The governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Lagos State, Funsho Doherty sits with Chude Jideonwo, host of #WithChude on a Lagos Election Special, Eko l’ on pebi, featuring the leading candidates in the Lagos Governorship election, asides the incumbent Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who was unavoidably unavailable for the interview.
On the interview, Doherty discusses the gaps in the current leadership in the state and what he wants to do differently.
“My overall sense is that Lagos is operating far below its potential. Lagos is blessed with a lot of natural advantages relative to other cities in Nigeria. The managers of this city have been entrusted with a lot. If I look at the last 23 years that Lagos has been governed by essentially one ruling entity, even though you have had different governors, I think of where we are relative to where we could have been, and the difference is very wide”.
Reacting to the claim that overpopulation makes it difficult for the current government to do more than is presently being done, he said, “I think that is a narrative, I don’t think there is evidence to support it. Yes, we have a large population but remember that Lagos’s budget this year alone is about 1.7 trillion. I think that there is always an explanation for why we are where we are and there will always be some ground that you cover as a result of just time passing, to the extent that you spend 1.7 billion in passing. You will do some things but the question is are we doing the right things? Are we getting value for the resources that we are spending? What is the overall outcome for all of what we are doing, is the society becoming more equitable, or are the resources of the society becoming more and more concentrated?”
Doherty also shared from his TIGER agenda on what he plans to do when in office, “One of the first things that we will do is, we will unwind the revenue collection agreement that the government have with the AlphaBeta agency, we think that it is something that doesn’t happen in a modern society like Lagos. We don’t see the reason why you should have a small group of people with limited transparency accounting for the revenue and keeping a share of those revenues. For the transportation project, the rail project has been on for almost 16 years, there is no reason why that should be, and there is no transparency around those things. A large public works project like that should be in the public domain, and people should know. When we come into office, we will open it up and share the information with Lagosians and understand what the issues are. And we will ensure that the project is delivered or amended as needed”.
On the evidence to back the perception that Lagos has been being ruled by the same entity for the past 23 years, he shared, ‘I think there are significant arrangements that you can point to, and the AlphaBeta arrangement is one of them, that is something that originated from one administration many years ago, I don’t think any governor that comes from the platform of the ruling party can do anything about it when they come. This thing that I talk about is even in the Agbero space, some of the actions that were taken in the issue with NURTW the other day and how that was handled, you can see that there is a coziness in that relationship that goes beyond the person that is currently occupying the seat. Even some of the actions of the governor in relating to whom we might think of as the principal – Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The other day, our governor was in Chatham House answering questions for ex-governor Tinubu. There is perception and reality and all of them apply in this case’.
Watch the excerpts from the interview here: