Lagos shuts down for Yemi Osinbajo
Residents bemoan Buhari’s absence as markets close to honour him
Lagos residents for most part of the day yesterday had their schedules disrupted by Very Important Personalities (VIP) movement occasioned by the state visit of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was on a two-day working tour of Lagos to commission some projects.
It was the same knell for business operators within Oshodi, Mushin, Isolo, Okota, Eko Idumota, Marina and other areas of Lagos Island axis, who had to close their shops and stalls in honour of the presidential visit, even as some expressed disappointment that President Muhammadu Buhari could not grace the highly advertised visit.
The Guardian gathered that shops, stalls, warehouses and other business outlets in Idi Oro, Olorunsogo, Oloosa and Ojuwoye on Agege Motor Road of Mushin area and Eko Idumota and CMS market axis, all had their doors closed on the directive of the Iyaloja-General of Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Folashade Tinubu-Ojo and the helmsmen of local councils, which was hosting the Vice President.
It was gathered that the instruction to shut down the markets were specifically to ease traffic in the affected areas as major projects to be commissioned by the Vice President were situated there.
“The Executive Secretary of Mushin local council was the one who asked us to close shops and outlets to honour the arrival of Mr. President for a two-day working visit to the state. I must confess that some of us who have looked forward to see the president were disappointed that he couldn’t make it here,” Olumide Kolawole, a trader at Ojuwoye market, said.
Lagosians had woken up at the weekend to a massive facelift of strategic routes leading to some sites the president would visit to commission some projects. Banners and all sorts of billboards sprang up across the welcoming President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos.
All the highways had extensive rehabilation while the sidewalks, pedestrian walkways and road divider were painted in the zebra colours of black and white. The Airport Road all the way to Oshodi was swept clean of dirt and any object that could pose as an eyesore to the president.
But it was a muted annoyance that lined the faces of top government functionaries in Lagos yesterday, who had committed immense time, resources and logistics to what would have been a historic presidential visit to Lagos by the president.
It had taken several months to prepare for the visit though it was kept under wraps until a few days to utilize maximally the element of surprise, particularly for the Buhari administration that is short on short-term positives to highlight ahead of its first anniversary in office next week during the Democracy Day celebration.
The late cancellation came as a rude shock to top government functionaries, who had mobilized and activated campaign machinery across the 57 local councils to give the president a befitting welcome and particularly celebrate the All Progressives Congress (APC) that is gradually losing some of its public appeal.
Though the outlined event went according to schedule, the day one visit, however, lost its glitz due to the absence of the president
A top government functionary, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the state has put behind them the diplomatic faux pas and has moved on. He, however, denied that the cancellation had anything to do with the national leader, Aiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“You need to have seen the silent mobilization and logistics that went into this visit to lift the APC ahead of the democracy day celebration.
I understand the president was acting on a security advice. But we are on ground in the state and I don’t think there was any threat that would have warranted the cancellation of the trip.
“Tinubu is not the issue here, I can confirm. I understand some students of University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Lagos State University (LASU) were being mobilized to stage a protest but this is a democracy and they are free to come to any of the venues to make their demands heard.