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Stop wilful negligence of duty, ARG warns Gov Obi

By Segun Balogun
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The Lagos State chapter of Afenifere Renewal Group has advised Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State to focus on his constitutional duty of providing for people's welfare instead of seeking vain political glory.

In a statement signed by its chairman, Ayo Osunloye, the group noted that people's welfare, a paramount priority of any government, should not be exploited for political grandstanding Governor Obi has done recently when Lagos State Government relocated some destitute people back to their home state to be reunited with their folks.

“Lagos State has a policy, backed by a House of Assembly resolution, which frowns at destitution, begging, and hawking – this is a policy that ARG supports. In implementing that policy, destitute people are moved to rehabilitation centres where they are restored to normalcy and enlisted for vocational trainings and skills acquisition, after which they are taken to their home states.

“This is a practice we wish other States in Nigeria would emulate. Hence, the best that Governor Obi can and should do, if he is genuinely interested in people's welfare, is to continue the rehabilitation process where Lagos stopped. Governor Obi's foul cry appears at best a dereliction of duty. If he suspects foul play as claimed, he should investigate and ascertain their veracity rather than whip up ethnic passion and sentiments.

“ARG Lagos would want to remind Governor Obi that his intervention was conveniently silent when Ladipo Market was closed due to acute breach of environmental standards. His voice was mute when civil servants who are not indigenes of Abia State were sacked. Where was he when the veteran actress, Ngozi Ezeonu, needed N4.5m, which Governor Fashola donated?

“It is therefore hypocritical that Governor Obi has just found his voice and went straight to Mr. President, seeking reprimand when he should be developing a strategy for welfare for his people. ARG Lagos Chapter hopes the intervention sought by Governor Obi from Abuja is not another chapter in the political debacle unfolding from the Nigeria Governors' Forum election and Adamawa and Rivers States.”

PLS SEE THE FULL PRESS STATEMENT BELOW
Rehabilitation Not Deportation

AfenifereRenewal Group (ARG) Lagos Chapter notes that people's welfare, a paramount priority of any government, should not be exploited for political grandstanding, as we have seen in the actions and pronouncements of Governor Peter Obi with respected to relocation of some Anambra people from Lagos.

Afenifere Renewal Group [Lagos Chapter] is worried that the urgent need and care needed by these people are not on the front burner of discussion. It is easy to see through the rashness displayed by Governor Obi in claiming that the “forced deportation” was carried out against the choice of the people whereas empirical fact clearly indicate that these people were living without the essential basic human requirements – shelter, security and proper feeding.

What the responsible government of Governor Fashola did was to offer them a better choice of well being and another chance to live a decent life by rehabilitating and reuniting them with their families. In our view, this is a humane and commendable act that the Lagos State Government has been carrying out for many years without discrimination and prejudice.

Lagos State has a policy, backed by a House of Assembly resolution, which frowns at destitution, begging, and hawking – this is a policy that ARG supports. In implementing that policy, destitute people are moved to rehabilitation centres where they are restored to normalcy and enlisted for vocational trainings and skills acquisition, after which they are taken to their home states.

This is a practice we wish other States in Nigeria would emulate. Hence, the best that Governor Obi can and should do, if he is genuinely interested in people's welfare, is to continue the rehabilitation process where Lagos stopped. Governor Obi's foul cry appears at best a dereliction of duty. If he suspects foul play as claimed, he should investigate and ascertain their veracity rather than whip up ethnic passion and sentiments.

While we welcome government's initiative to make Lagos a home for everyone irrespective of social class, ethnic, or religious leaning, Yoruba people would not tolerate the growing trend where people come to Lagos without positive purposeful intents, only to live as destitute, become security and social threats, and constitute nuisance in our valued-space.

ARG Lagos would want to remind Governor Obi that his intervention was conveniently silent when Ladipo Market was closed due to acute breach of environmental standards. His voice was mute when civil servants who are not indigenes of Abia State were sacked. Where was he when the veteran actress, Ngozi Ezeonu, needed N4.5m, which Governor Fashola donated?

It is therefore hypocritical that Governor Obi has just found his voice and went straight to Mr. President, seeking reprimand when he should be developing a strategy for welfare for his people. ARG Lagos Chapter hopes the intervention sought by Governor Obi from Abuja is not another chapter in the political debacle unfolding from the Nigeria Governors' Forum election and Adamawa and Rivers States.

ARG once again calls for a Sovereign National Conference that will enable us the opportunity to debate the right governance policy that ensures citizens' needs within a better structured Nigeria. Whilst we await this, Yoruba people will continue to implement initiatives that ensure the development of our people and space.

Signed
Ayo Osunloye
Chairman
ARG Lagos