Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in Lagos State. With his running mate, Princess Islamiyat Abiodun Oyefusi, the change agent, social critic and advocate is an MIT graduate, an architect and politician, who once contested for Senate for Lagos West Senatorial District in 2019. An original Lagosian whose roots run deep, Gbadebo hopes to channel his passion for justice, dedication to service and advocacy in championing the affairs of the cosmopolitan city of Lagos. With his key derivatives being accountability, cutting down cost of governance, youth development, agriculture, tackling insecurity, job creation, urbanisation, cultural diversification, and even housing, Chiemelie Ezeobi queries whether he is indeed the new architect of Lagos as he is being touted
Born on March 8, 1983 on Lagos Island and raised in Ikeja, Gbadebo Chinedu Rhodes-Vivour, also known as GRV, is the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for Lagos State in the upcoming 2023 Lagos State gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on March 11.
Despite his family background, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour has carved a niche for himself in the field of architecture. He had his primary and secondary school education at Chrisland Schools before he went on to Paris in France to finish up at Ecol Artive Berlin.
Gbadebo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Nottingham, UK as well as a Masters’ degree in the same field from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA.
After his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 2009, he went back for a second Masters’ degree in Research and Public Policy from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Professionally, Gbadebo has proven his mettle in his field of study. The MIT graduate founded Spatial Tectonics but also serves on the boards of Alhuda Construction Nigeria and Delta International Commercial City Ltd.
His love for modern design has been replicated in his projects and has earned him the attention of creme de la creme of society. However, in most projects carried out in Lagos, he weaves his love for modern designing and the city’s rich culture. But most importantly, he does it with care for the environment, ensuring its preserved.
In his kitty are the development of a master plan for the Lagos International Airport, redesign of the Lagos Island waterfront, and revitalisation of the National Arts Theatre, and so many more.
For Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, his roots are as deep as they come coupled with a solid pedigree to boot. An original Lagosian, he is the son of former Supreme Court of Nigeria Justice Olawale Rhodes-Vivour and Mrs. Nkechi Rhodes-Vivour.
But his roots are deeper than most. His grandfather was late Judge Akinwunmi Rhodes-Vivour and his great-grand father was Judge Steven Bankole Rhodes, the second ever indigenous judge appointed in Nigeria. Thus, to say he came from the lineage of legal luminaries is an understatement.
Gbadebo as the Unifier
With this background, Gbadebo is entrenched in his quest to fight for justice for all notwithstanding tribe or religion. Call him a unifier and you won’t be mistaken. For one who has shed the toga of bigotry, his one true desire is for peace and justice on all fronts.
But this stance is often misunderstood like is currently happening. While some are fighting his stance to call for justice for the South-east region, there are yet many others who commend his balance in making a case for the Oduduwa nation also. For the latter, his non partisan stance only goes to portray a man filled with empathy and abhors injustice.
Also in contention recently is his choice of an Igbo lady as wife. While the ignorant gloat that his Igbo blood was enough to disqualify him from running for office of the governor of Lagos, they however ignore the fact that most of the past governors of the state were from Osun and even the current governor is from Ogun State.
Flaying that school of thought, he postures as the unifier who has had a taste of both worlds, thus has better understanding of their culture and value system.
His wife, Dr. Ifeyinwa Rhodes-Vivour (PhD.), daughter of Mr. Augustine Aniebo from Umunze in Anambra State, is an Oxford University graduate, an internationally renowned molecular geneticist and a thought leader in public health in Africa.
Service to Humanity
From time immemorial, the Rhodes-Vivours have always rendered service to humanity whether in Nigeria or abroad. From his ancestor, Bankole Vivour, that fought in world war II and lost his life bombing Berlin and Numernberg in the war against Hitler 77 years ago, to Gbadebo and siblings, it’s “Service for love of country, for love of our people. For us, it has never been lip service. I love to serve the people and I see it as an honor and duty. We have a deep love for Lagos and for its people. We are consistent, you can go and verify. Lagos is our home and we will always defend it,” he posited.
He went to cite his younger sister Titilola, who coordinates the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team and has proven her mettle in tackling the numerous cases of sexual and domestic abuses across the state.
A passionate advocate, Gbadebo has been vocal about so many causes from the thuggery that thrives in Lagos because of lack of empowerment of the youths to the traffic situation, lack of affordable housing and the need to transform Lagos to an indeed cosmopolitan city.
In 2015, he took a stand against potentially harmful GMOs despite international pressure to make sure Nigerian agriculture and environments are preserved & they aren’t pressured to use harmful produce. His advocacy cuts across all sectors and he has been quite consistent in service.
But for most youths, what has endeared him to them is the fact that he showed up and out at the 2020 nationwide #EndSARS protest in the quest for justice and an end to police brutality.
Choice of Deputy
His choice of deputy is Princess Islamiyat Abiodun Oyefusi, a law graduate from the prestigious Aberdeen Law School, with an MBA from the University of Hull.
For Rhodes-Vivour, the agenda is not money or fame rather to build a Lagos that revolves around all.
On his Twitter handle, the pinned tweet read thus: “Lagos is working” our drainage systems say otherwise. The traffic, harassment by state backed youth, building collapses, Zero transparency & accountability, all say, Lagos is not Working. It is time to make Lagos Excellent again. It is time for a Lagos that revolves around YOU.”
In different fora, his key derivatives for Lagos has centered around youth empowerment, blocking identifiable leakages and reducing cost of governance, develop a multi-modal transport system, cleaning up the environment, boosting agriculture, tackling the perennial Lagos traffic and insecurity.
With youth empowerment, he intends to push policies that will take youths from the streets and build their capacity.
His desire is also to level up the standard of living of those that live in Lagos, but in doing so, he also intends to be accountable and not run an opaque government.
He also intends to render tailor made solutions to respective areas of the state while blocking leakages that prevents governance from reaching the masses.
Admitting that the transportation system in Lagos needs to be overhauled, he proposed a multi-modal transport system. This he said will automatically reduce the perennial traffic situation.
For Lagosians who have constantly lamented that they have been over burdened by multiple taxation, Gbadebo also promises to tackle that, adding that running a government with empathy is his focus.
For the women, he also promised to implement 35 per cent affirmative action to enable them fulfil their respective capabilities.
As the elections draw near, the question on many lips are whether he is well positioned to tackle the challenges that face Lagos and transform it from the second worst lived cities in the world to a truly cosmopolitan city, Gbadebo has this to say, “Lagos is a Cosmopolitan city of commerce and excellence that needs a leader who is committed to unifying various Nigerians who work, reside or pass through Lagos. A true leader takes responsibility for its citizens in our Lagos”.
According to him, his hand is already on the plough to work but would need the backing of citizens to see it materialize through the polls come March 11, 2023.