In this interview with ENIOLA AKINKUOTU, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, talks about political issues in the state
The Peoples Democratic Party has described as fraudulent, the court ruling which reaffirmed Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s victory at the poll. Is it true that your party bribed the judiciary?
Did the PDP have any evidence to present before the tribunal in the first place? Are they saying they won the election? Are they newcomers in Lagos? Were they even on the ground in the first place? Yes, they worked hard to win Lagos with the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme fraud which they used in manipulating unemployed youths.
Money was extorted from the youths and they are worse off today.
We saw the PDP using an outlawed organisation like the Oodua People’s Congress, among others. We saw them tearing our posters and damaging billboards.
We saw their contestants in Alimosho and Agege brandishing guns and shooting. This was their hard work.
We saw the money that former President Goodluck Jonathan brought to Lagos when he relocated here briefly before the elections. He gave out dollars and pounds.
So, these were the things they did to win Lagos. Politics goes beyond this. Lagos PDP thought Jonathan would win and after winning, they would use soldiers and the police to intimidate us and chase us out but when Jonathan lost, even my kinsmen, who were supporting the PDP before, started running to Bourdillon (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s home).
So, the PDP is not being truthful. If Jonathan had won that election, the OPC would have taken over. God, in his infinite mercies, helped us. Now, the PDP has lost Abuja and has also lost Lagos and that is why they are throwing tantrums.
We in the Lagos APC are even angry that the PDP came so close to defeating us in the last election but we will never allow this again. We will rule them for the next 30 to 35 years because the people of Lagos will be impressed with our hard work.
The PDP says Governor Ambode has already started going after its supporters, especially the traders in Ladipo Auto Spare Parts Market.
That is not true. Ambode is a Christian and he does not have that kind of character. He never demolished the market.
We in the Igbo Conscience Group will hold a meeting with the traders and the Chairman of the Mushin Local Government Council.
It is a local government matter and the traders had had an agreement with the local government to rebuild the market.
Agreements were made and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and the traders had been given ample notice.
The market needs a facelift because it is an eyesore.
Apart from the warehouses inside the market, there are wooden structures outside the market. Is that the kind of place where you want your customers from Europe to visit?
The government wants the market to conform to the megacity project.
So, the government did not illegally demolish anything.
When we went to the market to campaign, they threw water sachets at us and that market belongs to the government.
That market is originally meant to be a health centre and if the government wanted to follow the law to the letter, it would demolish the entire market and make it a health centre but we do not repay evil with evil.
There is no plan to make life difficult for the people because they did not vote for us.
So, I urge my people in the market to stop playing politics with this matter. This is a megacity and the market must conform to the required standard.
Over a month after his inauguration, Ambode has not appointed commissioners and the PDP has accused him of being slow.
Many governors across the federation have not appointed commissioners. Even the President has not appointed ministers.
So, why the rush when we have permanent secretaries that can sustain government ministries? Commissioners are just political heads.
They don’t sign cheques. They only meet with the governor for briefings and act as a link between the ministries and the governor. Ambode is energetic and experienced. He has been everywhere.
So, whoever says he is not working is just being economical with the truth. The PDP has never ruled Lagos before and that is why they don’t understand it.
The APC had said that if Lagos and the Federal Government were controlled by the same party, there would be unprecedented change. Now that there is a crisis in the party due to the National Assembly issue, will the party be able to deliver on its numerous promises in Lagos?
Problems are part of life. What happens in everyday business depends on what you do in the morning.
Would you expect the PDP to go down without a fight? We knew that the PDP would try to pull us down.
But we will overcome what is happening at the National Assembly.
How can a member of the APC sell out his party for the Senate Presidency? How could he collude with our enemies? Of course, we will not allow him get away with such shenanigans? We will not allow it to stand.
So, we believe it is right that we get things right from the outset. So, we are trying to deal with this challenge.
Once Senator Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu are out, we will be able to get things running and Lagos will definitely benefit from the Federal Government.
It is good for Lagos to be aligned with the centre because it needs special attention.
It is the place where 80 per cent of tertiary institution graduates from across the country come to.