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Lagos @ 50 celebration: Indigenes reject choice of Soyinka as committee co-chairman

Prof. Wole Soyinka
Prof. Wole Soyinka
Lagos indigenes under the aegis of the Eko Foundation, weekend, kicked against the appointment of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, as the co-Chairman of Lagos at 50 Celebration Committee.
The group also lamented that Lagos indigenes had been marginalised in their own land, noting that residents from other states of the federation “are taking the appointment meant for us.”
The group expressed the grievance of Lagos, indigenes at a news conference its President, Prof. Oluwole Smith addressed in Surulere noting that the state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode had been offering non-indigenes more appointment than indigenes of the state.
The conference was attended by the state Commissioner for Women Affairs during the Bola Tinubu administration, Mrs. Peju Philips; Special Adviser on Environment during the Babatunde Fashola administration, Dr. Taofiq Folami and former Solicitor-General of the state Mr. Lawal Pedro among others.
At a well attended conference, the president of the foundation said Soyinka’s appointment as the chairman of the committee for the celebration of Lagos State at 50 was a wrong choice and unacceptable.
Smith said successive governments in the state had retained the penchant of marginalising those he called,’ true indigenes’ for the past 18 years, saying they would henceforth resist government decisions to give sensitive appointments to non-indigenes of the state.
“There are very many elders, octogenarians, septuagenarians , former governor, ministers, academicians, public and civil servants and other indigenes both at home and in the Diaspora, who are more than eminently qualified to celebrate their state.
“Prof. Soyinka’s choice is an insult to the indigenes and he should decline to serve, to accord with his reputation as a protester, who has tirelessly protested against wrongs and injustice in the better part of his adult life,” he said.
Smith observed that the choice of Alhaji Rasheed Gbadamosi, an indigene “to co-chair the committee with Professor Soyinka was a deception and mischievous make believe. We decided to cry out to enable us partake as of right and in accordance with extant laws, in the government of the state.
“We can no longer afford to keep silent and pretend that all is well when in fact there appears to be no future for the indigenes of this state and the generations yet unborn in the state.
“At the moment, we have six Ibos occupying the seat of Lagos in the House of Representatives, non-indigene as a senator, several non-indigenes in Lagos State House of Assembly and in the executive council of the state.
“In the past, indigenes of other states have taken over our ministerial slot and occupy positions in various parastatals both in the state and at federal level. These are not replicated in any other state in Nigeria.”
Smith said the implication of the abnormality was that Lagos indigenes would have to passionately appeal to the non-indigenes to secure employment for themselves and their children in their own land.
He added that indigenes would henceforth closely monitor and periscope the activities of the present administration in the state, warning that appointments in the state must conform to Federal Character Commission Act, the constitution of the country and other subsidiary legislation.

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