The Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate for Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, took his town hall meeting to his home constituency, Apapa, on Friday, saying government’s clearing the area of its legendary traffic gridlock ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Saturday visit was an act of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Agbaje accused authorities of paying deaf ears to residents and businesses suffering all this while, only to clear Apapa highways of heavy articulated vehicles because the President was paying a campaign visit to Lagos.
Agbaje, who lives and runs his pharmaceutical company in the famous port town of Apapa, promised that the area’s traffic logjam would become history under his reign.
According to Agbaje, the disappearance of the usual traffic standstill ahead of Buhari’s visit on Saturday meant that authorities were wicked and had only left residents and businesses to suffer deliberately.
Agbaje asked when he addressed the audience at the OC Events Centre on Randle Road, where hundreds had gathered to engage him in the interactive town hall meeting: “Have you noticed that there is no traffic jam in Apapa today?”
“Yes!” the gathering shouted.
He asked: “Why? Because President Muhammadu Buhari is coming, isn’t it?”
“Yes!” came the response.
He added: “It means that these people are wicked people. It means that they are hypocrites. They have refused to clear this traffic all this time, even when they knew they had the solution. So because President Muhammadu Buhari is coming tomorrow, they have cleared the traffic. So when he leaves, they will punish us again.
“We are saying that the traffic situation in Apapa becomes a priority. I am an Apapa person. I stay in Apapa. I work in Apapa. As Governor, I will ensure that this punishment will stop.”
“Amen!” the crowd screamed.
In continuation of his state-wide town hall meetings, Agbaje had arrived OC Events Centre after a roadshow that wound through the streets, while members of his campaign team distributed branded gifts to hailing constituents.
Several party chieftains joined him in the session, including: PDP Candidate for Lagos State House of Assembly Apapa Constituency 1, Hon. Ede Celestine Ikechukwu, and his counterpart from Apapa Constituency 2, Hon. Olawale Ogunyinka.
The gathering comprised local representatives of Baales and chiefs, the Christian Association of Nigeria, Muslim clerics, vulcaniser association, mechanic association, artisans, parents-teachers’ association, non-indigenes and the business community.
Agbaje vowed that his government would spare no means to upgrade the standard of education in Lagos public schools.
He lamented: “It is unbelievable that in 21st Century Lagos, school students still sit on the ground to take lessons.”
However, he said his education policy would include the training of artisans, and bring them up to international modern standards in order to help them improve their skills, income and welfare.
Agbaje also had scathing words for the All Progressives Congress regime that he accused of withholding the licences of traditional rulers in order to force them to remain loyal.
His words: “Many of you Baales here today do not have your titles gazetted. And this they have deliberately done to serve as a rope they can pull anytime they want to blackmail and compel you to do what they want.”
However, he promised that things would change.
He added: “Our style will be different. We shall accord the traditional institution its deserved honour and role. We shall not resort to arm-twisting in our relationship with our traditional rulers.”