The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has chosen a former Commissioner for Works, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, as the running mate to its governorship candidate in 2019, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The Chairman, Lagos APC, Mr Tunde Balogun, officially presented Hamzat on Sunday during a press conference at the party secretariat.

The event was witnessed by Sanwo-Olu, state Deputy Chairman, Mr Sunny Ajose, Vice-Chairman (Lagos East), Chief Kaoli Olusanya, Secretary, Dr Wale Ahmed, and Publicity Secretary, Mr Joe Igbokwe.

Balogun described Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat as a fantastic team that would deepen development in Lagos if voted for in 2019.

He said, “The highest decision-making body of the APC, together with all the relevant stakeholders in Lagos State, has endorsed Dr Obafemi Hamzat as the running mate to the party candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“After the endorsement, it is important for me to publicly and officially present Hamzat as the running mate of our candidate, Mr Sanwo-Olu in 2019.’’

Also speaking, Sanwo-Olu hailed the choice of Hamzat as his running mate, saying he was confident that Lagos would be better enriched with Hamzat on board.

He stated that after due consultation, they decided to formally unveil and publicly present Hamzat as his running mate.

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Sanwo-Olu added, “Dr Hamzat and I have been players in the same political matters for many years. We have been friends and brothers for close to two decades. He is a man of deep intellectual knowledge. He is a man with a high level of integrity. He is a man that I have worked closely with, in different services.

“He is competent and he is somebody that I know very well and will help me and together, we will take Lagos to the level that we are promising; a level that will enhance all of us.

“He is a technocrat and politician who has also worked in both the private and public sectors. He is a gentleman that I personally respect a lot.’’

In his acceptance speech, Hamzat said Sanwo-Olu and he understood what it would take to “cook what Lagosians would eat”.

Hamzat stated, “Lagos is dear to all of us. And if Nigeria will be great, Lagos must be great. And as such, our party decided to look for a candidate like Mr Sanwo-Olu, who has the experience, integrity and capability to run the affairs of this state. We are now a global village and what we do in Lagos affects everywhere in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.”

“So, I am very happy. I feel very happy and I feel a sense of responsibility that the party after sitting together, have selected me to be his running mate so that we can work together with our experience.

“We have known each other for over 15 years professionally and personally. So, we have the chemistry and I dare say that we understand the geography of Lagos.

“Mr Sanwo-Olu and I understand what it requires to cook what Lagosians desire. So, we promise to do our best to deliver the Lagos of our dream,” he said.

Hamzat, son of a political juggernaut in the state, Alhaji Hamzat, was born September 19, 1964.

He graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1986 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering and subsequently furthered his studies at home and abroad, resulting in both an MSc. in Crop Processing Engineering (1988) and a PhD in System Process Engineering (1992).

Sequel to this, he garnered about two decades of work experience in several organisations, including the City of New York, RTP Consulting Services, Columbia University, Merrill Lynch Inc, Morgan Stanley and Oando Plc.

In August 2005, Hamzat was appointed Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He retained his position when Governor Babatunde Fashola assumed office in 2007. It was during his tenure as Commissioner for Science and Technology that Hamzat enforced the application of modern technology in the state’s ministries, thus changing the face of data and record keeping in Lagos and at the same time eliminating the trend of state ghost workers.

It is reported in some quarters that this single act was largely responsible for his elevation as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure at the commencement of the second term in office of Fashola’s administration. The office had gone on without a commissioner during Fashola’s first four years, with only a Special Adviser reporting directly to the governor.

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