Saturday, 10 August 2013

Opinion: On Resettlement Of Destitute Persons By Lagos State

Governor Fashola Of Lagos State

By Nelson Ekujumi

I have watched with keen interest and unbiased, commented on the issue of the resettlement of destitute persons by the Lagos State government to Anambra state and the reactions and counter reactions generated on this matter which is unfortunate. One took time to come into the fray with the sense of responsibility of calming frayed nerves in view of the fact that the issue was fast degenerating into an unhealthy and unnecessary ethnic issue between the Yorubas and the Igbos.

One was also aware of the fact that expired politicians and some parochial interests seized on the opportunity of the issue to settle political points as well as masquerading as sympathizers of peoples cause when in actual fact their antecedents and posturing is the exact opposite.

One was also aware that some groups who have been comatose joined the fray just to seek relevance. The truth of the matter is that mutual suspicion is a stark reality among the ethnic Nationalities in Nigeria hence the do or die philosophy prevalent in our political space and the usual slogan of it’s our turn mentality because of the fraudulent contraption called the 1999 constitution that binds us together.

In as much as we are still bound by force in fraud of a marriage called Nigeria, we must not fail to point out that the myriad of problems besetting the Nigerian state is a product of the unresolved National question.

This national question can only be sincerely and patriotically addressed at a Peoples Sovereign National Conference (SNC).

In reality and in obeisance to the 1999 constitution, in as much as one recognizes that citizens have a fundamental right  to freedom of movement of which citizens are not to be unconstitutionally deprived of such rights, we must also realize that government have a constitutional responsibility to the welfare of its citizens both physically and mentally alert and destitute persons.

The action of the Lagos state government in attempting to resettle the destitute persons of Anambra state origin with their families should be  commended rather than be condemned and painted in ethnic colouration which is rather unfortunate.

One must also use this opportunity to admonish mischief makers to stop referring to resettlement as deportation. Family support is critical to resettling a destitute person to a situation where he can contribute positively to society.

It is illogical and doesn't and can never make sense in this our "federation" in which states undertake federal responsibility by repairing federal roads with scarce state resources at the expense of other pressing needs and are not recompensed for a long time for the Lagos state government to abdicate its constitutional responsibility to the people of Lagos in rehabilitating for life destitute persons from other states whose states are not extending similar generosity to Lagos indigenes who are destitute persons and domiciled there.

The issue at stake is about the national question which has the tendency to consume us all if not urgently addressed. Therefore this issue should be a wakeup call to our political elites to be sincere in appreciating the dangers ahead whereby we can have a true federal system of government that comes with responsibility and responsive governance rather than the present system whose product is a country of destitute people.

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