By Olsaunkanmi Akoni
Mr. Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi, the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party ADP in Lagos State in 2019 general elections, in a chat with Vanguard spoke on the controversial Bayelsa and Kogi governorship polls, the travail of Sahara Reporters’ Publisher, Mr. Omoyele Sowore in the hands of government security agents, and Land Use Charge among others.
Last Tuesday was World Human Rights Day and the International Community. How do you assess human rights in Nigeria vis-à-vis what is happening in the polity?
It is a thing of concern because unbelievably we saw a situation where security officials invaded a courtroom, which has now been excused by one of the aides of the government who said that the invasion was organised by the man who had come to the court to seek relief; that is Omoyele Sowore.
Of course that is something that perhaps the media handlers of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration need a serious talking to because they have dragged Nigeria into serious disrepute and we need to come back from that as quickly as we can.
They need to retrace their steps. This is a democracy, it is not a military dictatorship but they are acting as if we are under a military jackboot.
On the controversies trailing the Kogi, Bayelsa governorship elections and calls for the review of the Electoral Act by the National Assembly
The amendments to the Electoral Act should have been signed by President Buhari but he didn’t. What happened during the 2019 general elections and elections that have gone on since, like the Bayelsa and Kogi elections showed the actual intention of President Buhari by not signing that Electoral Act amendment. We have seen what President Buhari considered to be good election because we saw him congratulating Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. We saw him congratulating Bello after the election, where people were being shot at from a helicopter, tear gas were being thrown around. All of that has no place in a democracy.
As an estate developer, what is your take on the controversial Land Use Act?
The Land Use Act has the unsalutory effect of taking away the ownership of land from the people of Nigeria and handling it to the governors of the states in Nigeria. In fact, in my opinion, it hampers economic growth in Nigeria, and this is shown by the level of development that you see in the country as what you see elsewhere in the world – United States, United Kingdom and other developed economies that operate free home system of land ownership, whereas in Nigeria there is no free home.
That is something we need to look at to speed up the economic development of Nigeria. And of course, because of this Land Use Act, there is no real security of titles because the governors retain the right to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy that they issued.
On issues surrounding Certificate of Occupancy
The situation especially in a state like Lagos is that there is a long queue of people waiting to collect Certificate of Occupancy. It is an imperfect system.
The Land Use Act is not a perfect system and it is something that we are going to have to work with for the time being until we can work out something better and until we can repeal the Land Use Act or review it by giving the lands to their original owners. So until that time, the system should be made to work.
The system not working is also another reason the Land Use Act should be revoked. The governors should not have that much power over the land of the people.