A PRAYER FOR LAGOS, By JESUTEGA ONOKPASA
“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make ye free” said The Son of God.
It is time to tell ourselves some bitter truths.
For our own good and the good of our fellowman.
Binis have never gone to Lagos to claim ownership of the place even though the Oba of Lagos traces his most ancient ancestry to Benin.
Okpes were originally Binis and in colonial times, as well as for the first two decades after Independence, were very prominent in Obalende and environs.
I have never heard of any Okpe Man claiming ownership of Lagos.
Most Urhobos trace their ancestry to Benin but I have never heard of Urhobos claiming ownership of Lagos – not even those who won elections there!
Ijaw people, Isokos, Esan, Ekoi, Itsekiris, Etsako, Ndokwa, Andoni, Aniocha, Anang, Ikwere, Oshimili, Efik, Afemai, Efut, Kalabari, Ibibio, Ogoni, et al, live in Lagos but never contest ownership of the place with their Yoruba hosts and true owners of the land.
Igala, Hausa-Fulani, Idoma, Gbagyi, Bachama, Nupe, Kororafa, Ebira, Egon, Tivi, Kanuri, Birom, Shuwa Arab, even Magazuwa all reside in Lagos and despite isolated tensions here and there, have never once questioned the Yoruba overlordship of Lagos.
I am quite sorry to put it this bluntly but it is only a very noisy, rather loud and quite lousy section of the Ibos who keep completely flying off the handle and most brazenly insulting their Yoruba benefactors and hosts, denigrating their ancestral lands as a “no man’s land”, and, claiming overlordship of Lagos even to the extent of voicing the intent of “taking it over” from its aboriginal Yorubas, whatever that crap is supposed to mean!
I first encountered this penchant for troublemaking when I first came to Lagos to attend the University of Lagos, Akoka.
Now decades later, what should be a straightforward contestation for the governorship of the state has decomposed into an ethnic battle for self-preservation on the part of the Yoruba, with more than a few Ibos, on their part, quite insolently and most provocatively framing it in terms of conquering Lagos for themselves!
One idiot on social media was calling his fellow tribesmen to rally behind Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party as the only means for them to be able to remain in Lagos!
This is truly insane rhetoric to say the least.
We are supposed to have a government in this country and I wonder where the hell it is with these most unconscionable excesses proliferating right under its indolent nose.
The suckling infant, Mr. Rhodes-Vivour, on his part, has been so idiotic as to have reduced himself to the Ibo candidate for the governorship of a Yoruba state!
His People’s Democratic Party, PDP, counterpart, Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor, has himself been busy actively cultivating the ethnic card, originally pioneered by Chief Bode George, of casting Ibos as victims of what is really just wholly conjured up oppression at the hands of the incomparably progressive and incontestably egalitarian government of Lagos.
Jandor has consistently spared no effort in vainly trying to cast himself as more of an Ibo candidate than his “Chinedu” rival, whose wife and mother are both Ibos!
While certain Ibos, usually first generation immigrants to Lagos, have long been rude and quite uncouth to their Yoruba overlords, this tendency has been sharpened to breaking point in the wake of Peter Obi’s wholly idiotic presidential bid.
I have never encountered more imbecilic politics than what Peter Obi and the rabble he aggregated around himself deployed as their strategy for winning the presidency of Nigeria.
It was either Obi was just scamming his multitude of clueless followers all along or is, deep down, actually such a compound fool that he actually saw a path to Aso Rock upon a cocktail of rabid ethnicism, religious politicking, insults and pathological lying.
Every honest and sensible Ibo man, reasoning with his head rather than his heart, knows that Obi could never have won the election.
As it turned out, he didn’t get enough of the Southern vote and got way too few Northern votes to be able to win.
Even more disgracefully, he couldn’t get enough of the Christian vote and got way too few Muslim votes to be returned elected.
His two Muslim rivals kept raking up substantial vote tallies even in overwhelmingly Christian constituencies.
Delta is probably up to 99 percent Christian.
You might find up to a hundred Christian denominations in a town but not a single mosque in sight.
You might have up to a thousand churches in a local government area and only one mosque in the entirety of the same jurisdiction.
Yet in that same Delta, between them, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Atiku Abubarkar of the PDP, both Muslims, scored approximately 250,000 to his approximately 340,000 votes.
If no Christians had voted for them and all the Muslims had voted for them, they still probably wouldn’t have scored up to 10,000 votes combined!
This trend was not just replicated across the predominantly Christian half of Nigeria but was overwhelmingly accentuated in states like Benue and Taraba where Tinubu and Atiku respectively defeated the supposedly Christian candidate in overwhelmingly Christian constituencies!
Indeed, apart from Plateau and Nasarawa states, Obi was a resounding failure everywhere else outside Ibo land.
Yet this same Gobbelian clown is egging on his minions in the various states to push further his contamination of electioneering with religion and ethnicism, even as he urges them to test well established dos and donts that have long been instituted for the maintenance of peace and cohesion in places far off from his native Anambra.
The ultimate battleground for the state elections on Saturday, 11 March is undoubtedly Lagos where Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu of the APC is going for a second term.
He presides over a government that is easily the most ethnically diverse and profusely pan-Nigerian public service in our country.
He is arguably Nigeria’s best performing governor and manifestly deserves to be retained in his post.
Except that a coalition of intrinsically tribalist Ibos and their seemingly implacably embittered Yoruba minions have allied with Obi and, as if under hypnosis, have most frenziedly flipped to selfdestruct mode!
While it is clear that the Ibo component of this aggregation of mischief makers is primarily driven by totally misguided ethnic motivations, the grouse of their Yoruba confederates is pretty difficult to coherently apprehend.
The only safe thing to make of them is a mass of the unthinking, seemingly quite prepared to cut their noses to spite their faces.
Thankfully, there remain many sensible people left in Lagos and it is now their existential duty to immediately coalesce across the pettiness and shortsightedness of their tribal, religious and partisan divides and cleavages, and powerfully come together in one unyielding accord for the salvation of the megacity of West Africa and pride of Black Africa!
It would amount to a sin against God and man that they should permit the diabolical antics of a budding Nazi from Anambra to upend the peace and tranquility of Lagos, the commonwealth of their sustenance and success in life.
Jide Sanwo-Olu had better win on Saturday for the good of the Yoruba indigenous people and true owners of Lagos.
Jide Sanwo-Olu must win this election for the good of their Ibo tenants and residents.
Jide Sanwo-Olu must win, this Saturday, for the good of those ethnicities who have no problem with their Yoruba hosts and have never taken their hospitality for granted.
I shudder to imagine what this despicable character from Agulu would have wrought in Lagos and our country, at large, should the opposite be the case.
Eko oni baje o!
God bless Lagos!
Onokpasa, a lawyer and member, All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential Campaign Council, writes from Abuja.
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