PDP Governorship Candidate for Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has berated chieftains of the All People’s Congress (APC) for maligning him on various charges.
He said this on Thursday on the second day of his party’s rallies in Lagos, which took place in Amuwo and Apapa local government areas.
“E be like say dis governorship election, na two-and-half people Jimi Agbaje dey contest against,” he dug in in pidgin, referring to public attacks launched against him by APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Babatunde Fashola and their candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
Describing Tinubu as the puppeteer of the two others, Agbaje said it was strange to be described as too old by people in the same 50s age bracket as himself, especially as their party presented a 72-year old as its Presidential Candidate.
As far as he was concerned, the government was lashing back at him for exposing the cases of impunity and weakness in the administration of Lagos State, saying, the government had failed abysmally.
He said: “To do well is our children passing their exams. To do well is for poor people to have houses they can afford. To do well is for people to have a suitable environment to practice their trades and run their businesses. Whether they worked hard or not is not the issue. They have worked hard but they have failed.
“This election, this one, God has given it to us. They cannot continue. To continue is when you have passed. Have they passed or failed??”
“Failed!” the crowd yelled.
He said the recent spate of attacks on his person were a reflection of desperation on the part of the rival APC.
Speaking to a crowd at the rally ground opposite FESTAC Gate, Lagos, Agbaje said Fashola’s Wednesday tirade that the politician was a tax evader had been predated by insinuations that at 57 the PDP candidate was too old to be Governor and an earlier one that he lacked experience in public office.
According a statement by his Director of Media and Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, “This election is not about experience but qualification,” Agbaje said. “Jimi Agbaje no get experience for political office, but e qualify.”
The crowd cheered as he reminded the people that his critics too had lacked public service experience before they took over the reins of power in the state.
“They even talk about experience. They say I don’t have government experience. Tinubu was just a Senator for three months before becoming Governor. For me what is most important is qualification and I am eminently qualified to be the Lagos Governor,” he added.
According to him, the experience that Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode could lay claim to had been rubbished in the two public debates at which the two contestants met, one organised a fortnight ago by the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church and another last week by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“One by one, I go give them T.K.O.,” he joked.
Dismissing the tax evasion allegations levelled against him Wednesday by Fashola, Agbaje said: “Yesterday, dem say Jimi Agbaje na tax evader. But as God dey catch person, just recently, na im dem send me congratulations say I dey pay my tax well-well.”
He made reference to a letter of commendation written by the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi.
Describing all the allegations as unwarranted and malicious, Agbaje said: “My prayer be say as dem dey throw mud for my body, e no go stick to me. E go backfire!”
“Amen!” the crowd answered.
Addressing the salient issues bedevilling the administrating of Lagos State, Agbaje acknowledged the hardship occasioned by several policies of the government.
He assured non-indigenes that discrimination against them, their interests and their businesses would dissipate as soon as he came to power.
Contesting the government’s claim that Lagos was overcrowded and a policy to manage the influx of strangers would be established, Agbaje said: “Trying to deport strangers from other states is like trying to stop the flow of a river with your hand. Is it possible?”
Agbaje also promised that the notorious Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be rebranded, not scrapped, saying, the problem with the agency was that it had vied from its statutory duty of traffic management to imposing draconian fines on motorists in order to generate funds for the government.
He also said that as part of his human faced policies, okada commercial motorcyclists would be taken into consideration in formulating policies concerning their operations.