By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina
ALMOST two years after they were brutally evicted from their homes, the former residents of Otodo-Gbame, an Egun waterfront community along Lekki Phase-1 of Lagos State, on Monday visited the former governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to submit a petition against the state Governor Akinwunmi Ambode over what they described as “his inhumane treatment and insensitivity towards their plights afterwards.”
Led by Mr. Akinrolabu Samuel, the Profiling Coordinator for the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation, the protestors stormed the Bourdillon home of the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to seek urgent intervention on their possible resettlement and economic reintegration back to the society.
Arriving at 11:30am Monday, the group was mostly constituted by elderly men and women, youths and children and worn gloomy and sad expressions on their faces, an apparent reminder of what they have been through since their displacement.
They stood under the scorching sun peacefully at the entrance of the former governor’s home, insisting that “we have not come to protest, but to appeal to the former governor, to in his magnanimity, help address our ordeals,” one of them said in poor pidgin English.
After about two and half hours of waiting, their petition, which was seen by this reporter, was taken and acknowledged by one Inspector Sulaima, who politely told the aggrieved group that “we have taken your letter to the appropriate channel, where it should be attended to. But your demand that you want to see Oga (Tinubu) himself may actually be impossible at this time because he has just entered into a serious political meeting with some leaders. We don’t know when he would be done,” the inspector added.
This reporter observed that prior to the arrival of the protesting group, several Lagos State and National leaders of the APC came to Tinubu’s house.
It was later gathered that the crux of the meeting was to decide the fate of Ambode’s second term bid and to further strategize on how best to prevent it from degenerating into a huge embarrassment and possible loss of election by the party in the coming elections.
The visit was a second of sort by the group in less than three months, because of the failure of the first one to make the intended impact.
Speaking with CITYVOICE at Bourdillon, Samuel said, “in spite of the High Court injunctions, forbidding Governor Ambode to go ahead with the demolition, it still went ahead anyways, and in a fiercest and cruelest brutality known in eviction history.”
He said it is on record that the governor has not only violated the rule of law, “he has also made the public to know that he is a man of little or no compassion. Because as a father, he is supposed to have it at the back of his mind that these people he was going to evict, have families—children, who depends on them. And they are also human beings who need to be cared for and loved. But he didn’t consider all these.
“Therefore, we have come here to seek the help of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu because we know that he is a man of the people. And we hope he can help us achieve a befitting resettlement and economic rehabilitation/integration for the people of Otodo-Gbame.”
The duo of Mr. Sosu Torsinhun, a 65-year-old farmer and Mrs. Kokun Ayensi, a 58-year-old woman, both narrated their ordeals since their evictions.
Torsinhun, who lamented that life has become more unbearable after the eviction, stated that the visit was to inform Tinubu of “our strong resolve and resolution to galvanise the votes of our people and cast them massively against the APC in the next governorship election if our plights are left unattended before then.’’