By Wale Bakare
Keen observers of happenings in Lagos metropolis will agree that urgent steps are required to restore sanity back to the State of Excellence from the grip of the power-drunk All Progressives Congress (APC). The state has metamorphosed into a full time dictatorship and it was only a matter of time before the chicken comes home to roost. Lagos State with its rich cultural heritage and diversity being a model state has been a home to over 18 million Nigerians, and constitutionally everyone has a right to live without intimidation, fear and coercion. The recent closure of the popular Iponri market in mainland Lagos for no just reasons vindicates my earlier assertions on the ruling party’s lack of vision and developmental idea for the people of Lagos State.
In the 21st century, it is outright fraud, and lacking in regard for the electorate to deny the traders of their right to coexist freely while making ends meet. Closing the market in a bid to force traders to participate in the ongoing registration with the APC is a sign that the party has lost its popularity in the State. This backlash accompanied with hostility using the States security personnel to forcefully eject people from the market is a breach of social freedom and justice. These traders pay their tax to the government’s account and other associated levies to their respective local government, yet they are the target of victimization even while adding value to the trade volume that drives the economy. Lagos State is currently under repression and all these are happening under the watchful eye of the so-called ‘progressives’. They want power at all cost, yet more than ever determined to get it through the backdoors.
I have said it time without number that most of the policies of the APC government are anti-people. And they persist in doing this evil simply because they are confident that no one would challenge their actions; it is high time we as people revolt against this insensitivity from those meant to be championing the course of the people who elected them in. This highhandedness and unwavering impunity has given rise to more political neophytes who have nothing to contribute to the development of the State and its people. Any attempt furthered to introduce procedures that does not align with the plans of the people will be resisted henceforth. How do we console the traders on the losses made during this closure? What becomes of the perishable goods and other consumable items the traders invested upon?
Monetarily, you and I know how much would be lost closing down the market for a day, how much more for good nine (9) days. This act of oppression must be condemned in its entirety by all lovers of democracy. These indeed, are signs of things to come in the build up to 2015. Asking market men and women to pay ridiculous amounts and presenting their APC membership registration card as a prerequisite for reopening the markets is an indication of a military styled regime reminiscence of the pre 1998 era. The dimension is a dangerous trend that will undermine our struggle for a true federalism.
We can’t be pretending to be pro-people’s welfare in the media while acting otherwise under the state’s controlled machineries. Politicisation of people’s welfare in a democratic atmosphere will slow down development. Contrary to practices in other countries of the world, the poor people in Nigeria are heavily taxed for the rich country’s failure to provide basic amenities and infrastructure. This is about our collective right to freedom and association as people regardless of our ethnicity, religion and political affiliations. Lagosians must rise and say no to anti-people policies, oppression, lack of regard for rule of law and outright disregard for human feelings.
Wale Bakare is on email@example.com