Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has said that the state had been crippled by vested interests for about 20 years, vowing to take over the state in 2019.
The governorship candidate, who made this disclosure yesterday in Abuja during his interaction with journalists at the party’s National Secretariat, stressed that the state had been under the grip of one or two persons.
He said after the party national convention held in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, the party is now ready for 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 State in 2019. The campaign for Lagos is set for us. It is clear to us in Lagos that what Lagosians are looking from 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 what is doing now; but it is being crippled by vested interests.’’
The governorship hopeful added, “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 kind of education is being given to the people? 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 better than it is today.
“The structure is being put in place and I am sure that at the end of the month, it is going to be victory for PDP in Lagos and at the centre and in most of the states that we lost.”
Agbaje further explained, “There is a lot of confidence and don’t forget in 2015, irrespective of what happened, that base we had in 2015 still remain 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 Progressive Congress (APC) to the PDP, adding that “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 he does not think anybody is going to doubt that.