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REGIONALISM: Lagos won’t be part of Western Region in proposed regional state – Natives

*Want ‘a stand alone status’ for state


Indigenes of Lagos State have said that in event the ongoing plans through a Bill seeking the return of Nigeria to Regional government system eventually turns out to be true, they will never be part of Western Region or Province.

This position was vehemently pronounced by the natives, under the aegis of De Renaissance Patriots Foundation, on Saturday.

According to a statement circulated to the media by Media Office of the Foundation Saturday night of June 1, 2024, it revealed that a proposed Bill seeking approval of the National Assembly to return Nigeria to already defunct regional system is set to be considered but that, whatever it is, Lagos State people will not go with the Western Region.

De Renaissance Patriots’ statement was coming on the heels of ‘A bill for an act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with a new governance model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, which went viral on social media.

The bill was said to have been drafted by one Akin Fapohunda who is reportedly not a Federal lawmaker and from whose mouth it slipped that “if Nigeria could return to old national anthem, why should it not also return to regional state system of government?”

Although the National Assembly, through Senator Yemi Adaramodu, the senate’s spokesperson, denied in a media chat on Friday May 31, 2024 wherein he said there was no such bill before the Federal Legislature.

“Such a bill is not with us. And who is sponsoring the bill? The National Assembly plenary is always held openly with the media in the chambers,” Adaramodu said.

But De Renaissance Patriots Foundation, unconvinced by the denial, insisted on its position informed by experience of its leaders in the character of South West people who are now finding it difficult to own up to their own plans after they were exposed and what they planned to do with the bill, for reasons best known to them, has been revealed before the plan is hatched.

The Group said, “This bill that is being proposed or suggested spells an ominous sign to us from Lagos State. It is a further attempt to subsume our aspiration into a larger group that is antithesis to whatever we believe in as indigenes of the state

“The first most important is that vast consultations were not held on the matter to find out if being submerged into another subgroup is a thing we desire. It cannot be generally assumed.

“Generally and since Lagos and its environs became a colony, we have always maintained that we prefer a stand alone status and not be part of any Western Region or Province. Our Clarion call has always been “GEDEGBE LEKO WA”,” the Prince Adelani Adeniji-Adele-led natives’ group said.

De Renaissance Patriots Foundation gave reasons Lagos indigenes will not be part of Western Region being proposed.

“In recent times, our various indigenous groups had always maintained that we as indigenes of Lagos had always been having a raw deal from our neighbours in the South West, who see nothing good in us as they are only for project to marginalize us and see our state as ‘spoils of war’.

“We recall that in our history of over 100 years, Lagos indigenes in their various forms, towns and villages have never made progress and development as part of any region not to talk of the Western Region. The brief balkanization of our state to be part of the Western Region was an aberration.

“Nothing should be assumed especially from the contents of this proposed bill, especially if it has the inclusion of Lagos State as part of any region. We demand a referendum to actually reflect the wishes of the people.”

It said, “We, the indigenes of Lagos State, do not wish to be part of the regional state as being proposed in the Bill returning Nigeria into Regional government. Our leaders and Traditional Rulers opposed it in 1953 and we gained respite in 1967. We, offspring of our heroes ‘ past, will not accept it.

“We enjoin our representatives in the National Assembly to consult with the elders statesmen and stakeholders before taking any action on the Bill. This is beyond the ruling party and state government affairs. Lagos State cannot be brought into nothinhness through the South West Region proposal by this Bill surreptitiously.

“The old cry of our struggle during colonial rule still stands: “GEDEGBE L’EKO WA,” the Lagos natives concluded.

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