As Nigerians brace up for the Governorship and State House of Assembly phase of the 2023 general elections due for Saturday March 11, Lagosians have another date to keep with history. People-driven history will be made, so they must beware of the symbolic Ides of March which is cloaked in the campaign of falsehood and divisive ethnic politicking by individuals whose fabled political structure was crushed in the last presidential election in Lagos.
The desperados are jittery about another defeat and whipping up primitive sentiments against Labour Party’s Governorship Candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV), calling him names in order to turn indigenous people against him. In reality, what they are afraid of is the solid pedigree of this original Lagosian, his ability to deliver and vintage ethnic hybrid position to play the politics of inclusiveness that accommodate everyone, no matter ethnic, religious or economic status.
Who is this Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and why are they so keen to disparage him with unfounded fallacies? Gbadebo (‘The one who brings the crown’) is a Lagos original with true blood flowing in his veins. He is a proud descendant of the prestigious Rhodes-Vivour family, whose pedigree as foremost legal luminaries and judges, with distinguished contributions to the state’s development, date back to the 1800s – about 400 years in history.
Indeed, Gbadebo is the great grandson of eminent Justice Steven Bankole Rhodes, a founding father of the executive and judiciary, who served on the Executive Council with eminent Nigerians like Adeyemo Alakija. They and similarly minded nationalists built Lagos, a credit some people have been trying to steal. Also, Gbadebo’s uncle is the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour.
In terms of direct parentage, GRV’s own father is Barrister Olawale Rhodes-Vivour, a distinguished lawyer and detribalized son, who embodies the Lagos spirit of accommodation by marrying a wonderful Igbo woman, Nkechi, who is Gbadebo’s mother today. Interestingly, GRV’s diverse names as Gbadebo (‘The one who brings the crown’), Chinedu (‘God is leading’) and Patrick (‘of noble origin’) all point to a man destined for greatness and leadership.
So, with such a rich and highly accommodating pedigree, politicians are afraid that GRV’s candidacy makes it easy for both members of the Igbo and Yoruba tribes to support, trust and see him as one of their own. Before and after the last presidential election, Gbadebo’s rising profile as an authentic unifying face of Lagos made powers that be to descend to sponsoring social media influencers to promote a fake campaign of an Igbo takeover agenda. They even lied about GRV saying Lagos is no man’s land.
The truth is that the opponents do not want a true and accommodating indigene to be governor. Greed for power and resources makes the enemies of Lagos go any length to retain power. However, a GRV, aside from a rich pedigree, will bring a breath of fresh air and restore the original glory of the state with inclusive and progressive development policies.
He has pledged to use 10% of Lagos IGR to empower 1 million poor Lagosians with interest-free loans. GRV has plans to rehabilitate the ‘Agberos’, area boys and thugs, and reintegrate them back into society as responsible citizens. He will fix the bad roads in all parts: from Ikotun, Ijegun, Satellite town, Lagos-Badagry Expressway and Ikorodu to Sagamu Expressway, irrespective of the predominant tribe living there in order to boost international trade.
GRV will provide affordable housing and stop the racket that goes on with government built homes. A LP government will make life better for the civil servants, the middle class, will improve wages and salaries for government workers, as well as fight for the poor and the economically disadvantaged. Today, Lagos has over 1 trillion naira debt portfolio and contractual obligations of over 500 billion naira.
GRV’s plan is built around quality and affordable education in public schools, quality and very affordable health services. He will also ensure provision of drinkable water to as many homes as possible and will fight for the poor and underprivileged by introducing transparency into procurement and contracting process and a level playing field to enable the participation of all qualified persons.
GRV supported and coordinated the campaign of Peter Obi as the most competent presidential candidate. With incontrovertible evidence, GRV supports Mr. Obi’s legal bid to contest the presidential election results in Lagos because Obi won the state overwhelmingly. Opponents actually see GRV, a true Lagosian, as their biggest threat to that selfish anti-secession plan.
GRV resolutely refused to sell out and step down from the governorship race in spite of the enticements wrapped as so-called mouth-watering pecuniary offers. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour stands on principles of fairness, integrity, equity, justice and inclusiveness to enthrone a new government that will benefit everyone in Lagos, no matter where they come from.