Politics

“Lagos of our dreams” Jimi Agbaje Acceptance Speech

Jimi Agbaje who is the Governorship aspirant in PDP became the flag bearer after winning in the primary election.
Naija Politico got access to his Acceptance speech and this is what he has to say about moving lagos forward
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I wanted to take this moment to congratulate the members of my party for such amazing conduct and a refreshing display of democratic values during the Lagos State primaries yesterday. Also, let me extend my special thanks to the leaders, agents, coordinators, delegates and most especially my co-contestant, Engr. Deji Doherty. Even in battle, one thing remained clear: And it is the fact that we both loathe the consistent oppression being dealt out to the people of Lagos by a ruling class of two decades, but more importantly, we both share a deep optimism in the ideas that we possess to bring about real transformation to this great state. Ideas that are aimed at driving unprecedented development across all facets of life for ALL Lagosians, not just a few select elite. Ideas that focus on the standard of living of the individual as the true measure of wealth of our state as opposed to the mere accumulation of revenue. Ideas that look to the energy and ingenuity of the next generation – the so-called connected generation – as a huge reserve of untapped business minds capable to creating strategic regional pockets that would benefit not just Lagos but Nigeria in the short to medium term. I sincerely look forward to working with you all during the 2019 elections as we journey across the length and breath of this state presenting our case to the great people of Lagos.

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To my followers, well-wishers and critics, let me start off by saying that the burden of proof that we can attain a “Lagos of our dreams”, is a responsibility that we all must carry irrespective of our tribe or creed, socio-economic status or affiliations, age or gender, if at all we’re to accomplish the improbable. We might disagree from time to time on approach or positions but what we cannot afford to do this time is to sit on the sidelines, hands folded and not engaged. We must find ways to participate and contribute to the process of making government work for your own interests and aspirations and that of your families.

For me, that burden of responsibility led me down the path of politics over 25-years ago. It did not start out of a necessity but rather a sense of obligation that if as a generation we fail to stand up for things that we truly believe, then who are we to complain when things go south. I recall that in 1993, shortly after the annulment of the Chief MKO Abiola and Bashir Tofa elections, I, alongside other likeminded contemporaries under the guise of ‘Concerned Professionals’ began to wade into politics using activism – working collectively with other organisations to mount pressure on government to return to principles that oversee democratic rule. Even though at the time I felt like a fish out of water being young and inexperienced, I understood, in a somewhat intuitive way, that such a time demanded my participation, so I embraced the call. As the saying goes, “the rest is history.” A few men and women decided to stand up in a period when it was unpopular and quite frankly dangerous. They did so to bring about a change that consequently transitioned us into the era of democracy that we partake in today. If there was anything that I learnt then that still holds true now, it is that no one entity is capable of single-handedly driving the sort of change that we so desperately need today. It would have to take a collective – a collective of leaders, followers, citizens, professionals, artisans, young and old people, men and women working hand-in-hand to make government more accountable and governance more people-focused.

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When I lost the gubernatorial elections in 2015, I went back to those basics understanding that the solution was not to look outward and decamp to greener pastures but to look inward knowing that if we are to succeed in the future, it would require us to create a stronger collective of communities within and outside the walls of our party. We would need to find smarter ways to attract a new demographic of youth, women, professionals, and even non-voters. We would need to commit to long and sometimes uncelebrated months of grunt work needed to help recalibrate our perception of what everyday Lagosians really need. So I committed myself to this working within the party structure to bring about reforms that targeted the participation of youth and women, building linkages and networks and engaging in personal mentoring endeavours to help shape a new generation of young leaders through an initiative called ‘What’s at Stake?’. I even ran for national chairman of my party with the hope that this might help speed up some of these reforms.

 

Today, I sense an urgency of purpose as we are presented with yet another opportunity to make a difference in our great state. It is clear to me that Lagos needs more help than ever. But this time, the intervention wouldn’t just come from top-down but also from bottom-up knowing that the electorate, not any one man, would have to decide where we go from here as a people. This election is not just another popularity contest rather it is a clear choice between two ideologies: one that enslaves and puts the interest of one man over many or another that, at its core, seeks to meet the yearnings of the greater good of the people of Lagos. Only time will tell what path we’ll follow.

President Buhari’s Acceptance Speech as the flag bearer of the ruling Party

That said, it’s my honour to be on this journey again, and I look forward to hearing your stories, interacting with you and working together to bring about the emergence of the Lagos of our dreams.

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