Amosun And The Burden Of Non Indigenes In Ogun State - By Dr Chris Orie

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I have never thought of living in Ogun State in my lifetime but through the waywardness of fate, the south western State has become my home for now. Raised in the North by Igbo parents and now finding myself in Yoruba makes me a thorough Nigerian breed by all capacity which by the special Grace of the Almighty enables me to speak Hausa, Yoruba and naturally Igbo Languages, almost in equal proportion.

This my linguistic advantage helped me in no little measure when I came out with the idea of forming an association that embodies Non-Yoruba Indigenes in Ogun State. Interestingly, before I could explain the ideology behind the initiative, members from the Hausa, Igbo, Tiv, Nupe, Urhobo, Igala, Idoma, Kanuri, Fulani, Igbira, Okun Community and South-South have started indicating their interest simply because I was able to bridge that insurmountable language barrier. With that, we were able to form the associations comprising of Non Yoruba Indigenes living in Ogun State. The groups, one of which is Non-Yoruba Indigenes of All Progressive Congress Forum (NYIAF), the political arm of Non Indigenes in Ogun State Zone, which held their one year anniversary recently (14TH December 2017) at Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. It was laughter, laughter and laughter all the way.

From my own perspective, The Non Yoruba Indigenes' groups can be described as a child or product of necessity in the sense that there are issues and anomalies it stands to address within the domain where we reside.

First is the issue of multiple taxation; experience has shown that most government multiple taxation policies are targeted at the Non Yoruba Indigenes who pay many times higher than what their Yoruba counterparts pay at the same circumstances. Where the Indigenes receive waivers, the Non Yoruba Indigenes are made to pay through their nose.

Again, the Non indigenes are never recognized despite the fact that they accounts for 40% and 60- 70% of the state's IGR when it comes to commerce. Yet these economic growers are not accorded the required recognition in form of reduction in number of taxes they are made to cough out.

These non indigenes also suffer other forms of marginalization and dehumanization, some of which are orchestrated by some law enforcement agents. For instance, there was a particular case of a raid carried out by some law enforcement agents within a business environment in Ogun State. In the process shops were locked. All the businessmen and women were fined and it was later observed that the authorities fined indigenes Five Hundred Naira (#500) whereas Non Yoruba Indigenes among them paid a whopping sum of Five Thousand Naira (#5000) to free themselves.


So the question is why must some Nigerians be treated differently under same condition? Why must some Nigerians contributing to the economic growth of a State be subjected to the position of second class citizens in their own country in the name of Non Indigenes?

Furthermore, children born and bred in South Western States are denied certificate of indigeneship because their parents are Non Indigenes. This is not the practice in civilized places. For example, in foreign countries, such as USA, Europe, Etc. once a foreigner lives up to ten years in such country, he or she is qualified to start processing his or her citizenship document. Also if a child is born in any of such countries, that child gains its automatic citizenship but in the South West which is our own country, it is not so. Again, Non Yoruba Indigenes Students who gained admission in State tertiary institutions pay almost three times more than their Yoruba counterparts.

Sadly, the non indigenes are marginalized in their different communities. It is no longer a secret that in most South Western States, especially in their respective CDA meetings, Yoruba language is used as lingua franca even where Non Yoruba Indigenes are dominant. They are rather forced to use Yoruba language during the meeting sessions instead of English language which is the country's official language.

In as much as I have been able to point out some of the plight of non-Yoruba indigenes in the state, I must be quick to commend Governor Ibikunle Amosun for the efforts the governor has put to see that the state moves to the next level. It is therefore very important that the current development going on in Ogun state by the Senator Amosun led government should be upheld by both indigenes and non-indigenes. The system should therefore be guarded jealously to check the excesses of some political gladiators that may come up with the intentions of bringing up candidates from strange camps to succeed the current governor which might not augur well for all.

One good thing the governor has done passionately is the empowerment of house owners in the State. Since history of the state, no government has ever approved mass release of Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to both indigenes and non-indigenes as much as the present Ogun State government has done. Secondly, the Land Grabbers' Law initiated by the governor is another landmark achievement in favour of both the Non Yoruba Indigenes and Indigenes in the State. For now, the "omonile" phenomenon is gradually disappearing in the state.

Before now, we had so many governors in Ogun State; in fact, Ogun State was one of the most dilapidated States in Nigeria. But despite the infrastructural deficit, Ogun State is now one of the most industrialized States after Lagos State in Nigeria.

With such efforts, it is very important that Ogun State people watch very carefully and also resist any form of imposition of candidate to run their affairs in the upcoming general election in the state. Be that as it may, I want to state unequivocally that the Non Yoruba Indigenes in South West will remain law abiding and will continue to contribute their quota towards the economic and political development of the South West Region.

Personally, I see Amosun as a Devil we know which is better than that angel we don’t know”. We don’t want any imposition of candidate in Ogun State. If the good works must continue, Amosun’s successor should continue where the governor stopped. And whoever that is coming under APC should be a person that will imbibe culture of continuity and key into all the laudable projects going on in the state.

There is no doubt however, that Governor Amosun has not done much for Non Yoruba Indigenes but we believe that the next governor will remember the Non Yoruba Indigenes more than what we are experiencing at the moment. No doubt, the Non Yoruba Indigenes deserve better treatment and i sincerely believe the state government can do better.

The Non Yoruba Indigenes are prepared to work with the present Government and the ones in the future provided they recognize and attend to the cries and yearnings of our people.

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