Opinion: Lagos governor – Is this the Jimi Agbaje we trust?

by Tope Adesipo

If winning elections were based on understanding issues and presenting workable solutions as well as having a solid blueprint for the development of Lagos, then Agbaje would have won the 2007 polls as analysts opine that he ran the best campaign during the electioneering.

The major political parties in Lagos, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are ready to slug it out at next year’s governorship election?. The race for the Alausa Round House is a straight fight between PDP’s Jimi Agbaje and APC’s Akin Ambode .

Jimi Agbaje having defeated his closest rival a former minister for defence Musiliu Obanikoro at the primaries emerged as the standard bearer for the PDP. It is clear that Jimi Agbaje was the choice of majority of the party’s faithful and leaders who saw and recognize a “People’s Candidate” in Mr. Agbaje. Senator Obanikoro put up a credible challenge and it is indeed refreshing to see him pledge his support with his party’s candidate.

The agitation for a Christian Governor and a candidate from Lagos East Senatorial district perfectly fits into Jimi Agbaje’s aspiration as he is a Christian and from Lagos East senatorial district. With Akinwunmi Ambode of the APC a Christian and also from Lagos East senatorial district, this in mind, there was no way the PDP could afford to take a gamble if the party is really interested in taking over Lagos by presenting a candidate from the same senatorial zone as Tinubu and Fashola from Lagos west as Governor. The people of Epe and Ikorodu are obviously feeling marginalized in the scheme of things, hence, the need for the PDP to balance up.

Olujimi Kolawole Agbaje, JK as he is fondly called foray into politics began as far back as 1993. During the crisis that engulfed the nation due to the annulment of the 1993 Presidential elections, JK joined other progressive voices to call for the announcement of the late M.K.O Abiola as the winner of that election. He was a leading member of the Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere where he served as the National Treasurer. He was also a key member of the Save Nigeria Group. A group that played active role in the constitutional crisis the nation was plunged into occasioned by late president Yar’Adua’s ill health in 2009.

In 2007, following his failure to clinch the gubernatorial ticket of the then Action Congress (AC) following the anointment of Babatunde Fashola by former governor Bola Tinubu, he defected to the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) where he flew the party’s flag in the 2007 Governorship election in Lagos state. DPA obviously being a weaker platform and with his face conspicuously missing on the ballot he came a distant 3rd behind Fashola of the AC backed by the incumbent at that time Bola Tinubu and Musiliu Obanikoro who was heavily backed by the federal forces of the PDP. Tinubu was reported to have said sometimes that Agbaje was eminently qualified to succeed him and if there is anyone he actually offended who needs to forgive him, it has to be Agbaje.

If winning elections were based on understanding issues and presenting workable solutions as well as having a solid blueprint for the development of Lagos, then Agbaje would have won the 2007 polls as analysts opine that he ran the best campaign during the electioneering.

In 2011, he left the dying DPA for the Peoples Democratic Party and now with his emergence as the PDP flag-bearer for the 2015 Lagos gubernatorial polls, the fireworks have been lighted as he is set to face an equally qualified candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Akinwumi Ambode.

The then AD, later AC, ACN and now APC has been in power in Lagos state since 1999. From former Governor Tinubu to Fashola, Lagos has been in the grip of the APC, though observers believe the equation could have changed in 2007 but for the assassination of the then PDP candidate, Funsho Williams.

With many Lagosians bearing the brunt of increased taxes, high cost of housing, the menace of touts etc and having seen the APC ruled for 15 years, there is a general cry for a change in status quo in the Alausa seat of power. Voices calling for a paradigm shift in power is becoming loud and louder as the days go by.

With the background of being an accomplished Pharmacist with membership of many professional bodies as well as laurels, Agbaje promises to bring into governance his private practice experience and thoroughbred professionalism to transform Lagos into a city where both the rich and the poor have equal access to resources as well as improving the living standard of Lagosians which despite the supposed gains recorded in the last 15 years, the Economic intelligence Unit (EIU) reported that Lagos is the 3rd worst city to live in the world.

Analysts and ardent followers of Southwest politics are aware that the South West voters are the most sophisticated in the federation. Primordial sentiments like party affiliation hardly influence their voting pattern putting into cognizance the fact that they voted overwhelmingly for Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 neglecting the ACN’s Candidate Nuhu Ribadu. Ambode’s unpopularity and Bola Tinubu’s overbearing influence may also count in Jimi Agbaje’s? Favour at the polls.

The momentum is indeed building up and Jimi Agbaje might just spring one of the pleasant surprises of the 2015 polls. The “JK we know” but even more poignantly, the “JK We Trust” can certainly be trusted to give Lagos its chance for true all inclusive development.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

  1. Agbaje good man in bad party PDP cannot win Lagos what is their performance at federal level zero

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