Traditional rulers in Ikorodu division have jointly pledged to support the move aimed at addressing the marginalisation of indigenes of Lagos State and ensure that they take their rightful places in the scheme of things and governance of the State. The Obas made the pledge when IBILE Forum, an association of indigenous residents across the five divisions of Lagos State, paid a courtesy visit to them at the Ayangbure palace in Ikorodu on Friday, October 30, 2020.
Members of the IBILE Forum, led by their President, Chief (Dr.) Margaret Folasade Adeyemo, the Iya-Oba of Agbowa-Ikosi, had embarked on the visit to make a passionate appeal to the monarchs for their royal intervention in ensuring that non – indigenes do not dominate political and other offices in Lagos State at the expense of the indigenous Lagosians. The royal fathers in attendance at the meeting were Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Semiudeen Orimadegun Kasali, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo, Oba Ajibade Bakare Agoro, the Ranodu of Imota, Oba Richard Ogunsanya, the Olubeshe of lbeshe, Oba Akeem Oyebo, the Obateru of Egbin and Oba Bashir Sotonwa, the Sekumade of Ipakodo. Also, a host of Baales in Ikorodu were on ground to provide support for the monarchs in receiving the members of the indigenous group.
Meanwhile, Dr Adeyemo, while addressing the monarchs, stated that IBILE Forum is about the progress and development of the indigenes of the five divisions of Lagos State. While explaining that the group would have visited the Obas earlier but for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, she informed their hosts that their visit was hinged on five things: Collaboration with other indigenous groups; Future plans for Lagos State; Revival of Lagoon State clamour; security in Lagos State, and support for youths.
Dr. Adeyemo warned that the #EndSARS protest should open Lagosians’ eyes to the challenges and issues in the State and clamoured for the congregation of all indigenous groups in the state. She protested that indigenes of the State are being marginalized in political offices and other areas.; thus, she called for adherence to the sharing formula, which she claimed was agreed upon at the establishment of the State.
“There is a need for all the cultural groups to unite and gather at least once a year to re – evaluate situations,” she stated. “When we started as Lagos State, it was agreed that Lagos indigenes are entitled to 60% of positions and non – indigenes should take 40%”, Dr. Adeyemo recalled. “But there has been an influx of more people into the State. We need to have a basis to tell the government what we need in Lagos as indigenes and if we have to change the formula for sharing positions due to the influx, let us discuss that.”
The President of the Forum, who stated that Lagos indigenes have no other place to return to, called on the royal fathers and other stakeholders to intervene in correcting the situation, which she said is placing the indigenes of Lagos State at a disadvantage position in the State. “Other tribes are in Lagos and we have to be mindful of that. But while they can return to their own States, we cannot return anywhere. The situation on the ground cannot be resolved without our traditional rulers and other leaders. That is why we are here,” she stated.
While calling for strategic plans in securing the future of the State, Dr. Adeyemo also suggested that the clamour for Lagoon State creation out of Lagos State should be reconsidered. “We also have to be mindful of the future of Lagos State. There is a need to have plans for the future. There used to be a time when Ikorodu said that they did not want another council, but the dynamism has changed and they are now interested in having more councils now. We have to start looking at the possibility of pursuing the Lagoon State campaign again,” she said.
The IBILE Forum President also raised the issues of security and youth developments in the State and warned that the situations needed serious attention. “Another issue is the security situation in the State. I have seen a lot due to the #EndSARS protest. We once drove into Lagos under 24minutes during the crisis from Shagamu to Maryland without any security stopping us. That means anything or anybody can enter Lagos without being challenged,” she stated. “There is a need for us to be prepared for eventualities. We need to have concern for our youths.”
She advocated for a system that would allow students leaving secondary school to acquire skills.
“I am more concerned about how we manage younger ones at secondary education level and l believe that the system should be structured in a way that will enable them to proceed to acquire skills after leaving secondary schools.” She also urged the royal fathers to see to the improvement, commitment and participation of Ikorodu division in IBILE Forum. “We need the support and assistance of our royal fathers in all these.”
Prince Taiwo Wusu, Vice President of the IBILE Forum, contributing, said that the sSate Government needs to understand that IBILE (indigenes of the State) are not opposed to it but that they only want to control their State. “We have people from other tribes taking over the control of Lagos while the indigenes are suffering.”
Emeritus Prof., Kunle Ade Wahab, in his own contribution, said that Ikorodu people started the IBILE Forum about 27 years after the creation of the Ikorodu Forum. He stated that the annual gathering of IBILE Forum, which, according to him, used to hold in the past, needs to be reintroduced for appraisal of situations in different IBILE units, adding that Ikorodu has its challenges which they are trying to resolve. “We have our challenges in Ikorodu and we are trying to resolve them. The lack of commitments to meetings and activities always occur when people are not seeing any benefit when they attend meetings. Our Obas need to help the IBILE Forum in many ways,” he pleaded.
Also, Hon. (Mrs.) Funmi Basorun Osinowo, the Welfare Officer of IBILE Forum and a frontline politician, while contributing, stated that women are being prevented from participating in Ikorodu Forum and pleaded with the royal fathers to help them address their exclusion from the forum. She added that those of them that are part of the State executives of IBILE Forum and other indigenous groups found their ways there on their own.
His Royal Majesty, Oba Ajibade Bakare Agoro, the Ranodu of Imota, while responding on behalf of other Obas in the division, commended members of IBILE Forum for the meeting and pledged the support of royal fathers in Ikorodu Division to the group. He frowned at situations where non – indigenes are dominating the affairs of the state. “Non – indigenes are taking control of our State at our expense. The report of this meeting should be prepared and sent to individual traditional rulers and the traditional council for proper digestion and intervention,” Oba Ranodu said. “If we are talking of government in Nigeria, Lagos Colony is the first and we must act as leaders,” the royal father added.
The Ayangbure of Ikorodu, His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, in his royal remarks, also charged IBILE Forum not to be deterred in pursuing its agenda while asking the group to make presentation of their agenda to the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs, where they will also be allowed to address the entire traditional rulers in the State. “This is a ‘Save our soul’ cry from the IBILE Forum to the royal fathers. We understand that there had been issues and we don’t want you to be deterred. You need to pursue your efforts further and always let us know whenever you are in need of our support. You should write to the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs for a meeting. That will be an avenue to address all the traditional rulers in the state at once instead of going round the State to be with individual Obas.
You may write through the Ministry of Local Government and Local Government Commission so that they can schedule you at one of our meetings. If such a meeting can be scheduled, your matter will receive our total attention,” he assured them.
Other executive members of IBILE Forum at the meeting were Dr. M. Adesegun Agbabiaka (Deputy President, Ikeja), Mrs. Adejoke Apena (Vice President, Ikeja), Chief Junaid Owokodu (Vice President, Ikorodu), Chief (Engr.) F.M. Sadiku (Vice President, Epe), Comrade Ayedogbon Sunday (General Secretary, Badagry), Mrs. Omobola Ilubanwo (Assistant General Secretary, (Ikorodu), Mrs. Iyabo Amusan (Treasurer, Lagos), Mrs. Olugbemiga Benson (Financ8al Secretary, Ikorodu), Alhaji Semiu O. Yussuf (Public Relations Office, Ikeja), Prince Uthman Adeniji Jafojo (Welfare, Ikeja), Mrs. Maryam Oluku Folasade (Welfare, Badagry), Engr. Damazio Adetunji- Felix (Welfare, Lagos), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Bowale Ogunbekun (Welfare, Epe), Mrs. Ajani Titilayo (Ex-Officio, Lagos) and Prince Abiodun Adeola (immediate past Welfare Officer, Ikorodu).