LAGOS, Nigeria – A socio-cultural group, Lagos Advocacy Group (LAG) has claimed that Lagos State indigenes are being marginalized.
The group, which draws its membership from Lagos indigenous youths in five divisional areas such as Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe, accused successive governments in Nigeria and Lagos State of marginalising and alienating Lagos State indigenes deliberately.
Convener of the group, Mr. Yakubu Arowoshola Eleto in a statement made available on Saturday said, “There seems to be a deliberate non-inclusiveness of notable and particularly independent-minded indigenes in the governance of our State. We must make it clear that indigenes of Lagos State are not carried along in the governance of their state.
“Arsonists were looting our communities without any resistance from the community residents. This shows clearly that the government in place has not carried along the indigenes in the community.
“The indigenes of Lagos State have been displaced, their culture eroded, the traditions of Lagos State have also been relegated to the background by successive State governments and the spirit of Lagos as it were, is nowhere to be found.”
The co-convener of the group, Mr. Adeyemi Sulaiman Oniroko while tracing the roots of the marginalisation and alienation of Lagos indigenes from political process, insisted that the marginalisation of Lagos State indigenes started two decades ago.
Oniroko said, “The marginalization and alienation of Lagos indigenes started at least 2 (two) decades ago and we make bold to say that non-indigenes have always formed the core of the government of Lagos state since 1999 despite the fact that there are competent Lagos indigenes willing and able to occupy these offices.
“To borrow the statement of H.E. Governor Oyetola of Osun State, “It is not fair and it is criminal for non-indigenes to take the slots of Osun when it comes to distribution of positions. We agree with him and wonder why the same is not applicable in Lagos State?
“Permit me to make few examples. During the time of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lai Muhammed from Kwara State was made his Chief of Staff, Mr. Rauf Aregbeshola from Osun State was made a Commissioner for Works and later became Governor in Osun State, Mr Fela Arthur-Worry from Delta state was also a Commissioner for lands, Mr Femi Lanlehin from Oyo state as Special Adviser, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele from Ekiti State as Special Adviser and later Commissioner in Lagos State. He later contested and won as Senator in Ekiti state.
“In this current administration of Mr. Sanwo-Olu, there are a sizable number of non-indigenes in his Cabinet, from Mr. Gboyega Akosile; Dep Chief of Staff, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo; Commissioner for Education, Dr. Idris Salako; Commissioner for Physical Planning, Arch. Kabiru Ahmed; Commissioner for Water Front & Infrastructures , Mr. Gbenga Omotosho; Commissioner for Information, Olalere Odusote; Commissioner for Energy Mineral resources, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde; Commissioner for Transportation, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye; Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mrs. Lola Akande; Commissioner for Commerce & Industry, Mr Sam Egube: Commissioner for Economic Planning & Budget, Dr. Wale Ahmed; Commissioner for Local Government & Community Affairs, Mr. Afolabi Ayantayo; Mr Joe Igbokwe; Special Adviser for Drainage & Water Resources, Mr. Tunbosun Alake; Special Adviser for Innovation & Technology.”
Oniroko added that about 70 per cent of elected officials in the state are non-indigenes which is making it difficult for the indigenes to have a place in the political space in the state.
“The worst of it is that 70% of elected officials in the state are non-indigenes making it difficult for indigenes to have a place in their political space. Imagine, even the three senators representing Lagos State are NOT Indigenes of Lagos State; Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan (Yayi), Senator Oluremi Tinubu, late Senator Bayo Osinowo.
“What we Lagosians are tolerating is intolerable in all other parts of the country e.g. Kano state, when in 2004 Mr. Hon. Justice Patrick Mahmud was denied nomination to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that he is not an indigene of Kano State. The same thing occurred in Imo and Abia States in 2011, when Abia State Government was carved out of Imo state asked all officers of non-origin in their public sector to resign and leave the state. The same is also happening now in Cross River State where the Governor of Cross River is denying the most senior Judge appointment as the substantive Chief Judge of the State based on the fact that she is not an indigene of their State.”