Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that a new pressure group, Lagos4Lagos has emerged with the sole aim of returning decision making organs to Lagosians, away from the perceived control of the National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu
In the colonial history of Nigeria, Lagos State played a special role as a British colony. Then a colony centered in the Port of Lagos in what is now Southern Nigeria, Lagos was an envy of the colonialists and a treasure throve to the natives. The colony and the protectorate were to be incorporated into the Southern Nigeria in February 1906, and Lagos became the capital of the Protectorate of Nigeria in January 1914.
Since then, Lagos has undergone series of political evolution that have largely impacted and imparted on its leadership structure and configuration. At every turn of its political epoch, Lagos state has continued to be the cynosure of all eyes in the contest for political power and relevance.
Being strategically and competitively endowed both in geographic location and national pre-eminence, the contest for power ownership and the question of building formidable structure has become a major issue amongst political actors and gladiators since recorded history.
While the former Lagos British Colony was defended and protected by the West African Frontier Force of old as agents of the colonial British, however the modern history of the state is replete with stories of political hegemons who have continued to define and direct the political compass of the state of aquatic splendour.
Specifically, since the emergence of the current democratic dispensation, Lagos state has remained firmly in the political grip of the National leader of All Progressives Congress, (APC) Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, better known as Jargaban Borgu.
The subsequent formation of anti-military movements and the co-ordinated opposition to the continued military rule in the country then did not happen without the significant intervention of Tinubu. These and several other attributes of the APC National leader, a political avatar have combined to earn him respect amongst peers and generations after him.
The discontent coming on the heels of his perceived presidential ambition in 2023 and his perceived penchant for politics of imposition, has fuelled a widespread agitation from all quarters to alter the existing power structure and hegemonic control of the state which is believed to reside in Tinubu. To achieve the objective of a paradigm shift in the political configuration and power holding system in the state, a new frontier appears to have finally emerged.
The group is known as Lagos-4-Lagos Movement. Membership of the political movement consists of well-educated young men and women, many of whom have made their mark in their various trade and professions. They also include the youth, the elderly, male and female cutting across all demographics.
Unveiling the movement last week, the facilitator, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor said the main goal of the group is to restore decision making power back to Lagosians and in the process birth a Lagos that will work for and benefit all and not just a priviledged handful as has been the practice.
He said, “Our goal is to restore decision making power to Lagosians and birth a Lagos that will work for, and benefit All in Lagos and not just a priviledged handful as has been the practice”.
Speaking further, Adediran, Chairman and Group CEO of Core Media Group revealed that many Lagosians had become weary of the alleged politics of imposition in the state and would want an end to what he described as an ugly trend in 2023.
The group said that since 1999, one man had continued to dictate who governs the state many years after he left office.
Adediran pointedly said that Tinubu, a former governor of the state and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had single-handedly determined who governed the state, since he left office in 2007.
“It is time for Lagos to work for Lagosians, hence the mantra, ‘Lagos4Lagos’. For many years, Lagos has only worked for a few individuals,” he said. The group explained that everyone resident in Lagos State was entitled to a good life irrespective of state of origin. It alleged that many indigenes and residents of the state have not enjoyed the goodies that the state has in abundance and that only a few entrenched interests have enjoyed and continued to enjoy.
“If you want to succeed, you have got to need a new strategy. That’s why we have decided to start on time to engage with relevant agencies, individuals and influencers and seek their collaboration towards this mission. Let us stop this new normal of one individual determining what happens on the political arena of a state. It is no longer fashionable for people to think that with a hefty war chest you can bulldoze your way into power without the people’s mandate,” the convener said.
Making allusion to what transpired in the last 2019 general election, he said: “In Kwara State, the people rose up to end a culture of political entrenchment. We saw that some people had excess money to perpetuate themselves in power; the masses rose up and took the state back. We want to defeat the entrenched interest in Lagos. After many years of research; we have come to provide a solution to the challenge.”
He noted that winning election starts from engaging people at the grassroots not on twitter, facebook or television channel. “We have discovered that for many years those who have won elections have done so on one man’s structure. So, ours is a project that we aim to use to defeat them. If you look at the election result from 1999, the voting number has continued to dwindle. You see that people are dropping off. People are no longer interested in voting. Registered number of voters has continued to shrink,” Adediran noted.
According to him, “We are interested in taking back our state. In the last governorship election in Lagos, there are over two million registered APC members, over six million registered voters, but Babajide Sanwo-Olu won with only 739, 000 votes. It shows you that even members of the party are losing interest. So, we want to reawaken people’s interest in voting process.
We are targeting everybody whether indigene or otherwise using the Team Jandor platform. “We are reaching out to core indigenes through the Ipinle Eko platform and also reaching out to the elite group in Lagos through the Eko United platform.
Over the years, we have discovered that members of the elite group in Lagos State do not vote. We want to sensitise them to take their future in their own hands by deciding who governs them. They should not allow thugs, area boys or the downtrodden who collect sugar, a few cups of rice and other handouts to mortgage their future.
That is why we have come up with Lagos4Lagos mantra that speaks for everybody. We have structure in all the wards in Lagos State.” He also claimed that, “Since 1999, we have only had one governor in Lagos. Every other person has been a tenant.
This individual even decides who becomes an Oba in my village. Ours is a political movement that wants to change the course of things in the state. It is not about party. It is about making Lagos work for everybody.
The way it has been going on for years, Lagos has not been working for everybody. As long as you live and pay your tax here, the state must work for you.” When asked if he would not drop the project in the event that promises of settlement are made, the convener said, “Except you have that Executive power, you will not be able to do what is good and just for our people which is our driving force. If you see anybody supporting a bad system, it means such a person is benefitting from it.
“I want to tell you that we have been to reach every nook and cranny of the state, and the acceptance level has been very high. Many people are not happy about what is going on in the state. No dynasty, however will last forever. There is always a terminal point.” On whether he has the money to prosecute the project when the time comes, he said: “Talking about war chest, this is the thing they have been using to scare us away. They will say you don’t have money; they will kill you, etc. But we are determined this time around to stand on our feet.” On how to raise money, either crowd-funding or other means, he said that would be determined as the days draw nearer. And that as people continue to have trust and belief in what they are doing, they could gladly make financial contribution when the need arises.
Adediran explained that “What we are doing now is already seen as an affront on our leaders. For us who believe we want to do the right thing, only a court of competent jurisdiction can stop us. What we are doing is not at all to fight anybody, but they see it as an affront. But we want to return to the past when we used to elect our own. We are trying to challenge the narrative. Anytime we want to have an election, a few months to that election, they will unveil a candidate who does not know anywhere. But we have already travelled and traversed the state to see things for ourselves- the challenges of the people; how they live, the terrain, etc. We are not just looking for power, just to occupy office. We know what we want to do with it.”
Dismissing the allegation that he is a mole in the state APC planted by some politicians not resident in Lagos, he said although it was true that he had mentioned the project to some of them close to him, there was no input whatever into what he is doing from anybody in terms of finance. He said he mentioned it to them because of his personal relationship with such individuals, emphasising that none of the individuals can dissuade him from going ahead with what he believes in. “I can tell you for free that their kobo is not on this project,” he said.
Asked if he hoped to get nomination from the APC seeing what happened to Ambode in the last governorship primary of the party in the state, he said, “Do you think if our party remains the way it is now till 2023, that they would give me governorship ticket; every other thing the leader may give, not governorship. I know what is happening in the party today, but I know that many things will still happen before the election. So, it is naive for me to be frightened and stop my idea.”
He was flanked by other principal officers of the group during the event. They include, Funke IjayeKunle, central coordinator, Team Jandor; Bode Makinde Benson, principal coordinator for Ibile Eko; Jonathan Nnaji, coordinator for Ndigbo caucus in Lagos; Abdulmumin Gambari, coordinator of Arewa, Adolphus Anum, coordinator of South-south.
MORE ABOUT JANDOR
He is currently Chairman and Group CEO of Core Media Group, a conglomerate consisting several other companies including CoreTvNews, a 24hr digital terrestrial television station; he is Chairman Datanet Project Services, an oil installation and procurement services company; Chairman, The Floral Consult; Owner, Core-Bet, a Casino and Sports Betting firm; and Chairman/Lead Visioner, Jandor Foundation, a privately run non-governmental organization solely established to empower and liberate the less privileged, especially in Lagos. In just over two years of operation, the Foundation established presence in all 57 local government areas in Lagos with over 2,000 volunteers who helped to transform over 10,000 lives and commissioned over 1800 projects.`
Jandor is an alumnus of several institutions of learning, including The Polytechnic Ibadan; Modul University, Vienna; the Prestigious Howard University School of Business, Washington DC, USA; and Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom. He also belongs to several professional bodies such as the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR); the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON); the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ); and the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON). He is also a member of the prestigious Yoruba Tennis Club and Eko Club. He is a recipient of many professional and social awards for his remarkable strides both in his profession as well as his humanitarian endeavors. Olajide, liberal to religion, is a devout Muslim and is happily married with children.
The group is known as Lagos-4-Lagos Movement. Membership of the political movement consists of well-educated young men and women, many of whom have made their mark in their various trade and professions. They also include the youth, the elderly, male and female cutting across all demographics. Unveiling the movement last week, the facilitator, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor said the main goal of the group is to restore decision making power back to Lagosians and in the process birth a Lagos that will work for and benefit all and not just a priviledged handful as has been the practice. He said, Our goal is to restore decision making power to Lagosians and birth a Lagos that will work for, and benefit All in Lagos and not just a priviledged handful as has been the practice