A coalition of professionals, civil society advocacy groups, artisans and market people has come together to lend support to sustained excellence in governance in Lagos State.
According to Jide Ayobolu, Chairman, Editorial Board, Enterprise Africa Magazine, who spoke on behalf of the group, “We Stand for Lagos”, after a meeting on Saturday January 31, the collective was formed to champion informed and issues-based dialogue/conversation in Nigeria, and – importantly – Lagos State, particularly at this period of the jostle for political offices in the country.
This, he said, is targeted towards a repositioning of issues at the heart of our electoral competitive process and political choice, and as a way of encouraging Nigerians to speak wisely with their votes in the effort to enthrone quality leadership in the polity.
The coalition claims to have thoughtfully come to the decision to stand up for and endorse Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, due to the fact that “people might be swayed to vote for the wrong reasons”, as put by Ayobolu.
Hence, “We Stand for Lagos” “ has decided to assist many other Lagosians in making evidence-based choice, and realizing that our commonwealth is best protected and collective welfare best guaranteed by a tradition of truly tested and trusted leadership. As such, our decision is to speak up and defend what we are convinced is in the best interest of most stakeholders in Lagos State.”
Furthermore, Jide Ayobolu pointed out that “good governance is not about having a wish-list or making hollow promises of what to expect when in office, which is just about sound bites that might not be feasible, but it is about understanding the system, and extending on it by executing plans that are well thought out within the ambit of available resources.”
For him and the group, “Lagos needs a leader who knows his onion and will hit the ground running, not a person who will first waste time in understanding what the system truly entails before struggling to match his plans with the reality on the ground.”
Equally, the group believes that effective leadership is not about showmanship or oration, otherwise comic merchants would have risen to statesmen.
Another member of the group, Nerus Ekezie, urged Lagosians to use their votes to wisely determine their fate, as their voters’ cards are an instrument of ratifying the best possible choice and taking a stand on the direction of their future in the long run, and within the next four years, on the short haul.
He more so stressed his belief in the continuity of progressive governance, represented by APC in the State, as the best option for Africa’s rainbow ‘nation’ and sixth largest economy.
In the words of the coalition, “We stand for a Lagos that has been growing steadily and progressively since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999; a Lagos in which a succession of good administrations and leadership has tipped the human development index upwards, promoted an increase in jobs and livelihoods, offered opportunities and rewards for the keen and steadfast; and a Lagos that continues to guarantee the security, peace and well-being of its people, while advancing on their qualities-of-life and safeguarding their continuous prosperity.”
Also the coalition’s “vision is to see the deepening of a Lagos that truly works as a Centre of Excellence in all respects, and which keeps supporting the legitimate aspirations of people and businesses to the fullness of their potentials. And we are prepared to achieve this through partnership with all relevant stakeholders and institutions, for the continuous attainment of a Lagos hinged on good governance, accountability, effective leadership, service delivery, and equal opportunities for all.”
Shina Loremikan, a member of the “We Stand for Lagos” collective, describes the group’s support for Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode of the APC noting that, “by their fruits are they known. He is part of those who enabled the progressive template of government that has taken Lagos this far, as a seasoned and entrusted erstwhile Accountant General of the State.”
“We Stand for Lagos”’ resolution to support the continuity of APC administrations in Lagos is borne of its observation of good governance at close quarters, because “if 16 years of governance have taken Lagos out of the rot and woods of three decades to become one of the six largest and steadily growing economies on the African continent, with a huge educated and skilled citizenry, one of the highest school completion rates in Nigeria, an expanding mean household income, as well as an enlarging middle class, in addition to many other positives, then we are convinced that the consolidation of this over another progressive governance cycle can only deepen the success story in a fundamental way.”