Jimi Agbaje, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for Lagos State, has explained why he is yet to begin campaign ahead of the elections.
There have been widespread criticisms online about Agbaje’s seeming silence since he won the PDP gubernatorial primary.
But in a statement posted on his verified Twitter handle, he made it clear that it was because of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rules.
Agbaje revealed that his campaign will get underway December 1 and vowed to wrestle Lagos from “overlords”.
“Good morning Lagos, my team and I have gotten a barrage of questions asking why I haven’t been actively campaigning in public and I think it’s about time that we addressed it.
“Let’s be clear, the INEC rules guiding this election unequivocally state that campaigning for the 2019 gubernatorial elections shall not begin until the 1st of December, 2018. In their words – not mine – and I quote, “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party (not just candidates) shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.”
“Now if that is the rule, then we have no choice but to abide by it – even if it might sound unpopular to do so. And quite frankly, what precedence would we set if we are not keeping to the rules of competition.
“To my supporters and well-wishers, I understand that we’re anxious to get this campaign on the road, but it’s important that we are also mindful of the bigger task ahead – which isn’t just about winning an election but about changing mindsets and sending a strong message across Lagos that under our watch, it wouldn’t be business as usual.
“If our goal is to bring reform and order to governance in Lagos, if our mission is to fundamentally transform the way government works for the greater good of our people and not a few vested interests, then we must begin by setting an example by obeying instructions. So I implore everyone to please hold on to those wonderful banners, posters and boards until the 1st of December. Let’s win this one again, the right way.
“Friends, we have an opportunity in this election to really make it about the people of Lagos and not our personal egos. Currently, Lagos ranks as one of the top 7 economies in Africa yet – like a good friend of mine puts it, “majority of us work like elephants but eat like ants.”
“What happened to Lagos? The size of our economy today is as large as the entire economy of Nigeria in 1999 yet we cannot boast of the sort of infrastructure that is worthy of a mega city of our status. Think about that for a second.
“In this election there are real issues that must be addressed and bold ideas that must be proffered if ever we are to win the Lagos that this generation desires. I’m not under any illusions that this would be easy – which is why we need all hands on deck.
“Everyone counts in this struggle to wrestle our dear state from the clutch of overlords and vested interests and I cannot wait to hit the trail to meet and interact with you all.
“So if there’s anyone out there who is looking to be part of this dream to set a new trajectory for Lagos -one that puts the interest of the greater good of our people above any one entity; If there’s anyone who senses the urgency of the moment and wants to be part of the solution to the issues that are preventing us from reaching our true potential as a state, we’ll be glad if you join us at jimiagbaje.com/volunteer where thousands of men and women, young and old, are making their voices heard as we forge a future worthy of the great people of this state.
“In closing, let’s continue to act as great ambassadors of Lagos and true citizens of Nigeria even as we work within the guidelines of the upcoming election. In the end, the Lagos that this generation desires can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is ours. God bless,” Agbaje wrote.