Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party’s gubernatorial candidate for Lagos State in the 2023 general election, has stated that the state’s aspirations to become a global financial hub is facing substantial hurdles due to purported cronyism within the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Labour Party candidate, in a statement on Monday, criticised Governor Sanwolu’s efforts to attract investors in London, deeming them “underwhelming, dishonest, and incoherent.”
He described the dismantling of a $10 million tech investment aimed at revolutionising bike-hailing services in Lagos as evidence of conflicting policies within the state government.
He said, “The success of the tech ecosystem is primarily driven by the talent, determination, and relentless spirit of young Nigerians striving to make a global impact. Hence, it’s no surprise that almost 80% of Nigerian startups are formally incorporated in the United States.”
Rhodes-Vivour further emphasised the contradiction between the governor’s ambition to transform Lagos into a major financial hub and the policies implemented at home.
He alleged that over the past 23 years, the APC administration has pursued policies hindering the city’s potential for growth.
Addressing issues of corruption, Rhodes-Vivour claimed that the state’s investment in critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, housing, and waterways, had been marred by corruption and cronyism.
He stated that “Over the past 23 years, his administration and party have pursued policies that hinder the city’s potential. To compete with global financial centers like London, Hong Kong, Zurich, or New York, Lagos needs high-quality infrastructure, competitive tax rates, an independent judiciary, and a diverse pool of top talent – all which Sanwolu and his party have vulgarised.
“The state’s investment in critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, housing, and waterways, has been dismal and marred by corruption. We are struggling to power streetlights and complete impactful projects because the cost of contracts are inflated, given to cronies and most of the funds stolen.”
The Labour Party candidate stressed the importance of an independent judiciary, pointing out the state government’s resistance to financial autonomy for the judiciary.
He argued that serious investors would be hesitant to invest in an economy lacking judicial independence.
He added, “The disdain for the independence of the judiciary by the Lagos state government was such that the state was the most vocal in opposing financial autonomy for the judiciary.
“Isn’t it embarrassing that a state that prides itself as the economic centre of Nigeria is averse to the independence of the judiciary? Serious investors will not invest their funds in any economy that doesn’t have an independent judiciary.”
“While Lagos has the potential to rival other major global financial hubs in the next two decades, it will remain a show of itself if led by administrators who lack the vision, competence, and character required to see it through,” Rhodes-Vivour stated.