An aspirant in the governorship race of Lagos State, Jide Sanwo-Olu, has said his participation is about the Lagos of his dream and not due to the endorsement of party leader, Bola Tinubu.
He said this while addressing journalists at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday after submitting his nomination form.
Mr Sanwo-Olu is believed to have the support of Mr Tinubu following differences between the latter and the Lagos governor.
But Mr Sanwo-Olu would neither confirm or deny the speculation of his endorsement when pressed by journalists on Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that things would be said here and there,” he said. “A man that is standing in front of you, fully grown-man with several years of experience. Like I said, it is about the Lagos of our dream, it is about the Lagos we want to take to the next level.
“I think it has nothing to do with our leader and there is no denial that he’s our national leader. And he takes that position not only in the state but in the national and you know he has interest in the well-being and improvement in Nigeria’s dream.
“So, by extension, Lagos is a dream that he is passionate about and we will continue to refer to him as our leader. But the most important thing is, I am in front of you, this is who I am, this is what I have come to express to you and Lagos, certainly, will be a better place to live for all us.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu revealed he would be making a formal declaration when he returns to Lagos. “I will be making a formal declaration speech when I get back to Lagos State but I just want to show you that I am here today.”
Speaking on why he wanted to run for Lagos State governor, he said he believes he has what it takes to contribute more to the state.
“Why am I in the race? I’m sure I am 53 years old but more importantly, in the last almost 30 years, I had spent 16 years out of it in the private sector and 11 in the public service. Of course, I have been three-time commissioner. I have been two-time special adviser, I have been director in the biggest corporations in the state. I have served over three governors.
“So, I have wide range of experience and I have a dream to obviously contribute a lot more. As a Lagosian and son of the soil, I will just be able to let our people get to where they know that governance is all about people, it is about what we expect, it is about what will go back to them, improve the course of life, course of security and there are lot of other things we are going to be rolling out.
“But why especially is to give my number of years’ experience, the pedigree from the private sector and from the public sector and I think it is appropriate for me now when people of not-too-young are with us and put that aspiration in place.”
Asked why his entrance into the race was raising a lot of discussion, he said it was because of how the people see him, as he is one of those who redefined Lagos State.
“But the truth about the matter is, what has been generated is a reflection of how people have come to understand the person I am. A whole lot of us have to redefine the Lagos project.
“There are so many firsts that you can begin to attribute to my name in the eleven years that I have had to do with public service. Like I said, I had served three different governors, I have served in two different ministries, two different times at governor’s office, heading the biggest agencies of government.
“You know, the blueprint we had been looking at since 1999, some of us put it together. So, it is not an offence, no doubt about that, it is politics and this era we are into right now.
“And for me as a 53-year-old man, it is now, when I did preach to my kids that whatever you believe in, stay on the course. If I cannot also do what I preach, then I will begin to regret when I am 75 and I would say I didn’t do what I need to do.”
Asked about his reported endorsement by 57 local government chairmen in the state, he said he was not aware of the endorsement but that if he gets back to Lagos and there is a meeting called by the party’s leadership, he will definitely be in attendance.
“I am in Abuja now, certainly I don’t know what is happening in Lagos now, to be fair to me. You are in the media, you have access to information I don’t even have. So, when I get to Lagos, if there is a meeting the leadership has called, certainly I will attend the meeting because certainly, I really don’t know the meeting you are talking about.
“But in terms of endorsement, it is a work in progress. People have been asking questions, people are yet to know the kind of person I am. Soon, whoever emerges is the best, it will be very preemptive of me to stand before you and say I have been supported by 57 people, that means I am going to sleep. Mandate Group is my people, we are in the same family and we will continue to work together.
“At the end of the day, it is Lagosians that will elect us and we are not going to be restricted, we will get to everybody that we need to get to. We will not take anybody for granted.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu submitted his nomination at about the same time an ally to Mr Amode also submitted that of the Lagos governor, who is also seeking re-election.
Although Mr Ambode is a close ally of Mr Tinubu who helped him become governor, sources in both camps have told PREMIUM TIMES that differences currently exist between them, mainly due to some of the Lagos governor’s actions, including his handling of the waste crisis in the state.