STANDING UP TO THUGS … LP Lagos Governorship Candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The Governorship Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State, South-West Nigeria, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, says the security and safety of voters are paramount in the forthcoming March 18, 2023, elections.
Rhodes-Vivour was emphatic that any form of voter intimidation and harassment will be met with resistance.
“My focus now is on security and ensuring that people come out to vote and they are not intimidated or harassed because any form of intimidation or harassment will be met with resistance. It’s just that simple,” Rhodes-Vivour said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday.
It would be recalled that on February 25, 2023, suspected thugs attacked voters and disrupted the electoral process in Elegushi, Ikate and other parts of Lagos.
According to the police, over 20 suspected political thugs were arrested over cases of electoral violence and ballot box snatching recorded during the just-concluded Presidential and National Assembly polls.
Rhodes-Vivour posited that the postponement of the Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections from March 11, 2023, to March 18, 2023, has not dampened his momentum and determination to become the next Governor of Lagos.
“It is not about rushing an election; it is about getting it right and that is why we got the injunction to ensure that INEC actually follows its processes. There are a lot of things that must be done right if we want to get this country on the right path,” he said, pointing out, however, that after what happened in the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly polls, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would have to win his trust again.
Rhodes-Vivour declared that the people of Lagos want good governance regardless of the language a leader speaks or the tribe he belongs to.
He noted that he is a proper cosmopolitan Lagosian having roots with the Yoruba people and having been trained in best institutions in the world.
The LP candidate said Lagos has always existed in harmony, but that politicians whip up ethnicity to divide the people of the state.
“Lagos State has been in harmony for a long time. What happens is politicians try to divide us. Let us be wary of politicians who remember that they are Yoruba when it is time for politics. When Fulani herdsmen were making incursions into Oyo and people like Sunday Igboho, Rotimi Akeredolu stood up, a lot of politicians in Lagos were quiet. They played politics with it.
“When it was time for Amotekun, they were quiet. They were quiet on so many interests of the Yoruba people because they wanted an alliance with the North. So, they put their political interest above the interest of their people. And all of a sudden, it is election time, and they are reminding you that this person does not speak Yoruba,” he said.
He demanded: “All the agberos on the streets that are wasting their lives, young men that are getting on drugs and are multiplying for years, do they meet the ones that are Yorubas and rehabilitate them, get them off the streets and ensure that they are more productive members of the society?”
Meanwhile, The LP candidate, who is better known as GRV, has said that the argument by his detractors that he does not have any public sector experience is baseless.
He argued that the achievements recorded by the administration of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, LKJ, in Lagos from October 1979 to December 1983 surpassed that of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Rhodes-Vivour said: “Alhaji Lateef Jakande never had any public sector experience but what he achieved in four years the APC government has not achieved in two decades. The visionary leader, Obafemi Awolowo, he had no public sector or governance experience, but he moved the interest of the Yorubas to a level that people are still trying to aspire to. The fact is you must have empathy, self-capacity and courage to do the right thing.”
The LP candidate said that youths, who are the new demography in politics, are interested in accountability.
“This government has run unaccountably for over two decades. They’ve empowered agberos, touts and thugs with so much violence. And they have not been brought to book.”
Aside from the incumbent Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, BOS, who is seeking reelection under the banner of the APC, Rhodes-Vivour has his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor, to contend with in the exercise.
In the Presidential Election, LP’s Obi polled 582,454 votes in Lagos to trounce the flagbearer of the APC, Bola Tinubu who scored 572,606 votes.
In total, Obi won 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory, but Tinubu scored the highest votes in total and was later on Wednesday announced the winner of the poll and Nigeria’s President-elect.
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