HAMZAT FOR GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE.

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DR. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat, the Commissioner for Works in Lagos State is interested in governing the state in 2015. Hamzat, who clocks the golden age of 50 today, speaks on his chances of clinching the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in November and his plans, mission and vision for the state in 2015. Excerpts: By Dapo Akinrefon WHY do you want to be the governor of Lagos? You have asked a very serious question. About nine months ago, I asked myself this same question. All of us learn through various means. For me, I see that the challenge of the black man generally is lack of sustaining development. The issue is that we deal with the wrong things at home. We talk about Igbo, Yoruba and South-South, does it matter? The currency we spend has no colouration. The road that you drive on does not know or ask where you come from. When a plane crashes, it doesn’t know if you are from the South or North. So, why then do we focus on the wrong things? That is one of the reasons I said we must look at the right approach to solve our problems. We must have somebody that possesses the experience, humility, integrity and what it takes to do the job. I believe I represent those values. That is one of the reasons I’m presenting myself as a candidate for the office. Our party, the APC, is lucky because we have many people who are qualified to do the job. We don’t need to go and hire people from outside, borrow someone or be begging. Within that number as well, there will also be ratings based on various factors that as a people we must determine, in terms of experience, background, education and the rest. But I believe that at the end of the day, I will carry the day. How would your party handle the issue of religion in the choice of who emerges as your candidate? I don’t know where that is coming from. Every time I remember Chief Obafemi Awolowo or Azikwe, I don’t even remember their religion. What I remember Awolowo for is the building of OAU, Ife, setting up the first television station. I don’t know what religion Nelson Mandela practiced but there are many Christians and Muslims in South Africa who took money from the white government and betrayed their people. I have said it before that one of the problems with the black man is that we deal with what we cannot measure. In my view, it has absolutely nothing to do with religion and I think we are getting it wrong as a people especially when we start that in Lagos. For example, since Ogun State was created, all the governors in that state have been Christians. The first one that would be a Muslim is Amosun. We did not have a single agitation, why should it have to start from Lagos? It is absolutely ridiculous and I think as a people we must not allow those types of nonsense to happen. What is important is how to move Lagos forward. We must be careful because this is a state where we have about 40 per cent of bank branches in this country. Which nation in this world has dabbled into religious issue and came out successful? As a people, we must be very careful. What we must always know is that the governorship has absolutely nothing to do with religion. It shouldn’t matter, it’s not important because their job is not to go and preach. Your party, APC, has been accused of always carrying out magic primaries to pick its candidates for election, what is your comment on this? I don’t know what you mean by magic primaries. The truth of the matter is that everybody will have specific interests, so the leaders like Asiwaju will have a particular candidate. He is a leader, he is a human being, but he has only one vote. What I am saying is that as a candidate, I don’t worry myself with that. What I am worrying myself with is let me present what I represent to the party and the people of Lagos, you leave your faith in God, so whatever happens, so be it. How would you assess your chances among those who are jostling for governorship position? What is your relationship with the party leadership and kindly react to what the Oba of Lagos said at a book launch that a son of an Ogun State Oba will not become governor over him First of all, in answering your question, I take myself serious. If I don’t believe in something, I don’t do it. I take myself very serious and whatever I want to do, I face it. So if I don’t believe in my chances, I would not waste my time. In November, I am going to win that primary. Two, I wouldn’t discuss Kabiyesi (Oba of Lagos) issue, I wouldn’t do that. You know what is interesting; Kabiyesi tells me more about my grandfather than my mum does. My mum and Kabiyesi, they are like family. My mother is from Ija Egbe in Lagos Island, my maternal grandfather is Pa Collins, he (Kabiyesi) tells me more about him than my mum. I learnt more about him from Kabiyesi so I will not respond to what Kabiyesi has said. Do you think that would be an obstacle? No, it is not. You know why it is not, because it doesn’t matter, it is not that there is a law that restricts you, but two, it is okay for anybody to lie about his roots. I will never lie because, where then do you get your integrity from? If you lie about your heritage, or roots, then you will lie about anything. I cannot even lie because a lot of people know my dad and if my father had said he is from Epe, nobody can dispute it. If by November, you didn’t win the governorship seat, do we see you moving to another party? No, no, no, I wasn’t brought up that way, you must believe in something. What exactly do you have as agenda for Lagos? It is very interesting as you can see, it is a document I keep reading and writing. It is called ‘Building A State That Lasts’, this will be the manifesto. Knowledge based economy There are four major pillars. The first one is building a knowledge based economy. Now, it is also important that we encourage technical education. So for education, we must do technical. The well-being of the people is also a priority. We spend more money treating the side effect instead of using that money to build water works, among others. Those type of infrastructure must also continue. The truth is that we have identified seven rail lines in Lagos, we are building one now. The truth is that no foreign investor wants to invest in rail in West Africa. Why? When people invest in such a thing, they want their money back. It is somebody’s investments they want to bring, how do they get their money back?

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