Lagos Crippled by Vested Interests, Says Agbaje

Jimi Agbaje

* Predicts mass defection in APC

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has lamented that the state has been crippled by vested interests for about 20 years.

To this end, Agbaje has vowed to take over the state in 2019, stressing that the state has been under the grip of one or two persons.

The governorship candidate made this disclosure Tuesday in Abuja during his interaction with journalists, when he came calling at the party’s National Secretariat.

He said after the party’s national convention held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the party was getting ready for the 2019 elections, while also congratulating the party and the members for coming out of the convention stronger.

Agbaje stated: “This time around, we intend to take over Lagos in 2019. The campaign for Lagos is set for us. It is clear to us in Lagos that what Lagosians are looking for us is freedom from the vested interests that have gripped Lagos for nearly 20 years. We have a situation where it had been under the grip of one or two persons and we are tired of that.

“We believe Lagos is doing well compared to other states but it can do much better than it is doing now but it is being crippled by vested interests.”

Agbaje stressed further that things that could have been done differently are being done in a differently manner, which he said was slowing down the progress.

He noted: “We have been doing our light rail now for about 12 years. Other cities and countries that started with us have finished their own. These are some of the issues of vested interests. But we are saying Lagos must have light rail. How are we going to empower the youths? What education are we giving them? We have to address those basic issues in terms of our youths.

“That is what the campaign is set against. Free Lagos campaign is a campaign that Lagos can be better and that the alternative can be a lot more better than it is today.

“The structure is being put in place and I am sure that at the end, it is going to be victory for PDP in Lagos and at the centre and in most of the states that we lost.

“There is a lot of confidence and don’t forget in 2015 and irrespective of what happened, that base we had in 2015 still remains intact. Those that voted for us are still there for us. The strategy is to expand that base in a way that we have every assurance that we are taking Lagos.”

On the former Lagos PDP state chairman that left, Agbaje said he left on his own and that his departure had no negative impact on the party in the state.

According to him, “He left on his own. If you go alone, I don’t know how that will affect the party in any way. If he was really somebody that has a structure or followership, you will expect the followership to go with him but when you leave as one person, it means you are of no effect on the party. We have not felt anything with his departure and it will not affect us. We have not had defections from the PDP in the last few years.”

Agbaje however predicted that in the next few weeks, there would be defections from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP.

According to him, “Let them make all their mistakes. We will reap from them. All we are doing now is to add to the base we already have.”

He said that Chief Bode George remains the leader of PDP in Lagos “and I don’t think anybody is going to doubt that. So, I don’t know what you mean by a relationship.”