Abuja’s Ploy to Diminish Lagos by Emeka Obasi

We all get to learn everyday for knowledge is power. Pretty soon we shall begin to hear agitations from aggrieved Lagosians. This is the season of change, things just cannot remain the same.

When Justice Akinola Aguda was given the task of heading a committee on a new capital for the country in 1975, I doubt if he reasoned that moving from Lagos would leave scars, holes and potholes. Eko today has become the centre of abandoned Federal Government buildings, roads and projects.

Recent revelations by Finance Minister , Kemi Adeosun, that Lagos State generates 55 percent of the country’s VAT should be of interest to all sane minds. The State is also the hub of our Maritime trade, with a huge contribution of 70 percent. The import is that Lagos means a lot to the nation’s survival.

Despite these contributions, Lagos is pathetically neglected by the Federal Government. Honestly, it does not have anything to do with President Muhammadu Buhari. It also does not have much to do with the ruling party. Count tribe out of it. Hausa/Fulani, Gwari, Yoruba, Ijaw, all our leaders are guilty.

Alhaji Shehu Shagari began the move to Abuja. Unfortunately, he lost his position while resting in the new Federal Capital Territory. Maj. Gen. Buhari operated from Lagos where he was toppled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. The military President was to relocate completely to Abuja after escaping death by a whisker during the Gideon Orkar coup of April 1990.

From December 12, 1991 when Babangida dragged power to Abuja till date, Lagos has remained an abandoned old Lady in the books of Abuja. In fact, Abuja behaves like a gold digger, only interested in the wealth of Lagos. Much of the income from Lagos is spent freely while the provider wallows in broken promises.

It is difficult to understand why Lagos should continue to have 20 Local Government Areas while Kano State accounts for 44. Lagos was one of the 12 States created by General Yakubu Gowon in 1967 just like Kano. That same Kano today, consists of Kano and Jigawa States. Jigawa is made up of 27 Local Government Areas.

In sharing revenue, the number of LGAs counts a lot. The import is that while Lagos makes most of the money, the state gets less from Abuja than Kano, Jigawa and so many others. And when Governor Bola Tinubu created 57 LGAs in Lagos, Abuja starved the state of funds.

Of the 12 states created in 1967, only Lagos has continued to stagnate in terms of expansion. Others were balkanised by subsequent federal governments. This is the height of injustice. At the time of creation, three Provinces: Ikeja, Epe and Badagry were added to the Federal Territory of Lagos.

It should be noted that after the amalgamation on Thursday, January 1, 1914, Nigeria was divided into three. There were the Southern provinces under Lieutenant Governor A.G. Boyle,the Northern provinces led by Lieutenant Governor Charles Lindsay Temple and Lagos Colony under the leadership of Administrator F.S. James.

Going down memory lane, Eko began to gain attention when Portuguese merchant, Ruy de Sequeira named it Lagos de Kuramo which subsequently became Lagos. When the British arrived with their gunboats and warships, the Lagos Act of Cession, 1861,made Lagos their colonial territory. On March 5, 1862, it became a Crown Colony and remained a British colony until 1960.

That was the situation when the three regions were created. By 1963, when Midwest was carved out, Lagos became a Federal Capital Territory. In 1967, it turned to a state taking three provinces from the old Western region. At that time, Abuja was one of the seven provinces of the new North-Western State.

The idea that Abuja was a virgin territory makes no sense. The name had been there before Aguda was sent to look for the centre of Nigeria, to be named capital in place of Lagos. Abuja was coined from Abubakar Jatau, an Hausa Prince from Zaria. One of the early settlers, he was.

It is disturbing that Lagos which had an Acting Governor in William McCoy in August 1861 and a substantive governor: William Stanhope Freeman,as from 1862 continues to be treated with disdain by the Federal Government in Abuja. This policy is not healthy at all.

Recently Senator Oluremi Tinubu’s attempt to free Lagos from Abuja humiliation through sponsoring a bill to grant the state special status was thrown away by majority of her colleagues. It is unfortunate that many of these lawmakers benefit so much from wealth created in the former federal capital.

I am going to throw a challenge to the very powerful Lagosians who are in power today. There is no better time to free Lagos from this Abuja approved underdevelopment than now. Asiwaju Tinubu was governor of Lagos for eight years. I call him the governor general of Nigerian politics. And he is the soul of the ruling party.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was a Commissioner in the Tinubu Administration. Senate President, Bukola Saraki is married to a Lagos woman. Triple Minister, Babatunde Fashola, was governor of Lagos between 2007 and 2015.If all these men do not do something to help our Lagos, their Lagos, it will take a long while to change things.

Yes, Lagos our Eko. There is no village in Nigeria that is not represented in Lagos. It is the easiest place to make it big. There are opportunities for all. It is like the Nigeria of our founding fathers. You have people from various backgrounds making laws. Now tell me why Abuja should abandon the National Stadium, Surulere. The Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi is an eyesore. The road to Apapa Wharf is a Memorial Park. Going to the Murtala Mohammed Airport is like death sentence.

Lagos To Punish Fake Emergency Callers

The Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr Oluseye Oladejo, has yesterday said that it would begin to punish residents who make fake emergency calls to its emergency agencies.

Oladejo said this during a press briefing on the state government emergency disaster preparedness summit themed, ‘Promoting and sustaining integrated response to emergencies within the golden hour’ slated for 26th to 27th September at the Public Service Staff Development Centre.

He expliained that false emergency calls divert emergency officers from real disasters that they needed to attend to and they put the officers under pressure.

Oladejo also said it was to ensure better response to emergency issues through being highly prepared is the reason it is holding the third edition of its emergency disaster preparedness summit.

“To prepare for the challenges associated with sustainable preparedness, there is the need to understand the nature and causes of emergency situations and disasters.

“As a government that is committed to safety and well being of Lagosians, this administration has set these two days aside to plan, partner and share experiences with governments and organisations to ensure that the capability improvement process is strengthened.

“Upholding this commitment however requires collaboration among stakeholders in order to increase our level of preparedness and response whenever disaster strikes.”

Lagos Opens ‘Nigeria’s First DNA Laboratory’

The Lagos State Government on Sunday announced the completion of the first high-power DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria.

The States Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem who revealed this in a statement said skeletal work had already commenced in the lab known as the Lagos State DNA Forensics Centre (LSDFC), and that it would be formally commissioned in coming weeks.

The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had last year approved the construction of the DNA forensic lab as part of the criminal justice sector reforms designed to solve crime through technology and fulfill an unmet need for DNA profiling in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos to announce activities lined up by the state government to commemorate the 2017 United Nations International Day of Peace, Mr. Kazeem said DNA laboratory “just opened this month.”

The state’s Attorney General, who was represented at the briefing by Funlola Odunlami, the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, said the lab, among other initiatives of the state government, was part of efforts geared toward enhancing peace in the State.

“We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue,” said Mr. Kazeem.

He recalled that since 2007, the state government through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), an agency under the Ministry of Justice, commenced collaborations with the United Nations Information Office to mark the International Day of Peace as an annual event to propagate the ethos of peaceful co-existence among residents in the State, thereby educating and sensitizing the public on the need for peaceful co-existence and respect for human dignity to engender socio-economic growth.

Mr. Kazeem said the laboratory is one of the mechanisms put in place by the government to promote investment and economic activities in the state.

Speaking of activities to mark the 2017 edition of the day tagged “Together For Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity For All,” Mr. Kazeem said on September 18, there would be a Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic on Ikorodu Road precisely from Funsho Williams Avenue through Ojuelegba to Yaba, while on September 19, the second Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic will hold at Jubilee Under-bridge in Ajah through Ibeju Lekki Expressway and back to the bridge.

On the same day, Mr. Kazeem said the CMC would hold a Legal Clinic at both venues where free legal services and mediation services will be rendered to residents of the state, while on September 21, the 18th Stakeholders’ Conference and Book Launch would hold at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa to mark the day.

Every year, September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace as declared by the General Assembly of United Nations as a day devoted to strengthening ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Five Men Arrested For Rail Vandalisation In Lagos

Five suspects have been arrested by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of the Lagos Police Command for stealing 28 iron ballasts meant for rail lines in some parts of Lagos metropolis. OSUN DEFENDER discovered that three of the five suspects were ex-convicts.

The five suspects, who said they are scrap metal dealers, were intercepted inside a Vanagon bus with the registration number JJJ 929 EL by the operatives at 1:15 a.m on Friday in Agege area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The suspects include: Hameed Atairu (25), Akeem Muritala (23), Lawal Muritala (25), Tunde Olaunji (27) and the driver of the bus, Sarafa Ishola (38).

The suspects in their statements to the police stated that an official of the Nigerian Railway Corporation sold the iron to them.

However, preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the iron ballast were stolen from where they were kept for use.

Further investigations revealed that the iron ballast were meant for the basement of rail lines.

The suspects explained that they raised N35,000 among themselves to pay for the iron ballast.

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous – Cole confirmed the arrest of the five suspects.

He said that the suspects along with the exhibits recovered from them had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti for further investigation.

Lagos Opens Nigeria’s First DNA Forensic Lab

Lagos State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem has revealed that Lagos State Government has completed the construction of the first ever high-powered DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria. The project which was approved last year by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has resume “skeletal” operations and will be commissioned in coming weeks.

At a recent press briefing, Kazeem disclosed through the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Funlola Odunlami, that “The DNA forensic centre just opened this month. We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue. What we are doing now is skeletal work which we started this month.

“The Lagos State Government recognizes the fact that the State is the commercial nerve centre of the sub-Saharan Africa where all races converge for various purposes such as business, hospitality, tourism among others, and has put in place mechanisms that will foster development and promote economic activities in the State by instituting agencies that will attend to matters relating to Land Grabbers, Special Task Force, donation of police vehicles for security, introduction of DNA Forensic laboratory to archive blood samples of criminals, among others. All these actions are geared toward enhancing peace in Lagos State.

Lagos Police Commissioner, Edgal Orders Officers To Shoot Cultists

The Lagos state police commissioner has ordered the force that any cultist found with fire arms should be shot within the state with immediate effect.

Imohimi Edgal, the Lagos state commissioner of police, who disclosed this while addressing security stakeholders at the Area M, Police Command, Idimu, Lagos, said the era of treating cultists with kid gloves has ended.

He said that cultists are now to be treated as armed robbers whenever they are arrested by the police. He also vowed to put an end to cult-related clashes in the state, adding that such action would no longer be tolerated in the state.

Going further, he explained that most areas in Lagos state don’t experience violent crimes such as robberies and kidnappings, but suffered from huge cult-related activities which has clamed many lives, Vanguard reports. He said:

“Cultism is currently a very serious issue we must tackle in Lagos state and everyone must be involved. I am fully out to tackle it head-on and I urge parents to warn their children to stay out of cultism and turn a new leaf because I am coming for them.

“The era where cultists apprehended with firearms are treated with kid gloves is over. I have ordered my men to shoot at any cultist who is seen with a fire arm. This is not a joke, parents must take this message home to their children and warn them to desist from all cult-related activities henceforth.

“I have also strengthened the Anti-Cultism Department of the Lagos state police command and I have directed them to move all out to track all cultists operating within the state.”

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday, September 5, received the new commissioner of police Imohimi Edgal and outgoing commissioner Fatai Owoseni at Lagos House, Ikeja.

Recall that the outgoing commissioner of police in Lagos, Fatai Owoseni, on Wednesday, August 30, said he was not aware of the appointment of a new police commissioner for the state.

However, the confusion which greeted the recent redeployment of Owoseni out of Lagos state as commissioner of police seems to have been settled, as he handed over to his successor.

Eid: Holidaymakers Shower Encomium On Osun Govt For Free Train Ride

Holiday makers for the 2017 Eid-il-Kabir festival have continued to shower encomium on the government of the State of Osun for the provision of free train ride from Lagos to Osogbo.

It would be recalled that it is a policy of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola administration to provide free train service from Lagos to Osogbo, during festive period of all faith.

However, for the 2017 Eid-il-Kabir festival, the first train, on Wednesday August 30, left Iddo Terminus, Lagos enroute Ikeja, through Ogun and Oyo State to end the journey in Osogbo, while the second batch left on Thursday August 31, 2017 through the same route down to Osogbo.

After the Eil-il-kabir celebration, the train is expected to leave Osogbo on Sunday September 3rd, 2017 for Lagos.

Some of the beneficiaries of the gesture said, the government had provided succor to the less-privileged who are interested but did not have the financial wherewithal to return to their families for the celebration.

One Rashidi Sunmonu, an indigene of Osogbo who joined the train service with his wife and four kids said the service had eased the tension of transport fare back home, commending the government for his concern for the less-privilege in the society.

He then appealed that the policy should be institutionalised to ensure that anyone who will take over from the administration continues it.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, Ismail Jayeoba-Alagbada had in a statement said, the gesture was in furtherance of Aregbesola administration’s commitment to the welfare of the ordinary people who deserve the support from the government.

He was optimistic that the free train provided by the government would give Osun indigenes in particular the opportunities to return home in order to savor the joy of the festival with their relatives.

“This is one of the social protection projects of the Aregbesola administration and since we commenced this more than six years ago, we have not looked back. Even in the face of very harsh financial constraints, we have strived to keep this offer going, convinced that it has offered great opportunities for our people and helped their finances as well,” Jayeoba-Alagbada stressed.

My Random Thoughts…

By Akinwunmi Ambode

I am sharing my thoughts in this article, not necessarily as the Governor of Lagos State but as a Nigerian; a Nigerian who wants to see progress and sustainable growth in our country.

I have been lucky to be administering over a State that has been put on the right track by my two predecessors, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). I do not think I have done anything special except to bring my own style of leadership, my own experience and my vision.

Lagos, as it is, has not reached its peak but we can see signs of progress and positive transition to the Lagos of our dreams. What bothers me personally is that I do not see the same level of progress elsewhere in the country. I am not happy that most States in our country are not advancing like Lagos. It will be unfair of me to think that because Lagos is functioning, then I can go to bed and assume all is well. If only one man is prospering in a village, it is not progress. Rather that man is in danger.

According to the statistics released by the United Nations, by 2050, Nigeria is projected to have the third largest population in the world, with two-thirds of the population today below the age of 35. What are we doing today about this? What are we planning to feed them with? How are we going to provide them with jobs, housing and infrastructure? How are we planning to make the country self-sufficient and self-reliant for the future?

One of the key instruments to the permanent prosperity of Nigeria lies in the hands of the 109 Senators and 360 Representatives in the National Assembly. I just want to plead that we should be open-minded and forward-thinking; we should think about the teeming millions of youths, from Kano to Ibadan, Zungeru to Warri, Jalingo to Yobe, Umuahia to Calabar, and then back to Lagos; we must give serious consideration to what we intend to bequeath to them.

In my opinion, the prosperity of this nation lies with the States. We need to get the States and Regions working again and the only way we can unleash the potential of the state is for our representatives at the National Assembly to help their own states take the next step and move to the next level. In the past, there used to be positive rivalry and competition among regions prior to the entrance of the military in the national governance. The military split the nation into States and moved all resource control to the centre for their own administrative convenience. Now that we have tasted democracy, I think it is time for us to sit back and think, for the sake of those who are older than us and for the sake of our children, and even those yet unborn.

We need to raise our voice in support of the demand for devolution of power to States and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula.  These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process for the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of States to harness the huge potentials of our nation.

Even with the kind of resources we have in Lagos, it is very clear that there is huge infrastructural deficit in the State. In addition, the resources are not so huge as to make Lagos globally competitive and deliver the social infrastructure we all crave. So where will the money to drive the Lagos of our dreams come from?

The economy is not doing well as much as we want. I cannot tax the people any more than we are doing presently, but we have to become more efficient in tax collection because that is the major source of revenue with which we can protect the future as well as improve the welfare and well-being of all Lagosians.

This takes me to the kind of reforms that we have embarked upon in the last two years. We made security a priority. Our goal has always been to deliver a clean, safe and prosperous Lagos. I want to use this platform to thank the private sector and the corporate Lagos who have been wonderful and have been silently supporting us in the provision of security equipment and infrastructure to our security agencies. Because of them we have been able to improve the performance of our security agencies but we will not take them for granted.

On Cleaner Lagos Initiative. In the last two years, we have found out that Lagos generates one of the highest waste in the world. As at the last count, documented waste in Lagos is estimated at 13,000 tonnes per day; compared to New York which is 10,000 tonnes. Considering undocumented statistics, we can add an additional 4,000 tonnes per day to that figure.

Now, if we want to be revolutionary; if we want to be globally competitive; if I want to deliver on the promise that I made to deliver a clean, safe, and prosperous Lagos, I cannot use the same template that has been in use in the past. Cleaning Lagos and keeping the environment clean has nothing to do with environmental sanitation and putting your economic productivity at a standstill for three (3) hours in a month. That will not clean Lagos.

Cleaning Lagos means we should give Lagosians scientifically treated land fill site, transfer loading stations, functional dyno-bins, functional compactors, brand new materials and also be able to employ more people. That is why I extended my hand to the private sector for a partnership that will lead to the introduction of 500 brand new compactors, employ more than 27,000 street sweepers across the various wards in Lagos and create 200,000 indirect jobs. And we are commencing this in another few weeks.

I fully appreciate the concerns of the people who have been cleaning Lagos in the years past. I do not take them for granted, neither am I going to ignore them. The new model is a win-win for all of us; I have offered them 100% income from the commercial enterprise so that our PSP can gain capacity and also get more capital to do more work. There are over 5,000 companies in Lagos, enough to go around all the PSP operators, with a minimum of 15 companies to each PSP. The government can support them to make their contract with those companies bankable.

So, while we are using the Cleaner Lagos Initiative to clean private residences and domestic refuse, our original PSP operators are compensated by dealing with companies and getting 100% revenues with just 1% administrative charges to LAWMA. In the past, LAWMA collects 40% in charges. This reform is a product of deep thoughts and serious human considerations for the environment and all stakeholders. We promise Lagosians that effective from October; within six months they will see the difference. All they need to do to help us achieve this goal is to cooperate with the government and pay the annual public utility levy in accordance with the law. This is what will fund the project. Our bins will be cleared systematically on a daily basis. The same way the way the refuse on Adeola Odeku is cleared is the same way refuse in Badagry, Ayobo, Agege and other parts of Lagos will be cleared.

In the transport sector, we have decided that to integrate our rail, road and water transportation systems. It will take time and but I believe in the philosophy of Think It, Plan It and then Act It. Sometimes, people can be impatient and say we are not responsive, but the issue is that when you run a government, you cannot run a reactionary government. We are running a responsive government which is one of the tenets of good governance. We must and are expected to think through all our policies properly and to the end before planning and executing. The difference between the thinking time, planning time, the execution time and the action time demanded by the populace is what makes people cry out.

There are a lot of things coming up under the bus reforms initiative. We are introducing new bus terminals; there are already new terminals at Tafawa Balewa Square and in Ikeja. We are constructing more; Yaba, Oyingbo, Mile 2, Ojodu Berger, Ogba and Agege. All these things will be in place before our new buses come in February 2018.

We are doing a lot on water transportation also. We want to make sure that everyone is able to move from one place to another.

Like the transport sector, we are doing new things in the health sector. We do not have enough General and Specialist hospitals. From Lekki to Epe there is no General hospital along that axis and we need to do something about it. More Specialist hospitals are coming up but the government cannot do it alone. My take is that the private sector needs to come on board. The private sector is at the front burner of what we are doing and we have a management team made up of experts from the private sector. We welcome ideas and projects that can bring value to the majority of Lagosians. We believe strongly that value is driven by the impact on humanity and that is what all our story is all about.

We love the criticism that Lagos is the second least livable city. It is a challenge to us and we are working on it, but people forget that the major considerations for this classification are terrorism and crime which I believe we do not have in Lagos. I am passionate about Lagos. I do not compare myself (Lagos) with Melbourne. What is important is that we are making some giant strides, positively affecting the lives of our people and even receiving accolades for the little things we have done. There is still a lot more to come and in another one year, I believe that people will see that Lagos has taken proper shape. I am a good listener and I appreciate objective criticism. I read and listen even though I often do not respond.

Lagos is the most thriving Cosmopolitan city right now in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our goal is to expand capital expenditure such that in another two to three years, Lagos state will become the third largest economy in Africa.

These are just some of my random thoughts…

• Mr. Ambode is the Governor of Lagos State

Suspected Kidnapper Evan Pleads Guilty In Court

Billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, has pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges brought against him by the Lagos State Government.

The billionaire kidnapper who was charged alongside five of his accomplishes pleaded guilty to a two count charge of kidnapping brought against him by the state.

Evans promptly responded that, ‘I am guilty’ when the charges were read to him.

Evans was represented by his counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje.

The judge ordered that all the male defendants be remanded at Kirikiri Maximum Prison while the female defendant, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges, be kept at the Kirikiri Female Prison.

He adjourned till October 19.

INEC Approves September 30 For Lagos Bye-Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday said the bye-election to fill the vacant Eti-Osa Constituency I seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly would be held on September 30.

Sam Olumekun, INEC’s new Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Lagos State, announced the date at a stakeholders meeting attended by party leaders at the Lagos headquarters of the commission.

The bye-election is coming up following the July 18 death of Kazeem Alimi of the All Progressives Congress, who occupied the seat.

He succumbed to a brief illness at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, two weeks after celebrating his 50th birthday.

Mudashiru Mustapha, INEC Administrative Secretary in Lagos State, had on August 11 said September 16 was being considered for the election.

He had, however, said it was tentative had yet to be approved by the national headquarters of INEC.

The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, after Mr. Mustapha’s disclosure, urged the electoral body to shift the proposed date for the bye-election by two weeks.

The group appealed to INEC to consider September 30, stressing that they just finished a local government election in the state.

They said this would give the parties more time to be able to sensitize and mobilize their people ahead of the election.

Mr. Olumekun, the new Lagos REC, told the stakeholders at his maiden meeting with them that September 30 had been approved by the INEC national headquarters after considering the recommendations by party leaders.

“This meeting is an opportunity for me formally introduce myself to stakeholders in the state and discuss the modalities for the forthcoming Eti-Osa I bye-election that has been slated for September 30.

“Timetable has been drawn and we have given them out to the parties. The commission will monitor these activities.

“INEC is taking the management of elections to a higher level. Since 2011, we have progressively improved on our performance.

“We have designed new tools which we are going to work with to conduct a very fair, credible, peaceful and conclusive election,” he said.

Mr. Olumekun urged political parties to conduct their activities peacefully and partner with the commission in the areas of voter registration and education.

“Voters’ education is very key to the growth of democracy and INEC alone cannot educate and mobilize the citizens to perform their civic responsibilities.

“We have about 1.4 million Permanent Voter Cards that are yet to be collected. We are appealing to political parties to help mobilize and encourage the people in this regard, and be part of the voter registration,” Olumekun said.

Reading out the timetable for the forthcoming bye-election, Oladosu Balogun, Head of Department, Electoral Operations, INEC-Lagos, said the conduct of primaries by political parties was from August 26 to September 5.

“Forms should be collected from Abuja and the last day for submission of Forms CF001, CF002 and nomination form at INEC headquarters in Abuja is September 7, while the last day for the publication of a list of nominated candidates will be Sept. 14.

“September 23 is for the submission of names and addresses of party agents to electoral officers. Campaigns have started and the last day for campaigns is on Sept.28. The election will then take place on Sept. 30,” Mr. Balogun said.

Reacting, Charles Odugbesi, a representative of the Lagos State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, suggested that the collection and submission of forms should be done in Lagos and not Abuja to save cost and time.

Also, Shola Omolola, Lagos State Chairman, Action Alliance, said that the timing for the primaries was short and appealed for an extension of the date to allow political parties conduct their primaries adequately.

Kola Ajayi, State Chairman, IPAC, urged the commission to make the form available online.