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Why LG polls havenít been held in Lagos Ė AC chairman

Posted by By SUSAN NWANGANGA AGWU on 2008/06/12 | Views: 2555 |

Why LG polls havenít been held in Lagos Ė AC chairman

Otunba Henry Ajomale is the chairman of Action Congress in Lagos State. He is a lawyer by profession and immediate past commissioner for special duties and intergovernmental relations in Lagos.

Otunba Henry Ajomale is the chairman of Action Congress in Lagos State. He is a lawyer by profession and immediate past commissioner for special duties and intergovernmental relations in Lagos.

In this interview with Daily Sun, he criticized the Prof. Maurice Iwuís continued stay as Chairman, Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC).
He spoke on this and other national issues.

The Grange scandal
All I can say is that it is unfortunate that the woman got herself entangled. This is a woman, who joined government and in less than one year, she is in trouble. Itís a pity. And again, the circumstances in which the whole thing happened has not been established yet. Therefore, it will be presumptuous of me to condemn or to excuse her. I think the court has to prove that eventually sheís guilty or not. However, this shows the rotten situation in which the society has found itself.

Everybody believes in money, money, money. But sometimes, it can be a set up to cover the atrocities being committed by civil servants. This thing has been on for so many years. Itís not just now that one knows that this thing has been going on. It has been there for many years. I believe that the woman with her record as a thorough bred and straight- forward woman in her profession was unfortunate to get herself entangled in this sorry thing.

I donít think she was forced to resign as you suggested. Though, I believe the president would have discussed with her and informed her that he was not going to condone this type of thing and that the most expedient thing for her was to resign. I donít think she was under duress or that the EFCC bargained with her to resign and that if she complied, they would not prosecute here. You see this thing is somehow dicey, and that is why I said that it would be difficult for me to be categorical in my statement since we do not know the whole fact. Besides, as a lawyer, it will be unethical of me to pronounce on a case, which I donít really have the full picture.

Delay in holding local government elections in Lagos
I wouldnít know because ours is a political party, like any other political party. We are still subject to the directive of the electoral body. We were recently briefed on the cause of the delay. They said the law that existed before had certain clauses that should be reviewed and it is only the House of Assembly that could do that. I am also aware that the House of Assembly called for a public debate on these laws that were said to be inadequate and the public attended and made their contribution. I believe the House of Assembly had to get its committee on judiciary to look into it before the paper is passed. I think thatís the state they are now. I think that is the reason for the delay. But anytime they call for the election, we are ready, ready to contest.

The metroline project
The military destroyed a lot of things because if they have allowed that transportation system from Yaba, it would have solved the problem of transportation effectively. You know, the Metroline has the massive capacity to carry thousands of people within minutes. By now, it would have been established in all the stations. At that time, they wanted to start it from Mainland to Lagos and they had it in their plan to run the system to Lekki, Ikoyi, etc.

So, by now, they would have covered so many areas. The military cancelled it because they did not know its worth. If they want to do it now, it will be more than one thousand percent the amount of money they would have spent then. Everything was planned then but they overthrew the civilian regime and cancelled everything. If we want to do the same thing now, I would offer the best solution to our transportation problem. We canít be crying over split milk because we have to forge ahead. BRT is one of the well-conceived plans to solve transport problem in Lagos. This is just an experiment. When it is successful, they go ahead to other areas.

We are introducing a rail line too. In India, China, etc the system works and I am sure that if properly applied in this society, it will work effectively. You know, in those days, trains travelled as far as Kano, and in this present Nigerian economy, I think the railway would have been the safest way to transport some of these products being hauled by tankers now, like petrol and agricultural products. It can carry tons and tons of goods from one place to another at cheaper costs and relative security.

The demolition of shops in some parts of the metropolis
You know the problem of Nigeria is indiscipline. We are an indisciplined society and I believe that somebody must have the courage to correct some of these lapses. I think Governor Fashola is sent by God to correct the mess we have today. Our people will continue to trade under any condition. Even in the traffic, you will be struggling with traders on the road meant for transportation. They will carry their small boxes and sit there with little umbrellas selling goods, whose total costs could not be up to N1000. They donít even think about their lives.

You see that some of them even ignore traffic signs. You will press your horn to alert them of oncoming traffic and they will simply ignore you and continue in their trade. Supposing thereís a break failure, imagine the causality. One must be careful in thinking about human life. Somebody must care enough to check these people. Somebody must say enough is enough, this is not the way decent people do things. Somebody must be courageous enough to put his feet down and say, this is just, not the way to do it. And that is the gauntlet that Fashola has now taken up to re-introduce sanity to the society. And in the end, we will realise that these people will learn that we are not in a jungle and that there are laws that regulate the society. By the time we realise that, things will be better.

The Kogi State re-run election and Iwu
We have said that Maurice Iwu has no shame. Thatís just the issue. He conducted election condemned by international observers as falling short of standard. What he did was abominable. With all the criticism, this man still turned blind eye, deaf, ear to whatever that is happening in Nigeria. If the judiciary has condemned the work of the man, why do you continue to use him? Itís ungodly to continue to use such a man to conduct election when they have condemned him internationally and locally. We should try to be human. It is better to quit when the ovation is high, when the melody is fading.

We must know how to say: I quit. People who are supporting him would not want him to go because he is carrying out their dirty job. Personally, I have called several times for the removal Iwu. If he refuses to resign, then we should force him to quit. Look at how many elections the tribunals have annulled and you ask the same man to re-conduct the same election that has cancelled. What election do you want him to conduct? He will conduct the election the way he did it earlier.

Power sector scandal
If the former president can confirm that he spent two trillion naira on power and yet thereís no improvement in power supply, we ask ourselves where is that trillion naira? What happened to it? Some countries are looking for the opportunities that we have. God is kind to us; he provided us with all we could ever need. I was a diplomat in Japan, some Japanese, who have been to Nigeria, jokingly said that Nigerians should move to Japan, while Japanese come over to Nigeria. They said that after three years an assessment should be made.

They said, they would make Nigeria another Japan. I couldnít say any thing because I knew that everything that is working in Japan at the time would be destroyed if Nigerians went there, while those that were not working in Nigeria will start working, if Japanese take over Nigeria. We donít take advantage of Godís blessing, except for selfish interest. Instead of working for the development of our country, for our children to have better life in future, our leaders used our money personal things.

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