by Kolapo Olapoju
The Lagos governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Jimi Agbaje, has responded to the All Progressives Congress party’s criticism that he is not experienced enough to govern a complex state like Lagos.
Agbaje said that several great leaders of the world such as Abraham Lincoln and Obafemi Awolowo, lacked the prerequisite experience, but however, went ahead to become revered and inspiring leaders.
In a new interview with Punch newspapers, Agbaje said even if he lacked the necessary experience, he was qualified enough for the job.
He said: “When you talk about experience, do I have experience in government? No. But do I have experience to govern? Yes. Am I qualified to govern? Yes. And I think we should look at history and those that have actually changed their world, especially in governance. There are people who have done that; an example is Abraham Lincoln in the US.”
“Such people did not have government experience but they were qualified. If you come down to Africa, Nelson Mandela did not have government experience but he was qualified. If you come to Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo did not have government experience but he was qualified. Come to Lagos, Lateef Jakande did not have government experience but he was qualified.”
“In fact, I laugh when they speak, because even their national leader, the only experience he could have had or had before he became the Governor of Lagos State was his three months stint as a senator in a quasi military-cum-civilian era. So, that is just mere talk. We have sense of the right way to govern, and for the lack of a better way to attack us, they have to hold on to something.”
“So, we are clear that we are coming in from the outside. Jimi Agbaje is coming in with the prerequisite experience. Jimi Agbaje is first a professional, who has been in politics, served his profession at every level, and understands what it is in terms of service. Jimi Agbaje is coming from the background of a small-scale person. Jimi Agbaje started with a small pharmacy outlet and has been able to grow his business.”
Speaking further, Agbaje also described as a ‘big lie’ the claim by Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, saying that he’s a serial tax evader.
He expressed his disappointment at Fashola’s allegations, saying the governor is playing a politics which he’s not ‘very good at’.
Agbaje said: “I have been accused of being too old to govern; I have even been accused of being a serial tax evader. With due respect, Governor Babatunde Fashola, on the altar of politics, told a big lie on my person, and even on the company that I have. It is a lie and a big lie.”
“Jimi Agbaje is not a tax evader. I have a letter of appreciation from the same government, commending me. There are reports that my company is owing N1.6m, which is a big lie. My company is not owing N1.6m. So, Governor Fashola has used his office in a way that is disappointing to me. He is playing politics, which he had not been shown to be very good at,” he added.