LAGOS @50 FOURTH COLLOQUIUM HOLDS SATURDAY 17TH SEPT 2016 FROM 11AM AT THE FREEDOM PARK IN LAGOS NIGERIA
Synopsis of Lagos the Original Southern Lady of means
In a speech at a Colonial Service dinner in 1913 the Secretary of State for the colonies, Lord Harcourt, summarised the financial dependence of Northern on Southern Nigeria in a humorous metaphor: “We have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the Treasury. The promising and well-conducted youth is now on an allowance “on his own” and is about to effect an alliance with a Southern lady of means. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant! The Nigerias are not designed to be a great “Trust” but a great “Federation”.
[Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria, pg. 30]
Lagos provided the funds for this allowance and became original (1) because in preparation for amalgamation, Lagos was merged with Southern Nigeria in 1906 to form the Colony of Lagos and Southern Nigeria (2) the source of funds for Southern Nigeria was import duties through Lagos Port, mainly Gin. In 1939, Southern Nigeria was split into two -- Eastern and Western Nigeria -- and the well conducted youth became polygamous with two wives -- East and West; perfected ‘harem politics’, playing one wife Yoruba against the other Ndigbo. This “politics” has continued till date.
Three Yoruba of Lagos extraction are mentioned (1) Shitta Bey, (2) Chief H. O. Davies QC, and (3) Mobolaji Johnson (my mentor) as examples of Lagosians who believed and understood then and now that Lagos is built on diversity -- Yorubas, Benin, Saro, Brazil, Igbo, Niger Delta (Warri people), Hausa and others and for ideological reasons. It almost lost its role as the “original Nigeria” and the “original lady of means”.
I recommend that Nigeria must congratulate and rejoice with Lagos as an oil producing state. I have outlined a brief history of ownership of land and mineral and also discussed the Yoruba sense of justice. Now that Lagos is an oil producing state, they must join others to demand for justice.
I also recommended the preponderance of non-indigenes should form as the basis for increased federal grants. It will also help to promote accurate census and tourism. Nigerians must first become the local tourists before it can attract foreigners.
Solomon Asemota SAN
SOLOMON AGBONFIOROH ADUN ASEMOTA SAN
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Solomon Agbonfioroh Adun Asemota, was educated at the University of Lagos between 1964-1969, where he earned a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree and later the Nigerian Law School (1969-1970). Before this, he had attended a Cadet Sub-Inspectors’ Course at the Southern Police College, Ikeja Lagos (1959-1960); six-month Advanced Police Training Course at Wakeland Police College, Yorkshire, England, where he emerged as the Best Student in 1962; and Senior Officers Training in Organisation and Management Course at the Scottish Police College, Kincardine Aloa, Scotland in 1969-1970.
Career in the Police: After training he was posted to Ikeja Province where he served first, as prosecutor, at the Chief Magistrate’s Court Ikeja, in Chief Magistrate Mason Begho’s (as he then was) Court. He was also Course Officer, Man O’War Bay in Victoria Cameroons, 1961; then Prosecutor, Chief Magistrate’s Court Sapele in Chief Magistrates Olayinka Odumosu and Sikiru Abina Courts, as they, then, were. Inspector, Administration then Second-in-Command Traffic Division, and later Crime Branch at Ikeja Provincial Police Department, also in 1961.
He was promoted to the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1962, and made Chief Officer, Local Government Police, Ondo North (comprising Ekiti, Akoko and Owo Divisions, which now constitute about half of Ondo State), where he performed duties of Divisional Police Officer, in-charge of 800 L.S. Police men and 26 Police Stations. He was seconded to the United Nations Operation (ONUC) in the Congo (now Zaire) and served in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and later Second-in-Command (Police) at Luluaburg now Katanga.
He became the Aide-de-Camp to the First Governor of Midwest Region, Chief Jereton Mariere in 1963 and, later, left for the Southern Police College, Ikeja as Course Officer, Cadet Sub-Inspector Course and Sergeants Promotion Courses at the Advanced Training Wing. 1964 - 1966. One of his students became the Inspector General of Police, while five others got to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGs).
In 1966, he was made Second-in-Command, National Bureau of the Interpol, Central C.I.D. Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos, and was, the Investigator attached to Tribunals of Inquiry into E.C.N. and the Ports Authority. He was promoted to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and was a member of the Nigeria Police Officers Delegation to Interpol Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1967. He was later transferred to the Crime Division as Second-in-Command.
In 1969, he was promoted to the rank of Superintendent, and appointed Officer-in Charge, Detective Training School, Ikoyi, Lagos but resigned from the Nigeria Police Force in October 1970, to practice law.
Professional Appointments And Positions Held: (i) Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch, 1974 – 1978; (ii) National Treasurer, Nigerian Bar Association. 1978 – 1980; (iii) Secretary, Finance Committee, Sixth Commonwealth Law Conference – 1980; (iv) Member, General Council of the Bar 1978 -1984; (v) Visiting Lecturer for Courses in Civil Procedure at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies – 1985; (vi) Member, Council of Legal Education 1979 – 1985; (vii) Member, Disciplinary Committee, of the General Council of the Bar, 1990 to date. (viii) Member Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee 1991 - 1993 (the committee that confers the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on Lawyers).
National Appointments: (i) Member, Nigeria Football (NFA) 1970 – 1975; (ii) Match Inspector, African Football Confederation 1971 - 1974; Member of the CAF Constitution Drafting Committee Addis Ababa 1972; (iii) Member, Constitution Review Committee 1987 and was the Chairman, Sub-Committee on the Executive; (iv) Member, Constituent Assembly, and one of six co-ordinators. Others included the former Sultan of Sokoto. Co-ordinator of Committees 9, 12, 13 and 14 and Member, Drafting Committee, 1988 – 1989; (v) Assisted in the Drafting of the Constitutions of the two political parties 1990; (vi) Member,Task Force for the Review of the 1989 Constitution, September - December 1992; (vii) Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference 2013.
Other Appointments: (i) Founding Member and Member of the Executive Committee – Southern Minorities Movement, (SMM) – 1994 – date; (ii) Member of the Executive Committee – Benin Forum – 1996 – date; (iii) Executive member - Edo State Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria CAN 1996 – date (iv) Executive member – South/South Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria CAN 1997 – date; (v) Member - Catholic Committee on the Ecumenical Centre – 1997;(vi) Member of the Executive Committee – Edo Forum – 1997 – date; (vii) Chairman, Catholic Social Forum 1998 – 2001; (viii) National Chairman CSMN – 2000 to date; (ix) Chairman – National Christian Elders Forum 2014 to date.
Social: He is a member of Metropolitan Club Lagos; and Ikoyi Club, Lagos, and Life Member, IBB Golf & Country Club, Abuja; Benin Club, Benin City; and Ikeja Golf Club, Lagos.
Asemota is listed in the Who is Who in Nigeria(published by Newswatch Communications Ltd. Ikeja, Page 176), and Who is Who in Africa, (published by Africa Journal Ltd. London. Page 1065).