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REGIONALISM :  De Renaissance Patriots Demand Standalone Status For Lagos 

In response to ongoing discussions about a bill proposing a return to Nigeria’s regional government system, indigenes of Lagos State, under the aegis of De Renaissance Patriots Foundation, have vehemently declared that Lagos will not be part of the Western Region or Province.

The group, advocating for a standalone status for Lagos, made their position clear in a statement circulated to the media on the night of June 1, 2024.

The statement follows widespread circulation of a draft bill on social media, titled ‘A bill for an act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with a new governance model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.

This bill, allegedly drafted by Akin Fapohunda, who is not a federal lawmaker, suggests a return to the defunct regional system of government.

Fapohunda reportedly argued that if Nigeria could return to its old national anthem, it should also consider reverting to the regional system.

Despite the denial from Senator Yemi Adaramodu, the spokesperson for the Senate, who stated on May 31, 2024, that no such bill was before the National Assembly, De Renaissance Patriots Foundation remains unconvinced.

They suspect that the South West leaders, who were allegedly exposed in their plans, are now retreating from their initial intentions.

The group’s statement underscored their concerns: “This bill that is being proposed or suggested spells an ominous sign to us from Lagos State.

“It is a further attempt to subsume our aspiration into a larger group that is antithesis to whatever we believe in as indigenes of the state.”

The group emphasized that there had been no extensive consultations to gauge whether the people of Lagos desired to be part of any regional group, asserting their historical preference for a standalone status with the call, “GEDEGBE L’EKO WA.”

Prince Adelani Adeniji-Adele, leading the natives’ group, articulated the reasons for their opposition.

He pointed out that Lagos indigenes have historically suffered marginalization within larger regional structures and that inclusion in the Western Region would be detrimental.

“In recent times, our various indigenous groups had always maintained that we as indigenes of Lagos had always been having a raw deal from our neighbours in the South West, who see nothing good in us as they are only for project to marginalize us and see our state as ‘spoils of war’,” the statement read.

The group also recounted that since the colonial era, Lagos has consistently resisted being part of any region, referencing the opposition from Lagos leaders and traditional rulers in 1953, and the relief gained in 1967 when Lagos was separated from regional governance structures.

De Renaissance Patriots Foundation called for a referendum to ensure the true wishes of Lagosians are reflected, urging Lagos representatives in the National Assembly to consult extensively with elder statesmen and stakeholders before making any decisions on the bill.

They warned against dragging Lagos into the proposed South West Region through what they termed a “surreptitious” bill.

Concluding their statement, the group reiterated their historical stance and the legacy of their forebears, stating,

“The old cry of our struggle during colonial rule still stands: ‘GEDEGBE L’EKO WA.'”

 

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