OPINION: Who Owns Lagos?

By S. O. K. Shillings Esq.

Area view of Lagos City.

I feel weak listening to the most immoral and illegitimate debate over the entity to which I belong. People are debating ownership of my property while I am here. I had felt that there was no need to join a debate that is non-existent. But the feeling of the debaters is still that the winners of tomorrow’s election win it.

It is not the igbos that started the debate of who owns Lagos (and by ‘Lagos’ here we are talking of Lagos State including my Ikorodu), it was the Yorubas of the southwest who started it. They started it when the President-elect was exercising some fiefdom over Lagos distributing the values of Lagos to our kinsmen to our detriment. When we reacted, they reminded us about the cosmopolitan nature of our State and that we are no more than 5% of the population. Even while I am naturally a globalist, I joined different organisations to see a way out. But the skewed democracy remains a game of number. Let it be made clear, the indigenes of Lagos are not happy with Yorubas, less still Ibos who raise this issue.

Lagos was Federal Capital. In 1967, Lagos State was created comprising the federal territory and part of the Western Region. Those of you who are in Lagos today must know that you are no longer in the federal capital of Nigeria and Lagos was and still is distinct from Western
Region. Lagos was not part of Oodua Investment comprising the western states.

When you gang up to share the wealth of Lagos, you hide behind democracy to push it down our throats. Before 1999, we had better deals from even military governments. We had the commissioners, we had our State and we made it good for people to come around sharing in the I keja, B adagry, I korodu, L agos and E pe (IBILE) formula. We had nice social lives and it was plenty for us. Today, our children are area boys while the civil service is dominated by our kinsmen when we have no opportunities in your states. It cannot be ours when you have yours.

The political class in Yorubaland are not omoluwabis at all. It is a complicated conspiracy transcending organisations and institutions and we know. The energy you are putting into the struggle to ensure that the ibos should not capture Lagos betrays your wickedness and crass immorality. Thank God you are not executing an Oodua Republic agenda and counting Lagos. You will be disappointed because we suffer more injustice from you than you from Nigeria, if at all.

For most people who come to Lagos, they are in search of the golden fleece seeking businesses, white-collar and menial jobs. It is those few who see business in politics that have come to distort the order. It is no sin for Lagos to be supportive of Osun and Ekiti but on our terms and not the terms of those idiotic puff-puff bureaucrats who may not imagine what will happen if we got it back from local colonialists by struggle.

As for the Ibos, those pronouncements from your youths build bad fate. When they call a whole people ‘cowards’, ‘ofenmanu’ and add ‘we will take Lagos’ and the elders feign ignorance, I can only beg you to do social arithmetic: Love is reciprocal, peace is not the absence of war; and unfeeling is failure to put yourself in the shoes of others.

I enjoin my brothers and sisters to exercise restraints and continue in our plans. We are the ones to decide which of the thieves to support. We will vote the ‘progressives’ and not complicate or compound the issues on the spur of the moment. But the yalayolo must stop forthwith. For a start, we must have a minimum 30 of the 40-member cabinet. If you consider it a joke, then we will treat you like thieves. We are all Yorubas, No war! no arms!

S. O. K. Shillings Esq., writes from Ikorodu.

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