March 24, 2023

Away with ethnic tension in Lagos

Away with ethnic tension in Lagos

LAGOS and Abuja are the greatest expressions of the vibrancy and diversity of Nigeria. Lagos was the capital of Nigeria for 77 years, subdivided into 46 years under colonial rule and 31 years of our indigenous independent dispensation. Nigerians have invested heavily to make Lagos what it is today.

The city remains not only the economic capital of Nigeria but also home for people from all over the country, West Africa and beyond. Lagos is Nigeria’s number one international metropolis and gateway. Its designation as “Centre of Excellence” is not an empty boast. In spite of its shortcomings compared to its peers in Africa such as Johannesburg, Cairo and others, Lagos is Nigeria’s trendsetter, culturally and otherwise. It is important for people to know the town they live in.

Though Lagos has befittingly been governed mainly by the Yoruba indigenous people since its creation in 1967, what we see on its skyline is a combination of inputs by its indigenes, settlers and even international stakeholders.  Lagos has consumed the lion’s share of the national commonwealth compared to any other part of Nigeria, except, perhaps Abuja.

We find it very nauseating that political leaders who have over the years failed to care for the welfare of the lower classes have turned around to weaponise some of their youth as their foot soldiers for the profiling, intimidation, attacks, disenfranchisement and threats against other Nigerians to feather their political nests. The danger we face is that long after elections are won and lost and politicians resume enjoying their proceeds of power, the seeds of hatred will continue to morph and mutate into other variants that will come back to haunt everybody.

Unless we call ourselves back to order, the ongoing odious profiling could wreck the tranquillity and harmony that have hitherto ruled our mixed ethnic families which are the products of cross-cultural marriages. Something that was meant as a political weapon could destroy our society altogether.

We condemn any form of ethnic profiling and bigotry, and call on law enforcement agencies to set examples with the identified purveyors of hate speeches and attacks, many of whom litter the social media. This will send the right signals. If this is not done, we fear the worst is ahead. Where are the law enforcement agencies?

A new regime is set to take over power from President Muhammadu Buhari. It must be given a conducive atmosphere to start work. We call on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a man of peace and “Lagos for all” proponent, to invite community leaders for a dialogue. Every group must de-escalate tension now that elections are over.

We must continue to live peacefully together and in accordance to our Constitution, our laws and the spirit of One Nigeria.