The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, on Tuesday assured the students of the Lagos State University that he would not increase tuition fees in the institution if elected in February.

Agbaje, who claimed that the Lagos State Government had failed in the education sector, said his victory at the polls would ensure a transformation in the sector.

Speaking at the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of the state as part of his campaign tour, the PDP candidate said recent West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination results of the state were evidence that the state needed a change in leadership.

The PDP candidate, who was accompanied by his running mate, Alhaja Safurat Abdulkareem, described the APC-led state government as selfish.

He claimed that the educational policy of the state government betrayed the standard laid down by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo .

He said, “We are saying that we have to take education more seriously even as Awolowo did. The amount budgeted for vocational schools shows a lack of seriousness. It is hard for skilled workers to get jobs because they have no certification. And we have determined to ensure that people acquire skills and certificates so that that they can compete globally.

“A government that has not delivered on health, housing, education and infrastructure, how can they now demand continuity? This is not time for continuity; it is time for change in Lagos.

“This is a government made up of those who will not carry out any programme except it will benefit them. They said the Bus Rapid Transit would replace Molue, but BRT has now turned to Molue. As we travel through Lagos roads, we see them breaking down all over the place. When you enter one, you pray that it will not break down before you reach your destination. The few ones that are on the road are being used to advertise their posters.”

Also speaking at the Ojo area of Lagos on Tuesday, Agbaje said he would inaugurate the light rail, running from Iganmu through Badagry, adding that it was unfortunate that the project had yet to be completed.

He said, “The project is being delayed because those in power in Lagos want to be the ones making money from it. We will complete it and inaugurate it for you. And in the next 10 years, there will be, at least, five more of these blue lines in several areas of Lagos.”

According to him, apart from direct building of houses by the government, a scheme would be put in place to encourage private developers to build affordable houses for the masses.

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Voters not protected

The campaigns and utterances of our politicians suggest that the polling booths are death zones for Nigerians. Every right-thinking person must be conscious of his life and security before going to vote. The fitness of our military and other security agencies will be the sole determinant of my voting. Our leaders must be careful in their choice of words to avoid a low-turnout on the election days otherwise the essence of democracy will be lost.

— Godwin Udoezi

I’m yet to get my PVC

I will like to vote, but I am yet to collect my Permanent Voter Card at Ojota area of Lagos State. The PVC should be made available to everybody so we can easily vote for the candidate of our choice.

— Dikachi Oji-Nwokoma

I cannot vote

Though I was born and I also live in Nigeria, I will not vote because I don’t consider myself a citizen of this country. I am a Togolese. I don’t think someone like me would be allowed to vote.

— Christophe Ametonou

Status quo must change

I will vote because I have to exercise my right. It is a privilege for me to effect the kind of change we want. I am tired of the way things are and I think many other Nigerians are as well, especially when one considers the level of impunity and the situation of the economy. When push comes to shove, it boils down to the man on the street and how he is able to cope. The Chibok girls are most important at this time. As a mother, I can imagine the kind of pains the parents of those girls are going through. The President has done little or nothing to rescue them and the time has come for a change in government.

— Adeolu Kuku

It’s my right to vote

I believe every Nigerian who is 18 years or above has the right to vote. It is my civic right to vote. I will vote to elect a leader who will take charge of my country.

— Dirichi Ihediwa

It’s my duty to vote

I will definitely vote because it is what I am supposed to do as a Nigerian. Also, I have decided to vote because it is one of the benefits of being a Nigerian. I don’t have a specific candidate to vote for; it is whoever God wants to be there I will vote for.

— Mayowa Oluwagbemiga

I will stay indoors

The last time I voted was during the 1993 elections. After then, I have not voted in any election in Nigeria. In the last election, I registered in Kauna, Kaduna North, not far from the Nigeria Defence Academy, where I was enrolled. On the day of election, while on the queue, the security operatives singled my friends and I out. They prodded to know who we wanted to vote for, threatening us to vote only for the Congress for Progressive Change candidate or leave immediately. In fact, a female member of the National Youth Service Corps, who was part of the ad hoc staff, was severely beaten for complaining that there were underage children on the queue. Also, during the registration process in Lagos, I was almost prevented from registering by an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission. I would rather stay at home to avoid any brush with security operatives.

— Alex Yikarebogha

I’ll vote

I will cast my vote because it is my civic responsibility and my power to determine the future of my country.

— Segun Banjo

A waste of time

It is a ‘no’ for me because we can easily predict who the winner will be. Why waste my precious time under the sun for hours? I know it is my right to vote, but I can’t this time.

— Esther Ogunleye

I have no PVC

I want to vote but it may not be possible because I am yet to collect my Permanent Voter Card. I wasted hours trying to get it at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission located in Kosofe Local Government Area secretariat, Lagos. I was poorly treated by the commission’s officials there. I am tired.

— Tony Kadiri

I’ll vote for change

Yes, I will vote for change in the country. I am tired of the status quo. There has to be more than this.

— Kunle Osanyin

Nigeria needs my vote

I will vote. I want to be part of the change we need in Nigeria and not just a social commentator.

— Miracle Nwabueze

My vote is my power

I will cast my vote because even though many Nigerians do not believe in change, I still believe my little action is a significant step towards a better and improved nation.

— Chukwuma Nwosu

I’m not eligible to vote

I am a Ghanaian by birth and a Nigerian by naturalisation. Having lived in Nigeria for about 40 years, I voted during the times of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe. But now, it has been said that if you are not a Nigerian, you cannot vote. I have no Permanent Voter Card or other relevant documentation, because I have not been issued a Certificate of Naturalisation.

— Adjei Klu

No PVC to vote

No, I won’t vote because I don’t have the Permanent Voter Card. The distance between where I currently live and the place where I registered during the last elections is quite long, so I couldn’t go back there to pick the PVC.

— Richard Eholo

My PVC not issued

I cannot vote because I don’t have a Permanent Voter Card. I relocated from the area where I registered during the last elections. Recently, I went back to the centre to re-register, but I was told that the computer was corrupted.

—Joy Patrick

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Kunle Famoriyo

OAU students sad about Jonathan’s poor govt —Famoriyo

National Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo

National Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo

The National Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, in this interview with TOBI AWORINDE, justifies the recent protest by Obafemi Awolowo University students against President Goodluck Jonathan

The Goodluck Jonathan administration has scored itself high in infrastructural development, among others. Why then do you think the students of Obafemi Awolowo University were unhappy when the President visited the institution?

The students were unhappy because the economy of the country is bad. The students were unhappy because the security of the nation is bad. They are the leaders of tomorrow. They can read between the lines that the funds that come to the Federal Government are being spent ridiculously. The students can see and feel it; they have parents who cannot give them money as they should. They feel the pinch of the bad economy that is being run by the Jonathan administration. Now, you can see the naira has gone up to about 187 to the dollar. If the naira was not devalued, it would be a different story. When I was younger, I spent N45 in the university for a whole month, until we had the Structural Adjustment Programme and structures dictated by the International Monetary Fund. From that time till today, the value of our currency has kept on going down because we’re not running the type of economy that we’re supposed to run. An economy that is only dependent on oil is no economy; an economy that does not produce anything. All the industries in Ikeja, Lagos have been turned into churches.

Organisers of the President’s visit to the South West, have accused the opposition of spreading the falsehood about the OAU students’ protest.

We know that is what they will say. Anytime that anything goes wrong for them, they say it is the APC. Are they (PDP) really on the ground in the South-West? Who is talking about opposition? We, the Yoruba, are saying what they are doing is wrong. They can’t come through the backdoor to woo us. That is what we are saying. Neither the PDP nor the APC is Yoruba. When the Yoruba were asking for a sovereign national conference, were they among those who were asking for it? What we are saying, in essence, is that the majority of those that are there (in Federal Government) who claim to be Yoruba cannot be compared to those who fight for the Yoruba on a regular basis. How can they come to tell us that the Yoruba have endorsed Jonathan? What kind of trick is that? Those who are the forerunners in promoting the advancement of the Yoruba were not there. Several times, we have called several Yoruba conferences, those people never attended. They should stop distorting facts. The students that acted could not have been all Yoruba. Jonathan took their political outing to Oduduwa Hall of the university during the period the students were sitting their examinations. They had been struggling on their own, and during the most important thing in their lives, he (Jonathan) came to disrupt with all kinds of security agents. Why couldn’t they do their politics outside? Is it student union politics that they have brought into the university? Why couldn’t they restrict it to the Ooni of Ife’s palace?

President Jonathan recently said he had performed better than every president since 1960, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is of Yoruba descent. Do you agree with him?

I don’t want to speak from the point of ethnicity. We are talking about performance and I think that whichever way we look at it, Obasanjo fared better than Jonathan, from the point of view of administration and making sure that everybody was carried along in his administration. It was not ethnicity-based; people were given a chance along the national character, in terms of employment and all that was necessary. He did well along that line. He did not do it as a Yoruba person; but today, what you have in Nigeria is some people saying, ‘It is our time to rule!’ and they are ruling with impunity.

Does this alleged impunity echo the sentiment you expressed of Afenifere not having good representation at the national conference?

To a certain extent, we have managed ourselves as people and we have become friends. Whatever the differences that were there then have been managed and we formed a formidable front at the conference.

Jonathan has often said his administration is improving in the agricultural sector. Has the impact not been felt in the south-western states, where agriculture is a major source of revenue?

There are quite a number of things that are meant to be done by the states, if we really have true federalism. The Federal Government has appropriated quite a number of things to itself to the degree that everybody has to go to Abuja to collect allocations. We are not allowed to manage our economy along federalist tendencies. It is the Federal Government that has the largest chunk of money. If we have true federalism, where we don’t have too much money in the hands of the Federal Government, those things are possible. But in a situation whereby you have little funds to spend; barely enough to pay full salaries, how will the states have any money to go into any form of development? We have to give kudos to most of our governors in the South-West, who have managed to bring about development in infrastructure. Whatever they are doing in that regard with the little money they have, one should give kudos to them. They still manage to give out funds to farmers. But the main problem is that farming is capital intensive. For us to do a good job with farming, we should be left alone to earn our own money, generate our money and be able to put whatever we want to put in the right place, rather than being dictated by the Federal Government.

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