By Okunade Adekunle
The Lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly have implored President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to those agitating for self-determination with a view to addressing their fears.
Speaking during Monday’s plenary session, the lawmakers also appealed to Buhari to continue to work for the unity of the country, address the issue of poverty, unemployment, inflation and underdevelopment.
While speaking on the 60th Independence anniversary of Nigeria, the House urged the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to continue to provide the necessary atmosphere for the economic development of the state.
The Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Noheem Adams raised the issue under Matter of Urgent Public Importance.
Adams noted that since independence, the issue of national unity has always been the problem, stated that the issue of economic development has been a problem “and we have been depending on oil and attention has not been on industrialisation.
“Lagos has always been at the forefront of development for the country, so the state needs to be given a special status,” he said.
Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) stated that the infrastructure and economy of Nigeria are shambles, and that we needed to look for alternatives such as agriculture and reverse our way of life and that appetite for foreign goods is reducing the value of the naira.
He added that there is a need for the National Assembly to ensure justice and that Lagos State needed special allocation to be able to generate revenue.
Hon. Victor Akande (Ojo 1) said that Nigeria should thank God for the opportunity to be in Nigeria and be Nigerians and that everybody should be called upon to rise up to the occasion based on her national anthem.
“In the past, we used to depend on agriculture and our money exchange for two pounds, but it is in shambles now. We need to wake up from our slumber and go back to what we used to do,” he said.
Hon. Ganiyu Okanlawon (Kosofe 1) stated that he visualised that Nigeria should be running at a fast pace at 60, but that it still crawling, and that governance is epileptic.
In his views, Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu (Ikeja 2) said that a large percentage of Nigerians are youths, but that few youths have met the expectations of the people.
He then called on the President to call on the Ministry of Youths to look at national youth policy of the nation.
“We need to go back to agriculture, and Lagos State deserves a special status and recognition,” he said.
Hon. Setonji David ( Badagry 2) said that Nigeria used to be ahead of countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
He stated that the nation was making progress, but that her systems caused stagnation.
“There is so much injustice in Nigeria, which is why the people call for another constitutional conference. We have federal character, which promotes indolence as merit has been relegated to the background,” said David.
Hon. Lukmon Olumoh (Ajeromi/Ifelodun 1) said that Nigeria has so many diverse tribes and that we needed to defend our unity.
“We need to commend our foreign policy that centres on Africa. We should commend our democracy as promoted by our leaders such as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the late Chief MKO Abiola.
“We should celebrate our democracy as we have had an uninterrupted civilian government since 1999. Also, on culture, Nigerian Nollywood is the first in Africa and the third in the world. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa. We also have a bill by Senator Oluremi Tinubu on special status for Lagos. We need a special status for the state to help our people,” said Olumoh.
On his part, Hon. Temitope Adewale (Ifako/Ijaiye 1) said that Nigeria is the strongest country he knew and that Nigeria does exist by itself, but that it is made up of people.
“This country is the strongest nation-state I have ever known. Nigeria is made up of people who are strong and determined to succeed in life”, said Adewale.
Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2) said that prosperity in Nigeria ought to be on a massive scale and that the federalism the nation is running is not federalism.
“We have issues of police, quarantine and the rest. COVID-19 has shown that without the states, the country would be in a mess. If you need a rail line in your state, you have to go to the federal government. We need true federalism that can give us massive development,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni said that the people should think more of Nigeria than thinking of division and that the current development is not what the people desired.
“All the politics of Nigeria started in Lagos with people like the late Herbert Macaulay before people like Awolowo joined. Nigeria was formed by Northern and Southern Protectorates as well as the colony,” said Eshinlokun-Sanni.
However, The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said, “We talk about poverty, unemployment, inflation, lack of qualitative education, ethnic division, Oodua, Biafra, Arewa and the people of Niger Delta are making agitations.
“The President should have listening ears. Our federalism is more of unitary government so we must be careful so that what happened in Sudan will not happen here.
“We should continue to talk until we get there. We should address the issue of poverty, and inflation.”
The Speaker directed the acting Clerk of the House, Mr Olalekan Onafeko to send a clear copy to Sanwo-Olu for conveyance to Buhari.
In another development, a bill for a Law to establish the Lagos State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission and for connected purposes scaled through its second reading.
Subsequently, the House unanimously passed a grant approval for the request of the sums of N93Billion and N60Billion respectively, totalling N153Billion for Lagos Rail Mass Transit, LRMT red line and blue line project financing: Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement, DCRR CBN intervention facility.