We can Take down APC in free election – Lagos AD gov candidate, Salis - 9IJA TALKS

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We can Take down APC in free election – Lagos AD gov candidate, Salis

One of the things propelling me to contest this governorship election is the interest of the underprivileged; people are really suffering. I am worried about the level of suffering people are going through. I have an empowerment programme.
The second reason is the preservation of African culture. I have been in the United States for over 20 years and I know that black people are at the bottom of the racial competition in the United State, and most of these black people look up to Nigeria. And when you come to Nigeria, whatever happens in Lagos State goes a long way to shaping what happens in Nigeria and this is very important to the black race. I see a link between culture and development based on my experience. I have travelled to more than half of the countries in the world. I went to see how people live, their cultures, interests and so many other things.
Basically, the objective of this contest is to take Lagos State’s commonwealth from a special interest group and give it back to the people. Right now, the commonwealth of Lagos State is in the hands of some special interest and there is a wide gap between the poor and the rich; even the kingdom has been turned to praise singers. I have spoken with some Obas and some of them are scared and we can’t continue like this. Some youths have taken to thuggery while their (those in power) own children are travelling abroad for education. That system is slavery. A lot of Lagosians are being enslaved by the people at the top.
What kind of change will you bring to governance in Lagos State if you are elected in 2019?
Some people have said Lagos State is developing but I don’t think so. If you are going to adjudge a government as successful, it must be a government that has been able to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich with adequate provision of the people’s basic needs. One of these basic needs is education. The rich have money to finance the education of their children but the poor will need to be assisted by the government. That means the government needs to provide quality public schools. In the health sector, the rich have the money to take care of their health but the poor don’t. So, we need to bridge that gap.
Similarly in the area of housing, the rich have money to build their own houses but the poor need to be assisted in order to have shelter. What you see in Lagos today is decoration. I’m not saying those things are not good but the key things are the basic needs of the people, things that make them happy. We are going to bring a fundamental change through grass-roots governance. In the area of transportation, I have evaluated the transport system; the traffic problem has been there since 1960s when I was growing up and it’s still there.
One major solution is to have a subway system. It could be underground or overhead; we urgently need it now. This is possible because the money is there. The problem is that a lot of people put their personal interest above public interest when they want to do project for the state. Look at the Badagry highway project that is being developed with the rail system, it is taking too long to complete. They have been on this project for more than 10 years because of clash of interests. We need to have a train system that will not have contact with people on the road and it will move at high speed.
Do you think there is a chance for AD in a state that has been governed by one party for the past 19 years?
There is a strong chance for our party in Lagos State. The AD is like a quality metal that is buried and we are already digging to find it. Since I moved to the AD, a lot of people have joined. The party is a mother party to all other parties. People that formed the AD were formally in the PDP and because of clashes, they moved out to form the AD. There are many of these actors who have their root in the AD. This means that if given the necessary push, the AD can win the election. Since I became the AD governorship candidate for Lagos State, quite a lot of people have moved into the party and more people are still joining the party. Our concern is to win the election because we know that we can win if they will not rig the election.
You are based in the United States. In what ways do you think democracy in Nigeria is different from the system in advanced democracies?
In the Western world, people do a door-to-door campaign with a lot of TV adverts and press hypes. But the problem here is violence due to excessive rigging. In democracies all over the world, they try to rig you out but it is done without violence.
How do you think electoral violence can be curbed in Nigeria?
Everything lies with the incumbent President. If he says there will be no more rigging and he means it, there will be no more rigging. People are talking about card readers now that are said to be designed for rigging. Rigging is best done at the collation centres when you see people giving fake results. When we stop rigging, we are going to defeat the ruling party (APC).
How can we overcome the issue of vote buying in Nigeria?
Vote buying is a big challenge. It is something that is propelled by poverty and lack of education. This happens when people get 0.1 per cent of what they should get and they don’t know that they actually need to get more. What we need to do about vote buying is to embark on a lot of campaign against it.

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