By Modestus Umenzekwe
The request of Senator (Chief) Oluremi Tinubu representing Lagos Central District in Lagos and Lagos titled Chiefs that Lagos should be given special status like Abuja and 1% of Federation Account accruable to the Federal Government be allocated to Lagos is still a matter that needs to be revisited.
It is my opinion that that Bill be revisited by the National Assembly because Lagos gave birth to what Nigeria is today, more especially in terms of wealth and industrialization. It was what accrued from Lagos that gave birth to Abuja and all the structures that are built in Abuja were all made from Lagos. I am yet to believe that with a contribution of about 70% GDP and the Distinguished Senators should realize what Lagos stand for. The passage of that bill for special status of Lagos will be of a great joy to this nation.
Lagos is the largest employer of Labour in Nigeria. Look at the population of Lagos as at 1991; it was 5,685,781; and as at 1996 Lagos requested for the creation of 51 Local Government Areas but was recommended for 39 Local Government Areas by the Arthur Mbanefo Committee on Local Government creation and Boundary Adjustments. Out of the 39 recommended by the revered committee, Lagos was given only 21 which is far below the population of Lagos. Suffice it to say that Lagos State as at today is over 25 million as against 5.6 million in 1996. I make bold to say that most of the Senators that do not support that bill in one way or the other made their live and continue to make it in Lagos. Most astonishingly, in the creation of States and Local Governments in Nigeria, Lagos State has suffered so much. It is only Lagos State that is remaining intact since the creation of 12 states in 1967. In 1963 the Midwestern region was created but today they are made up of 3 States. Don’t forget that Oyo was created the same time like Lagos, today that Western State gave birth to the following: Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun etc; yet Lagos State was left intact and gave birth to no other State/States.
Lagos can be seen in my own analysis as being cheated and the bill presented by Senator Oluremi Tinubu should be revisited. It is only in Lagos State that a non-indigene was given an elective office. Even part of Lagos State today is representing Lagos State in the Federal House of Representatives. Non indigenes are also made commissioner in Lagos State, just like Chief Ebubedike from Anambra represented Ajegunle and Badagry in the Western House of Assembly in the First Republic. Zik of Africa (Owelle of Onitsha) represented the same Lagos in the Western Nigeria House of Assembly. I am giving these few illustration to say that up till this time Lagos remain the same as at 1967 when 12 States were created and the population of Lagos grows in geometrical progression.
Lagos State remains a State that you can never experience discrimination in both political appointment, acquisition of Land and erection of both private and commercial structures. Senator Chief Oluremi Tinubu should be thanked for reminding some of us in Lagos that Lagos should be given a special status based on the above citations. The bill if represented and refused means that we are sowing seed of future permanent discord in our dear country, Nigeria. Look at the product of Lagos State today in Ministerial appointments, Babatunde Fashola was given by Mr. President three important Ministries. Those three ministries are doing marvelously well. The reconstruction of roads that were abandoned by the past governments all over the Federation are being wonderfully revisited, the power sector- all the bottlenecks are being removed, the housing is equally in a very wonderful progress. And Mr. President who deliberately gave Fashola these Ministries knows that he will transform them like he transformed Lagos. So anything TINUBU, more so coming from Senator Oluremi Tinubu must be acknowledged by the entire Nigerians more especially the National Assembly.
When people talk about Area Boys in Lagos, I laugh because I know that 80% of them are non-Lagosians, yet Lagos State Government created jobs for them in order to make them useful to the society.
Lagos can be liberal and selfless both in the church. Example Arch Bishop S.I. Kale was made Anglican Bishop of Lagos even though an Ijebu indigene. Arch. Bishop Adetiloye also is not from Lagos. The Arch. Bishop that Rev. Adetiloye succeeded is an Ijebu transferred from St. Michael’s Anglican Church Kaduna to Lagos. Now Anthony Cardinal Okogie is from Esan in Edo State. Primate Sunday Mbang is from Akwa Ibom representing the Baptist Church. The only Lagosian that is Arch Bishop today is Bishop Sope Johnson whom the father was a provost at Cathedral Church of Christ Marina Lagos; and his mother Dr. Mrs. Johnson a lector at Holy Cross Catholic Cathedral Lagos. Lagos State is a state that has to be emulated in liberal human life where there is no discrimination. Even the religious problem that is quietly coming to bear in this country is not noticed in Lagos. Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a Christian married to a Muslim just like Fashola; and they brought peace, concord and harmony quite unlike other States.
In the areas of Market establishments, Lagos State is so liberal and humane she allows market to be established in almost every part of Lagos in order to give hope to both the high and low, therefore, denying that bill from Senator Tinubu is like denying Nigerians their own historical place of birth. Senator Tinubu is right.
Umenzekwe contributed this piece via: email@example.com