Ahead of the March 18 governorship election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos is making desperate efforts to secure block votes from non-indigenes, particularly the Igbo residents, who form a considerable percentage of voters in the state.

According to findings by the Nairametrics, the heightened campaign for votes is coming on the backdrop of the presidential election which saw the ruling party lose Lagos to the Labour Party. The APC also conceded some National Assembly seats to the LP, particularly in some Igbo-dominated areas.

The ruling party has since summoned the Igbo community leaders to a meeting for deliberations on how they could vote en masse for the APC. 

Wooing Igbo voters: The APC leaders and some traditional rulers, who were worried by the outcome of the last presidential results in Lagos, are persuading the Igbo that it would not be in the best interest of Lagosians if the state should slip into the hands of the Labour Party or PDP, which would be in the opposition as from May 29 when the APC would have formed the central government. 

Asides begging the Igbo leaders to go back and talk to their people to make the right choice and vote for the ruling party, Sanwo-Olu was also seen visiting some markets dominated by the non-indigenes.

Also, some other contestants for the Lagos State House of Assembly were also seen visiting Igbo traditional rulers in their domain to help gather more votes from the residents of Eastern extraction.  

Sanwo-Olu visiting some markets: The governor recently visited traders under the aegis of the Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA) at the Trade Fair Complex, Ojo. 

He also met with an amalgamation of Igbo traders across 58 major markets under the aegis of the Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association. 

The governor also interacted with traders at Computer Village in Ikeja where he assured the traders that Lagos would continue to be a melting pot for all Nigerians. 

He said his administration would foster security and promote peaceful coexistence among all ethnic nationalities in the state. 

  •  “I am here on a solidarity visit and to thank you for your public endorsement of my humble self, which I believe will be reflected at the polls on Saturday with the highest number of votes cast from members of your community,” he said. 
  • “You are not giving us your support for anything; you believe we deserve this encouragement because my team and I have worked tirelessly to improve your well-being. 
  • “Very soon, Ojo will have a brand new General Hospital that will serve your needs. You also have seen expressways and bridges being completed on this corridor and we have awarded a rail project into Okokomaiko that will aid the movement of people and goods. 
  • “I am excited that Lagos is on the path of growth. Through your cooperation and peaceful coexistence, we can ensure that we will not only build the state, but we will also build a better country for ourselves.” 
  • Sanwo-Olu enjoined the Igbo traders not to listen to those threatening to attack them because of their electoral choices. 
  • “We will continue to work with your leadership to enhance cooperation and identify areas we can improve on to foster peace and stability. We will not be hostile to any community of non-indigenes,” he said. 

Ngozi Emechebe, ASPAMDA president, described Sanwo-Olu as a friend of Igbo, adding that the governor has never been hostile to non-Yoruba residents living in the state. 

Emechebe said the forum was initiated as a reassurance of support of the Ndigbo community to the governor’s re-election, saying that the traders would work for Sanwo-Olu’s victory in their respective polling stations. 

Visit to Eze-Ndigbo of Ifako-Ijaiye:  Hon. Adedeji Temitope Adewale representing Ifako- Ijaiye Constituency 01 at the Lagos State House of Assembly who is also seeking to be re-elected recently paid a visit to the Eze-Ndigbo of Ifako-Ijaiye, Eze Michael Ezekwobi and members of Ohaneze Ndigbo to solicit for their votes. 

Adewale said the current administration has fostered inclusion and protected the socio-economic and interests of Ndigbo adding that is a payback time and called on Ndigbo to vote massively for him and the governor. 

He highlighted the achievements of the government and how it has treated Lagos residents with equity, irrespective of ethnic and religious backgrounds. 

Adewale said that said that a vote for him and Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat ticket is a vote for experience and continuity, assuring that the administration will accomplish more for the state if re-elected. 

 What you should know: The APC is harping on the need for continuity based on what they have achieved  under Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, Akinwumi Ambode and Babajide Sanwo-Olu administrations, the PDP and the LP are emphasizing the need for change.  

They argue that the ruling APC has outlived its usefulness in government and that the party has done very little in infrastructure development, which is grossly below the income accruable to the state over the years the APC government has been in power.