Abiodun Dabiri, an architect, is the governorship candidate for the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) in the March 2 governorship election in Lagos State. In this interview with Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase, he speaks on the need for credible people to get involved in the political process of the country so as to bring in the desired change. Excerpts:
As an architect why did you venture into politics and why governorship seat?
Four years ago, I came to the conclusion that the electoral process in itself in the country is greatly improved; we have come a long way from what we were 20years ago when politics started. The election is relatively free and fair now but there is still no improvement in our society. The problem was not the process; it is the people, which mean that this country will not change until credible people become involved in the political process.
If we don’t have credible people offering themselves for service; nothing will change no matter how free and fair the elections are.
People ask me why not start from the local government chairman. The truth is that we operate a unitary system of government, so if you become a local government chairman how do you help people. You are operating with your hands tied behind your back and the only reason those that were there are there is because they have no interest in the people. They just wait for the allocation and share it. So the only way you can solve some of the problems that are affecting the citizens is to go for that office that power is.
Generally, people believe that the race is between PDP and APC but do you think you can achieve your aspiration with this party?
You are right people believe that it is APC and PDP but I know that the same people would realise that any party is strong because people make it strong. Unfortunately, we operate in an environment of extreme poverty and we have a middle class that is nonchalant.
Lagos is a bit unique out of all the states of the federation. I believe Lagos state is the only state that has a high number of informed voters enough to change the course of the elections; but they don’t get involved. They leave it to the grassroots people who first of all do not have the capacity to understand the dynamic of making the right decisions. They are easily hoodwinked by little things Indomie, sardine, N2000 and all of them have PVCs.
The race for me is not for APC and PDP. APC and PDP for me is a committee of friends. They are the same people; the elite. The choice is that the citizens of Lagos must elect their own governor. If they want things to be better; taking any of those two is just a step in the same direction. We have had them at the centre, what is the difference? Half of the people in APC now were in PDP, the five most corrupt governors that Nuhu Ribadu was chasing are now in APC. We just need to wake up.
In that case what are your plans for the state?
We are going to provide quality healthcare. The fastest way to cater for the size of our population is to focus on primary healthcare. All the primary healthcare centres will immediately be refurbished and made to perform the functions they were created for.
Free healthcare for the elderly, pregnant women, free malaria treatment for the citizens and then we will ensure that as many people that are possible sign up for the National Health Insurance Scheme. We will even create the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme and those that are vulnerable, that cannot afford to pay the government will make sure that they pay for them.