From Badagry To President Buhari
Out of the five divisions created by administrative edict of Lagos State of 1967, Badagry remains perpetually constricted in political servitude. Badagry division since the Nigerian nation became a republic in 1963 continues to groan heavily under the awesome burden of political marginalisation and servitude.
In Lagos State, it remains the only division in the history of the State to produce Governor for the State while other divisions have had the opportunity at least twice. The scenario is even worse with regards to Federal appointments. It is as if Badagry is not in existence in spite of its historical prominence and significance in the annals of the Nigeria history.
I want to appeal to President Muhammed Buhari on behalf of the people of Badagry division that while constituting his National Executive Council, he should do that with the principle of change in mind especially as it concerns Badagry Division. This division has offered so much historical base for the nation but since 1962 when one of its illustrious sons was last appointed Minister during the regional government system, no other individual has been considered for the exalted position of a Minister from the division.
The following statistics of appointments into the Federal Executive Council in recent years in Nigeria reveal the extent to which Badagry division has been marginalised and condemned to another form of political slavery after abolition of the slave trade in 1851 in Badagry.
In 1991 Chief Dapo Sarumi from Epe division was appointed Minister for Information in the days of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) he was later to be replaced by Dr. Bimbola Ogunkelu from as Minister for Cooperation and Integration for Africa from 2001 – 2003; In 1993 ñ 1998 the former Governor of Lagos State Alhaji Lateef Jakande from Ikeja division of the State was appointed Minister for Works by Gen. Sanni Abacha; In 1999 -2003 Chief Yomi Edu from Epe division of Lagos State was appointed Ministers for Special Duties by former President Olusegun Obasanjo; In 2003 ñ 2006 Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe from Ikorodu was Minister of Works. In 2007 ñ 2008 Chief Ademola Seriki from Lagos Island division was appointed Minister of State for Agriculture and Water Resources. In a cabinet reshuffle of 2008, Chief Seriki was appointed Minister of Mines and Steel Development between October and December 2008. The same Chief Seriki Ademola was appointed Minister of State for Defence from 2008 to 2009.
Again in 2009 to 2010, Chief Seriki was Minister of State for Interior. In 2010 ñ 2011, Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga, though an Edo man based in Lagos Island division, was appointed as Minister of Finance thus occupying the quota due for Lagos State. In 2011 ñ 2015 he was appointed Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment. Between 2014 and 2015 Senator Musiliu Obanikoro after serving as Ambassador of Nigeria to Republic of Benin was appointed Minister of Defence.
The official political history of Badagry division dates back to 1863 when Badagry was ceded to Great Britain meaning that Badagry political history is 152 years old this year. Except for Lagos division whose secession came two years earlier, no other division in Lagos State can boast of this political history.
Where is the position of Badagry Division in all the statistics given provided above? Is Badagry Division not part of Lagos State? Is it that we donít have capable hands that can be appointed Minister or at least Ambassador? This division can boast of individuals who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers. We have someone who has served as Head of Service in the Lagos State public service and in consideration of his immense capability and experience and his contributions to the last two administrations ñ provided the road-map for the emerging mega city status of Lagos State, he was re-appointed Special Adviser in the Office of the Governor.
Presently, he is an All Progressive Congress apex leader in Badagry division who has distinguished his political prowess by recording 100% results for APC at the just concluded general elections of the Presidential, Governorship, National and State Houses Assembly. Despite that former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated one of the sons of Badagry as Air Marshal, the people expressed their loyalty to All Progressive Congress by going out enmass to vote for the president Buhari.
We are therefore using this platform to make a passionate appeal to President Muhamadu Buhari to look at the direction of Badagry in the appointment of Ministers or Ambassadors, especially now that the ministerial list is still being compiled and scrutinised. Let Badagry division experience a change at least for once since independence in your administration.
* Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku writes from Badagry.