•LAGOS PDP Chieftain, JIMI AGBAJE
Many people in Lagos know Jimi Agbaje, popularly called J.K. He was the PDP Lagos governorship candidate in 2015 and in 2019. He is a top PDP Chietain in Lagos. Many had expected that he will also run this time around but he didn’t.
Surprisingly, over the last few months, his name has been popping up that he has left PDP for another party and Agbaje had repeatedly denied what he called Fake News. A few weeks back, he had to react to the most recent of the news. “Inspite of my several denials that I have not moved over to the APC, some self-styled public analysts continue to spread falsehoods… I wonder their reasons for spreading such lies! I would have expected more from them when it comes to seeking and spreading the truth!
It’s clearly no longer about that…only sensationalism. I ask them to act responsibly, given the platforms they are taking advantage of,” he wrote on his page.
Many don’t know this gentleman is a professional Pharmacist who has practised for so many years.
Jimi Agbaje founded JAYKAY Pharmaceutical, and Chemical Company Limited, and was Managing Director until 2005 when he decided to venture into Politics. He was a member of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (1999–2006); National Secretary of the Nigerian Association of General Practice Pharmacists (NAGPP) from 1987 to 1990; National Chairman of NAGPP (1990–1993) and Chairman of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Lagos State (1994–1997).
He was a member, Lagos State Taskforce on Fake and Adulterated Drugs (1989–1993), National Drug Formulary and Essential Drugs List (1986–1993), and Lagos Hospitals Management Board (1994–1997). Jimi Agbaje also sits on the board of other organizations including Oakwood Park Ltd, Atlantic Hall Secondary School Epe, Lagos, Jimi Agbaje Outreach (a project dedicated to helping the less fortunate), and has served as a business mentor at Fate Foundation.
In a 2013 interview with The Punch Newspaper, Agbaje talked about how he began politics: “It had to do with the Moshood Abiola/Bashir Tofa presidential election”, he said. “I saw the annulment as a personal insult and an assault on the Nigerian people. This led to my first entry into what I would call activism, working with other concerned professionals” such as Prof. Pat Utomi, Dr Ayo Ighodaro, Asue Ighodalo, Billy Lawson, Oby Ezekwesili, Tola Mobolurin and Hassan Odukale. Jimi was in one form of resistance group or the other which ultimately led him to join the socio-political organization, Afenifere where he served as national treasurer.
With all these laurels and achievements, Chief Jimi still remains humble, calm, and eloquent in the things he does. A few days back, City People met him at an event and we got him to talk to City People Journalist, BENPRINCE EZEH (08068599879). Chief Jimi Agbaje revealed why he chose not to run for governorship of Lagos State this time around. Below are the excerpts from the interview.
Sir, in the last few months, media reports stated that you have decamped from PDP to APC. How true is that?
Like you see in the news, you have also probably seen me debunking the news too. So if you see me debunk it, then you know it’s not true. There’s no truth to that, it never happened, it was never an issue, it was never discussed, there was nothing to it. I think some people were just trying to be mischievous but there’s no truth to it, none whatsoever.
In the last two elections, 2015 and 2019, you contested for the office of governor of Lagos state, but this time around you didn’t, was there any issue with the party?
Well, I’ve run for Lagos state governor three times, I think after a while, you just tell yourself why not get somebody else to run, why not get younger people to run? Running for governor was not a personal ambition, it was because, I felt we could make difference, so if you’ve tried it, you give room for others. One is not getting any younger, so at the same time, you’re encouraging others to also give it a shot. So for me, I decided I wasn’t going to run again.
What are the chances of PDP winning in Lagos?
Politics in Lagos is not like many people see it from the outside. Every election has come with its own peculiarities. if we look at 2015, it was very clear that we won the election, but we were not declared the winner, I think it’s the way to put it. In 2019, we had a situation in different words. I think Lagos had the worst turnout in terms of Voter turnout. 18% of registered voters, voted in Lagos. The average for the country was 35%. What that meant was that very few people voted, or shall I say were allowed to vote and what happened then was that people were disenfranchised in 2019, so you found that a lot of people were molested, people were harassed, people were intimidated and threatened. So they didn’t come out to vote, we only had 18% that came out to vote. But with the new electoral reforms, I want to believe that the turnout, if we don’t have the violence and the kind of things that happened in 2019, then the turnout will be more realistic and the result will be more realistic with the wishes of the people because the aspect of manipulating the results will be more difficult with the new electoral reforms. So am looking forward to seeing what the results turn out to be, but I’m sure that Lagosians will find that their results will count better than it has counted in the past.
We know the PDP has two camps, the G5 and the Atiku Abubakar’s camp, which camp are you in?
The PDP does not have 2 camps, I think it’s not correct to say there’re two camps. We all belong to one PDP, but I think what is happening is that some people feel that things are not being done the way they feel they should be done. I have my own views but can’t say am in this or that camp. Because like I said, I don’t even say that there are two camps. If you look at it.
What are the issues? Issue of that the party is tilted or loaded in one direction in terms of zoning and that it should be spread?
I think both camps have accepted, that it should be spread, but the difference is, when should it be spread.
That is really the bone of contention, that ok we have accepted that it tilted to one side, but when should it spread.
Is it after or before the election. I think that’s where the difference lies. In Politics, you keep here and pushing there until you arrive in a situation where everybody is satisfied, and I believe that process is ongoing and hopefully, much sooner than later, an acceptable solution will be found.
Prior to this upcoming election in 2023, we’ve always had the PDP and APC, but right now, as we all know, other forces are emerging. What are the chances of PDP regaining power from the APC?
I think PDP is in the best position to take back Nigeria, to take back governance at the center, definitely. If we look at the present ruling party, we can’t say that we are better off today than we were then when they took over. That’s the reality, even if you look at it from that angle, it’s a tough sell for the ruling party today to say that they will win and other factors also come in. No doubt that the new parties; Labour and NNPP will affect, we can’t say today that it’s a two-legged race, not that I believe that it’s going to change, the winner is going to come from one of the two parties but they will influence to a great deal, the outcome of who wins the election.
Do you believe the winner will come from either PDP or APC?
I believe so.
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