By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, received warm hospitality from communities of Igbo traders and businessmen across the State, as he embarked on campaign tour of major markets populated by people from the Southeast.
The Governor took a tour of the markets ahead of the Saturday gubernatorial election, following the open endorsement and show of support for his re-election by Ndigbo community in Lagos.
It was a rousing welcome for Sanwo-Olu at an open forum organised by traders, under the aegis of Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA), in Trade Fair Complex, Ojo.
The engagements sent a note of re-assurance to Ndigbo community in the State, as the Governor pledged to ensure safety of their businesses and properties.
Besides, Sanwo-Olu met an amalgamation of Igbo traders across 58 major markets in Lagos. The traders, under the aegis of Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association, unanimously backed the Governor’s re-election.
The Governor also had interaction with traders at the popular mobile phone market (Computer Village) in Ikeja.
The engagements were initiated in response to concerns raised over safety of businesses and properties owned by Southeast traders in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu allayed the fears of the Igbo traders, assuring them that Lagos would continue to be a melting pot for all Nigerians. He said his administration would continue to foster security and promote peaceful coexistence among all ethnic nationalities in the State.
At the Trade Fair forum, the Governor said: “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. 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 rail project into Okokomaiko that will aid 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, we will build a better country for ourselves.”
Sanwo-Olu assured the Igbo traders of his Government’s commitment to their prosperity, stressing that the approval recently received by the State for development of Badagry Seaport was to facilitate economic development and boost logistics, especially in the movement of goods.
The Governor pledged his administration’s commitment to the safety and security of non-indigenes living in Lagos. He urged the Igbo traders not to listen to the scaremongers threatening to attack them because of their electoral choices.
He said: “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. For as long as you conduct yourselves in a peaceful manner, your safety and security will remain our priority. There is no need for any law-abiding resident to be scared.”
President, Chief Ngozi Emechebe, described Sanwo-Olu as “a true friend of Igbo”, noting that the Governor had never been hostile to non-Yoruba residents living in the State.
Emechebe said the forum was initiated as a re-assurance of support of the Ndigbo community to Governor’s re-election, saying the traders would work for the Governor’s electoral victory in their respective polling stations.
He said: “Sanwo-Olu is a good man and has demonstrated that he is a lover of Igbo. We have resolved to support the Governor for second term because of his performance and his economic policies that have supported our businesses. Through this forum, we are assuring the Governor that we shall sing the song of victory together with him.”
At 7pm, Sanwo-Olu ended his tour with the visit to the biggest international market in Lagos – Alaba International – where he had engagement with Igbo traders.