By Comrade Buna Isiak Olaitan
To have not long broken the tragic transformation of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Lagos chairman, Henry Ajomale, by some of our known Comrades and activist alive like Femi Falana; Abiodun Aremu; Lekan Alabi; Muiz Banire; Ismail Olawale; Lanre Suraju; Adeola Soetan, and even Owei Lakemfa for that matter, among others, is indeed to some of us genuinely involved in the struggle, an unpardonable oversight or a comprise on behalf of the people.
It was indeed a shock to me when the news was broken by a mourning oppressed Lagosians. It was exactly about 7:30a.m on Saturday May 5, 2018, when an old man walked into the central operational office of the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) in Shomolu, based on earlier appointment. I had worked late on Friday, and had to resume as early as 6:00a.m to treat a lot of pending files of people looking up to us as their last hope. I questioned the old man of 72 years of age why that early? And he said he had to, because his health is increasingly falling from the oppressive policies of Lagos APC government, and he needs someone trustworthy to at least, share his pains for any possible solution.
His complaint was basically about the Land Used Charge, after which he broke the sad news.
He started his narration slowly and moody and finally broke down in tears.
“My name is Alh. Sumoun-Oluwa Babajide, of 22, Aina Street off Johnson Bus-stop, Ijesha Road, Itire, Surulere, Lagos. After several lamentations, he said “Comrade, this Land Used Charge is killing. I have been paying #5,300, on 15% discount, because I always pay earlier on our property valued to worth N4,720,500 million, for over 7 years. Now they say the property is now worth N10,137,609.27 million, in 2018, and increased the money (LUC) to almost N25,000, even on 15% discount. What should I do on this almost 500% increase. But we learnt that your organization with NBA among others have spoken to the government who promised to reverse. We also learnt that the matter is in court. Why this bill again just last week, 1st week of May, 2018?”
With tears, the old man asked further, “How can I approach a tenant on 500% increase on the tenancy fee, when I know that government has not increased their salaries to accommodate that?”
Amidst tears, the old man asked several other questions and concluded that “Comrade I am fed up, I don’t know what to do”.
Then, I responded by first consoling the man to stop crying. I told him we are truly on the matter and have received several complaints from aggrieved Lagosians. We have complaints even from religious houses. I gave him the hope that without compromise, there is victory awaiting the Nigeria masses.
The man then said “Comrade, I love your resilience and consistency. I wish I could join your revolutionary organization and partake in every of your program, but I am old and weak.
When I was a youth, there was this organization called ‘The Nigerian Youth Thinkers Club’, which I belonged to. It was the youth wing of the Nigerian Trade Union Congress (NTUC) in the early 50’s during the period of Socialist Workers and Farmer’s Party.
The NTUC set up the Patrice Lumumba Labour Academy, as a training ground for youth to give ideological orientation on patriotism among other needful in governance.”
Then, the grandpa finally broke the sad news in another round of tears: “Henry Dele Ajomale, the same APC Lagos chairman was a member of the Socialist Academy. The NTUC was getting aids from the then Soviet Union, through which the now NLC, formerly NTUC building at yaba, was built. Also from the socialist aid, the now APC chairman, Ajomale, was sent to a socialist country abroad on scholarship. When he came back, he started teaching at the Patrice Lumumba Academy…” and the narrator went on and on in expressing his disappointment in such a man for his presence status.
It is indeed tragic and painful for a socialist revolutionary Dele Ajomale from Patrice Lumumba Academy, to now turn a capitalist bourgeoise element, is nothing better described than “a painful exit of a revolutionary to the capitalist exploitative and oppressive status”.
Patrice Lumumba was a Congolese politician but of core socialist stance, fighting against British oppression at that time. He dedicated his life to fighting colonialism, exploitation and injustice. His name became immortalized, having been identified as a true leader and freedom fighter.
Below are some of the quotes of late Patrice Lumumba:
“These division, which the colonial powers have always exploited the better to dominate us, have played an important role -and are still playing that role – in the suicide of Africa” African Unity and National Independence Speech, March 1959.
“The only thing we wanted for our country is the right to a worthy life, to dignity without pretence, to independence without restriction. This was never the desire of the colonialist and their western allies…” Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba.
“Without dignity there is no liberty, without Justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men”. Letter to his wife from Thysville prison.
There is actually non of the above that the Henry Ajomale Lagos APC led-government is not guilty of.
From the demolition of people’s houses, that have been built before the Nigerian independent, without compensation; destruction of people’s means of livelihood without provision of alternative and continuously holding people down by several underground clicks among other State unofficial machineries of exploitation and oppression, to the killing increase in the Land Used Charges among others.
What would have led to such painful, but deliberate exit of such former revolutionary in person of Ajomale, is yet unresolved.
Could it have been frustration and struggle for survival or greed ?
For Ajomale to have been teaching humanity and building revolutionaries, as a socialist at the Patrice Lumumba Academy, even if he later became helpless to have found himself amidst and amongst oppressors, it is painful how the real man dies in him, for he kept long silence in the face of oppression.
With bleeding heart, I take on Henry Ajomale, because I still see him as not completely dead amidst members of critically accidental vehicle of Lagos APC.
It is therefore not late for a Ajomale to return to a real human world of feelings and love and quit the present arena of Lagos APC, dominated by selfishness, inhumanity, oppression and exploitation of the poor Nigerians, both within and outside the party.
APC clicks may fake that they truly love you, but behold, the people with whom your children and generations to come will coexist, love you more.
Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak is the Executive Director of Human Rights Monitoring Agenda; public affairs analyst and a certificated trainee on Anti Corruption by the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
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