What Was The Crime Of Ndi Igbo? – Oledinma Onyesarah

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Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and Chief Obafemi Awolowo
Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and Chief Obafemi Awolowo

It is an incontrovertible fact that the project called Nigeria is a country made up of three major incompatible nations – Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba.

These three nations are distinct in their culture, language, social life, and in religion. Therefore, it is grammatical blunder to address Nigeria as a nation.

The coexistence of these three nations as a country, is a contrivance with muted resultant frictions. Using the Yorubas and Ndi Igbo nation as case study. 

 
My few good and trustworthy Yoruba friends might be offended on this post, but they know me as a practical detribalized folk, who would not compromise his watchword; ‘truth must be told whenever and wherever it is lacking, irrespective of whose ox is gored.’ On this premise, I owe them no apology.

Fact File.

An average Yoruba folk hates with passion, anything an Igbo folk loves, vice versa. If it is possible to avoid the sun, the air and the rain, because Ndi Igbo loves it, the Yorubas would do so with gratefulness. This is the height of hate that exist between these two nations. 

Unfortunately, this also outstretched into our national polity. We are so incompatible, hatred-ridden such that we have no common front. 

Any political party the Yorubas belongs to is hated with passion by Ndi Igbo. Even in religion, the Yorubas are predominantly Muslims with few Christians, while Ndi Igbo are predominantly Christians with few Muslims, this stigmatization and segregation are also found in churches between the Yoruba Christians, and Igbo Christians, even when they pretend to be brethren. 

Truth be told, an Igbo folk will feel more protected and secured with an Hausa folk who would not hide his feelings about him, than a Yoruba folk, so also the Yoruba would think of an Igbo folk. This is the level of deep-seated hatred exhibited by these two nations.

To buttress my point

I take us back to memory lane. From 1999 – 2007, during the regime of the then Lagos state Gov. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, this sour relationship and incompatibility of Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas was conspicuously absent, though it was a smokescreen, there was obvious harmonious co-existence of the two nations during his two tenure of eight years reign.

Suddenly there was a dangerous twist when Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola took over from former Gov. Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2007. 

In 2013, Gov. Fashola stirred a sour displeasure between Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas by unconstitutional deportation of 19 Igbo folks to Anambra state, in the guise that they are beggars and destitute. 

Don’t forget, from 1999 – 2015, there were general elections in Nigeria, and Ndi Igbo in Lagos state participated and performed their civic responsibilities without stigmatization, intimidations, harassment, or molestations. 

But, in 2015, general elections that brought Mr. Muhammadu Buhari to saddle, there was another stirred up sour displeasure between Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas which, hitherto, has become not only morbid, but purifying. We became more divided than the relatively peaceful coexistence we enjoyed since 1999.

The Lagos state Monarch, Oba Rilwan Akinolu, stirred up a great dissention that would have thrown the whole country into chaos by his unguarded, deep-rooted-hate threats to drown all Igbos in Lagos lagoon should they vote against his candidate. Though he apologized to Ndi Igbo community in Lagos state, but blamed the threat on excessive consumption of “Orijin,” an illicit herbal gin with high percentage of alcohol, which, prompt the outburst.

The Lagos state gubernatorial contest was actually between Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), whom the Oba claimed was his candidate, and Jimi Agbaje of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). None of these candidates is of Igbo extraction, none of them married from Ala Igbo, none of them speaks Igbo language. Nothing, absolutely nothing concerns Ndi Igbo in Lagos state with any of the two candidates, except for our constitutional rights to exercise our franchise. 

So, the questions are,
Why the threat from such highly respected Monarch? Why Ndi Igbo?
Should the Monarch, in the first, be partisan by reason of the institution he represents?

Make no mistake, Ndi Igbo in Lagos state are predominantly rich traders, where clusters of miscreants aka “area boys” extort monies from them forcefully, in different guises, and with different nomenclatures. And this is where the Oba’s palace is situated right on the Central Business Area (CBA) of the state. 

Now, with such deep-seated hatred against Ndi Igbo, would any reasonable folk expect justice and fairness from such an Oba that is already biased even before settling scores between Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas? This is worrisome!

Thanks goodness that election came and gone but it wasn’t without discrimination, open hatred, threats, character assassination, slights like; “We go show Igbo people” “Igbo’s are bastards” “Igbos Must Go Back” “Igbos Say No Body Get Lagos, We Go Show Dem, God Go Punish Dem and Their Generation” “Awon Aje-Okuta Mamu Omi.” And several derogatory utterances against Ndi Igbo on many polling centres.

The bitter truth is that, the Yorubas are not voting for Buhari because they love him, they didn’t see the election as a contest between APC and PDP, they didn’t see the election as a context between Buhari and Atiku.

Their immediate preferential understanding of the election is that it is a contest between Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas. Hence, all the threats to cow Ndi Igbo to chicken out on election day.

After that election which Mr Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode won, there was relatively partial peace between Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas in Lagos state.

Then came 2019, general elections, and the Yorubas resumed their primordial hatred and hostilities against Ndi Igbo in Lagos.

This time around, it wasn’t Oba Rilwan Akinolu’s candidate, the Emperor (Tinubu), had in cruellest dispositions removed the Monarch’s candidate Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode from running the traditional two tenure political office in Lagos state, with flimsy reasons that Ambode is not a party-man.

One would have expected that heaven will fall for daring the Monarch’s candidate, yet, heaven was calm even as the Lagos Emperor – Jagaban inaugurated his own candidate – Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Buhari’s election was rescheduled for 23/02/2019 as it were in 2015. Ndi Igbo resident in Lagos state filed out at their respective polling centers to perform their civic responsibilities as other tribes in Nigeria, only to be attacked by Tinubu’s miscreants led by millionaire “Agbero called MC Oluomo. 

They went to areas where you have predominantly Ndi Igbo like Okota, disrupted and disenfranchised Ndi Igbo from voting, snatched ballot boxes containing voted ballot papers, smashed and set ablaze in the presence of Nigeria police without molestation in spite of Buhari’s shoot at sight order to Nigeria Military on anyone caught snatching ballot boxes.

Video shots of this barbaric acts went viral across the globe. Two days after – specifically on Monday 25/02/2019, the same MC Oluomo with his gangs went on the rampage again, barricaded all markets in the metropolis and prevented Ndi Igbo from opening their shops. Yet, nobody challenged them, nobody called them to order.

Tinubu kept hypocritical ignorance, he did not condemn the barbaric acts. Buhari did not ask Buratai to go shoot the man that did not only snatched his INEC ballot boxes but also got them burnt with impunity.

They were poised to deal with Ndi Igbo just because they came out to vote the candidate of their choice. This was the height of conspiracy against Ndi Igbo in Lagos state.

What was the crime of Ndi Igbo?

Suffice to rob in this, Ndi Igbo constitutes 43% of the entire population of Lagos state, while the Yorubas has only 31%, other tribes takes the rest 26%. So, you will understand why the hostility because Ndi Igbo in Lagos state, has the capacity and wherewithal to decide who governs the state. 

Recall that before this recent hostility against Ndi Igbo, it was on record that Tinubu begged Ndi Igbo in Lagos state, to vote for his guber candidate, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, in the forthcoming election. 

Now that it is obvious that Ndi Igbo and the Yorubas are incompatibly in the cloak of indivisible entity called one Nigeria. The question again is, any respite to this tribal hate? My answer is capital YES!

How?

It is time to take our flight and coast home. It is time to take all our major investments home and operate skeletal businesses in Lagos and other States in the contraption called Nigeria because where the carcasses are, there the vultures would go.

Enough is Enough!

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of iNaijanow.

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