{OPINION} The usurpation of indigenes’ opportunities, rights ongoing in Lagos State

Sanwo-olu.jpg

Sanwo-Olu (Ogun State indigene): Who has the constitutional rights to occupy the Office of the Governor in Lagos State or anywhere in Nigeria?

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By ABANIKANDA OLUMORO (UK)

With the third media outing of De Renaissance Patriots in Lagos State, which shot into the media airspace on Monday January 15, 2024 and has been increasing awareness among popular circles in the state and across Nigeria, one can say a big congratulation to the brains behind the struggle that Lagos State indigenes may be called a proper people once again, 25 years after they have been pushed, unconstitutionally, out of governing corridors of their own state they own culturally by nature and officially by law.

In the release titled, “THE LAGOS INDIGENES AND THE CASE OF SOCIAL MISDEVELOPMENT”, they made a case this time for security and safety against the usurpation of their state opportunities by non-indigenous Yoruba, who have imposed themselves – by “crook means” – on the administration since 1999 without evidence of indigeneship to do so as recognized by law and are now increasing the acreage of the land mass through land reclamation, dredging dangerously into the beneath of even houses owned by real indigenes on the banks of the Lagoon, just for the simple intention of changing the social order.

The simple questions are: Do Lagos indigenes have their constitutional rights to govern their own Lagos or not? Do indigenes of other state, be it of any South West state, have the rights to claim two indigeneship to the extent that they go to other people’s state and impose themselves as governors to the detriment of the owners of the land? These questions will be left to those that know more to answer.

But the Lagos indigenes have commenced a serious effort on taking back their state. It is a worthwhile struggle to be embarked upon because even God is support of it and we the people of justice, home and in the Diaspora, are behind them in it. How is it possible that in Lagos State, which has been peacefully coexisting with other Nigerian states’ indigenes on their land of Lagos since creation in 1967 having been ruled by themselves suddenly cease to be in power since 1999?  And then you now have a situation where, first, over 10,000 civil servants were sacked from the Lagos State Civil Service in 2001 as one of his major policy since getting to power as a non-indigene and the policy believed was done push Lagos indigenes out of Lagos service and replace them with non-indigenes from Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, and few which he did with a whole ministry dedicated (do I say?) to Igbo.

As things stand today, there is no single position from the first 11 high ranks of Lagos State that is occupied by Lagos indigene. If anyone says it is not true, let him that occupies such position brings proof of his indigeneship on a panel membered by confirmed IBILE Eko people, who are genuinely with interest of Lagos not those that have been induced by money. Babajide Sanwo-Olu from Ijebu Mushin in Ogun East Senatorial District of Ogun State is Governor of Lagos State. Deputy Governor, Dr. Babafemi Hamzat is from Egba Land, his father after many years of being political leader in a Tinubu ruling class of Lagos State returned to become a king in his real country home of Ewekoro area, where he died and was buried. Mudashir Obasa, from Abeokuta, is number three in the hierarchy of government powers as Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

In their Ogun State, Hausa-Fulani and Igbo dominate the commerce but are never allowed occupy political power.  Not even any Yoruba from other South West state has the chance to occupy political power in their own Ogun State. Both Hamzat and Obasa (from same Ogun State) are currently nursing the ambition of still wanting to be Governor of Lagos State after Sanwo-Olu. That is absurd meaning that the cries of Lagos indigenes that owners of the land from among their various political parties be made governor means nothing to them. And they are this headstrong for other reason but the fact that they have their non-state actors they use in elections. Any watchers of elections in Lagos would understand me better.

Except for the distortion so called, there has been no issue of indigeneship in Lagos State because other Nigerians who came to do business had no problem achieving their goals but when they wanted to contest for political power they go back to their states. Example include Chief now Oba Olu Falae. He rose to becoming a captain of banking industry on the Marina of Lagos and from there he became the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (combined then with of Head of Service) and then Minister of Finance under the administration of Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, GCFR. When the opportunity to have a shot at the presidency, he resigned his appointment from Dordan Barracks and returned to Akure to contest from there as president of Nigeria. Chief Olusegun Osoba became the Chief Executive of Daily Times of Nigeria in Lagos and returned to Ogun State to become Governor two times.

The likes of Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) are good example of great Nigerians from other South West states of Yoruba Land, who refused to be involved in the usurpation that is going on in Lagos as he is always proud of his Ekiti State unlike other Ekiti former commissioner and Kwara Yoruba former commissioners who now have their children imposed as commissioners and lawmakers usurping the opportunities that should have been distributed among indigenes of Lagos.

How come since 1999 it has been difficult for people of other Yoruba South West states to see the logic in what Falae and Osoba among others did and still do and stop holding on to the undue opportunities to struggle government with Lagos indigenes? They should not lay bad precedence and reason the effort of DE RENAISSANCE PATRIOTS in Lagos State is worth it, which third release is captured in the newspaper publications below:

References: The DEFENDER NIGERIA – {FULL TEXT} How Lagos Indigenes’ Opportunities Are Usurped, Acreage Increased Through Land Reclamation To Change Social Order – De Renaissance Patriots https://thedefenderngr.com/full-text-how-lagos-indigenes-opportunities-are-usurped-acreage-increased-through-land-reclamation-to-change-social-order-de-renaissance-patriots/

PLATFORM TIMES – How Lagos Indigenes Connive With Non-Indigenes to Auction Own State – De Renaissance Patriots https://platformtimes.com.ng/76636-2/

THE NEWS ZENITH – Land Reclamation: Usurping the Rights of Lagos Indigenes – https://thenewszenith.com/land-reclamation-usurping-the-rights-of-lagos-indigenes/
AEP NEWS – Land Reclamation: Usurping the Rights of Lagos Indigenes https://aepnewsonline.com/2024/01/16/land-reclamation-usurping-the-rights-of-lagos-indigenes/

The Patriots also mentioned the more saddening aspect that involves “How Lagos Indigenes Connive With Non-Indigenes to Auction Own State” wherein they expressed worries about the nonchalance at which Lagos State patrimony is butchered by and shared among non-indigenes from other South West Yoruba states, under the use of state political powers, and in connivance with some unsuspecting indigenes.

De Renaissance Patriots, established to lead a better Lagos State for the indigenes while making this complaint, lamented the situation where misdevelopment of Lagos State is eating deeper into the people’s living system, enormity of the disaster at hand which, unfortunately, it said even some of the indigenes are to grasp.

“We resolved some months back to hold our peace with the thoughts that our people have not been taught enough lessons to wisen up to their current situation.  However as concerned Omo Ibile Eko, we cannot continue to maintain that silence.”

I concur with them that it is high time that all indigenous Lagosians should start to rise up against all the misbehaviours of people who came to be benefited from the opportunities that God has naturally placed under and around them of the Atlantics, the Lagoon and others, only for them to be paid back with evils including the ascension to the corridors of power of the state and use same to whip them hard that, today, hardship is any Lagos indigene is able to access gainful employment into the Lagos State Civil Service or benefit from zoned benefits (federal or state) or any of the social investments all of which – by provisions of the Federal Character – that are expected to be shared among indigenes. There is no state, not only among the five other South West Yoruba areas from where this hypocrisy is perpetrated against the hospitable Lagos State indigenes, that can accept such social disorder and constitutional misadventure to happen talk less that it will be allowed to stand.

Well, the other media headline, “We Have a Neat Case of Social Misdevelopment We Want to Address as Indigenous Lagosians”, remains the consolation that I have confirming that confutation of the consciousness of indigenes that have been bought into the conspiracy against Lagos State and assuring me like other keen followers of the Lagos question that, now, looking back to the past good days of their Lagos, the Patriots including illustrious indigenes who are equally eminent Nigerian citizens, poised to bringing about a paradigm shift from the old narratives to a new order where indigenes rights are no longer negotiable. Yes! I concur and I am fully in support of them on this like on many other steps they have taken in recent times.

Corroborating them, I also say that the time for all indigenous people of the state to rise up and take back their state is now as failure can only lead to their extinction and displacement in no distant time. For this reason, the Group expressed that, more than ever before, it is now fully prepared to drive the course of emancipation with primary objective of ensuring that an indigene takes the next governor’s seat in Lagos State while their benefits of statehood they had enjoyed since creation of the state in 1967 until 1999 are restored.

I am non-indigenous Lagosian but can boast of the fact that I have been mainly beneficiary of indigenous Lagosians’ kindness and hospitability.  The Native Lagosians that I know are those that when you come from what we call “Ilu Oke” to the Lagos Island, their parents would deny themselves and children the comfort of sleeping on the foam or good mats because they wanted the strangers, who came for greener pastures in Lagos State, to feel good and made sure that they had the best of food even when their own children would.

Those children of the old denied their comfort of sleep because of the other South West Yoruba have today become eminent Nigerians from state governors, nation’s ministers (no Lagos indigene has ever been President of Nigeria till date), they have become great commanders of the Nigerian Armed Forces and so on and so forth. They are there in this same Lagos and these fellow Yoruba from other South West states are not afraid as they continue to use the government powers of these nice people to flog them daily to the extent, now, that the next plan is how to push the indigenous people out of their land to other state’s land where they know not more or less than hostilities. That is what they are planning by increasing acreage of the state’s land mass through land reclamation just for the simple intention of changing the social order. NO WAY!

My challenge to indigenes still in connivance against themselves

To Lagos State indigenes who are allowing themselves fall into the wishful thinking that “If we join them and fight from within or from inside their (non-indigenous) circle we can achieve the taking back of their state, no way. It is, indeed, a wishful thinking that none of them must be found anywhere near. Who among them (the non-indigenes) would allow the rightful owners the breading space from within to take back the state? Is it Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose case of non-indigeneship is now already settled by the United States courts and deposition of his academic records released by the Chicago State University on the order of the Nancy Maldonado’s appeal court of the Northern Illinois?

Is it with the likes of Solomon Olamilekan Adeola a.k.a. Omo Yayi, that those Lagos indigenes talking about joining to fight from within will ever be able to have the space inside the circle? Omo Yayi, after having unconstitutionally used the slot of Lagos State indigenes for several years as Senator of the Lagos West at the Nigerian Senate, has now since returned to his own home state of Ogun and, on the “handpick” arrangement of the same Tinubu, he has is back in Abuja as (s)elected Senator of Ogun West thus confirming the case of marginalization being raised at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, by Lagos indigenes which the court, up till now, has refused to give a mention for the owners of the land and indigenes of the state to get justice.

I will not talk of James Faleke, a confirmed Kogi State indigene that Tinubu had been imposing on Lagos indigenes until he was exposed by his venture into governorship struggle of Kogi State where he eventually got picked as Deputy Governorship Candidate to now late Abubakar Audu, who died on Sunday November 22, 2015 a day after Saturday November 21 governorship election in which he was clinching to victory was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It will be recalled that Faleke was daily in the news as the struggle for him to replace the late governorship candidate but had to be pushed aside for Yahaya Bello. Sadly, after all of those confirmation of James Faleke as indigene of Kogi State and the Constitution of Nigeria says no person can claim double indigeneship, Tinubu made him return to Lagos and continue to be (s)elected as House of Representatives member to the infringement on the right of Lagos State indigenes.

The question some people ask is, if Tinubu had been able to do all of those things of marginalization against Lagos State indigenes from when he was nothing more than a former governor not in power, how can he be fought this time that he has all the powers of the military, the police, the civil defence plus the powers of the non-state actors (Agbero militants) that he has been using to hold his grip even on any successive governor since he left office in Lagos in 2007? The answer is simple. It is only he that struggles power with God that will become President as Tinubu has become and will use same to continue to suppress a people because they are demanding for their rights. At least, all Nigerians are now seeing it. We have information about a very popular musician who has the ears of the president and who has been alleged also (not yet openly confirmed) to be a head of his killer squad membered by the non-state actors. All Nigerians and world have now seen things for themselves that no Lagos indigenes will ever suffer the type of murder of Engr. Funso Williams that the first and only suspect is known.

Courage to standing indigenes, non-indigenes

To the indigenous Lagosians, who have taken up this final fight for justice and non-indigenous Lagos residents from South West Yoruba states, Hausa-Fulani and Igbo, who sympathise with these deliberately impoverished, persecuted constitutional owners of Lagos State, who will never stop being hospitable towards other Nigerians living and doing business in their state, I thank you on behalf of all ‘Fighters of Justice for Lagos Indigenes’ from the Diaspora. Let me assure all the Igbo living in Lagos that the indigenes believe you are not the problem that they have but their fellow Yoruba people from other South West states are. Same to the Hausa-Fulani communities of Lagos, let me assure you that the days they use ethnicity or religion to set your host communities against you are gone. Lagos indigenes will never be part of so called Yoruba Nation in the language in which it is being used against you. They are peace loving host communities who believe that your trades and businesses have a lot of contributions they make to the economy of Lagos State.

Challenge before CISLAC/Transparency International, Amnesty Internation, Femi Falana, others

To the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/Transparency International in Nigeria (TIN) and abroad, Amnesty International in Nigeria and abroad, justice, anti-corruption, accountability and transparency activist Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), Human Rights Lawyer Femi Falana, Pro-Drmocracy Activist Sowore, Media Law Centre’s Richard Akinola, Mallam Isa Sanusi, we in the Diaspora have stood up for Lagos State indigenes to take back their state.  This time is to call on you to use your good conscience to please organise conferences, press conferences and rallies to begin to give the Lagos indigenes’ cries a national spread and international listening, hearing, attention and then push for affirmative action. How can only one person who has no become President of your country preside over injustice of this magnitude against Lagos indigenes under your watch and you want the world to accept that you are truly what you claim you are? Yes, you are what you claim and we are all witnesses with full attestation to that. Suppor this course for “Free Lagos for Lagos Indigenes” and God will bless you all.

I urge you to tell the world about the displacement process going on by tactical use of already captured political powers of Lagos State by non-indigenes (Yoruba) from other South West states, to make another Gaza in Lagos, where those who complain and publicly make resistant press statements are being penciled down for usual Third Party killings that started from the time of the gruesome murder of Engr. Funso Williams.

I am a non-indigenous Lagosian.  But beneficiary of Lagos State governed by Lagos indigenes and Lagos system – Militarily or Democratically – since creation of the state by law in 1967 until 1999. That was when these ‘Atohunrinwa’ (strangers) hijackers of powers came to seize powers of Lagos and it was also by ostensibly orchestrated plot and shoddy means perpetrated then by the Abraham Adesanya-led Afenifere leadership.  I am saying from this Diaspora space that “We are ready for this Renewed Lagos for Lagos”, and are appealing to you at home from Port Harcourt to Sokoto and Kaoran Namoda to Enugu that you should also “BE READY!”

Help Lagos indigenes ask the usurpers of their opportunities and constitutional rights a simple question: “Is it right to come from your own state and invade the political landscape of other people, push them out of their state’s political power through Yoruba ethnic sentiments as used in 1999 by Afenifere, use money, buy up media, influence the judiciary not to give their cries listening ears when they make one and you think it is the way to peace?”


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