Jimi Agbaje's campaign billboards were taken down last week. It makes no sense to destroy election billboards when there's so much more to worry about.
First, a confession: I have written two articles that were very critical of PDP governorship flagbearer in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje, and the kind of campaign he has been running.
To cut a rather annoying story short, I thought Agbaje’s campaign has been lack-luster and lacking in energy and I cited the absence of his campaign posters on the streets of Lagos at a time when his major opponent in the race, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has taken advantage of the loophole in the Electoral Act to flood the streets with his pictures.
Seeing as this is his third governorship run, I expected much more from Agbaje and I said so in not so many words.
A couple of days after the last of the two articles dropped, I was pleasantly surprised to see Agbaje’s campaign billboards lining the third mainland bridge. Imagine my shock when the day after I saw the colourful billboards, I learnt that they had been pulled down by unknown miscreants.
“Early this morning our boards were vandalized and removed just as campaign commenced. Some of our deployment staff were also threatened with violence and warned to desist”, Agbaje shared on his Twitter page on Saturday, November 30.
“Fellow Lagosians, we must stand against this sort of tyranny. This is no ordinary election. This is a fight for freedom. A fight for Democracy. A fight for Lagos. We will not be silent and we will not be oppressed or suppressed into a corner. This time around, democracy must win”, he added.
Of course everybody’s number one suspect when the vandalism news broke, was the APC and its band of loyalists. The APC has since denied that it was behind pulling down and tearing apart Agbaje’s campaign billboards.
“Even though we suspect that miserable PDP followers can deliberately pull down their posters and push it to APC, we passionately appeal to all our members not to take laws into their hands by tampering with PDP campaign materials in the name of helping our party”, Igbokwe wrote.
Here’s my take, since you asked: the persons who pulled down those billboards or authorized that they be pulled down, do not belong in our society. They are barbarians at best. In 2018, acts like pulling down or tearing apart people’s campaign posters should be acutely scorned at and shunned in the strongest terms possible.
I am also aware that police officers patrol the third mainland bridge all night, or pretend to do. How come the perpetrators were not apprehended or stopped dead in their tracks? But that's a subject matter for another day.
I also think that the miscreants who pulled down the billboards were not authorized to do so by the APC hierarchy. These were probably a loose band of ragtag, partisan, grassroots urchins who acted on their own convictions, certain that they were doing their party a huge favour. My hunch also says the perpetrators could be vassals from either political party who simply took the laws into their hands just to score cheap political points.
As I drove on the third mainland bridge this morning, it was nice to see that Jimi Agbaje’s colourful and prescient campaign billboards screaming “Freedom!” had returned to the positions where there once stood. As it should be.
There’s so much at stake in Lagos and so much to occupy the minds of the major contestants and voters. The infrastructure is crumbling, traffic is daily eating away at productivity, public schools are decaying, the city stinks to the heavens, robbers are daily stealing smartphones from commuters and robbing whole neighborhoods, police brazenly solicit bribe at checkpoints and flood remains a major concern in an overpopulated and stretched city.
Three months before the general election, we should be asking Agbaje and Sanwo-Olu how they intend to fix this chaotic city and not allow them the luxury of trading blames over who removed whose campaign billboards.
The issues please, my people. The issues.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko.Share this News