Lagos 2023: Housing, jobs, food, traffic top residents’ demands

•Many artisans, families sleep in community markets —Tailors’ leader •Our promises —Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Jide Jandor •It is going to be Battle of Berlin —Bode George

BOLA BADMUS and SUBAIR MOHAMMED present views of Lagos politicians and voters as candidates of political parties emerged ahead of the 2023 governorship election in the state.

Residents of Lagos State have been finally presented with available choices for next year’s governorship election. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the main opposition, was the first to produce youthful Dr Abdul-Lateef Olajide Adediran, a.k.a. Jandor, with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) coming up later with the incumbent governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to set the stage for what many observers believe will be the hardest-fought governorship election in the recent history of the state.

Although the main election is about nine months away, politicians and voters in the state are already upbeat about who the next governor will be and while it is about winning the election for the leaders of the two main political parties, with enough established structures to win the poll, the electorate are all about their expectations and what has not been done well in past years.


It is going to be Battle of Berlin –Bode George

Chief Olabode George, a foremost leader of the PDP in the state, spoke to Saturday Tribune about the desire of his party to end the reign of the APC and the tendencies it represents once and for all.

He equates what is coming to the Battle of Berlin, referring to the battle for Berlin, the last offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich, which devastated one of Europe’s historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany.

“This will be Battle of Berlin. We will get rid of this government,” he vowed.

Also speaking on the need for the party leaders and members to remain united and fight to win the coming polls, George pleaded with those considering dumping the party to have a rethink, arguing that there is no perfect system anywhere in the world.

He asked his party men and women in Lagos not to toe the path of a former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, who left the opposition party after discovering that there was no path to the realisation of his presidential aspiration.

The PDP leader in the state, who could be said to have seen it all, while making the appeal, urged aggrieved members not to lose interest in the party because they could not have their way this time. “In life, it is not every time one has his or her way,” he said.


Sanwo-Olu optimistic

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu, after bagging a second term ticket on Thursday amid intra-party intrigues that almost ended his aspiration, was full of optimism about the future of his governorship and desires of the people.

With a landslide victory at the primary, he said: “In all facets of the state economy, Lagosians should expect a lot more from us. We will not disappoint or betray the confidence reposed in us.”

The governor pledged inclusive leadership to all, going forward, saying that his victory was for all residents who had supported his administration “on this journey we started four years ago.”

He added that his nomination success was a vote of confidence from the people.

He said: “Having thanked all our party faithful, the bigger appreciation goes to all Lagosians, irrespective of the side they lean. This victory is for all residents who have supported us on this journey we started four years ago. What we witnessed this evening is an affirmation that the good work we have been doing should continue.

“This is the assurance we are taking to the general elections and we will ensure that we don’t fail. With all sense of responsibility, there are still a lot more that Lagosians should be expecting from us across all facets of governance. The confidence reposed in us will not be betrayed. We pray that God gives us the energy to take Lagos to a level that will reflect the aspiration of all Lagosians.”


Our party mismanaging goodwill –APC leaders

But not all his party faithful are optimistic about how the party the governor leads is managing its affairs.

An aspirant for the state House of Assembly at Lagos Mainland 1 Constituency, Dr Ayoade Olarewaju, wants Governor Sanwo-Olu to urgently address “the impunity, total disregard for the rule of law and suppression of the will of the people” by the party leadership in the state.

While expressing disappointment in the handling of the process leading to the primary in Lagos Mainland 1, for which he begged the governor’s intervention, Olarewaju announced his decision to boycott the exercise.

He added: “As an aspirant in the coming election, I don’t see people coming out to vote. People want the party to field a popular candidate and this, the party is not willing to do.

“The governor, as the leader of the party in the state, must ensure the party deviate from substituting popular will to satisfy personal ambition.

“The party must turn away from its usual way of doing things and embrace a positive attitudinal change.

“The leadership of the party should allow the will of the people to prevail at every election. For instance, during the build-up to the primary, it is worrisome that there was no official communication regarding the purported election.

“Until few hours to the primary, the venue of the exercise was not communicated to the aspirants. The delegates’ list which was to be made public was also substituted. This is not the right way to play politics. We need to be carried along in the affairs of the party instead of shrouding everything in secrecy.

“There was no election because the congress that preceded the primary election was inconclusive. No delegates were elected, so where did they get the list of delegates from? The delegates’ list was singlehandedly drafted by a chieftain of the party whose son is one of the aspirants in Lagos Mainland 1.

“Therefore, the outcome of the primaries, definitely, is not the reflection of the will of the majority of APC members in Lagos Mainland 1.

“I am appealing to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as the leader of the party in the state, to reverse the anomaly and injustice at the party and accord all aspirants equal right and privileges.”

Also sharing his expectations, Hon. Abiodun Fagba of Lagos Mainland Local Government whose name was substituted after allegedly winning the chairmanship contest, wants the issue of name substitution and subversion of popular opinion that has characterised the state chapter of the party addressed.

While describing the entire electoral process as a sham, Fagba said: “The Lagos APC is not doing the right thing. The leadership of the party in the state has been compromised. Their stock in trade is substitution of names of popular candidates for unpopular ones.

“If Lagos APC wants to remain relevant, its leadership should allow for internal democracy. I am expecting that they would be sincere with themselves as we prepare to go to the poll and address all grievances by members of the party. The future of the APC is bleak and full of uncertainty unless the leadership of the party at the national level is ready to right the injustice.”

Similarly, a former Executive Secretary of Lagos Mainland Local Government, Kemi Banjo, wants the imposition of unpopular candidates over popular candidates stopped.

Banjo condemned a situation whereby an aspirant in Lagos Mainland 1 allegedly contested against himself in an election superintended by his father who is a chieftain of the party in the constituency.

He added: “We have decided to boycott the primary election because no delegates’ election was held in Lagos Mainland and without the delegates’ election, there cannot be primary election. We are boycotting the primary election to express our grievances that all is not well with members at the Lagos APC.

“We went all out for good three days for the congress but it was not held and on the last day, when it ought to take place, there was no congress election and we all went back home. And since there was no congress, there shouldn’t be any primary election here in Lagos Mainland 1.

“With this, without being told, we already know who the delegates would cast their votes for because it is going to be a clear case of he who pays the piper dictates the tune.”


United opposition?

Unlike the usual practice of recent past, the nomination process of the opposition PDP went smoothly, despite the eventual candidate being relatively new in the party, having defected from the APC.

His main challenger, popular designer, Vaughan David Kolawole, a.k.a. Dacova, accepted the defeat at the venue of the primary and congratulated the victor, assuring him of his support to build a better Lagos that would be pride of all. He concluded by describing the exercise as “victory for PDP and victory for all.”

The victor was also confident. He said, “Now, we have a project on our hand. I promise to use this ticket to unite Lagos PDP. I would carry this PDP ticket with pride. It is a ticket for total emancipation of Lagos, a ticket to make Lagos work for us, a ticket to have an independent governor.

“We know we have a big, herculean task. It is not something I can do alone. I would sit together with my co-contestant and get their contributions on how to move Lagos forward to work for all,” he said.

Earlier, he had said, “Our aspiration is one which is to put Lagos back on course. Today is the day we all have been waiting for, the moment the PDP has set aside for total emancipation of Lagos State.

“My fellow party members, I have always been saying that all of us are qualified to be the governor of Lagos State. I want to acknowledge the level of the sacrifice of other aspirants for Lagos and keeping the hope of PDP alive before my arrival.

“Our aspiration is one, which is to rescue the state of Lagos. That is why we have decided to speak with one voice to put the party forward. I want to beg you: I need this vote for the entire Lagosians. If you give me the ticket today, it will be a ticket for the soul of Lagos, to enable me lift the state to greater heights.”


Residents speak

One of the major challenges confronting residents of Lagos is housing deficit. According to statistics by an online real estate platform,, Lagos has shortage of 3.2 million housing units and would require at least 4.69 million residential units to comfortably cater for the housing needs of its over 20 million population.

This challenge, which has forced many residents to take shelter under bridges across the city, according to a resident and chairman, Tailors’ Association in Lagos Mainland, Sulaiman Ojo, is what the next governor should urgently address.

Ojo said: “Since the beginning of democratic rule, nothing seems to have changed as regards the condition of living of residents in the state but we cannot but continue to place our demands on the table for them. Perhaps God will touch their hearts one day.

“Of concern to me is the challenge of housing deficit. As the chairman of the tailors’ association, I have many artisans and their families who sleep in community market. Even those that are in corporate jobs are not left out in the stress of getting befitting accommodations which often come with exorbitant rates in the state.

“So, it will be beneficial to residents in the state if our housing challenge in the state could be addressed because it is the genesis of several life-threatening ailments.”

Another resident, Shola Jegede, wants the incoming administration to focus on creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youth population.

Jegede said: “No administration has met, not to talk of exceeding, the demands of the electorate. Once elected, politicians care less about the plights of the populace.

“As we are approaching the next general election, I want the incoming to focus on job creation and decongestion of traffic in Lagos State.

“I want the new administration to expand Mushin-Ikotun Road which has been making living hellish for residents in the area.

“The axis has been neglected by successive administrations, so, it would be a thing of joy for me if the road could be expanded to free up traffic.

“Food insecurity is another challenge I want the government to address. Prices of food items, especially rice, are increasing daily. The Lagos State government, according to what we were told, produces its rice but this only comes during festive periods. I want the next administration to flood our markets with local rice because it is a staple for many Lagosians.”

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