Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sabit Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has claimed he is the most qualified of all the aspirants, jostling to govewrn Lagos on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) to govern Lagos. He spoke with journalists in Lagos. Excerpts:
How can you rate yourself in the contest for Lagos governorship seat?
Today, in Lagos, I am not only eminently qualified but I think I am more passionate about the development of the state and its people than anyone else that I know of. People just come out, they just think, look because Babatunde Fashola was Chief of Staff and he became governor and he became celebrated, then every Tom, Dick and Harry can be governor. You even hear of people, some jobless ones, going to collect governorship nomination form as if the seat of the governor of Lagos is the same thing as the chairmanship of a rural local government somewhere. I think a little bit of seriousness needs to be brought into this whole thing.
Well, those who have followed event in Lagos in the last few years would agree with me that the seriousness that we brought into the administration, I mean the leadership of the House, the Legislature in Lagos is unprecedented in this country. And this was made possible through the grace of God, but also with the fact that before I became speaker, I knew what I wanted for the House. What I wanted to do with that position was very clear in my mind and from day one, I set about the business of achieving that.
Today, my mind is very, very clear about what needs to be done to make Lagos a most livable city anywhere comparable to any other city in Africa and in the world. We are blessed and I know it and I can speak from position of relative advantage. I have been the speaker of the House, I have passed budgets, more than nine budgets for this state; I mean annual budget and many supplementary ones. I have an idea of the resources that are at the disposal of this state and I know where the shoe pinches.
I have very, very clear ideas of how to take care of the pains of common Lagosians. There are many ways of looking at it. Yes, if you go through my speech, you will want to ask questions where will you get the money from? One thing is very clear to me, Tinubu started from N600 million monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), by the time he was leaving eight years after, it was over N8 billion. He laid the foundation for it to even rise higher and of course the actualiser, Fashola came to actualise the dream that was on ground.
As of today, we are in the range of 20 billion. I know if you say we are around 30 billion, you may not be far away from it. I tel l you, with about N30 billion a month, and with all that has happened so far, with the necessary right exposure which, of course, I have even in excess, we can leverage on that. We can do even a lot more. The opportunities are there.
What are your chances of clinching the APC ticket?
Concerning my chances, there is no doubt that I will win on a landslide if primary election is conducted today in the APC. I am very sure that most of our party men are very interested in seeing Lagos governed by a man who understands party politics and who is passionate about the development of Lagos and its people. They know that as at today, there is nobody that can compete favourably against Ikuforiji as far as that is concerned.
Honestly, I am a lucky man. From my very humble background, I have been able to break shackles and chains of poverty. I have liberated myself and I know the journey has been relatively tough, but with God, everything had been made possible.
What challenges you to want to govern Lagos?
I am not someone who easily gets satisfied with modest performance. I know that with the resources available to us in Lagos, we can make life more abundant for the ordinary man in the state. We can make our little Lagos compete favourably with most of those cities that we travel to, that we run to for holidays , that we send our children to for education and for exposure.
I want to assure you that within 18 months after I am elected and I assume office on May 29, 2015, you will ask yourself again, what was amiss before now. There are many things we have left undone. I am a product of public school, but how many of us are really happy to send our children to public primary school today? I want everyone here to be jostling to get their wards to Lagos State public school even within the next three years and it can be done.
What is your comment on the rumoured anointed aspirant?
There are many reasons that nobody can be imposed and when we get to the river, we will know how to cross it. Let me be very clear about it. A lot of rumours are going the rounds, and each and every candidate had been tagged with the support of one leader or the other except Ikuforiji. But a year and a half ago, someone told me one of the aspirants already had the nod of the leaders; they said he was the one Asiwaju Bola Tinubu wanted to use. I pushed them aside because I knew it was a rumour and it was not possible. After about 10 weeks or so, that particular name disappeared from the scene. Another one came up and after about two months again, that one also disappeared, yet another came up.
I can assure you that some of the names that came up of recent cannot even go to Bourdillion to face Asiwaju and say they want to run. Yet, they tell people that Asiwaju has asked them to get prepared for the job. Do you tell people to get prepared with the words of mouth? You don’t get prepared for the job of governor of Lagos in just a few days.W e should just leave some of these stories for what they are. To me, they don’t exist. Look, the party is not a party of tyrants. I have made my intention known on Sunday and I am happy about it. You can see the crowd there, they are not rented crowd. I did not give a dime to anybody to come to that session there. So, that somebody is imposed, please forget it. If somebody has imposed, we would not need to pick the nomination form.
In your 10-point agenda, none of the programmes is new entirely. How do you intend to move forward if these are what we keep treating year in year out? Well, let’s ask ourselves the question, have these issues been treated? Have they been treated and treated to your satisfactions. They have not been treated to my satisfactions and I want to treat them to my satisfactions. I believe that job creation, poverty alleviation have not even been touched and if any government had really touched those in the last 15 or 16 years in this country, you should name the government.tweet Follow @@metrolens1