Eti-Osa Indigenous Community Stakeholders Forum has frowned at the list submitted to Lagos State house of Assembly for screening where 12 out of the 39 commissioner nominees whom are not known in the area have been used to fill the quotas of the council in the yet to be constituted Lagos state cabinet.
Addressing a world press conference in Lagos on Thursday, Adewale Sanni, President of Eti-Osa Heritage Organisation who spoke on behalf of the stakeholders Forum said the briefing was to put faces to earlier communications to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa over the marginalization.
Flanked by some Baales and Chiefs of the community, Sanni explained that despite having qualified professionals , ” the administration has not appointed any indigene as permanent secretary,Board Chairman or Member, Head or Member of Parastatals or Agencies in the Lagos State Ministries, as well as Councils of Universities owned by the State Government.”
Sanni, whose speech centred on the title, ” Marginalization of Eti-Osa Indigenes in Appointments and general administration of Lagos state: When shall this end?”, said ” despite our community’s contributions to the Revenue generation, Growth and development of Lagos State, the present administration appears to be wilful and persistent in excluding and marginalizing the people of Eti-Osa Local Government in the Leadership of the State Government as demonstrated by the patterns of appointments over time.”
Reiterating the need for Governor Sanwo-Olu to redress the anomaly, Sanni maintained that what the community is asking for is not a favour, “it is a matter of right,” he said.
Continuing, Sanni said; ” We, the indigenes of Eti-Osa Local Government, wish to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding the ongoing marginalization of Eti-Osa indigenes in the appointment of executive council members by the Lagos State Government.
“This press conference is a call for fairness, inclusivity, and transparency in the governance of our beloved state. We were shocked by the news that the list of 39 nominees for Commissioners and Special Advisers emanating from the office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, to the Speaker of the State Assembly dated 7th August 2023 claimed 12 out of 39 of the nominees to be from Eti-Osa Local Government Area. To us, this is yet another exercise in misrepresentation.
“The practice of residents, even with names that apparently belong outside Lagos State, claiming to be indigenes of a local ancestral community of ours for political gains at the expense of the community is now becoming entrenched. As stated in our earlier letters to the office of the Governor dated 2nd August, as well as that of the Hon. Speaker dated 10th August 2023, we insist that the names on the forwarded list, who are now being screened by the State Assembly, did not contain a single indigene of Eti-Osa. This meeting today is to further put our faces to those letters of protest.
“Ours is an indigenous community with over 500 years of history and our Local Government constitutionally recognized as a major constituent part of Lagos State. We consider this as an anomaly and therefore, call upon the Governor to redress the same as a matter of political and constitutional imperative by ensuring that Eti-Osa indigenes are adequately represented.
” As indigenes, we are bothered that despite our community’s contributions to the Revenue generation, Growth and development of Lagos State, the present administration appears to be wilful and persistent in excluding and marginalizing the people of Eti-Osa Local Government in the Leadership of the State Government as demonstrated by the patterns of appointments over time.
“Notwithstanding this administration’s obvious marginalization however, we never relent in showing commitment to our State and the Government at all levels.
“We recall our series of engagements on this issue, as well as the specific promises made by Mr Governor at the last Stakeholders meeting held on Sunday 12th February 2023 in Eti-Osa. It is surprising to note however that the meeting like others, has not yielded any fruits in correcting the wrongs of the past.
“The current situation where 12 individuals, unknown to the leadership of the community, now pose as indigenes of the local Government is worse than the past we have been dealing with.
“It is pertinent to categorically state here that apart from the Executive Council, this administration has not appointed any indigene of Eti-Osa Local Government to the position of Permanent Secretary, Board Chairman or Member, Head or Member of Parastatals or Agencies in the Lagos State Ministries, as well as Councils of Universities owned by the State Government.
“We recall that even in the last administration, only one of our indigenes was appointed as Commissioner while so many total strangers, just like the current list, were used to fill the Eti-Osa quota in utter contempt and disregard for legal and constitutional principles. “This development has sparked feelings of continuous neglect and disillusionment among our people. For the avoidance of doubt, Eti-Osa has competent professionals in every field of life.
“We condemn the practice of using other persons to impersonate the indigenes as representatives of Eti-Osa. Even when such people deploy those resources and experience garnered at our expense to go and develop their own communities while leaving us politically and financially desolate.
” Such practice also robs us of our constitutional right to participate in governance in the State as well as at the Federal level. It was in anticipation of this practice of using non indigenes to replace us and the need to redress same that Eti-Osa Leaders of Thought with Eti-Osa indigenes Forum submitted a list of nominees from among the indigenes to the office of the Governor for consideration.”
” We implore the Governor to redress the anomaly in this submission to the Lagos State House of Assembly by ensuring the inclusion of Eti-Osa indigenes from those earlier submitted by our community. By doing so, this administration will send a strong signal of hope for equity and fairness to all the indigenes of Lagos State.
“Eti-Osa must be recognised as a distinct community for purposes of allocation of our common resources – human and material and there must be equal and transparent opportunity in employment into the civil service and other agencies of Government as a matter of right.
“Eti-Osa indigenes in State civil service should also be put in strategic positions like their counterparts and there must be deliberate efforts by Government to end the systematic marginalisation of indigenes.
“Appointment of non-indigenes as our representatives leads to misrepresentation and structural marginalisation. We do not deserve to be treated as mere onlookers in our State but remain hopeful that the Governor will take our concerns into account and work towards a more balanced and representative administration.
” In the end, we look forward to you Mr. Governor as the Messiah to end this political manipulation without the need to look forward to the future for a rescuer.”