December 5 Offers Lagos East fresh hope

Dear Compatriots,

We have come to a high point in our quest to elect a new Senator, who will represent Lagos East in the National Assembly. The journey to this point has been memorable. Our campaign, in particular, has attracted attention throughout the senatorial district, within Lagos State and beyond. The bye-election had suffered a postponement from the originally scheduled date of October 31.

Despite these happenings, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will finally conduct our bye-election on Saturday, December 5. That is a day on which voters in Lagos East will exercise their sacred mandate and elect a Senator of their choice.

Since my emergence as the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) on September 3, our campaign team has moved from local council to local council, community to community and indeed from house to house, presenting ourselves to the people of Lagos East and affirming the values, priorities and promises we intend to fulfill if elected the Senator representing the Senatorial District.

In all modesty, I have assured you all of a new dawn in the history of legislative representation in Lagos East. I have, equally, promised to represent the people of Lagos East with commitment, integrity and passion, leveraging all the political and social capital I have acquired over three decades as an economist, chartered accountant, commissioner for finance, bank CEO and most importantly as a proud son of Ikorodu; who grew up in Gbagada; attended public university in Lagos State; and has lived and worked continuously in Lagos for the past five and a half decades!

Similarly, I have promised to prioritise the welfare of my constituents in Lagos East in particular and Lagos State in general. In specific terms, I have assured the people of Lagos East, irrespective of their ethnic, political and religious affiliations, that I will use the office of Senator, and my energy and resources to further their well being, welfare, prosperity, empowerment and security.

I have promised to establish and institutionalise an endowment fund to, within my capacity and resources, support the aged; protect the vulnerable; sponsor youth employability schemes; support women empowerment programmes and cater for indigent but brilliant students in all parts of the Senatorial District. I have done this as a private citizen and will sustain and enhance such pro-people programmes as an elected Senator from December 5.

I have observed that the pressure on Lagos infrastructure arising from federal establishments like seaports, airports and military installations without statutory federal support is unfair and unacceptable. I have also noted that the massive rate of migration from different states of the federation to Lagos State has placed additional burden upon the Government and people of Lagos State.

On this note, Dear Compatriots, I have assured you at different fora that I will join hands with my senior distinguished colleagues in the Senate and members of the House of Representatives from the state to further efforts to secure a special status for Lagos State in view of its role as Nigeria’s commercial, financial, industrial, media and entertainment capital. I have also pledged to support the call for further devolution of powers from the federal to the states and local governments.

In the light of these pro-people initiatives and positions, I strongly believe December 5 2020 presents us a rare opportunity to elect a candidate that has the capacity and exposure to play the roles expected of a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It also offers an opportunity to bring on board somebody who can give quality representation to the good people of Lagos East.

December 5, no doubt, presents fresh hope to elect a Senator that is a homegrown individual, whom our youths can look up to, learn from and believe as to the possibilities this country offers its young people. This date, without any hesitation, offers us the opportunity to elect somebody, who will not disappoint you and indeed somebody, who will live up to expectations and somebody with listening ears.

I will consider it the greatest honour of my life if you, my people in Lagos East, find me worthy to represent you in the Senate on the platform of the APC. I, therefore, urge you all to turn out in large numbers on December 5 to elect me as the next Senator for Lagos East. The tenure of a Senator only lasts for a maximum of four years before he or she returns to the electorate for a fresh mandate.

But I have, without any blemish, run a successful professional and public service career for 32 years. I will not at this stage of my life mess it up. I will never be the kind of person that you will only see during election periods. Rather, I will be a true representative that will periodically, either quarterly or biannually go back to my constituents to give account of what I have done; listen to get feedback from you and see what I can do to further your cause.

I look forward, with commitment and optimism, to receiving your mandate on December 5, 2020.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.