BY DAPO AKINREFON
LAGOS—THE Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has decried what he described as alleged marginalisation of Lagos indigenes in running of the affairs of the state.
He also urged the indigenes to come together for the benefit of the younger generation irrespective of political divide.
Senator Obanikoro said this at the 6th Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture entitled ‘The Place of Lagos State Indegenes’, in Lagos.
In his address, the minister said that all Lagos State indigenes must stand together to resist a conscious effort to shrink the political and economic space of the indigenes.
According to him: “Today the indigenes of Lagos State stand at the praecipe.
“In the last 16 years of democracy, the true number of Lagos indigenes that have been commissioner are up to 10. Similar trend has been seen at the National Assembly.”
He noted that it is more saddening that majority of those who have been at the helm of affairs in Lagos are from other Yoruba states saying; “When I was a Senator, I was the only indigenous Senator representing Lagos State.”
While he alleged that non-indigenes “have cornered the resources of Lagos for themselves to the detriment of the indigenes,” he pointed out that there was nothing wrong in the Lagos State government putting in place more efforts to empower indegines.
He said: “What we must do is to use the platform of the Association of Lagos Indigenes to protect what belong to us. The world over, efforts are made to give indigenes their right of place irrespective of their number. The fact that we are generous should not make us a victim. We should work to ensure that our status as indigenes are restored.”
Speaking further, he said; “We cannot downplay the principle of peaceful co-existence. Lagos is the most important symbol of unity in Nigeria. We must be counted among those who will stand up. Lagos deserves a befitting. We must be counted among those who will stand up. Lagos deserves a befitting special status. By its special status, it can stand as a country on its own. And that is why Lagos must be well protected”.