By Ochereome Nnanna
I LIKE Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, not just as a leader but also as human being. Although a bit of a “drama queen” who sometimes panders to the ephemeral, Sanwo-Olu is a hardworking governor. In four years, he completed his own landmark projects and many amenities left behind by his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode, despite their hostile change of baton.
A similar situation was witnessed between two Ikwerre brothers, departing Governor Chibuike Amaechi and incoming Governor Nyesom Wike in Rivers State in 2015. Wike abandoned every Amaechi legacy project and started his own. Sanwo-Olu is anything but vindictive, so, he did none of that.
Yes, he invited the military to quell the EndSARS protests. But I think Sanwo-Olu genuinely regretted his action. But how does that undo the damages that the decision brought? Defenceless youth were shot in cold blood to quell a protest that the Police were equipped to handle. Hoodlums took over and Lagos literally went up in flames. Warehouses, private shops and malls were looted. The palace of the Oba of Lagos was ransacked and his royal regalia desecrated by teenage boys. The properties of APC leaders were targeted.
If the fire that the forces of evil are stoking bursts into flames (we pray not), their sponsors will be watching it live on television from the safety and comfort of their hotel suites or mansions in France or elsewhere. You will be here killing and dying for nothing. At the end, the Igbo you are threatening will remain in Lagos, stronger than ever.
If you are doing this Igbophobic circus show in the hope of getting back the properties, you have already failed. Blame your parents for failing to give you the solid grounding you needed to succeed in life. When you sell your land or house, it belongs to the new owner. If you like, kill or die. You won’t have it back. You cannot eat your cake and have it back. Those pushing you into fire to win elections will abandon you, win or lose.
Know this and know peace. Lagos, like any other town, belongs specifically to two sets of people: the indigenes who possess its ancestral patrimonies and those who own property in Lagos. It also belongs, in the general sense, to every citizen of Nigeria who resides in the city-state. As a peaceful and law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, nobody can stop me from voting because of my ethnic background.
No one has the monopoly of good or bad behaviour. No one is a sole beneficiary of peace. I blame the All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership in Lagos for misleading and misguiding its youth into this wrong path. In the whole of the South-West geopolitical zone, it is only in Lagos you see this. And in Lagos, no other political party is promoting this ethnic profiling, threats and spoiling for war than APC chieftains. This has nothing to do with Yoruba. APC Lagos loudmouth, Joe Igbokwe, is not Yoruba. If anything, Yoruba elements at home and abroad are the most vocal in condemning it.
Indeed, young Yoruba intellectuals like David Hundeyin, Rinu Oduala, Debo Adedayo (Mr. Macaroni) and a host of other powerful social media influencers, along with their colleagues from other ethnic groups, organised the EndSARS protests on Twitter. It remains the most effective, patriotic and peaceful protest ever held in Nigeria.
It later caught on among the youth throughout Nigeria except the Muslim North. It was the EndSARS Movement that became the Obidient Movement, the political rave of the moment. APC Lagos leaders failed to read the signs correctly. The large-scale arson, audacity of teenagers invading the Oba of Lagos’ palace and threatening the ruling political elite simply showed the people were tired of the old order of political leadership after experiencing it for 24 years. They want change. And they showed it on February 25, 2023 when they joined with the rest of the residents of Lagos to dethrone Tinubu by a landslide.
Right now, the Tinubu camp’s hope of bouncing back depends on whether Sanwo-Olu’s charm offensive works. When it became obvious that Tinubu’s defeat meant the imminent loss of the Alausa honeypot, Tinubu’s men and women suddenly became sober. Dayo Israel, the fire-spitting APC Youth Leader, told all officeholders to beg if they had to. Whoever lost his ward should never come back to Alausa. Everybody has turned a beggar. Even the hoity-toity MC Oluomo couldn’t be outdone. The Lagos APC family has been humbled and might end up being humiliated.
I hope they learn a lesson from their arrogant, oppressive past which is evident in the behaviour and language of their government machinery. In a democracy, even a ruling party reaches out to every segment of the populace for support. The APC in Lagos attracted hatred when they adopted ethnic profiling, blackmail, oppression of traders, deprivation of non-indigenes, the empowerment of hoodlums as private political and revenue army, and their use to make living in Lagos a nightmare.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.