A former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Dr. Patrick Dele-Cole, on Saturday insisted that Lagos State deserves special status as a state that held the country together for 50 years.
Dele-Cole made the assertion in Lagos at the 5th Festival Colloquium with the theme: “Lagos 1861: Matters Arising (Reflection on recent Parliamentary debate on prospect of granting Lagos a Special Status).”
The former envoy urged all and sundry to prevail on the National Assembly to grant the state the special status.
“We have to wake up to our own responsibilities,” he said.
The Senate had on October 4 voted against a bill seeking special status and federal grant for Lagos State.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, representing Lagos Central, was rejected after failing a voice vote called by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President.
It seeks one per cent of the federally-generated revenue as a special grant for Lagos State in view of its status as the former Nigeria capital and the socioeconomic significance.
Dele-cole said that the state had provided homes for all tribes in the country immediately after the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria Protectorates and Colony of Lagos.
He said that before the invasion of Lagos, the Oba of Lagos was the chief collector of taxes at the nation’s seaports and other tolls.
Dele-Cole said that the Oba of Lagos was then praised as the Olowo-Eko because he was in-charge of the seaports and other taxes.
He said that all the seaports and airports were being controlled by the Federal Government now, leaving nothing for Lagos indigenes to enjoy.
He said: “For the past 50 years, no sons and daughters of Lagos had served as the director-general of the airport or seaports in their land.
“If Lagos had a saying in how airport and seaports in the state were being managed, they will not be in the mess they are now.”
On culture, Dele-Cole said that Nigerians should know the culture of where they come from.
He said: “It is saddening that most of our young ones in Yorubaland had forgotten the culture of prostrating to their elders.
“It is also sad that most of us are not speaking in our languages to our children.
“You cannot be practicing alien culture and expect your children to know your language.
“It is sad for a nation to forgo its own language for the alien language to flourish.”