The call for the creation of Lagoon state, has been reaffirmed by its proponents arguing that Lagos has remained the way it was since Nigeria’s independence hence the non-development of its rural part which they claim has remained “rural and backward while the city blossomed and prospered.”
Leading the call on Tuesday, was the executive chairman of the Lagoon State Movement, Babatunde Benson (SAN), who in his presentation at Ikorodu Town Hall, claimed that Lagos state as it is now, has been continuously shortchanged with the development of its rural areas and revenue allocation when compared with other states it was created with in 1967.
This he claimed has led to the utter neglect and under-development of the rural part of West-Africa’s commercial centre. “The driving force for the demand for the creation of Lagoon State arises principally from the structural imbalance in the Nigeria Federal arrangement, when additional states were carved out from other states since the first creation in 1967” he declared.
According to Chief Benson, “old Kano state was not only spilt into two states but the number of local government was increased from 20 to 70. The number of local governments in Lagos State which has continued to remain rural is 20.”
Ikorodu, Epe, Kosofe, Somolu, Apapa, high-brow Eti-Osa and Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Areas (LGA) are the seven LGAs seeking to pull out of Lagos to form the proposed Lagoon State. The seven LGAs are described as “the contagious and form the rural, riverine and peripheral poor areas of Lagos State.”
Noting that though the revenue allocation from the Federal Government is based on population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass and population density, Chief Benson explained that “the weight attached to each parameter has brought about a great imbalance such that the share of Lagos state of total revenue distribution has reduced from 8.33 per cent with 12 state structure to 2.77 per cent with the current 36 states.”
But the renowned lawyer quickly quipped that “we are asking for this state not because of allocation but because of development.” “Our communities have remained the rural part of Lagos without any development in the last three decades.” “This is what we believe we can achieve if we have the Lagoon State. Development will be the focus of the Lagoon state.”
Hosting a number of industries and major seaports, the agitators of the new state, lament that the planned state accounts for about 12 per cent of Nigeria’s industrial output with industries such as the largest manufacturing plant of iron rod in West Africa, which is located in Ikorodu.
Others include the largest scrap metal recycling plant, Nichem Wax, Ipakodo Sea Port and the Apapa Sea Port.
– The Punch