By Ikenna Asomba
LAST Friday, while thousands of Lagosians came out en masse at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos to celebrate the inauguration of Akinwunmi Ambode as the 14th Governor of Lagos State, it was tears for youths of Gbaji-Seme, a border community in Badagry West Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, as they lamented lack of electricity for 16 years.
According to the youths, who stormed the inauguration venue in their hundreds, under the umbrella of Gbaji-Seme Border Youth Initiative (GSBYI), the community with over 30 villages and a population of about 100, 000 people, has been in perpetual darkness since 1999.
The electricity crisis resulted from a devastating rainstorm which destroyed almost all the electric polls and transformers that connected the villages to the national grid.
Since then they said, promises by successive administrations at the local, state and federal levels to fix the problem have gone unfulfilled.
Disturbed by this, the youths said they mobilised themselves to the TBS, to felicitate with Ambode, as well as bring their plight to his attention.Chanting solidarity songs, the aggrieved youths carried various placards bearing inscriptions such as ‘We voted for change, please change our 16 years of darkness in Seme Border, Badagry West LCDA,’ ‘16 years of total blackout in Seme is not democratic,’ ‘Darkness is evil and devilish. Please give us light,’ ‘We are tired of 16 years in darkness. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, please save our souls,’ ‘APC our messiah, grant us electricity and other social amenities at Gbaji-Seme Border,’ and ‘Please let there be light in Seme-Border, 16 years in darkness is enough.’
Speaking to Vanguard, the President of GSBYI and former President, Lagos State University Student Union Government (LASU-SUG), Comrade Badaru AbdulBasit, expressed optimism that Ambode would improve on the landmark achievements of his predecessors.
According to AbdulBasit, it has become imperative at this early stage, to draw the attention of the new governor to their plights, as previous attempts to draw the attention of the LCDA, State and Federal Governments, through writing have fallen on deaf hears.
He said this had left them to dehumanising conditions, as they spend humongous bills on fuelling power generating sets at their homes and business places.
AbdulBasit, said: “We are here to felicitate with the new Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. As you can see from our banners, our community of over 30 villages with a population of about 100, 000 people has been subjected to total darkness since 1999, without electricity. We see this as a calculated attempt to shield the poor in our communities from the dividends of democracy.
“Electricity is something we believe government should provide for the masses on a platter of gold. Our community is close to the international border, the highest revenue generating border to the government. It’s a shame that we have no electricity over the last 16 years. We are therefore appealing to Governor Ambode in his magnanimity, to come to our rescue, as soon as he settles down in office.”
According to the former student activist, some of the affected villages are; Aivoji, Oglogbo, Gbethrome, Asakpo, Boglo, Fanuvi, Yard, Ashipanu, Kenwewemeh, Pengbo, Bapo, Azangbeme, Aketegbo, Wesere-Topa, Hovemeto, Tota, Shito, Gbegbome, Petimeh, Falola, Ozinigbo, Kparada, Akpato, Whaigbemeh, Akoro-Koji, Ogorin-Beach, Thosivi and Yenawa among others.
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