Almost 30 years after the fierce struggle for the ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) between Late Femi Agbalajobi and Chief Dapo Sarumi, the unfortunate bitter politics has been fingered as the root cause of the abandonment of the IBILE Sharing principle that in Lagos State.

The IBILE Principle is rooted in the sharing of political offices, infrastructural development and other government projects equally among the five founding Divisions of the State.

This fact was revealed at the 2024 Ikorodu Division General Assembly organized by the Eminent Persons of Ikorodu Division (EPID).

A former Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Emeritus Professor Abisogun Leigh, OFR made this revelation while delivering his keynote address at the general assembly, attended by Ikorodu Division Royal Fathers, Public Office Holders, Government Functionaries and critical stakeholders of the Division last Thursday.

‘It is correct to assume that majority of the Eminent persons here
seated are familiar with the bitter, divisive, perfidious and disruptive struggle for the governorship position of our party – the SDP in Lagos in 1993/1994. I want to suggest that fierce battle marked the beginning and eventually led to the gradual abandonment of the IBILE principle as an approach to a fair equitable management of the affairs of the constituent Divisions and the State as a whole. As with all conspiracies, no sooner had one succeeded than another began from among the co-conspirators fighting for the spoils of their initial conspiracy! The man who was the moving spirit behind the formation of and the leader of the
PRIMROSE Caucus was himself swept aside by another internal rebellion and conspiracy which led to the emergence of a new leader of Primrose! He was accused of accepting the offer of a position in the Interim Government of
Chief Shonekan’.

To buttress his position, the erudite scholar referred to the Advertorial by PRIMROSE at Page 30 of The Guardian on Monday, September 20, 1993.
Either through their appalling nievity or over-ambition or unpardonable
carelessness or lack of strategic vision of the place of indigenes and their role in the political economy of their state in the future, this new force had opened the main gates, doors and window (and I dare say, the roof) for the more crafty, more calculating and Machivallian individuals to walk in and take over control of the indigenous groups’ patrimony and their personal freedom to self-actualization within their state’.

‘While the PRIMROSE group were busy pulling the rug off the feet of a
charismatic Leader and a performing Governor just because they claimed that he was ‘Oga so pe”, little did they realize that they were actually clearing the path for the emergence of a Deity who cannot be controlled by any of the “atokuns” or its worshipers signaling the ultimate future erosion and negation of the IBILE’, he submitted.

Leigh lamented the significant loss of control of the political system to a group of self-centred
indigenous individuals, noting that anyone who control the political system of any community, society, state or country hold the keys to the politics of that state and by extension to all major processes in the space including decision-making, resource allocation, distribution of benefits, etc.

Tracing the origin of the IBILE Principle, the former LASU Vice Chancellor noted that, within the first year of the State, the Military Governor with his Advisers and Commissioners were proactive, visionary and wise enough to give the issues of fairness and equity in managing the affairs of the State the top priority it deserved.

‘They came up with a simple but brilliant, appealing and soothing acronym called IBILE which was derived by combining the first letter in the name of each of the five divisions of the state. That decision was intentional and signified their resolve to manage the five Divisions with fairness and equity to all concerned’.

Explaining further, Leigh said that, ‘From 27th May, 1967 to 1st May, 1972 the Divisioner Officer of each Division
acted as the Administrator of the Division and its District Council. However, on 1st of May 1972 the State Government appointed for each Division a Management Committee to run the affairs of the Division through its District Council. For example, with the (Appointment of Committee of Management) Order 1972 a 20-
man Committee, with Chief H.O. Onafowokan as Chairman, was appointed by the Governor for Ikorodu District Council. A quick look at the names on the list indicates a remarkable fact that majority, if not all, of the persons so appointed were core indigenous people with tap-roots in the different communities and sections of Ikorodu Division. This pattern appeared to be a common feature across the entire state’.

Concluding, Prof Leigh had a rhetorical question for his audience.

The future begins from now, and looking dispassionately at the stark realities on the ground, it is going to get worse before it gets better. What are the realities the indigenous people of Lagos State (including our dear Ikorodu Division) have to contend with?

He equally highlighted some of the unfortunate realities that Lagos State indigenes will have to contend with, as follows;

(a) Demographic disadvantage vis-à-vis the other Nigerians from out of State and even foreign Africans. At best, the guestimate percentage of indigenes
across the Divisions ranges between 15 – 35 percent. This figure may be
slightly higher in rural Divisions like Badagry and Epe. A major
component of this demographic trap is the low birth rate of the indigenes compared to those of other residents in our geo-political space.

(b)Lack of control of the Political System. Yes, you can overwhelming elect your political representatives but you cannot influence or determine the agenda you want these representatives
pursue on your behalf. That power resides somewhere else.

(c) The political system has been abnormally monetized beyond the reach of ordinary citizens and groups.

(d)There are several caucuses working at cross purposes within each Division
of the State.

Abisogun Leigh however expressed confidence in the caliber and antecedents of Eminent Persons at the 2024 Ikorodu Division General Assembly to address whatsoever that the handicap listed above are and to effectively mitigate against them.

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