This is a local story and it’s personal. I’m involved. And because I’m involved, I thought the best way to tell it is to hear it from persons who have a more intimate knowledge of the story; those who have lived in Magodo Shangisha GRA Scheme II, Lagos for well over two decades.
The three respondents, the first of whom is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, have asked that their names should not be used.
I’ll simply describe them as Respondents I, II and III.
Keep in mind as you read this, that land title in a Government Reserved Area, is supposed to be the most secure, having both the government-issued Certificate of Occupancy and the gold standard of the government seal of quality assurance.
Yet this GRA you’re going to read about – located just opposite the official seat of power of the Lagos State Government – has been invaded four times by trespassers with the aid of hoodlums abetted by an occupying police force.
This last time, they came with bulldozers, chains and big padlocks. They came on the watch of 200 policemen from Abuja to execute a writ of possession which they refused to produce.
Yet, those who have cited the purported writ say it does insist on Magodo, the GRA they have besieged for nearly two weeks, in defiance of a personal visit by the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is supposed to be the chief security officer of Lagos. It could be your GRA next:
“On December 21, 2021, some land-grabbers in the company of hundreds of armed policemen invaded Magodo GRA Scheme II in Shangisha, Lagos State. They came with thugs, fake bailiffs, spray paint cans, and bulldozers.
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“There have been many versions of what happened on that sad day, with varying degrees of falsehood and inaccuracies. The most incredible of them all is by Adebayo Adeyiga, which has gone viral, turning the truth on its head.
“He made up a fancy story about the so-called displacement of the early occupants in 1984 under the auspices of the Shangisha Residents Association at the time led by Chief Adebayo Adeyiga, their purported maltreatment at the hands of subsequent governments, and so on and so forth – a typical David-v-Goliath narrative, deliberately meant to curry sympathy and incite public anger, while hiding the facts in plain sight.
“But the facts contradict him. There was no acquisition to build any hospital and no valid claim to a title in the first place.
“In 1969, there was an acquisition of the totality of the land area from Ojota, Ketu, Magodo, Agidingbi, Omole. It was an extensive acquisition by the Lagos State Government and compensation was duly paid to the main owners then, while a few of the villages were excised.
“Unfortunately, either through error of commission or omission by the Lagos State Government, they did not follow up with the physical possession of the properties. As a result, trespassers – including those now claiming to have been dispossessed in Shangisha/Magodo – took advantage.
“For a very long time, the government did nothing, so trespassers proliferated. People who had nothing to do in the place started selling and buying land already acquired by the government and started building.
“There were no title documents or approved building plans; they simply took the law into their own hands. Until 1984, when the military government of Mohammadu Buhari government came. Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudashiru was the administrator for Lagos at the time. It was his government that took steps to reclaim government land that had been encroached upon.”
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“Shangisha was part of it and the properties were demolished, save for a few. It was in the course of the demolition that the Shangisha Landlords Association, led by Chief Adebayo Adeyiga, came into being and tried to use sentiments, knowing full well that they were squatters.
“They begged for compensation, not as of right, but on humanitarian grounds. They engaged the Lagos State Government not as radical or original owners of the land, but for the fact that they had built properties, pleading for compensation on compassionate grounds. These are the same people who are now claiming that the government deceived them that it was going to build hospitals in Magodo only to displace them later: a matter that clearly does not lie in their mouth as squatters!
“If the government had not listened to them at that time, nothing would have happened because they cannot derive authority over a faulty foundation; they were trespassers.
“Unfortunately, the government did not document those they were giving allocation; they were submitting names and the government was allocating until it decided to put a stop to it. That was when they decided to go to court. In the court, they put their membership at 549, not taking into account those that had already been given allocation.
“So, it was not right for them to go to the public and say that because they are poor, the government had taken their land and given it to the rich. It is a fallacy; they don’t have any title in the first place.”
“Adeyiga is from Ijebu Irolu in Ogun State. But unfortunately, the case was brought to a Lagos court through the Ministry of Justice that was negligent in terms of following up to defend the interest of the State, and judgement was given.
“The judgement was affirmed by the court of appeal. But what is in this judgement? The judgment of 31 December 1993 said Lagos State was bound to give them preferential allocation of 549 plots. By the time of this judgement (which was between them and the Lagos State Government), the government had designated Magodo as an Estate and started allocating the land.
“The government started issuing Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) in 1986. By 1993, the Lagos State Government had allocated to them about 300 vacant plots in Magodo, even though they were claiming 549 plots. Some of those families opted out, saying Adeyiga could not represent them. But Adeyiga rejected all offers, insisting on a phantom 549 plots!”
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Respondent I (again)
“If the Lagos State Government is not honouring the court judgement, the lawyers of the disputants know what to do. There are so many remedies, including the committal proceedings in respect of the judgement of the Supreme Court.
“Instead, they have decided to wage a war on Magodo residents. Even as you read this article, policemen from Abuja on the orders of the Inspector General of Police are camped inside Magodo and families continue to live in fear and apprehension!
“We were not party to the judgement and the judgement did not say the judgement creditors should go to Magodo, spray paint on occupied properties with families inside, and lock us up, and deploy bulldozers to level our properties!
“On December 21, 2021 when they invaded (for the fourth time), we asked them for the writ of possession or the survey attached to the judgement, but they could not provide any! What they came to do here was plain impunity abetted by security forces for whatever reason.
“If a judgement of the Supreme Court is going to be enforced and the necessary machinery of the Nigerian police is being called for purposes of assistance, it is incumbent on the police authority to ask for the warrant which must show identifiable properties.
“In this case, there was nothing – and yet we have strong reasons to believe that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), is aiding and abetting this illegality.
“Of course, we are for the rule of law and the obedience of court orders. But isn’t it curious that in spite of allocations given to these fellows by the Lagos State Government (according to the Lagos Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice), they have refused to accept the olive branch: It must be Magodo or nowhere else! We can almost see the hand of the snake in this undisguised hostility as we are hearing that some persons have been promised juicy plots in Magodo, at all costs!
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“There is a legal maxim that the law will not compel the performance of an impossibility, but that is exactly what these trespassers are determined to do!”
The reporter who conducted the interviews inside the Estate was briefly arrested by the Abuja police and detained for “videoing” them supervising the thugs and invaders. Only the timely intervention of the Force Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, saved the day.
Another update at press time indicated that there might indeed be a resolution of the dispute after Governor Sanwo-Olu held a meeting with all the parties in his office on Wednesday. The agreement, in principle, to allocate land to the judgement creditors is a good and bad thing: good because court orders should be obeyed; and bad because, in this instance, a message has been sent that hostage taking is a permissible means to an end.
Residents whose rights were violated and properties marked and locked up as part of the hostage process, will do themselves a world of good by taking the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation to court.
That’s one way to prevent this nonsense from happening again.
Ishiekwene is the Editor-In-Chief of LEADERSHIP.
2023: It’s Tinubu or Atiku, not Obi, by Tunde Odesola
Broken in every bone, life hangs by the thread for 62-year-old comatose patient, Nigeria, inside the intensive care unit of the decrepit Ass-o-Rock hospital, Abuja, where it nurses diseased kidneys, liver cirrhosis and an enlarged heart while the Chief Physician, Dr. M. Buhari, stands by with a shroud, clutching a book entitled: “From national hero to regional zero.”
This doctor is as useful to the patient as glaucoma is useful to sight. As a novice, I lay no claim to science but I love the art and science of science.
I’m fascinated by pharmacy, a branch of clinical health science that links medical science with chemistry in the discovery, production, disposal, use and control of medications and drugs.
“Na madness we dey use cure madness” is a pidginised proverb that means: “Wèrè la fi n wo wèrè,” in Yoruba translation. Nigeria is gasping. It urgently needs a miracle drug. But drug production is a deep and technical endeavour. Sometimes, it entails a fire-for-fire approach, that is, a particular virus could be remodified and synthesised to make drugs for the treatment or cure of a particular viral disease as it is the case with HIV, for instance.
However, in the case of some viral diseases such as COVID, for example, a non-viral drug, vaccine, is used for treatment. COVID vaccine, in this case, is a novel drug synthesised from either natural or artificial components to fight the viral infection. I’ll call this a fire-for-water approach.
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Conversely, for the fast-approaching 2023 presidential election, the dying patient, Nigeria, is faced with either taking the fire-for-fire approach or the fire-for-water approach.
If Nigeria takes the fire-for-fire approach, it means she is settling for a candidate that had been part and parcel of the old political order; a politician who had been elected on the platform of one of the existing dubious political parties as vice president, governor, senator or minister.
But to take the fire-for-water approach means Nigeria breaking away from the politicians of old to elect a new-breed politician who has never tasted political power. An example of this type of politician is Mr Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress.
Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress)
The former Lagos governor is faced with a dual-action Buharian pill that can both kill and save his ambition. The atrocious performance of Buhari in two terms of office is a sword of Damocles hanging over Tinubu’s head, and for which he has been justifiably criticised in the South, but, on the other hand, President Muhammadu Buhari still wields a great influence in the large North which votes on the command of its leaders, ethnicity and religion.
If the APC northern governors and Buhari fully support Tinubu in the election, the Iragbiji-Lagos political strategist, with a baggage of birth, education and corruption controversies, will be Nigeria’s next president because majority of northern votes and South-West votes are what he needs to earn a four-year tenancy in Aso Rock. Tinubu’ll win all South-West states.
Tinubu cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand because doing so may come at a peril. An old warhorse, whose health is suspect, Tinubu understands how to exploit the master-servant nature of Nigerian politics to the hilt, offering the carrot where necessary, and whacking down the stick on the heads of threatening rivals and proteges disturbing the peace of Bourdillon.
Having been senator in the aborted political experiment of the Third Republic, Tinubu is the most experienced, sophisticated and shrewdest of the three leading candidates, whose political tentacles cover the length and breadth of the country.
With his war chest of dollars, federal might and the uncanny ability to deploy science and fiction to win elections, Tinubu is one of the two major forces most likely to win the election.
Tinubu is a fire-for-fire drug. Will he prove a remodified virus to be injected into the sick patient, Nigeria, for a cure? Or, is Nigeria now so cancerous that an attempt to destroy the cancer cells by a Tinubu pill will lead to death?
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Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party)
Atiku stands a good chance to emerge Nigeria’s president next year if the Hausa-Fulani political hegemony decides that power should remain in the North and condemn Tinubu to gaze at the bye-bye evening sun, singing ‘Mai kolo kolo, to your tent, oh Tinubu!’
Former Vice President Atiku’s admission of the corrupt and woeful performance of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the area of power supply shows candour. It also shows contempt because he never apologised to Nigerians over the issue.
His controversial role in the privatisation of Nigeria’s companies and the hazy Halliburton scandal are sore points in a mixed-bag political career.
Because the North doesn’t subject its leaders to public scrutiny as much as the South does, coupled with the fact that ethnicity is a big factor in Northern politics, Atiku’s foothold in the climb to Aso Rock is strong.
However, the internal crisis wracking the PDP may whittle down Atiku’s chances to the ultimate advantage of Tinubu, who would be glad if the planned move of Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to Labour Party materialises because it would mean Labour Party would share votes with the PDP in the South-East and South-South.
That Buhari defeated Atiku in the North in 2019 reflected the former’s large following. Without Buhari being on the 2023 ballot, however, the North may decide to allow ethnicity dictate its choice for president, and swing their votes for Atiku – given the backing of General Ibrahim Babangida, General Theophilus Danjuma and General Aliyu Gusau, who are PDP power brokers from the North.
Also, the way Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, withdrew from the presidential primary and queued behind Atiku showed that he acted in the interest of some powerful northern forces, shocking the Wike camp, and wrecking their permutation to pave the way for an Atiku victory.
Wike is politically hurt, and he’s fuming with vegeance against certain interests, mostly retired generals within the PDP, who decided to cut him to size by scuttling moves to make him VP candidate after he lost to Atiku because his group was seen as trying to check the influence of the generals, which saw former Governor of Osun, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, lose the bid to become PDP chairman.
The crisis, if not resolved, will hurt the PDP.
Peter Obi (Labour Party)
If any tribe should feel entitled and stake their claim to the Presidency, chanting, “Emi lokan,” it’s the Igbo that should – in a federation that has grown suspicious of them since the January 1966 coup and the July 1966 retaliatory counter-coup, yet the Nigerian political knee has been hard on the Igbo neck, making breathing difficult.
It’s in this light that the psychology of Obi’s quest for the presidency is mainly backed by the Igbo vociferously.
In Nigeria’s political demography, however, the South-East region possesses the least voter population among the three main regions whose indigenes are contesting.
Inarguably, the Igbo, being itinerant, have presence in all states of the federation, but there’s no state where they outnumber the natives.
Inasmuch as I’ve repeatedly canvassed for the Igbo to ascend the presidency of this country for fairness sake, it, sadly, won’t happen in 2023.
That politics is an organised, structured and money-gulping game is the reason why no ‘structureless’ independent candidate has ever won the US presidency since the advent of party politics. Nigeria is no different.
Though Obi has a smaller bag of controversies, to win the presidency in a nation with 176,846 polling units spread across 774 local government councils nationwide, Obi needs to win majority votes and 25% of votes in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states, mobilising party agents.
The Obi movement hasn’t the clout for this yet – evident in the poor performance of his party in the Osun governorship election, despite his involvement. Obi would be ready in 2027 if he builds political bridges and provides credible alternatives to the victor of this impending election charade.
Email: email@example.com; Facebook: @tunde odesola; Twitter: @tunde_odesola.
Opinion – Buhari: Yoruba can go to blazes by Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, September 26, 2022)
Until science unmasked the myth of the jungle and brought the secrets of wildlife home to man via the television, little did the world know the lion wasn’t the king of animals. Yep, the world never fully realised that the lion, when alone, was a potential danger, whose presumed invincibility is magnified by the strength in collective hunting, otherwise known as collective looting in Nigeria’s political circles: Kill and chop.
Partly owing to man’s predilection for royalty and the lack of adequate understanding of the jungle, humans ascribe kingship to the lion because of its crown-like mane, overlooking the biggest, fiercest and most powerful of the cats, the tiger; as well as the biggest of the beasts, the elephant, both of whom can kill the lion – one-on-one.
It’s a lesson in survival tactics when a full-grown lion tactically strays away from the path of the hippopotamus or swishes its tail in respect when a rhinoceros scuttles past.
One-on-one, the lion would be dead meat to the grizzly bear, neither can it single-handedly kill the giraffe, who can kick with the four legs, and would only stand a 50-50 chance in a duel with a silverback gorilla.
When I watched a video, in which a threatening pride of lions was afraid to go near a battle-ready porcupine, I remembered the Yoruba proverb, “kí kéré labẹ́rẹ́ kéré, kìí se mímì fádìyẹ,” and understood the taboo which the needle in the haystack has become for the chicken.
Brimming with muscular pounds of strength, the bull’s physicality is etched in stone. Mentally, however, its head is a vacuous cavity lacking the brain needed to survive jungle predators. The meat of the bull cannot be food for a lone lion except lions hunt in packs to beat starvation.
Predictably, there would be an imbalance in the food chain if bulls were wise enough to collectively repel lions. But bulls won’t attack lions because it’s in their DNA to be docile, to be big-for-nothing and stupid, except for occasional acts of resistance when the hunted turns around to gore the hunter.
We, Nigerians, are bulls. The retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari-led government is a pride of lions – cowardly bullies devouring ancestral patrimony and trampling on the rights of the timid masses incapable of thinking because that’s the way the governing lions want them to be in the jungle called Nigeria.
If the lineage of lions had not messed up the minds of Nigerians, the masses would have realised the power in their numbers and risen to liberate themselves from insecurity, totally collapsed infrastructure, poverty and starvation. Nobody, except uniformed servants like the members of the Lagos transport union and destined slaves, would be associating with the All Progressives Congress today.
In the nonsensicality of his wisdom, the king of Nigeria’s namby-pamby pride of lions, Buhari, approved for state-owned security corps in Katsina and Borno to bear AK-47 guns but he denied the request of Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, for the Western Nigerian Security Network Agency aka Amotekun security corps to bear arms.
Although I’m not at all sold on the candidacy of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and that of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, for both are cut from the worse-for-wear Peoples Democratic Party cloth, the hypocritical actions of Buhari since 2015 are nails long enough to seal the coffin of the APC.
Akeredolu, miffed by the nepotism of the Emir, Northern caliphate, Sheikh Muhammadu ibn Buhari, accused the ex-soldier who was booted out of the Army in August 1985, of deliberately exposing Yoruba lives to marauders and destroying the region’s agricultural sector.
Akeredolu, who is the Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, said, “Denying Amotekun the urgently needed rights to legitimately bear arms is a repudiation of the basis of true federalism, which we have been clamouring for. That Katsina was able to arm its state security force with AK-47 means we are pursuing a one-country, two-system solution to the national question.
“If the Katsina situation confers advantages on some, in the face of commonly faced existential threats, it means that our unitary policing system, which has failed, is a deliberate method of subjugation which must be challenged.”
Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, and former Secretary General, National Democratic Coalition, Honourable Wale Oshun, also accused Nigeria of double standards in approving arms for Borno State JTF and Katsina State security unit while denying Yoruba states of the same gesture.
In a telephone chat with me on Sunday, Oshun particularly bemoaned the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the South-West, warning that the instability in the system portended grave danger for the entire country.
He asked in the video, “Why should Borno JTF and Katsina State Security Unit have arms approved for them by the unitary government yet Amotekun, in the face of flagrant incursion into Yoruba land by unidentified ethnic terrorists of both local and foreign origins, cannot carry arms, why?
“Afenifere Renewal Group contends that it is this kind of impunity by the unitary government of Nigeria and the subversion of federation principles that brought us to this low levels of flagrant insecurity, collapse of our educational system and the massively impoverished populace in our country.”
Oshun, who commended Akeredolu, said irrespective of the 2023 elections and the pretence that democracy was on course, Nigeria would only survive as a country only when the required constitutional restructuring was carried out.
“No section of the country can hold it (Nigeria) together on the sheer force of arms on a permanent basis. It will only remain together if we, all Nigerians, agree to let it remain together,” he said.
Like a people with bull brains, Nigerians rankadedelise our tormentors, who shut university gates against our children, we live in abject darkness, daily waste five hours of our lives on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and nod to ghastly Emi Lokan rhythm by the minstrel of Bourdillon.
I’ll reiterate for the umpteenth time that none among the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, Atiku and Obi is seeking office to genuinely develop Nigeria; all are seeking office for the power, perks and paraphernalia therein.
I say this because each of the presidential candidates knows that no development can emanate from the continued use of the pro-North 1999 Constitution, which supports the current madness ailing our dear country. But none of them has said the obvious nor explained how to bring about the desired constitutional amendment alias restructuring.
Going by political history and emerging indications from the camps of the APC, PDP and LP, the reading of the political barometer of the APC in the South-West shows a propensity for vote buying, ballot snatching and violence, exactly the same indications on the PDP Northern barometer which has child-voting to boot while the LP barometer on the South-East axis shows divisive comments, ethnicism and cyber bullying.
Conducting the 2023 elections without restructuring, and expecting a change in the fortunes of the country is like fetching water with a basket or heading up North from Abuja and expecting to land in Calabar.
No matter the amount of prayers and well wishes, nothing good will come out of Nigeria except we, Nigerians, lay the foundation for greatness by addressing the inherent injustices in the system.
God has never come down to help any people develop their country. As we lay our bed, we will lie on it.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
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