By Bunmi Oguns, Associate Editor
The Association of Lagos-titled Chiefs have appealed to the federal government to grant the state a special status while seeking a revisit of the bill on the one percent allocation from the revenue accruable.
The association commended Senator Oluremi Tinubu for tabling the bill saying that as key stakeholders with varied interests in the cosmopolitan city of Lagos and the economic capital of Nigeria, it has continually stressed that the state remains the commercial and industrial capital of Nigeria with a contribution of about 60 percent of the nation’s GDP.
The President of the association, Chief Iyabo Foresythe, who made the call in a statement, made available Journalists, said it has become very imperative following the recent passing of the North East Development Commission Bill, with the allocation of 3 percent VAT Income.
“It is now obvious to us that equity and justice will always give rise to peace, stability and progress in any society, while injustice breeds acrimony, instability and retrogression. We are indeed not happy that with the contribution of 68 percent of the VAT income coming from Lagos. Lagos still does not deserve a special status to enhance economic development and fund the infrastructure deficit in the city-state.
“We submit humbly to the 8th Senate to review the request to also make provisions for the allocation of 3% VAT income to Lagos State in recognition of its strategic socio-economic significance and to note that the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos no doubt puts her at an advantage for the request.”
She said the state is the largest employer of labour in the country, a situation which only a special status can sustain as it is convinced that the passage of the bill would translate to economic prosperity and well-being of Nigerians.
“A City-State that mirrors Nigeria, it is where virtually every community in the country has considerable representation and accommodation. Our request for this special status is hinged on the fact that Lagos is the largest city in the country with a population of over 21million people occupying a strategic place in the individual and collective lives of Nigerians, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa with very rapid inner-cities growth and among top ten of the world’s fastest growing cities and urban areas. The resultant huge urban population continue to put enormous pressure on amenities and services and pose peculiar security challenges to the state.
“The strategic importance of Lagos to the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized.Its contributions in terms of GDP, political, social and economic development cannot be wished away. Indeed, we do not hesitate to call Lagos a home for all Nigerians and it should be noted that those who have defined themselves in this country, can call Lagos their first or second home, as the city-state continue to play critical roles in the nation’s economic development.
“Lagos State was a federal capital of Nigeria and home to every Nigerian, but sad to note that this is the only former capital in the world that has been left on its own, with a huge infrastructure decay and deficit. It should be brought to the attention of our distinguished senators that of all the other six cities, Lagos is the only one without a constitutionally and nationally recognised special status in terms of development attention.”
The President affirmed that its appeal for the revisit of the bill should be viewed from the point of its importance to the country, and not just to Lagos, due to its socio-economic significance and peculiar challenges.
“Lagos is thoroughly cosmopolitan; it is a mini-Nigeria, the wellbeing of Lagos residents is the total well-being of Nigerians and everybody has a stake here in Lagos and as key stakeholders we have noted with delight the efforts of the administrations to continually address the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos in a way that is suitable and comfortable for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, creed or religion, by clearly satisfying the conditions upon which the country should constitutionally recognise its special place,” Foresythe said