THE POLITICS OF BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA....

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A few days ago, His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola allegedly took advantage of the protection his exalted office offers, to thumb his nose at the hard working, enterprising, nation-building, innovative and accommodating people of Ikorodu, by labelling us all tax-evaders and by implication, a city of criminals. Before I address this unwarranted and undeserved slur, if it is true that he said this, I must enlighten His Excellency on some things he may not know about the city of Ikorodu and her people, Ikorodu Ile and Ikorodu Oko. The first indigenous industrialist in Nigeria was from Ikorodu. His name was Chief S. O. Gbadamosi. The first Nigerian modern drug manufacturer was also from Ikorodu. He was Chief J.S. Odulate. The first Nigerian to qualify as an architect was from Ikorodu - Chief H.O. Onafowokan. The first Nigerian female lawyer to wear silk is a daughter of Chief J.S. Odulate - Chief Mrs. Folake Solanke, obviously, also from Ikorodu. The first Nigrrian female lawyer to obtain a Masters degree in Law is from Ikorodu - Alhaja Wonu Folami. Professor Ayodele Awojobi, Patriarch Bolaji Idowu, Bobby Benson, Chief T.O.S. Benson, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya and Alhaji Lamidi Ogbara are just some of other numerous prominent, hardworking, taxpaying citizens of Ikorodu city who contributed immensely, each in their own way, to the development of Nigeria as whole and Lagos State in particular. The first Trunk 'A' road in Nigeria is Ikorodu road, built originally by the people of Ikorodu. The largest textile factory in Africa is Nichemtex, in Ikorodu. The first mineral water factory in Nigeria is Ragolis, in Ikorodu. Africa's largest industrial estate by size, is Ikorodu Industrial Estate, in Odogunyan, Ikorodu. I need not go on. With this sort of quality of people and achievements, there is no gainsaying the fact that paying taxes is something of an ingrained culture in the people of Ikorodu, and this makes it all the more painful to hear that a Governor, who, along with his predecessor, had criminally neglected Ikorodu in the area of infrastructural development for a total of 15 years, save for a couple of token roads, could find the gall to come and insult us in our own city. I personally see it as a wake up call to the slumbering people of Ikorodu City. Some of us had entrusted the future of our children to these people, and whathave we had as reward? A 7 day deputy governor and a few token commissioners, which they apparently now deny us because we are allegedly criminals. Today, by population, Ikorodu is now arguably the largest LG in Lagos State, and probably has the fastest growing commercial sector in the state. For many years now, we had been clamoring for a turn at governing Lagos, while some amongst us were content with the token commissioners. It now appears that we will be denied even those crumbs. To my mind, it is time to take the bull by the horns, and go for what we really want, instead of asking politely for it, only to be rudely told to shut our teeth. Koodu ile, Koodu oko, the ball is in your court. Who dares, wins.

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