Race for governor: Excitement in Lagos over Sanwo-Olu

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There was excitement among party members in Lagos yesterday as All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in the state, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, unfolded his plans to reporters.

Accompanied by party elders and other chieftains, Sanwo-Olu described himself as the candidate to beat at the proposed governorship primary of the party.

He described his ambition as a reality, vowing to pursue it to the end in the interest of Lagosians.

The 52-year-old former Commissioner for Establishment and Training described himself as a loyal party man who will always reach out to party faithful, promote an open door policy and ensure an unhindered access to his office, if elected as governor.

He promised to resolve the refuse logjam in the Centre of Excellence, create opportunities for human capital advancement, youth development and ease of doing business.

Sanwo-Olu spoke on his ambition at his temporary campaign office, Watercress Hotel, Ikeja, where prominent chieftains and supporters showed excitement about his bid.

His campaign manager, Tayo Ayinde, said he will officially declare his intention tomorrow at a rally scheduled for Police College Ground, beside Arch-Bishop Vining Cathedral, GRA, Ikeja.

The aspirant was accompanied by party elders and other chieftains, including former Health and Special Duties Commissioner Dr. Tola Kasali; APC deputy Chairman Cardinal James Odunmbaku; Vice Chairman (East Senatorial District) Ashipa Kaoli Olusanya; a leader of the Mandate Group, Alhaji Abdullahi Enilolobo; House of Representatives member Prince Rotimi Agunsoye; James Faleke; Alhaji Ganiyu Badmus; Mr. Alawiye King; Abiodun Mafe; Bayo Ajisebutu; Bolanle Akinyemi-Obe; Mrs. Essien; Chief Tunde Temionu; Bayo Osiyemi and Sesan Daini.

Many party chieftains said they were enthusiastic about the prospects of a Sanwo-Olu mandate, saying that he will serve as a symbol of party loyalty, unity, cohesion and development.

The campaign team set up by the aspirant has started setting up campaign structures across the pre-existing 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs).

A number of women and youth groups have also set supportive campaign machinery to complement the Ayinde-led team.

Odunmbaku said if elected, Sanwo-Olu’s government will mirror the vision of the party and reflect its hopes, concerns and aspirations, adding that the aspirant is a party man to the core.

He said Lagos APC deserved a governor that will be loyal to it, assuring that Sanwo-Olu will forge a working alliance between the party and the government in the interest of the state.

In his opinion, the aspirant will not permit any gulf between the APC and his government after assuming the reins.

Hailing his entry into the race, Temionu, a chieftain from Kosofe sub-zone, said: “Sanwo-Olu is a politician. He is intelligent and he understands politics and how it should be played. He will return Lagos to a new era like Asiwaju did. He will toe the party line.”

Daini, who anchored press conference, said many party members are anticipating the end of an era and a new chapter in the ruling party and government.

Sanwo-Olu, who described himself as a “proper Lagosian,” said he entered the race to make a difference, adding that he is eminently qualified to lead the stat to a greater height. He said his ambition is not a joke, vowing to pursue it to the end.

He said: “I am 52 years old. On Monday September 10, I travelled to Abuja to collect the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms. Two days after, I submitted the form in Abuja to confirm my willingness to continue the promotion of the vision for the progress of Lagos.

“I have been blessed by God. I feel highly honoured and thank God. I have the experience of 16 years in the private sector and 12 years in the public sector. I have been a two-time special adviser and three-time commissioner.

“I have held the highest corporation in Lagos State, the LSDC. I have worked under three governors. I was treasurer of two banks, which made me a manager of assets and resources and investment. I have been a manager in real estate sector.”

Justifying his entry into the race, he said he neither joined on the basis of “not too young to rule” nor “Not too old to join,” adding that his involvement is only timely and goal-oriented.

Sanwo-Olu added: “In Lagos, I look at the bright vision to improve what we have so that we can take our stat to a bigger and higher level. I don’t want to wait until I am 75.

“The political landscape gives us opportunities to serve, to improve the wellbeing of our people. I have the experience to manage the assets and resources of the state.”

Exuding confidence about the primary, the aspirant said he will forge ahead with courage, determination and the resolve to succeed.

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