Mutiu Lasisi, Lagos
Since 2018, governorship candidates of the two main political parties in Lagos and Kwara States have been campaigning using freedom narrative. Jimi Agbaje of the People’s Democratic Party in Lagos State believes that Lagos has been in bondage since 1999, being ruled by few politicians from the progressive extractions (Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress, Action Congress of Nigeria and All Progressives Congress). The same narrative is being echoed in Kwara State where the Senate President’s family has been at the heart of governance for over three decades.
Jimi Agbaje’s slogan is mostly anchored on freedom for Lagosians and other Nigerians, while Abdurrahman Abdulrazaq of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State believes that it is time to end the political dominance of the Senator Bukola Saraki’s family in the state, using #Otoge, a Yoruba parlance which translate to ‘enough is enough’.
Analysis shows that Nigerians, especially Kwarans and Lagosians who reacted to the narratives differed in their views on which of the states should be freed. When it is obvious that the two states must be freed, Nigerians favoured revolutionary movement in Kwara, while they preferred reformative one for Lagos state, analysis suggests.
In the two states, Nigerians want leadership change to occur from the group and individual levels. For instance, majority believe that the kind of political leadership in Lagos state encourages ‘development’ than what is available in Kwara state. Joel Aderemi Kayode says “If it is godfatherism that has made Lagos State and other western states witness the kind of development we witnessed in the last 19 years, please let it be.”
Citizens are also expected to discern the parties and candidates’ stance on issues that would have short, medium and long term effects on the states. The aggregated view is that Lagos is not in bondage. Even if the state would be freed by the PDP’s candidate, Nigerians are not sure of the candidate being freed from godfathers’ interference in his administration. “Godfathers have always been in politics,” Oyewole Akinsola says.
Another striking insight Infoprationsgleaned from Nigerians’ reactions is that Lagos’ PDP candidate is rebuked for not presenting his manifestoes to the people, while APC’s candidate in Kwara is not. Reactions on #Otoge slogan were more skewed towards political leadership chane than asking the candidate to inform the residents of his programmes. “While Sanwo-Olu moves around telling people his plan and showing knowledge of every sector in Lagos, Agbaje is busy to free people from imaginary bondage,” Abiola Fortunate Ajibola notes.
From these insights, it has emerged that Jimi Agbaje and Abdurrahman Abdulrazaq need to concentrate on telling Lagosians and Kwarans the values they would capture from voting them (candidates) during governorship elections.
Mutiu Lasisi is a research and communication analyst at Infoprations, Lagos