Says Jandor, other guber candidates not a match for Lagos Governor
Hon. Seye Oladejo is the Publicity Secretary of the Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with WILLIAMS BABALOLA and KAYODE AROBA, he speaks on the 2023 general elections, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration and Lagos APC, among other issues
How prepared is your party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general elections?
As the ruling party, we had a series of primaries at different levels for the various elections, from the presidential to the National Assembly to the governorship and State Assembly, and I can say that we are preparing. There are still a few things we need to ‘dot’ here and there but by and large, by the time the campaigns officially take off in September, we will be ready to go. I can assure you that we will hit the ground running and we will run a very good campaign; an issues-based campaign that will address the various fears and apprehensions of Nigerians.
Do you think your party is really prepared for the election considering some of the issues within APC at state and national levels?
Yes, we are. We are the ruling party. We should be talking about our achievements as a party in government, while not also shying away from various challenges that we feel we need to improve on.
But some people are of the view that APC is not united considering the outcome of the party primaries for various elective positions at the state and national levels.
At a time like this, it is just a normal thing in the political process to have a number of disagreements in the party. Let me also say that an average politician comes to the party with his aspiration and ambition, and when that is not realised, at times it could lead to some disagreement within the political family. All these issues are being addressed and we will be facing the election as a united force to defeat the opposition.
For over 20 years your party has been the ruling party in Lagos and ahead of next year’s election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to chase APC out of power, do you see that happening?
Talk is cheap. It is very easy for PDP to say anything, boasting on the regular media, social media and public space about what they will do ahead. Our selling point is how we are able to bring positive and effective changes to the lives of citizens of the state. There is nothing on the ground to point to the PDP having any chance of winning the elections. Is it the quality of the candidates, the sheer inexperience, or the very fact that the party has been in disarray over time? There is no pointer that they will achieve anything.
When we had more illustrious candidates in their camp, they couldn’t do anything, how much more than giving the ticket to those who crossed from our party a few days for their primaries and were able to secure PDP tickets? It shows the big value attached to that ticket if someone could just leave our party to go to their party and won. We have all hands on deck; our various office holders, ordinary citizens on the streets, the youths and everybody; they are all rooting for APC in Lagos. So, there is nothing to fear as we are concerned.
Labour Party seems to be getting the attention of the youths judging from the social media, especially in Lagos; does that give you concerns?
It doesn’t. When you talk about millions of youths coming out to register, APC also has a sizable number of youths who also participated in the registration process as regards the opportunity provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It should not be assumed that the loudest noise necessarily translates to the biggest votes. The last Osun State governorship election should be a pointer to that where APC literally scored an own goal. But you will also want to interrogate the performance of the so-called Labour Party. It is more or less noise as far as we are concerned. When the chips are down, we will put them where they belong.
Some APC members have complained about the reward system of APC. How would you react to this and what do you think your party will do about this?
I also agree that as a party, we need to improve on our reward system because a lot of people have really invested their sweat, energy and time into our collective polity. So whenever we are able to form a government, the party needs to sit down to see in terms of appointments, patronage and participation that will improve on a reward system so the party members will be happy. But that is not to say we are not really improving on all of that. The recent appointments by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu indicated clearly that a number of people who could not even pick the party tickets in recent primaries were brought on board and in the days ahead more of that will be coming.
Is your party not worried about the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos, Olajide Adeniran, popularly known as Jandor, owing to the fact that he is gaining popularity?
I think he needs to gain popularity more within the rank and file of PDP, which I can tell you for free, he can’t really guarantee the total support of the party he emerged from. The process that brought him up was highly flawed and he will not get the cooperation of those that mattered in his party. We are not bothered about him and we are not losing sleep about that. It is just all noise. When the chips are down, Jandor will not really give us anything to worry about. I can assure you. He is too inexperienced. It is much more than going on social media and start making funny claims about what he knows he is not capable of doing. Everything is about antecedent and pedigree. We are rest assured that Jandor would be put in his place.
But Adeniran picked a popular Nollywood actress and movie producer, Funke Akindele as his running mate…
I just wonder how you assess popularity. Popularity on the tabloid and some comedy show and you think that will translate into electoral fortunes when the chips are down? We need to get very serious. I saw some of her media engagements and I was just wondering if we want to compromise the standard of leadership in our state that has over the years been held by the progressive family. I know it is a democracy but then let Funke Akindele go and win popular election in the realms that she belongs to first, the Nollywood industry before coming to the murky water of politics. We need to take ourselves seriously.
But she claimed she is popular with about 20 million followers on social media…
You need to interrogate all these things about having a certain number of followers. I am also aware that a good number of those followers pulled out of that space after she emerged as the deputy governorship candidate of PDP because they will not want to be counted among those who are rooting for her. I think people should first and foremost learn to put their personal life in order first before trying to manage the lives of the rest of us.
So, you believe both the PDP governorship candidate and his running mate do not have what it takes to govern Lagos State?
They don’t and there is no way they could. They can’t muster it. What you don’t have, you can’t give. We are more concerned about Mr. Governor (Babajide Sanwo-Olu) finishing strongly and building on the success achieved in this first tenure during the second term, which will give better life and hope to the citizens of Lagos State.
Do you think Governor Sanwo-Olu has done enough for him to be reelected?
He has done more than enough. He has been in government at an unusual time. We are not giving excuses. If you feel that it is not something we should talk about, maybe you want to point my attention to anyone who ran a government during a pandemic and it came out in flying colours. The performance of the Lagos State Government during the COVID-19 pandemic became a reference point world over on how to handle a pandemic. He literally rescued this nation, reduced the impacts and he has since gone on to continue to make genuine efforts at fulfilling his social contract with the citizens of Lagos through the T.H.E.M.E.S. developmental agenda for Greater Lagos, which is all-encompassing; transportation, health, environment, education, housing, tourism, security and a whole lot of others.
He has ensured that he has touched all sectors; his government has been inclusive. He has a cabinet that has people in their 30s, it doesn’t come better than that. And he is even leaving behind him, for this first term, legacy projects – the Blue and Red Line Rail projects and a whole lot of others. We as a party are very proud of his achievements and he has surpassed all expectations despite the unusual challenges thrown up by the COVID pandemic and the #EndSARS protest. He has come out in flying colours and we are proud of him.
But some people said he has not done enough for the State…
Government is continuous and that is why we want him to continue during the next term and I am sure he will fulfill all righteousness. We are very satisfied; otherwise, he won’t be on our ballot again.
Comparing Governor Sanwo-Olu to other candidates, do you think he has what it takes to defeat them in the March 11, 2023, gubernatorial polls?
Maybe you should tell me who these other candidates are. Are they known to Lagosians of having done anything before? The present governor has been in government before; he was a commissioner and also Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Housing Development Corporation. He was a banker and at the top management level in that sector before he came into government. And who has a better pedigree amongst all these other candidates so to say? The election is just for him to win and when the chips are done, and we start having debates with the other candidates, we will be talking about what we have been able to do and they will be struggling to try to make promises to Lagosians.
After Governor Sanwo-Olu’s interview on Politics Today on Channels Television, penultimate Sunday, Olajide Adeniran alleged that the Governor has not managed Lagos State very well. Do you agree with him?
You need to interrogate where whoever is talking is coming from. Talking about management, I just wonder what experience and what Jide actually knows about the management of a state government. Just a few years ago, Jide was a Cameraman with LTV, so, how much about management does he know? And overnight, he has shot himself up to the level of well-established emperors in the media industry like the Momohs, the Dokpesi, and the rest of them. Those are now his colleagues because he is running for governorship in a party that lacks depth in terms of human resources because that is the only reason he was able to pick the ticket. I think Jide is better ignored than waste precious time responding to him. All his responses are laughable and they are just figments of his imagination.