Indigenous Lagosians popularly called “Omo Eko’’ in local parlance are rueful of political domination and marginalization and takeover of the state by non-indigenes since the country returned to democracy in 1999 and have launched a fresh campaign to take back Lagos.
“Not anymore!’’, they vowed, saying they are now reduced to almost second-class citizens right on their native soil.
Bothersome is the ceding of key political posts such as governor, deputy governor and senators to non-Lagosians by the ruling All Progressives Congress leadership in the state for decades, leaving real Lagosians with tokenism.
They observed that in the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, the governor, his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji and the Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, are all non-indigenes.
Others are the three senators representing the state at the National Assembly – Oluremi Tinubu, Solomon Adeola and Bayo Osinowo, who passed on recently.
In an advertorial published in a national daily entitled, “Lagos: The imperatives of cultural renaissance’’, the forum described as a curse the “legendary accommodating openness” that Lagos State is known for.
“We will no longer watch the state become a no-man’s-land where anything goes.’’
Spearheading the campaign is Omo Eko Pataki Forum with ex-Ondo State Governor and erstwhile Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (South), Chief Bode George as the leader.
Other prominent members are retired Major-General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a former GOC 3rd Armoured Division, Jos, as a trustee of the forum and Mr Gbadebo Dallass, a former Managing Director of the National Economic Reconstruction Fund as another trustee.
“From the years of Brigadier Johnson to that of Brigadier Marwa, all those who governed Lagos State gave the natives their natural pride of place and presence in the governance of their soil.
“The representation in the power equation was equitably distributed along the traditional lines of IBILE. It was genuinely inclusive of all shades and colours of our multi-rainbow society. The major divisions as represented in the acronym called IBILE were all given equal and adequate representation in the governance of their state.
“Not anymore! The 1999 aberration which witnessed the emergence of Mr Bola Tinubu changed the old order. Lagosians are now reduced to almost second-class citizens on their native soil. Their inalienable right of self-determination which is guaranteed by our constitution has been largely voided, dismantled by a solitary usurper,’’ Persecondnews quotes the text of the forum.
Stressing that its position was void of prejudice, the forum said it could not ignore what it called the truth and scary realities, pointing out that the present political and administrative structures in the state under Sanwo-Olu were “hardly representative of the will, purpose and summative identity of the people.’’
The forum noted: “From the acme of governorship power in the Round House in Alausa to the seat of the Deputy Governor, from the three senatorial incumbents (Bayo Osinowo who represented Lagos East is now deceased) to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the SSG, the HoS – none of the occupiers of these crucial positions is a native of Lagos State.
“Where else in this country can this kind of odious and sickening anomaly happen without an uprising? This flies in the face of equity and fairness. This is not right. This is not just.
“Like George Floyd, they are kneeling on our necks. And we cannot breathe! From politics to administration and now our culture, they are mangling our indigenous identity. This evil has gone full circle.
“The glaring interference in the Oniru stool has added a new dimension to the deliberate erosion of our cultural identity. One brazen Supremo now decides who becomes a governor and who occupies a royal seat.
“We as indigenous natives of Lagos State feel endangered. Surely, we can’t continue like this. The tradition of complicity and silence is over. Let us all rise to defend what is ours by birth, by ancestry and tradition.
“Enough is enough. We find it repugnant and absolutely unacceptable the reduction of Lagos State to a no-man’s-land where anything goes. O to ge!”