MEMBERS of the indigenous Awori community in Lagos State have lamented the fact that they are being marginalised in the running of the government despite being the original owners of the land on which Lagos is built.
Historically, Lagos Island was founded by Awori fishermen who are believed to have originally migrated from Dahomey in modern day Benin Republic. However, with the expansion of Lagos and it subsequently becoming Nigeria’s federal capital in 1914, the city has attracted people from all over the country.
With Lagos State now home to 22m people and the metropolis having a population of 12m, the Aworis are now an infinitesimal minority. Yesterday, the Awori monarchs in conjunction with the Awori Welfare Association of Nigeria (Awan), said they may be forced to put their own people forward for political posts and withdraw their supports for the non-Aworis henceforth.
Speaking on behalf of the Awori monarchs in Lagos State who were all present at a press conference, the Ojomu of Ajiran land, Oba Tijani Akinloye, said they were not happy as only one or two Awori indigenes were commissioners and special advisers nominated for legislative approval in the state. He noted that they had produced three deputy governors and few commissioners before, saying they were totally being neglected this time around.
Oba Akinloye said: “You will recall that on Saturday, 14th July, 2019, the governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu, transmitted 25 names of commissioners and special advisers to the state assembly for screening. It is pertinent to know categorically that only one or two Awori indigenes made the list.
“We want to use this medium to unequivocally remind the Lagos State government that the Aworis are not happy with the way we are being maginalised in the state despite our population and also for the fact that we are the original settlers in the state. We are thereby looking forward to see the appointment of Awori indigenes who are young, vibrant and qualified.
“As we know, we have many of them who are professionals, politicians and technocrats. Those who worked tirelessly during the campaign for the success of the party in Lagos State.
“We should remind ourselves that participation in politics is anchored on the desire to use it as a route to be appointed and elected to serve your own people and bring development closer to them. We deserve more than what we are getting and the entire Aworis are now waiting and going that justice will be done in send batch of nominees that will be forwarded to the Lagos State House of Assembly.”
They warned that if their demand is not granted, they would be forced to withdraw their support for the any other candidate in Lagos state apart from their own sons and daughter, noting that they are the majority in the state. According to the monarch in Lagos State, the Aworis occupy 17 out of 20 local governments and 26 out of 37 Local Council Development Areas, as well as the three senatorial districts, wherein our culture and traditions are well embedded.`
However, the royal father appreciated the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for creating a conducive environment for them to vote en-mass during the last general elections. He added that the entire Aworis turned out en-mass to vote in the last general elections and the record is there to show for it.