The unity and cooperation of the five (5) founding divisions of Lagos State, with the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is currently under threat. This is due to the recent lopsidedness in the Constitution of board members into the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission.
The threat is coming from concerned Ikorodu Division stakeholders, who have cried foul over the consistent marginalisation of the entire Division in the distribution of political appointments and government infrastructural projects. The Governor drew the ire of the stakeholders shortly after he announced the reconstitution of the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission without an Ikorodu indigene represented.
Different interest groups, concerned individuals and key stakeholders have condemned the Governor’s actions, describing it as an affront on the millions of residents and voters, who have consistently supported the ruling party, especially the Governor, during his electioneering campaign.
The Ikorodu Oga Development Association (IKODASS), under the leadership of a retired Permanent Secretary and former House of Assembly Clerk, Otunba Olusegun Abiru, have written a protest letter to the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, elected public office holders from Ikorodu and APC leaders in the division to rise up to the occasion and demand equity and justice for the division from the Lagos State Government.
Abiru, who is a leading voice and advocate for justice and equitable distribution of political appointments and projects among the State’s divisions, have expressed disappointment in the latest appointment of members into the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission without regard for the extant law in this regard. In the strongly worded petition, addressed to Gov. Sanwo-Olu, cited by Ikorodu Oga Radio, Abiru made a strong demand from the Governor to address this injustice and ensure justice is served in this particular case.
The letter read in part, “It has been observed with chagrin the seemingly act of neglect by your Administration against the indigenes of Ikorodu. As an Association established to advance the cause of the indigenes of this Division and indeed, the acceleration of development and progress of Ikorodu division, it would be a disservice and a dereliction of duty if we kept quiet over the serial neglect of the interest of the good people of this Division (Ikorodu),” he noted. “Since the creation of the State in 1967, appointments have always been on the basis of the five divisions (IBILE) without making one division to enjoy more of Government’s patronage than the other. However, effective from year 1999, Ikorodu Division began to be treated as a pariah division that should not enjoy Government’s consideration for appointments and infrastructural development,” he stated.
The former assembly clerk also made reference to similar treatment and petition sent to the Governor in 2019. “His Excellency will recall our last petition Ref: IKOD/09/19/Vol.2/05 of 20th December 2019 (copy attached for ease of reference), where we bitterly complained against the exclusion of an Ikorodu indigene on the Commission of Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHASCOM) but surprisingly and painfully too, our letter was regarded inconsequential to necessitate a judicious review of an action, which tended to inflict injury on the psyche of our people.
Our letter was like a child’s cry in the wilderness.” The IKODASS Chairman also reminded the Governor of the unflinching support and loyalty being enjoyed by the ruling party from the division, as demonstrated by the massive votes the party recorded from the division during the 2019 general elections.
“Mr. Governor will also please recall that Ikorodu Division has for ages been supporting the APC as a political party, and her loyalty and commitment to the Party is surely not in doubt. The result of the last gubernatorial election further attested to the unflinching support Ikorodu Division has been giving to the Party as it emerged third on the highest votes cast at the election. With this unbroken records of impressive electoral performances, coupled with its population, which is a valuable asset to any political party; the support for this present administration, despite the poor recognition of our efforts by the immediate past administration, continues to rise. It is, therefore, a matter of concern and utter astonishment when a division with such incredible values to the party continually suffers in the hands of those who ought to know better.”
“While we will not like to bore you with details of some previous actions, which deprived the Division of its rights to membership of some Commissions in the State, I will wish to urgently apprise you of a replication of the unfair treatment on the membership of the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission, where no indigene from this division was found worthy of consideration despite its richness in the area of human resource.”
“It is to be noted that the appointment and selection of nominees to Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission and Lagos State Local Government Service Commission respectively is repugnant to natural justice and a violation of the FRN constitution as amended, particularly section 14(4), which states that, “The composition of the Government of a State, a Local Government Council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or Council the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the peoples of the Federation,” he concluded.
“Consequent on the foregoing, may I request the Governor to please note that Ikorodu Division is a stakeholder in the project, LAGOS. Ikorodu Division, for equity and justice, should be represented on the Commission of Lagos State Local Government Commission. This will be the third time in recent times Ikorodu Division will be deprived of its right to be on the membership of Government’s Commissions. Ikorodu’ agitation is based on rights as an integral part of the five divisions in the State,’ he submitted.
Also lending its voice to the lopsided appointment is the Ikorodu Ambassadors group, which has threatened the State government with a peaceful protest, if the needful was not done. “Is Ikorodu part of Lagos State? We are constrained to ask this question because of the way and manner the division is treated by Lagos Powers. From 1967, when Lagos State was created, political appointments, projects citing and others are shared equally among the Five (5) Divisions in the state, viz, Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos and Epe. This is how the IBILE acronym was formed.”
“During the years of military intervention, they maintained the formula. From 1999, things began to change and Ikorodu Division had been the worst affected. Appointments are no longer shared using IBILE,” it stated. “Presently, we have only one Permanent Secretary of Ikorodu Division descent. The latest and the basis of this write-up is the recently constituted Lagos State Local Government Service Commission.
Out of the proposed Five Members of the Commission, none is from Ikorodu Division,’ the group lamented. “The least the Lagos State Government can afford now is another demonstration at Alausa. But if we have to move, we’ll move!’ the group submitted.
In a similar development, Oduniyi Olugbenga, who released a statement on behalf of Igbogbo Youth Coalition, have called on the Lagos State Government to address the imbalance in political appointments into State Boards and commissions. “Over the years, there has been a tremendous imbalance in the administrative measures as it were in the governance of Lagos State in accordance with provisions of promoting equilateral representation of all divisions in the State vis-a-vis Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe, which birthed the acronym IBILE. This was the fundamental consensus the founding fathers established.”
“However, Ikorodu Division, being one of the five divisions in Lagos State, is the most grossly affected negatively in terms of government projects, appointments, and even political considerations. This calls for concern. The entire inhabitants of Ikorodu division (indigenes and non-indigenes), completely condemn the irregularities as a result of government negative attention to the division.” “Hitherto, Ikorodu division’s thorough commitment to supporting government remains undiluted… a civil society, highly industrious (having one of the largest industrial estate in Nigeria), and some other lustrous values yet to tap into. Our outcome in the last general elections was massive. This is a division that has never traded her support to the ruling political class in the past, most specifically in Lagos State; she has always been a devoted follower.
“Sincerely, the appropriate quarters need to do something about the recent appointment into Lagos State Local Government Service Commission, which completely omitted Ikorodu division despite the consideration given to other divisions in the recent appointment. The group, therefore, called on the State Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor Lagos State, Rt. Hon., Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, to give this call a favourable consideration for the good people of Ikorodu division,” it concluded.
They also implored the traditional institutions, Governor’s Advisory Council in Ikorodu Division, Hon. Babajimi Benson, Hon. Sanai O. Agunbiade, Hon. Nurudeen S. Sholaja, Coalition of Chairmen, all Hon. Councilors in Ikorodu Division and all political stakeholders to prevail on the Governor to do the needful on the issue.