Posted by News Express | 28 September 2017 | 1,564 times
A civil rights organisation, the Save Lagos Group (SLG), has carpeted Lagos State Government’s decision to erect a new statue in honour of late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, few metres away from where an earlier one had been erected by Ikeja Local Government.
This is coming just as the group has also vowed to organise an indefinite sit out at the Lagos State Government secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja over missing statues of late business mogul turned politician, Chief Moshood Olawale Kashimawo Abiola, and late legal luminary and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAM, SAN.
In a statement issued by the Convener of the Save Lagos Group, Comrade Adeniyi A. Sulaiman in Lagos on Wednesday, the organisation accused successive governments in the state of deliberately rubbishing the achievements of the first executive governor of the state, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakanbde.
They lamented that Jakande has not been accorded his due place in the historical development of the state, saying the latest move by the state government goes further to affirm its belief that indeed, the government utilises dubious criteria for selecting people to be accorded honour.
In the statement, Sulaiman on behalf of the Save Lagos Group accused Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of using the project to score chief political gain by using the name and legacies of the late Premier of the old Western Region to win votes at the forthcoming general election, saying the project was ill-conceived and ill-intentioned.
“Our objection to the project stems from the timing and motive. Next year is expected to be an electioneering year when political gladiators would be jostling for one position or the other, being a politician, Ambode would be seeking to return to office and we reasonably suspect that the project is primed to galvanise support for his bid due to the awe and respect our people in Yorubaland have for late Chief Awolowo,” he said.
Sulaiman on behalf of the group also accused the state government of financial profligacy by embarking on the project since another statue in honour of the late sage was barely 800 meters away from where the current one is situated.
While maintaining that any move to continuously honour the memory of the late sage would not be considered too much especially regarding the fact that late Chief Awolowo’s contributions to the development of the country, particularly Yorubaland are enormous, he added: “We, members of the Save Lagos Group are at a loss as to the rationale and the motive behind the project.
“Chief Awolowo was a colossal figure in the nation’s history no doubt but what we fault this project as a deliberate ploy by the state government to use his memory and achievements of Chief Awolowo for political gains while at the same time rubbishing another important figure in Lagos history, Alhaji Lateef Jakande’s whose pioneering efforts in the growth and development of the state has remained legendary.”
The group further accused the ruling class in Lagos State of willfully erasing the efforts of the former governor, saying: “How do you explain the fact that the current statue is situated right at the entrance of the street named after Alhaji Jakande. We are further disturbed by this affront as the street remains the only legacy that has accrued to the octogenarian from the state government.
“We are of the view that rather than Baba’s statue being erected there, governor Ambode ought to have erected Jakande’s statue instead to honour the man as a symbolic gesture to his contributions to the growth and development of the state.”
Apart from the treatment being meted out to Jakande, the Save Lagos Group also accused the state government of doing little or nothing regarding the welfare of past governors and deputy governors of the state as they have not been adequately taken care off as beneficiaries of a pension law that was passed by the state House of Assembly.
“We know for sure that most of these past leaders are not enjoying the privileges that ought to accrue to them from this law, except the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” The group stated.
Sulaiman also gave an ultimatum to the state government to return the statues of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN that have been carted away to an unknown location.
“We are giving the state government an ultimatum to return the statues of these great men from wherever they might have kept to the same place where they were removed from by the agents of the state government. Few months ago, we raised and alarm, which the state government responded to saying that the statues were under repairs but up till now, they have not been returned,” he said.
On what the group would do, Sulaiman stated that a sit out at the Lagos State government secretariat for two months would be convened and to turn it to a mass displacement camp (MDP) a view to forcing the hand of government to do the right thing.
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