Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi is one of the top aspirants in Lagos PDP who wants to be the next Lagos East Senator. He wants to replace late Senator Bayo Osinowo (Pepper) who died a few months back.
And he is dead serious about it.
A few days back, City People asked him why he wants to be the next Lagos East Senator and he explained why he joined the race. “It is because Lagos needs to have good representation at the Senate. When you are talking about a state that accommodates more than 10% of the population of Nigeria and you are talking of a 3rd of that state, I think it presents a unique opportunity for the people of Lagos East to get what they have lacked for the past 21 years, save, maybe for one or 2 years, during the tenure of Senator Seye Ogunlewe. I think it is an opportunity to get excellent representation. Again, I state it very clearly, for avoidance of any doubt. Lagos holds more than 10% of the population of Nigeria.”
“That is No 1. Then, No 2. Lagos provides almost 50% of the Gross Domestic Product. In terms of IGR, Lagos provides almost 50% of the Internally Generated Revenue that Nigeria generates from its public agencies. If all that is true, then it has to be said that Nigeria has been very, very unfair to Lagos. Not only have we been underrepresented, in terms of representation at the National Level, in the Legislature and in the Executive, we have also been hard done by, in terms of Federal Infrastructure. There seems to be in the last 5 years, a deliberate neglect of Lagos State and the Federal Infrastructure in Lagos like roads, the rail is nowhere to be found. There is rail between Abuja and Kaduna. And if you look at the contributions of that axis of the country to the economy of the country, you will start by asking yourself why is there a focus on an area that is less productive than Lagos, while Lagos is the goose that has laid the golden egg for so many years. I think alongside the Niger-Delta, Lagos ranks very high. Lagos ranks at the top actually in terms of economic value to Nigeria.”
“Now, if a place that is so economically valuable is being neglected so badly, I think it comes down to the quality of the representation that we have had, over the years and I plan to address it. That is the reason I am running for Senate”.
“Let me add that all of Lagos is coastal, especially so, because of Lekki Lagoon, Atlantic Ocean, Lagos Lagoon, all of these water ways are sadly very badly under used and underutilised. I am looking towards the federal agencies to localise these water ways, so that you take than away from the purview of the Federal & National Inland Ways Authority, and bring them under the purview of Lagos State Government.”
“Yes, I know that the government that is in charge of Lagos today are not quite what we hope for in terms of service that we are rendering to Tax payers in Lagos, but they will not be there for ever. That is for sure. We have to start to take steps to make sure that Lagosians are best served by the laws of Nigeria. Certain parts of Nigeria have worked very hard to make sure that the laws of Nigeria serves them better than other parts of Nigeria. It is time to pick up the gauntlet and start fighting for ourselves, so to speak and to start speaking up for ourselves.”
“That is one of the reasons why I want to go to the Senate.”
“The other reason is because of the infrastructure. We host a lot of investments in Lagos East like the Free Trade Zone in Lekki, the Refinery which is also a Free Zone in its own right, The Alaro City Project. All these are concentrated in Ibeju, Lekki. There is the possibility for an Airport in the Epe axis, which I believe we would be looking more into. The Tinubu administration in the last 21 years has talked a good deal about that airport. I want to find out what the problem is, whether there is any federal regulation holding the airport back, because Lagos deserves at least 5 airports. If London, with the population of about 12 million people has Heathrow, Gatwick, Hamstead, Luton, and City Airports, Lagos, which has the potential for becoming the air transport hub for Africa, just has one, Muritala Mohammed Airport, with the local and international terminal. I think that is inadequate. I think Lagos is horribly underserved as far as air travel is concerned. I think Lekki Airport is an idea whose time is long overdue.”
Talking about the forthcoming Lagos East elections, many believe that it will be difficult for PDP to beat the APC, which is in firm control of Lagos. What does he think?
“Some people can talk like that because they see elections as a gratuitous thing, that we just hold elections gratuitously. I don’t believe that. I believe that this election is key. I know that the owners of APC also know that every election is key.”
“That is why they roll out things that they roll out during elections, to suppress votes, to stop people from voting, they send out all their people to disrupt elections and many of our people don’t actually vote or that the votes don’t count. If the elections were not important, they wouldn’t go to all that extent. They will not. They will not go to the extent of stopping people from receiving their PVC’s, and also colluding with INEC to make sure that the distribution of PVC’s is ineffective and to ensure that people don’t get their PVCs. I shouted about this before the last elections.”
How does he see the quality of candidates that have come out for the Lagos East Senatorial race? “In the PDP, we have a good field. We have people of good character. We have people of good pedigree who have come out and are contesting with me.”
“I pray and hope the PDP will choose me as the candidate for this election. But even if the PDP does not choose me I will work with any of the other aspirant that emerges. So, I am quite happy with the field in PDP.”
“In the APC, you know how it goes? They don’t do any primaries. Candidates are simply chosen by the leaders. They only announce that this is the person they want, all of you fall in. The APC say they are running a party, but I don’t see it as a political party. It does seem to me that it is some kind of private club or some private cult, where some people dictate where they are going and everybody just falls in line whether others like it or not.”
“Well, I have no comment about the person they have chosen. But people have been asking questions about his recent history as a banker, about the loans given to the 57 LCDAs. Questions are being asked about those loans. I have questions to ask him about those loans.”
“How come it is a uniform sum for each and every of those 57 LCDAs? Each LCDA has different problems. Each one is in different terrain, unique issues. How come the sums that they are borrowing all at the same time are all the same amount?
The other question is: on what basis are they lending these organisations this money? This man that is coming to run for this senatorial seat is one of those championing the over-taxation of Lagosians through the loans given out which has to be paid back by the 57 LCDA all over Lagos”.