Obanikoro condemns forceful closure of Lagos market for APC registration
Nigeria's former Ambassador to Ghana and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Musiliu Obanikoro, has condemned the forced closure of popular Lagos market, the Abibatu Mogaji Model Market in Iponri, in order to enforce traders' registration with the All Progressives Congress.
Obanikoro, in a statement on Wednesday, said it was heartless that the market was shut for 10 days all in a bid to force the traders to register with the APC.
The statement quoted Obanikoro as saying the bigger shame in the shenanigan of the APC was that it was not even the Lagos State Government that shut the market but Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, the daughter of a former Governor of the state and National Leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He said it was shameful that such action could be carried out by Tinubu-Ojo under the authority of being the leader of market men and women in Lagos, a position not recognised by the law.
Obanikoro said the forced closure of the market by Tinubu-Ojo with the usage of policemen who are being funded with tax payers' money, was an assault on the sensibilities of Lagosians, as it portends grave danger for democratic rule.
He added: “What this means is that anyone who has the backing of the powers that be and with the government looking on helplessly because the daughter of the godfather that installed it was involved, can carry out any illegality using the instruments of the state.
“This is one of the dangers and why people oppose the creation of state police.
“I can imagine what would have happened if the police was under the direct control of the toothless Lagos State Government in any matter that involves the Tinubu family, which it dreads to high heavens.”
Obanikoro equally faulted the forceful collection of between N500 and N1, 500 from the market women, a development he said was akin to collecting from the have nots to feed the selfishness of the already super rich.
He said despite the claim by the APC of being a welfarist government, its actions only tend towards dictatorship and further impoverishment of the people, adding: “This is what a responsible government will never do.”
Obanikoro urged the people of the state to prepare to vote out the APC in 2015 in order to pave the way for a truly representative government.
Reports in the media had it that upon the closure of the market, Tinubu-Ojo demanded N5 million from the traders for reopening.
Another pre-condition for the reopening was the presentation of the APC membership registration card by the shop owners.
Tinubu-Ojo confirmed this development to newsmen.
She said: “We have opened the market.
“I sent some people to open it.
“Yes, we collected money as fine, which is the norm in the market.
“But I don't know what other thing you are talking about.”