A group, Hengo Badagry Youth Association, has opposed a proposed bill by the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA), to remove or rename historical monuments in the state.
Mr Felix Godonu, the President of the Association, told the News Agency of Nigeria , in Badagry that the proposed bill was an attempt to further impoverish the coastal town.
LAHA had on July 1, urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the state’s Commissioners for Tourism, Arts and Culture as well as Justice to look at sites and monuments in the state with a view to removing all vestiges of slave trade and colonial superiority.
Godonu, however, said that if the historical monuments were removed then there would be no more Badagry.
“This will be another deliberate attempt to deprive Badagry of its development, the previous administration in Lagos state had succeeded in reducing Badagry to what it is now.
“The history of Nigeria is incomplete without Badagry; even the government knows that the town is the hub of tourism in Lagos state.
“What will become of tourism if this happens. The successive governments at all levels have been playing lip-service to developing Badagry tourism year-in- year-out,” he said.
Godonu said that the people of Badagry relied on its tourist sites and monuments, as few as they were, to survive.
“Our people rely on the tourism sector as small as it is. When tourists visit, their businesses sell.
“The only industry here is tourism, which this same government has failed to develop,” the association’s president said.
Godonu advised the lawmakers to rather concentrate and legislate on how to make life better for average Lagosians, citing the deplorable roads in the state as one of the infrastructure needing urgent attention.
“They should work on how to reduce refuse, loss of man hour in traffic gridlock, overcrowded schools without desks and benches, employment for the youth and inadequate health services in the state.
“The only form of empowerment we get is Okada (motorcycles for commercial use), as well as grinding and sewing machines,” he said.
Godonu appealed to Gov. Sanwo-Olu to prevail on the lawmakers not to remove or rename Badagry historical monuments.
“I want to believe Mr Governor means well for Badagry tourism potential by appointing two of its indigenes as top office holders in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
“Mr Governor should please save Badagry. There can never be a future without the past.
“The state will gain more if our tourism potential are developed,” he said.
NAN recalls that the Deputy Majority Leader, Noheem Adams, had moved the motion for the dismantling of the colonial monuments at the Assemly’s plenary.
The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, stated that the intendment of the motion was not about history, and that history could not be changed.
Obasa said that the monuments were not our history, and that Africans should support the blacks who were fighting for the rights of blacks.
He said that the kind of treatment meted to George Floyd must be stopped and that Africans should support those who protest against such an act.
However, Setonji David representing Badagry 2 said: “I want to support the motion to some extent but we need to check ourselves, especially the black man.
“We need to look at the way we treat ourselves. Do we really value ourselves? Why do we have to scratch the surface?”
He, therefore, said that there was no need to remove the vestiges of colonial rule and slave trade.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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