The Lagos State chapter of Accord Party has adopted the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Jimi Agbaje, for the 2019 election.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the party endorsed and adopted Agbaje on Thursday at a programme to flag off its campaign activities in Ikeja.
The endorsement followed the open pronouncement by the governorship candidate of the party, Joseph Beckley, that he had agreed with the party to step down for Agbaje and support his ambition.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Accord, Rev. Adebayo Adeniji, while presenting Agbaje to party men, said his adoption was strategic.
He said there was the need for well-meaning people to join forces to take the state from the All Progressives Congress.
Adeniji said the party believed the adoption of Agbaje would help “rescue” the state and ensure residents enjoy the dividends of democracy.
“Today is a historic day because we have taken a step to give Lagos to the people.
“We have adopted Mr. Jimi Agbaje so that together we can take the mantle of leadership in 2019.
“Agbaje has the vision and capacity to win and even deliver.
“We believe it is better to join efforts with a candidate who will give the state to the people.”
Adeniji explained that Accord was only supporting the PDP governorship for the election but would field candidates for other elections in the state.
He enjoined party members to give their best to ensure victory for Agbaje in the governorship election as well as Accord candidates vying for legislative seats in the state.
Beckley, in his brief speech, said he decided to step down for Agbaje because he had the capacity to govern Lagos and was better positioned to win the election.
He also urged party members to work hard to mobilise residents to vote for Agbaje in the 2019 election.
In his acceptance speech, Agbaje described his adoption by Accord as humbling.
He thanked the party and the governorship candidate for endorsing him.
Agbaje gave the assurance that he would reciprocate the gesture by winning the election and delivering real democratic dividends in the state.
He said his determination to dislodge APC and “free Lagos” in 2019 was unwavering, urging all residents to support him to give them the state of their dream.
He said: “My message to those who are still waiting on the other side is that the freedom train on the move.
“Let them join it before the momentum will move too much for them to catch up with. There is still room in the train and it is time to move in.
“And to the other people, the APC, my message is clear: their time is up. They will be defeated in 2019.
“Instead of delivering good governance to Lagosians, they are after my posters and campaign boards.
“I am telling them now that enough is enough. It is time for freedom. It is time for free Lagos from impunity, from imposition and from one-man rule.”
NAN reports that Wale Oluwo, who recently resigned from the cabinet of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as Commissioner of Energy and Mineral Resources to join PDP, was with Agbaje at the occasion.
The PDP deputy governorship candidate, Haleemat Busari; the PDP state Chairman, Dr. Adebola Dominic; and Publicity Secretary, Taofeek Gani, also joined Agbaje at the programme.
NAN reports that Accord, at the occasion, received many defectors from the APC and also presented flags to its candidates for federal and state legislative seats.
Prince Sunday Ajayi, who led the APC defectors into Accord, said they left their former party owing to what they called the culture of impunity and imposition.
He said the inability of Ambode and others to get tickets for re-election despite good performance was proof that APC in the state was only for some people and not for members.