JANDOR, RHODES-VIVOUR AND THE LAGOS QUESTION
By Laide Akano
The Lagos electorates alongside twenty-eight other states of the federation, will go to the polls to elect the persons who will pilot the affairs of the state, famous as the centre of excellence; as governor and deputy governor for the next four years, until another round of elections in 2027.
Alongside the incumbent – Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat who are seeking reelection for a second term, a couple of other contestants are seeking their first term. As the incumbent, the capacity, capability and competence of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Obafemi Hamzat, both governor and deputy respectively have been tested.
Given the overall Nigerian economic, social and political climate, as well as peculiar circumstances Lagos has faced since they assumed office, one can say the duo have done well, so far. And if it was possible to simply declare that ‘one good term deserves another’, it can be said they are good to go for a second term right away.
However, the beauty of democracy is that, as at when due; the door is thrown open to willing candidates – incumbent or not; to slug it out via an election, while it is up to the electorates to assess, compare, contrast and choose by voting who they want.
Around Lagos 2023 governorship election, the most common names on people’s lips are Babajide Sanwo-Olu of APC, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adeniran of PDP famous as Jandor and Chinedu Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of Labour Party. With the presidential election outlook, some bookmakers might even bet on Rhodes-Vivour to win in Lagos.
In electioneering season, Nigerians generally focus more on the candidate and less on the deputy who invariably steps into office in event anything unexpectedly happens to the principal.
Even apart from that, in governance, the deputy must be able to bring something tangible to the table in terms of intellect, experience and exposure. Having mentioned Sanwo-Olu and his deputy in one breath in terms of capacity, capability and competence and how tested the duo has been; it is important to remind us here that Jandor is running with Funke Akindele, aka Jenifa while Rhodes-Vivour has little-known Islamiyat Biodun Oyefusi as his running mate.
Since 1999, the wheel on which electioneering campaign in Lagos politics has run, particularly for the office of the governor is ability to deliver, know-how, credibility and people-friendliness.
Bola Tinubu for instance ran on his track record as a former senator as well as notable pro-June 12 stakeholder and democracy frontliner.
With his Lagos for Lagos campaign thrust, Jandor introduced a new dimension and wake-up call to individuals who can lay claim to Lagos as their state of origin.
Nevertheless, not a few see the move more as an attempt to sacrifice capacity and competence on the altar of origin; not good enough for Lagos as centre of excellence. But then, it is even surprising that not a few people who know Jandor so well from school days claim Jide Adeniran himself, with his Lagos for Lagos slogan is not from Lagos; but merely pretending to be.
While they confirm his mother is of Awori stock, some still argue that the Awori branch of his mother even falls to Ogun State; while some of his childhood friends say he is from Oyo State and most likely Ibadan.
For Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour otherwise called Chinedu for his Igbo maternal background, his state of origin as Lagos is not in doubt even as he prides his family background of over four centuries pedigree.
However, his closer affinity to Igbo cultural heritage of his mother, than Yoruba of his father and his tacit support for IPOB as seen in some of his old tweets, now deleted; does not sit well with majority of Lagosians.State of origin aside, the Lagos question to ask Jandor and Rhodes-Vivour is how would either of them have fared, if they could even cope at all; in the face of the peculiar situations Sanwo-Olu handled perfectly and still performed creditably well; starting with Abule Ado explosions, Covid-19 pandemic and #EndSARS in quick succession, all of which cut off over a year from the four years of his first term.
Despite all, Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat demonstrated capability and commitment to making Lagos a place that works for all. As the heartbeat of Nigeria from time immemorial, it is commendable that a greater Lagos is rising as the cosmopolis today is being piloted to becoming a world-class city and Africa’s top business destination.
With close to five thousand projects commissioned across education, environment, health, infrastructure, security and welfare, and more than 70 percent of them already in use; the incumbent has proved beyond doubt that they are committed to making Lagos the absolute best city for every Lagosian – indigenes and residents alike.
The sitting governor and his deputy have built an inclusive government that has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Lagos is not only Nigeria’s centre of excellence, she is also home of peace and unity for all Nigerians, regardless of tribe or ethnic group.
They have laid solid groundwork in their first term, with a well-deserved second term geared for more excellence at hand.
Having commissioned nearly five thousand projects, even with more than five thousand more ambitious projects and initiatives meant to transform Lagos to the advantage of all Lagosians; in the bag.
Facts and figures speak for themselves, as you can find incontrovertible proof of projects executed and commissioned by Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat administration across board on Lagos State Government website.
You will agree that the journey of their first four years is a remarkable success, even as success is a journey and not a destination.
Dear Lagos electorates, Jide and Femi are prepared to deliver many more remarkable feats to Lagosians on their next journey of success, with your support and votes guaranteeing a second term for them. Lagos cannot but vote Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat for a second term if you sincerely love Lagos.
We cannot afford to toy with the destiny of our dear state, nor blindly perform a stupid experiment. Lagos is not a laboratory.