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Rhodes-Vivor: An avant-garde heeds the call of the people — By Tochukwu Ezukanma

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The Nigerian political scene is teeming with dangerous rulers. Dangerous rulers are men and women that seek power with no vision, sense of purpose and commitment to serve; they seek power for personal gains. To them power offers the opportunity to luxuriate in fame, pomp and other trappings of power, enrich self, friends and relatives, and entrench the privileges of the political class. The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is a dangerous ruler, and his administration is brimming with rudderless, self-seeking self-absorbed political jobbers.

Further reinforcing Sanwo-Olu’s political dangerousness is the vicious, ruthless politics of his master and political godfather, the mafia emperor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu’s Machiavellianism repudiates morality and exalts the abyss. In his arrogance, megalomania and grasping avarice, Tinubu reduced Lagos to his private estate and the state governor to his errand boy. To remain the master’s good boy, and continue to secure his position as the governor, Sanwo-Olu doles out an alarming proportion of state funds into Tinubu’s personal account every month. The channeling of billions of naira to the mafia emperor, and the stealing, sharing and salting away of additional billions of naira by the Sanwo-Olu administration left outrageous imprints on the state: poverty, ignorance, decrepit public infrastructure, poor healthcare delivery system, suffocating traffic holdups, homelessness, etc.

The peoples of the state are sick and tired of the Sanwo-Olu administration and the mafia emperor that props it up. Consequently, they are desperately calling for a change: a new set of leaders and a new style of leadership. The gubernatorial candidate for the Labor Party in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivor, heeded the call of the people. The Labor Party in Lagos State is striving for a new Lagos founded on the incorruptible uprightness of elected and appointed public officials; rule of law; respect for the legitimate aspirations of the people; principled distribution of the state resources; etc.

Rhodes-Vivor is a true and thorough-bred native of Lagos, a scion of one of the oldest and most prominent families of Lagos. He is from a family of lawyers: his father is a lawyer, and both his grandfather and great grandfather were lawyers. However, he is an architect/urban planner. He studied in Nigeria, France, Britain and the United States of America. He holds three degrees: BSc and MSc in Architecture and MSc in Research and Public Policy. His remarkable pedigree, elaborate education and impressive curriculum vitae fashioned a fine personality. Consequently, he exhibits nobility of character and is actuated by superlative motives.

He appreciates that in statecraft the stakes of power is momentous, because power “means life or death, prosperity or poverty, happiness or tragedy for millions of people”. Therefore those that seek power must be men and women of elevated morals and ethics selflessly driven by the commitment to public service and determination to change the course of history. He has demonstrated his preparedness to be the next governor of Lagos State. His manifesto and stated programs are matchless. They evince knowledge, versatility and dedication to the public good.

In his incorruptible uprightness, he turned down the twenty billion naira bribe offered to him by the All Progressive Congress {APC} cabal in Lagos State.  The offer was made to get him to drop his bid to be the next governor of Lagos. Evidently, Governor Sanwo-Olu and his political masters and supporters are quaking in trepidation of the Labor Party tsunami; for it will overwhelm them and sweep them away.

Gbadebo was a leading presence at the #endSARS protest. Terrified by the prospects of the changes the Nigerian youths demanded in the #endSARS protest, and depressed by the billions of naira in lost revenue from the Lekki Toll Gate, which was occupied by the youths during the protest, Governor Sanwo-Olu ordered an attack on the #endSARS protesters. In a horrifying scene, repulsively reminiscent of a horror movie, soldiers, at close range, opened fire on unarmed, peaceful, flag waving and national anthem-singing youths, killing and maiming them.

He is now leading a charge against the same governor that ordered the killing of Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza. Refreshingly, this time, he is operating from a position of relative strength; his role is not limited to mere protest against the governor. He is the leading opposition gubernatorial candidate poised to trounce the governor at the poll. The PVC is an incomparably powerful weapon for change and payback. In our desire for a new Lagos, and in the memory of those young men and women, whose lives were snuffed out at the order of Sanwo-Olu at the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza, we must vote out Governor Sanwo-Olu.

On March 18, 2023, come rain, come shine, and, in defiance of APC thuggery, intimidation and violence, and armed with our PVCs, we must troop out in our numbers to elect Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivor the new governor of Lagos State.

Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
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