Obafemi Hamzat, Four Others Slug it Out at Lagos Deputy Governorship Aspirants Debate

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The City That Works Alliance (CTWA) has successfully held Lagos Deputy Governorship Aspirants Debate with five contenders airing their varied opinions on how to move the nation’s commercial nerve centre forward.  It was held at the Lagos Television Combo Hall, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

CTWA is the conglomeration of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ,  Lagos, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Enough is Enough, Nigeria Labour Congress, Radio Television Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria, Centre of Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos, Nigeria Bar Association, WFM and Heinrich Boll Stifling Nigeria.

Aspirants that took part at the debate include Dr. Obafemi Hamzat of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Action Alliance Congress (AAC) counterpart, Mr. Olayemi Oladapo.  Others are Barrister Adeshina Ibrahim of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Mr. Alawiye Ibrahim Bayo of Labour Party (LP) and Mrs. Rita Iye Shaibu of the National Conscience Party (NCP).

The aspirants spoke on issues ranging from the executive role of a Deputy Governor, urgent intervention intended to champion in the first 100 days in office, down to improvement on health, transport and educational sector.  They also discussed on youth unemployment, disability act, improving Local Government activities, effective gender representation across all tiers of public life, curtailing rape cases, Apapa traffic gridlocks, housing scheme and granting Lagos State a special status.

Tackling Youth Unemployment & Poverty

Dr. Hamzat said APC will improve on the skill acquisition and development of the youth and that the technical schools in the State will be well funded and equipped.  He also said the party will make effective use of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to give loans to aspiring youth entrepreneurs and skilled workers.  To the AAC candidate, Mr. Olayemi, it is essential to take into consideration the area of interest of each youth before empowering or giving them employment.  He also said his party will strive to reduce unemployment and crime rates in Lagos.

Mr. Alawiye said LP plans to collate the list of undergraduate students, form a group and grants loans to them.  He also said the party will build 100,000 stores for the poor and sports complex to generate income for the youths.

Mrs. Iye Shaibu of the NCP promised that her party will build mini water works and hand them over to the Local Governments for proper management.

Welfare for the Disabled

Mr. Alawiye vowed to establish a holistic programme for all people in the State including the disabled.  He said the party will improve on their learning skills and give them a certain percentage in the budget.  Dr. Hamzat recalled that the State passed the disability act in 2010 while he was still in government.  That Lagos has always had a robust programme for them.  He added that it was noticeable across the State that the government constructed their pathways along the pedestrian bridges.  He promised that the party will continue to improve on their welfare.

Mr. Olayemi said his party will provide all the equipment and facilities needed by the disabled in the school and that they will be given automatic employment if qualified for any position at the civil service.

Effective gender representation

Barr. Adeshina of the YPP said his party if elected into power, will ensure there is equality of all genders across the State, that there will be no basis for discrimination in job opportunities.  He believed everybody is entitled to all the fundamental human rights.

Curtailing rape cases

Mrs. Iye Shaibu vowed that all culprits will be made to face the full wrath of the law.  Barrister Adeshina commended the current Chief Justice in Lagos for ensuring punishments on culprits.  He, however, promised that his party will expand the criminal code.  That there was a need for stiffer punishment for anyone found guilty.  He also said his party will put in place monitoring and supervision team in collaboration with law enforcement agencies.

On Apapa Traffic Gridlock Menace

Mrs. Iye Shaibu said NCP will embark on massive road rehabilitation and construction.  She also said more BRT lanes will be created to accommodate more buses.

According to Dr. Hamzat, the genesis of the problem could be traced to the era of the PDP-led Federal Government which concessioned the Port to various individuals.  He stated that the state government if elected, will hold a round table discussion with the companies involved.  He said since the place was out-stretched there was a need to create another park for the trucks and that the ships will be diverted to other ports in the State.

To Mr. Alawiye, the Labour Party will embrace the use of waterways for the movement of the containers within the State.

The first 100 days in Office

As an Accountant, Mr. Alawiye promised to eliminate corruption within the system, by tightening loopholes to prevent siphoning of public funds.  Barrister Adeshina promised to overhaul the educational sector in the state.  He said there will be a provision of modern facilities in schools while training and retraining of teachers will be a regular exercise.  He also promised to provide Mass Transit Buses for students and teachers.  He stated that YPP will get rid of environmental pollution within the first 100 days in office.

Mr. Olayemi vowed that AAC, being a party for the poor will run a transparent government and embrace accountability in all levels of government.  He said the party will bridge the wide gap between the rich and poor, and will also turn Lagos State to tourist Centre.

In his address, the steering committee Chairman and NUJ Chairman, Lagos State, Dr. Qasim Akinreti warned the aspirants to be wary of statements made as all speeches will be subjected to serious checks and will be the basis for the scorecard.  He said the Committee will thus organize a world press conference six months after assuming a position of authority.

Ace journalist/broadcaster, Mrs. Toun Okewale Sonaya, who was the moderator of the debate disclosed that out of the 40 political parties invited for the exercise, only five parties acknowledged the invitation.  She said it was obvious that accountability was one of the major challenges of the nation.

She said the second round of the debate which will involve the governorship candidates will come up on Thursday, February 21, 2019, at the same venue.