The Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is seeking re-election, has again failed to attend a debate for governorship candidates in the state.
The latest debate tagged ‘Lagos Governorship Debates 2023’, was held on Wednesday.
The debate was organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and its partners and streamed live on Facebook.
The governor, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had earlier withdrawn from a debate organised by The Platform, citing the alleged involvement of one of his main challengers and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jide Adeniran, in political violence in the state.
However, Mr Adeniran and the candidates of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Labour Party (LP), and Social Democratic Party (SDP) attended the latest debate and presented their plans on social justice, flooding, housing deficits and other issues.
Before the five candidates spoke on their plans for the state, they gave an insight into their parties’ ideologies.
Funsho Doherty of the ADC and Mr Adediran of the PDP said they believe in good governance and a people-oriented government. Mr Doherty added that his government would focus on tax reform for equity, infrastructure, government reform, education, health and the Rule of Law.
Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of LP said he would focus on social welfare, social justice, restoring the dignity of labour to the people and protection of workers’ rights, from both formal and informal workers, while Braithwaite Ishola (NRM) said his party’s goal is to deliver happiness through employment, enterprises, social services and infrastructure.
The SDP candidate said that the party is the hope of Nigerians and it intends to deliver better healthcare, good roads and security to the people.
On flooding, Taofeek Uthman of the SDP faulted the construction of the Lagos Atlantic City, which he said has altered the ocean beds from Victoria Island down to Epe, leading to an increase in flooding in the axis.
To curb flooding, he said the “ministry of physical planning will re-energise and work with relevant institutes to ensure that the water moves.”
His opponent of the PDP promised an aggressive construction of water collectors, adding that the ones in the state are not enough.
Mr Ishola (NRM) said the town planning authorities in the state are not doing their job, adding that it will take an ethical government to curb the attitude. He agreed with the LP candidate on the need to stop indiscriminate waste dumping.
Messrs Rhodes-Vivour and Doherty both agreed that the flood situation experienced by the state is because of the lack of proper implementation of a wetland policy.
To tackle the housing deficit, the SDP candidate promised to make houses affordable but the PDP candidate said there are some constructed by a former governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, that are unoccupied.
He promised to do a rent-to-own scheme for civil servants and go into partnership with the private sector to provide more houses.
While the NRM candidate said that his administration will have “low-cost housing that has the principle of habitat,” Mr Rhodes-Vivour said he would introduce technological innovations to curb the bottlenecks involved in urban planning and getting proposals.
Mr Doherty of the ADC said what Lagos needs is the “right institutional structure.”
The candidates said their choices of running mates were influenced by gender balance, religious tolerance, professionalism and experience. The governorship elections will be held on 11 March in Lagos and 27 other states.
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