for the Vice Chairman who is more popular politically. Their joint candidacy is also expected to inject new ideas and thinking into the polity if elected.
However, the major challenge of the PDP candidates is funding. The faction of the party which produced the candidates is loyal to the sacked Sen Ali Modu Sheriff and as a result, are not expected to get needed financial support from the new leadership of the party,both at the national and state level..
The party is also weak and polarized that a faction loyal to Makarfi had to teamed up with the Labour Party for the purpose of local council elections in the state. This, to a greater extent, has denied the party the necessary internal strength and cohesion needed by a serious-minded opposition to dislodge a strong ruling party from power.
More so, Most of the stalwarts of the party, with financial muscles, are with the Makarfi faction, while others have either left politics or on sabbatical.
Aside the fact that you cannot point to any programme which the candidates are using in canvassing for votes, it is also quite difficult to feel their campaigns. Candidates of the party have little or no presence in terms of campaign posters, bill boards and on social media platforms save for one or two councilosrhip candidates.
Like the APC, PDP is also polarized and this has badly affected the strength of the party. It is also worthy of note that the party has two executives and secretariats in Ikorodu.
The APC Councillorship candidates are Hon. Gbenga ‘Governor’ Awobajo (Ward A), Hon. Olohunwa ‘Gino’ Oshodi (Ward B), Omotayo Awolesi (Ward C), Lawal ajibola S. (Ward D), Adebowale Adebola Ajayi (Ward E), Shokunbi Toheeb A. (Ward F) and Sofumade Abayomi F. (Ward F).
Their PDP counterparts are Owolabi Michael Oluwatoyin, Bakare Kamoli, Shokeyo Sheu Babatunde, Banwo Alade Azeez, Babayemisi Emmanuel Kehinde, Mabunmi Omotayo Tosin and Olaoye Wasiu Abolarinwa.
Save for any divine or magical intervention, APC is expected to win convincingly in Ikorodu Central LG, but Wards C and F are not going to be an easy task for the ruling party. Aside the fact that PDP is fielding Tosin Mabunmi who is well known, Labour Party is also fielding Mr Afeez Oluwabanjo, whose disability is not in any way preventing his ability to spring a surprise.
Ward C seems to be a PDP strong hold coupled with other factors.More so,the party is also fielding a popular candidate in Babatunde Sheu Shokeyo. But the ruling party’s candidate, Omotayo Benson, is equally a popular and strong candidate that can match the strength of his opponents from PDP and Labour Party.
Political happenings in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA are not only interesting, they also give semblance of true democratic feature with two parties matching themselves with programmes and campaigns.
APC is fielding Comrade Sesan Daini, a former Speaker, Students’ Union Government,University of Lagos (UNILAG), former aide to Otunba Henry Ajomale, State Chairman, APC and former aide to Mr Tunji Bello, Secretary to the State Government. He was, until recently, a senior political aide to Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, acting Commissioner for Tourism/Special Adviser on arts & Culture. He is a Prince of Ijaolu Ruling House of Igbogbo and had served as Supervisory Councillor in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, a position he left to take up state appointment.
His Vice, Hon. Titilola Adegboyega is equally popular within the Igbogbo/Bayeku political arrangement and community development.
Like their counterparts in Ikorodu Central LG, APC candidates in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA also have adequate financial muscle to prosecute the elections. Also,Daini is expected to enjoy more of the financial support due to his connections within the state and national structure of the party, coupled with his political influences abroad.
His campaign,since inception, is being run based on well articulated programmes for the residents of Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA. His campaign programmes cover infrastructural development, health, support for traditional institution, tourism development, empowerments, education, agric, sports, security and youth development.
The developmental plans of the APC led State Government for Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA and Ikorodu division generally is also expected to add political advantage to the Sesan Daini/Titilola Adegboyega joint ticket and other APC candidates across the division.
Aside been a candidate of the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Otunba Henry Ajomale and Hon. (Mrs) Adebimpe Akinsola among other power brokers, Daini’s emergence was also demanded for by Igbogbo youths. This informed the level of his acceptance among the people. He is expected to use his wide network of connections to bring development to Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA.
The APC campaign train has been very effective as it has moved to every part of the council to win people’s supports.
Sesan is also one of the very few aspirants that launched whatzzAp group platform where he interacts with the cross section of the community. His presence on other social media group platforms has also helped his popularity.
APC is enjoying massive supports of the traditional institutions, market associations, youth groups, religious bodies and others in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA.
On the other hand, Labour Party is fielding Mr Ogunlaja Olayinka as its Chairmanship candidate and Mr Omotayo Oduala as the Vice Chairmanship candidate.
Though, the Vice is relative known, Mr Ogunlaja is popular among the youths and others in Igbogbo. He was formerly a Demarcator with the National Population Commission before leaving for the private sector where he worked with Hands Corporate Services and Omatek Ventures Limited in Ghana.
He was the former President, Igbogbo Students’ Union and has been involving in the community development activities in Igbogbo.
According to him, his involvement in politics was informed by the level of underdevelopment in Igbogbo when he returned to the town.
The Labour Party candidate is unarguably the only opposition candidate that is not only with programmes but also has been enumerating how he is going to implement them for the benefits of the people. His campaign programmes include health, infrastructures, tourism, internally generated revenue, indigeneship and residents dichotomy, education, enhancement of tradition and culture, bridging the gap between the council and the public and empowerment for the youths, security among others.
While the APC candidates are dominating and winning the media campaigns in term of posters, billboards and social media presence, the Labour Party candidate has employed the use of text messages to educate the electorate.
The Labour party’s campaign has also been matching that of the APC, especially within the Igbogbo township.
Councilorship candidates of the ruling APC are Hon. Olalekan Ashafa (Ward C1), Wasiu Adebayo Olowu (Ward C2), Nurudeen Alowonle Alimi (Ward C3), Matiu Kolawole Arowolo (Ward C4)Monsur Kolejo (Ward C5). These five candidates are very popular among the people.
Labour Party on the other hand is fielding Adeyemi Oshodi, (C1), Ibrahim Ajibade (C2), Wasiu, Adeshina () C3, Amos Olugbare (C4), Olajide Fasasi (C5). These are articulate candidates, having presented their programmes and articulate them to the electorate in the council..
In Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, PDP is fielding two councillorship candidates – Abimbola Akinwunmi and Basanya Saheed Oluranti in Ward C3 and C4 respectively.
Though, the Labour Party candidates are equally staging relatively effective campaign like their APC counterparts in Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, they are no match for the formidable APC team which is popular and enjoying massive supports with consideration to other factors.
Ikorodu North LCDA
This is another council where APC is still finding it difficult to reconcile its aggrieved members, but some successes were made during the last campaign when two of the aggrieved aspirants in person of Hon. Haruna Ishola Balogun, former Vice Chairman, Ikorodu North LCDA and Mr Dosunmu sheath their swords and embraced peace.
Meanwhile, the party flag bearers, Hon. Adeola Banjo and Mr Ameen Olawale Apanisile are enjoying massive supports of the party structures in their campaign which has been criss-crossing the five wards and other strategic areas of the expansive council.
Hon. Banjo was a former Executive Secretary of Ikorodu North LCDA and he is expected to deploy his experience, having been incharge in appointive capacity, into his campaign and when elected.
His Vice,Young Ameen Apanisile, is very popular among the youths and is expected to provide the team with energy and pragmatic initiatives.
The team is also enjoying financial supports from leaders of the party like their counterparts mentioned above.
The network which Hon. Banjo has built during his tenure as Executive Secretary is expected to come handy during the campaign and in winning the election. More so, Ikorodu North has always been an APC base and this is expected to continue.
The major challenge of the party in the council is the other members of the G8 whom are not joining the campaign train. Chiefly among these are Hon. Matthew Adesanya, a strong and popular figure in the council who is firmly on ground in Odogunyan. Though, the wisdom of the old political horse, Alhaji Adewunmi Akibu and others who also domicile in this area are expected to provide the soothing balm in case reconciliation is not achieved before the election.
Like their counterparts in other councils, the APC flag bearers in Ikorodu North LCDA have hinged their campaign agenda on sports, security, empowerment, infrastructural development, improved IGR, education, health among others.
The opposition party,PDP,is fielding Mr Akintolayo Wilson Oluremi, whom little or nothing has been heard of since he was presented with the party’s flag.
While Balogun A. Babatunde (Ward E1), Olutusin Ambali (Ward E2), Niran Adeyemi (Ward E3), Adekoya Ayo Abiodun (B3) and Ibraheem Balikeez Aderoju (Ward E4) are the APC Councillorship candidates in the five wrads of Ikorodu North LCDA, PDP is fielding four candidates and they are Abiola Joseph Adegbenga, Idris Kazeem Tolulope, Disu Ramota Omotolani and Joshua Olusola Sunday in Ward E1, E2, E3 and E4 respectively.
Accord Party is another opposition party fielding councillorship candidates in Ikorodu North LCDA. The party is fielding Dada Bode Olashogo and Akinreti Olalekan Julius in Ward B3 and E4 respectively.
Despite internal challenges confronting APC, the party is still expected to record a resounding victory, going by its well coordinated campaign and lack of strength and popularity of the opposition parties.
Ikorodu West LCDA
In Ikorodu West LCDA, it is all about the ruling party,APC,despite the main opposition party, PDP, fielding candidates for the chairmanship, vice chairmahsip and four councillorship positions.
It was in Ikorodu West LCDA that the primary election crisis, which almost torn APC apart,was first settled and this has enabled aggrieved members to sheath their swords and work together with other members as one-big-family.
The APC Chairmanship candidate, Princess Jumoke Jimbo-Ademehin,was formerly a Vice Chairman, Chairman and Executive Secretary of Ikorodu West LCDA. She is one of the 19 former council administrators who was asked to contest for the chairmanship positions unopposed, courtesy of the directive by the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Hon. Sesan Dada is the party’s Vice Chairmanship candidate in the council.
Though, many of the party’s members and chieftains in the council are not in support of her emergence because of what they termed as abysmal performances in her previous administration, but she has since used the opportunity provided by the Tinubu’s gesture to meet and appeal to leaders and groups within the council.
Today, she is enjoying a massive support within and outside Ikorodu West LCDA.
APC candidates in Ikorodu West LCDA are also beneficiaries of the financial gestures from Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, Hon. Babajimi Benson, Hon. Nurudeen Solaja, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola and Prince Lanre Sanusi among others.
The opposition party’s candidate is Mr Akintolayo Wilson Oluremi.
APC Councillorship candidates in the five wards in the council Olaomo Gbadamosi (Ward A), Adebowale Kalejaiye (Ward B), Oluwatoyin Dada (Ward C), Julius Tejumaye (Ward D) and Wasiu Agbaje (Ward E).
On the other hand,PDP Councillorship candidates include Ogunbule Oluwaseun (Ward B) Akpata Peter (Ward C), Sunmola Jamiu Oluwaseun (Ward D) and Adenuga Olamide Abiodun (Ward E).
A landslide victory is certain for APC in this council as well.
It is also expected that APC would record a resounding victory in Ijede LCDA as there are clear indications that the opposition parties are not providing effective challenge.
While PDP is fielding a joint ticket of Mr Afinah Lookman Adewale as its chairmanship candidate and Mrs Damilola O. Lawal as Vice Chairmanship candidate, the ruling APC is fielding Alhaji Fatiu,a young Political Science graduate from Lagos State University (LASU), and Miss Motunrayo Gbadebo, as its Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship candidates respectively.
Alhaji Fatiu is a party man to the core and very popular among the indigenes and residents of Ijede and Egbin, the two dominant towns in Ijede LCDA. He is also the most popular among the aspirants that vied on the APC platform.
His Vice, Miss Motunrayo, who is also popularly known and called ‘Tweety’ is 27years of age and the daughter of a strong political force in Ikorodu division, Yeye Fausat Gbadebo, who was a former Chairman, Ijede LCDA and APC Woman Leader, Lagos East Senatorial District.
Aside bringing her mother’s influence to bear on the ticket, she is also expected to bring youthfulness and add value to the joint ticket in the before, during and after the election.
Another force working towards the success of the APC team in the council is Prince Lanre Sanusi, an USA based businessman and Nigerian politician.Like several other APC stalwarts, he has assisted the Chairmanship, Vice Chairmanship and Councillorship candidates financially. It was gathered that he donated N3.5milliuon (half a million each) to the six chairmanship candidates in Ikorodu division.
APC candidates in Ijede are expected to get more financial supports from him than others because of his affinity to the town.
While APC is fielding candidates in all the five wards, PDP is sponsoring four candidates for the councillorship positions. These candidates include Balogun Oludare Folusho, Olambiwonnu Olawale Rasaq, Raji Adeola Adijat and Akinlonu Olugbnro Moses.
Imota,which is firmly under the control of Alayeluwa HRM Oba Ajibade Agoro, the Olufoworesetie, Ranodu of Imota, is undoubtedly an APC territory.
As predicted, Prince Wasiu Agoro,who commands massive popularity in the council, emerged the APC Chairmanship candidate while Mr Sunday Benson, another popular aspirant, is the Vice Chairmanship candidate.
The influences of Oba Agoro and Hon. Nurudeen Solaja are expected to bring total victory for APC and its candidates in the council elections come July 22.
While APC is fielding five councillorship candidates in Imota, PDP is fielding three.
-Contract for Igbogbo-Igbe road construction awarded – Ambode
Kunle Adelabu & Teslim.
For the third time, officials and stakeholders in Ikorodu division have met over the proposed construction of the Isawo- Arepo road and other developmental projects earmarked for Ikorodu division by the Ambode led government.
The road, which has been highlighted as a key factor in decongesting traffic bottleneck particularly on Ikorodu-Lagos road and also serves as an alternative route to connect Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other inner communities in the division,is set to be constructed by the state government as all necessary preparations have been put in place for its construction.
The well attended stakeholders’meeting was held on 18th of July, 2017, at the frontage of St. Paul Anglican Church, Ajaguro in Agric area of Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
The first stakeholders’ meeting took place at the Governor’s Office with traditional rulers and other eminent personalities from Ikorodu division in attendance
The second stakeholders meeting was at the Ikorodu Town hall where State Government representatives, stakeholders and residents of the division had an extensive discussion on the proposed construction of the road and other projects which the Governor have earmarked for the area.
The purpose of this third stakeholders’ meeting was mainly to provide a platform for the government to interact with the residents of the community in order to enlighten them on the project.
Governor Ambode who was represented by Hon. Rotimi Ogunleye, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, while speaking at the event said the road construction is the fulfillment of his campaign promises to the good people of Ikorodu division.
He said his administration has approved two major road projects for the division. These projects, according to him,are Isawo-Arepo road and Igbogbo-Igbe road.
On the Isawo-Arepo road, the governor said the essence of the project is to open up the area for socio- economic development of the state and the division, adding that the road construction will bring greater value to the properties of residents in the community.
He said the Agric- Isawo-konu- Arepo road would have a link bridge that will connect the State to Ogun State boundary which will then serve as a link to the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway.
Ambode said the road will be a dual carriageway, having two lanes on each side with laybys in some areas, adding that the road would also serve as another link to Shagamu.
He pleaded with the different communities on the axis to see the little burden and discomfort that would come along with the construction as a temporary inconvenience that will ultimately bring relief and economic progress to the area
He appreciated the people for keeping faith with his administration and supporting his government and party,the All Progressives Congress(APC).
More so,Engr. Temidayo Erinle, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, enlightened the gathering on the projectand equally gave the detail of the project as follows:
Name of project: Rehabilitation of Agric-Isawo-Konu-Arepo roads in Ikorodu
Length:7.4km including 4 bridges and 10 lay-byes
Type: Dual Carriageway
Contractor: High Tech Nig. Ltd.
Duration: 18 months
Supervising ministry: Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.
He however urged all residents to see the project as their project and give the contractors needed support,saying that giving the contractors needed support will enable the work to be completed at the specified time.
TPL Kunle Oshodi, who represented the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in the state, informed the gathering that officers from the ministry would come around later in the week to mark affected properties for demolition.
He enjoined the residents to support the road construction by not disturbing the demolition of affected properties but rather channeled their grievances to the appropriate quarters and also charged the residents whose buildings would be affected to come to the ministry with all the document in their possession to prove ownership of the affected landed properties.
TPL Oshodi warned that preventing the officers demolishing the building or the contractors constructing the road from working will only lead to the elongation of the project beyond the specified time.
Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, who is also the representative of Ikorodu Constituency I, commended the Governor for opening up the communities, adding that with the construction of the road would greatly improve traffic movement along the corridor, value of properties and security in the area.
Hon. Segun Anifowoshe, the Sole Administrator of Ikorodu West LCDA, in his own remarks, appreciated Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for deeming it fit to construct the road at this crucial and important time.
He said the road, when constructed, will reduce traffic grid lock which the people have been battling with in the division.
High Chief Kamal Dada, the Regun of Ikorodu, who represented Oba Kabiru Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, at the event, told the gathering that the Kabiyesi instructed him to warn the people against fighting the contractors in order not to delay the project from being completed at the specified period.
He also charged the residents to support the contractors to ensure the smooth and timely completion of the road.
Also at the event, several representatives who spoke on behalf of the residents assured the government on their readiness to support the project in order to ensure that the construction is completed at the specified time.
Dignitaries at the event were; Hon. Gbolahan Ogunleye, Sole Administrator, Ikorodu Central Local Govt.; Hon. Mrs. Bolanle Bashorun, Sole Administrator, Igbogbo/Bayeiku LCDA; APC Party leaders in the LCDA among others.
Pelu Awofeso is a travel writer, journalist and publishing entrepreneur based in Lagos, Nigeria. For over ten years Pelu has been travelling across Nigeria and publishing travel writing in newspapers in Nigeria and beyond, and in his own travel books.
In 2010 he won the tourism category of the CNN Multichoice African Journalist Award for his travel writing. He has also worked as a tourism development officer and a journalist.
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Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Thursday, July 20, 2017, described his counterpart in Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode as the Governor-General of Nigeria, saying that the position of Lagos as the economic nerve centre of the country and the brilliant performance of the Governor in office could not be downplayed in any form.
Speaking while receiving Governor Ambode on a courtesy visit at Government House in Oke-Fia Osogbo, Aregbesola said considering the fact that the economy of Lagos was about the summation of economies of thirty States in Nigeria, one would be denying the obvious not to recognize the vantage position of the State and its Governor in the scheme of affairs in the country.
“I recognize the Governor of Lagos State who by my own assessment is the Governor General of Nigeria. I say so for a very good reason. It is not a question of age of the occupant of that office or his tenure. It is simply an attestation to the fact that the economy of Lagos is about the summation of the economies of thirty States in Nigeria. One will be deceiving himself not to recognize that fact,” Aregbesola said.
While recalling similar visit to former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande by the then Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Aregbesola described Governor Ambode’s visit as historic and apt coming at a time when the State lost some illustrious indigenes and in the wake of democratic assault which he recently suffered, saying that he had been greatly encouraged, motivated and given calm disposition by the visit.
He particularly commended Governor Ambode for his clear expression of commitment to economic integration and development of south west, saying that beyond rhetorics, concrete steps must now been taken to actualize the vision in the overall interest and benefit of the people.
He said it would be disastrous for any State in the region to assume it can make any meaningful progress without integration, adding that it is in the interest of all the six states in the region to work together.
“The only state with the clout and the muzzle to shun collaboration and integration superficially is Lagos and that too will be to its eternal regret because if the adjoining states to Lagos are underdeveloped, the consequence on Lagos is tragic. If it requires trekking from any part of the region to get to Lagos, people will do it and Lagos will have a huge number of internally displaced people who you cannot send away because they speak the same language with you anyway.
“Even going national, there is no tribe or section of the country that is not properly represented in Lagos. So, if people come from as far North as Biu to Lagos, what more of Ikole, Ipetumodu and Arigidi. People will move and Lagos will have unending challenge of at least catering for their municipal needs. So, it is in the interest of Lagos as it is in the interest of other states to pursue with vigor this clamor for effective integration of not only our economy, but our political, social, commercial and educational relationship, among others,” Aregbesola said.
He added that it was only through integration that the region could take maximum advantage of its comparative competitiveness.
Earlier, Governor Ambode said the visit was basically to show solidarity and reflect and expand the brotherhood that the south west region was striving to achieve especially by ensuring the success of the integration of the Yoruba nation.
“I am here to say that I want to further the economic partnership that should exist between the State of Osun and Lagos State. Yes, we have Lake Rice, yes we have a partnership with Kebbi State but the economic integration and food security of the south west remains in the vineyard of Osun and other states that surround Lagos.
“Obviously, we have the consumer strength of the market, we have the commerce but we must integrate backward towards the south west and ensure that the economic prowess of the regional integration that we set out to achieve is put in place for generations yet unborn.
“We have a historic duty and which Governor Aregbesola has continued to champion that we must stand up for the regional integration of the south west because therein lies the future prosperity of the Yoruba nation. I commit myself to that vision. I also commit myself to the vision of the south west governors to the effect that time has come for us to stand up as leaders for our people,” Governor Ambode said.
Besides, Governor Ambode commended Aregbesola for his unwavering commitment and loyalty to progressive ideology of Asiwaju Tinubu, as well as remaining a symbol of steadfastness in the midst of storms.
-Lagos Well Positioned To Help South West, Nigeria, Says Ajimobi
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday, July 20, 2017, described the south west region as the next frontier of food security in Nigeria, revealing that an Agric Master Plan that would facilitate the effective use of the massive arable and fertile land in the region would soon be developed.
Speaking in Ibadan during a courtesy visit to his Oyo State counterpart, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying that all the Governors in the region were in sync about economic integration, and that concerted efforts would be made to fully scale up the agric potentials of the region in the overall benefit of the people.
“We have in the pipeline an Agric Summit that we are planning in conjunction with all the south west States and the idea is for us to create a master plan that allows other States in the region to partner with us.
“Yes, we have done something with Kebbi State but it is never enough. Lagos State is the major consumer of agric products and the idea is that there are so much of fertile land in the South west and we must quickly start to integrate all the south west States from Ogun to Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo so that they will be able to provide to us those things that we consume in Lagos. It is a win-win partnership and it is also in the overall interest of the economic integration that we are talking about in the South West,” Governor Ambode said.
While emphasizing that the south west holds the future of food security in Nigeria, Governor Ambode said the available massive arable and fertile land had placed the region on a sound footing to use agriculture not only to grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region but also to ensure food availability for the country.
“I want to extend my hand of fellowship because I believe strongly that the future of food security in Nigeria actually lies in the south west and we believe strongly that no matter how much of investment we are doing in terms of agriculture, in terms of commerce, Oyo State holds that key also for us to actually integrate backwards and have a bigger GDP for the south west States as we envisioned.
“I am happy that in the next few days, we will be holding another South West Governors’ Meeting in Abeokuta and we will also like to use that as an opportunity for us to continue to speak to the future of the Yoruba nation so that we ensure that the future of the region is guaranteed,” Governor Ambode said.
Besides, Governor Ambode commended Ajimobi for his infrastructural renewal efforts in Oyo State, especially the capital projects and public private partnership initiatives that have been undertaken in recent time, saying that the steps aimed at modernizing Ibadan were in the right direction.
Responding, Senator Ajimobi said Lagos, as the economic capital and most viable State in Nigeria, has a pivotal role to play in the economic development and sustainability of the south west, and that he was happy that the State is being governed by Governor Ambode, who he said has the temperament to play such role.
He said Lagos is in a position to help the South West in terms of economic integration and development and by extension the rest of Nigeria, just as Oyo State is also the political capital of the region.
He recalled how former Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu laid the foundation for a greater Lagos and Babatunde Raji Fashola built on it, while Governor Ambode is presently giving Lagos a balloon push to intellectual and modern age.
“Governor Ambode is undoubtedly Mr. Consolidation, undoubtedly Mr. Transformation, undoubtedly Mr. Repositioning. Beyond any doubt, he has repositioned Lagos State into what I call the IT level, the sophisticated level and each time I visited Lagos, the Governor is also Mr. Beautification. Virtually everywhere he is expanding the roads and making them better; he is building overhead bridges and beautifying the State, and all sorts and I envy you,” Governor Ajimobi said.
Tourism Development: LASG, Ford Foundation Partner On Onikan’s Transformation As African’s Tourism Hub
The Lagos State Government has sealed a major partnership with world’s second largest private foundation, Ford Foundation on the total regeneration of Lagos Island and transformation of Onikan axis to a major tourism hub in Africa.
Briefing Government House Correspondents after a strategic meeting held at Lagos House in Ikeja with an high-powered delegation from Ford Foundation led by its President, Mr Darren Walker, the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said the State Government was delighted to partner with the foundation on issues of mutual interest, saying that the initiative would go a long way in activating the tourism potentials of the State.
The Governor said already the State Government was putting finishing touches to the plan to construct a new Museum in Onikan, while the new Lagos History Centre coming on board in the axis and the Presidential Lodge would be transformed to what would be known as Eko Park.
Going into details, Governor Ambode said: “We just received the President of Ford Foundation, Mr Darren Walker and his team and we are excited that they are willing to partner with us. We have always spoken about the regeneration of the Lagos Island axis. You are also aware that Lagos is planning to build a new Museum in Onikan and also to be able to use the Lagos History Centre and the Presidential Lodge where we want to turn into what we call Eko Park.
“Ford Foundation is the second largest private foundation that we have in the world. They are very credible and we believe strongly that they are lover of arts and having the foundation partner with us in the regeneration of the Lagos Island axis which we want to use to promote arts and tourism, is something that is very good for Lagos and I am excited to receive them.”
Also speaking, Walker said the foundation warmly welcomes the partnership with the State Government, and that the team was optimistic about a great future in the State.
He also eulogized the leadership qualities of Governor Ambode, saying that the vision of the Governor for the State was inspiring.
“I have admired Governor Ambode from afar for some time and then inspired by his leadership and his vision along with my colleagues, we sought an audience today with him and it was an opportunity for us to learn about his vision for Lagos State and we leave this meeting inspired, motivated and very hopeful about the future here,” Walker said.
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, extended the restriction of movement across the State noting that it had been slightly expanded and will now be enforced between 7 am and 3pm on Saturday July 22, to allow for a smooth conduct of the Local Government elections and unhindered participation.
In a statement issued by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the Government also reiterated the call for a peaceful and orderly conduct by the electorates on Saturday as the State holds elections that will usher in new Chairmen and Councillors in the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) across the State.
According to the Commissioner, the State Government and security agencies will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a free and fair election, while ensuring safety of electoral officials and voters.
He also urged residents to be peaceful and orderly in casting and protecting their votes in their respective wards for Chairmen and councilors who are expected to drive development at the third tier of government.
Ayorinde explained that as the election that would bring on board a new set of public officers for the next four years at the local government level, the restriction of movement will allow the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) and the security agencies to distribute electoral materials in good time and ensure a seamless electoral process.
“The police and other security agencies have been maintaining law and order since the commencement of campaign by political parties. They are poised to ensure that the voting on Saturday is conducted smoothly without public disturbance,” he said.
He added that all political parties, candidates and their supporters as well as the general public are assured of safety throughout the period of voting and collation.
The Commissioner also thanked Lagosians for always being peace-loving, while urging them to perform their civic obligation by trooping out with their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) “to show their commitment to participatory democracy and the importance of development at the local government level.”
-Sheath Your Sword, Work For Our Party’s Victory, Ambode Urges Aggrieved Members
Ahead of Saturday’s Local Government Elections in Lagos, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, Chief Henry Ajomale on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, evening assured that the party would emerge victorious in all positions at the polls as a befitting gift to State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Ajomale, who spoke at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House in Ikeja during the presentation of flags to the Chairman and Vice Chairmanship candidates, said the party has worked hard in the last few months to ensure total victory for all its candidates at the polls.
He said it was imperative for the party to maintain its grip so as to complement the efforts of the Governor to deliver more dividends of democracy to every part of the State, charging all party leaders at the local government level to ensure victory on Saturday.
“Nothing is going to stop us. By the grace of God we are going to win the elections. Come Saturday, get ready and use your available opportunities and your leadership role to win for our candidates and we know, for His Excellency the Governor and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu our leader, we must win the elections as a gift to both of them.
“I said it before, we are going to give the Governor the whole package, the total package, all the councilors, all the chairmen are going to be handed over to His Excellency the Governor. We are going to succeed by the grace of God,” Ajomale said.
The Party Chairman also informed the gathering that the crisis within Odi Olowo Local Council Development Area had been resolved with the conduct of fresh primaries, which he said was won by the party’s preferred candidate.
“We have conducted Odi Olowo primaries today (Tuesday) and by the grace of God we won. Today the case of Mushin, we asked for a joinder last week and the court ruled today that instead of giving the ruling behind us, because they filed the suit behind us and did not inform us that there is a suit in court to stop the election but they ruled that we should not hold any election in Odi-Olowo until another primary is held. We have done that primary and we have succeeded.
“Today, the court ruled that we can join the suit, therefore ruling was not possible for them to get behind the door. They now requested that the whole election should be cancelled and should not hold on Saturday, the court also ruled in negative. Both sides were warned and we are going into election on Saturday by the grace of God,” Ajomale said.
Addressing the candidates, Governor Ambode seized the occasion to appeal to aggrieved party members and urged them to bury the hatchet, noting that any crack would be detrimental to the progress of not just the party but the State in general.
“All the things that we have done wrong, I want to say sorry, and I want to appeal to all members of the party. If we break the house, there would be no further canopy. So it’s better to call the plumber, the bricklayer, the electrician to come and do repair works, so that there would be somewhere for us to lie our head and sleep.
“I know there have been a lot of misgivings that has taken place, but what is important is for us to build the house together, thereafter we can do aesthetics to the windows and the doors so that those who are standing would be able to sit”.
“This is like a gathering of peaceful co-existence. Wherever it is that we have had cracks, there are still more than a 1001 positions to compensate and also placate them that left in a negative way,” the Governor said.
He also urged all candidates of the APC go all out and ensure total victory for the party, noting it would ensure the giant strides geared towards moving the State forward remains on course in the years ahead.
“It is better to cement the next four years through these Chairmen and also complement the efforts of the next two years so that we can get another six years. So if we decide because of disagreement or misunderstanding to destroy just two years out of eight years, there would be nothing left to show for the efforts,” he said.
While urging candidates to utilise the next 72 hours to rally massive support from the electorate in their various councils, the Governor said a win for the party in all the elective positions would also sustain the virtues which Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands for.
“This course is a course for the Asiwaju dynasty. So we stand up today to say that we are here to defend that dynasty in totality,” Governor Ambode said.
All Progressives Congress (APC) continues its campaign exercise in preparation for the council elections slated for Saturday,July 22,2017,in Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area (LCDA) on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
The campaign, which took place across the five wards in the council and witnessed flag presentations to councillorship candidates,took off from Ward E1 (Odgogunyan) and later moved to Ward E3 (Agbala), Ward B3 (Isiwu/Akanhun), E4 (Olohunda) and Ward E2 (Erikorodo), where Hon Balogun A. Babtunde, Hon. Adeyemi Adeniran, Hon Adekoya Ayo Abiodun, Hon. Ibraheem Balikeez Aderoju and Hon. Olutusin Ambali were the APC Councillorship candidates respectively.
Party leaders, led by Mrs Toyin Salau, APC Chairman in Ikorodu North LCDA, presented flags to the five candidates to authenticate them as the flag bearers of the party.
Speaking at Erikorodo Community which was the last campaign ground, Mrs Salau stated that the tour of the wards was an opportunity to present the party’s candidates to the electorate.
Another party leader,Otunba Olasunkanmi Tijani while corroborating Salau’s statement said that the campaign was to showcase the party’s candidates and programmes.
“We are not going around for jamboree but to showcase our party’s candidates who are your children and our ambassadors to you and also intimate you on our party’s programmes. We are assuring you of an inclusive government through impactful and enduring programmes and projects”, Otunba Tijani assured electorate.
“We want you to go back home and spread the gospel to others that come Saturday, July 22, 2017, they should vote for our great party, APC, for good governance. That is what we are assuring you.”
In his own words, Prince Adeola Muhydeen Jokomba, former Chairman, Ikorodu North LCDA, appealed to aggrieved party members to put the interest of the party first.
“It is normal for people to aspire for positions, but at the end, the party would only settle for one person among other capable aspirants. In this case, the party has decided and we all must respect that decision irrespective of our personal and group demands. We don’t fight in APC, rather, we strive and thereafter, come together to fight for the sustainability of the party because the party comes first”, Hon. Jokomba appealed to aggrieved members.
While acknowledging the presence of Hon. Haruna Ishola Balogun, former Vice Chairman, Ikorodu North LCDA,and Mr Dosunmu,both of whom he said were aggrieved but have now sheath their swords and joined the campaign train, Jokomba appealed to others to emulate them in the interest of the party.
“Come July 22, we must all work towards resounding success for all our candidates so that we can continue to move Ikorodu North and Ikorodu division forward.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Adeniran Adeyemi, Ward E (Agbala) councillorship candidate, while speaking with our reporter at the rally stated that the electorate should expect a robust legislature that would impact positively on the people in the council.
“I want to thank Almighty God for counting me worthy for this assignment. I also want to acknowledge the national leader of my party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, my party leaders in Ikorodu division, especially in Ikorodu North LCDA and the generality of our party members for their supports. I want to assure them of a robust legislature which they have never experienced in the history of the council. Our legislative session will put the people first”, he stated.
“I want our people to come out en mass on Saturday, July 22, to vote for the candidates of our great party across the six councils in the division”, he appealed.
The chairmanship candidate, Hon. Adeola Banjo,while also speaking with our reporter,assured the electorate of a positive impact in the areas of youth empowerment, sports, security, education, infrastructural development, women empowerment, health among others.
While appealing to aggrieved members to come on board and work for the party, he assured them that there would not be any discrimation in his government if elected.
Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, presented flags to the Chairmanship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for Saturday’s Local Government Elections.
At the event held at Lagos House in Ikeja, he urged Lagosians to come out en masse and vote for the candidates of APC.