April 2, 2023

Attacks on the Igbo in Lagos

Attacks on the Igbo in Lagos

By Obi Nwakanma

A massive wave of discontent has trailed the results of the 2023 general elections. A vast majority of Nigerians believe, and have clear evidence that the results were brazenly stolen by the ruling party, and that this heist is a dare to Nigerians to go do their worse. This is one election result in which not a single sense of jubilation has been witnessed in any part of Nigeria, North South, East or West.

There is no sense of an achievement, or of hope. There is instead, something of a bated breath, a deadly sense of something brewing in the firmament, like a stifled sneeze. The parties have gone to court. Nigerians do not trust the courts. But they seem also to just hold out hope, for one more chance, that judging with the evidence before them, the court of justice would do its duty to Nigeria and restore the mandate of the people based on the truth before them.

The truth of the fixes, the violent and open suppression of voters by the ruling party; the cooking of election results in places where the APC could not even draw muster, complicity to subvert the election results by INEC and security officials charged with securing the process, including members of Nigeria’s secret service, the DSS who should put their lives down in defence of the integrity and survival of the nation, but who chose to violate the law and the sworn oath to defend the laws and the fate of Nigeria. But as I said, the parties have gone to court.  I will restrain myself therefore from any further comments that might be sub judice, and wait, with evidence – until the ducks in fact line up- on the procedures that might yield or fail to yield justice for Nigerians in this election, before I fully address the question of the justice and justiciability of these elections.

But I should warn that the Courts now hold the future of Nigeria in their hands. A restive population, without hope or fear will make the rain that will submerge this nation, if they see their mandate stolen, and if they see the courts become complicit in the thievery. Nigerians wait with bated breath, because they wish, in spite of their current distrust of the courts, for a real Solomon to come to judgment on this matter. Meanwhile, the outcomes of this magnificently flawed elections are now leading to far more than we bargained. And that is my concern for this week: the brutalization of the Igbo in Lagos signals worse to come.

The killings of the Igbo in Lagos; the threats, and the destruction of their property and their livelihood by party agents and supporters of Mr. Tinubu -the unleashing of unimaginable mayhem against the Igbo in Lagos is the Rubicon that has been crossed. On the eve of the Presidential election, Igbo voters were warned to vote the APC or not vote at all. Failure to vote the APC would, their adversaries warned them, result in dire consequences for the Igbo in Lagos. Those who keep point on all this recall the threat once made by the Oba of Lagos, that he would drive the Igbo population into the Lagoon in 2015, if they did not vote his preferred APC candidate.

On election day, Of course,  a party thug called MC Oluomo was recorded on video threatening Igbo voters, about the dire consequences of not voting the APC. This brazen act, inside a polling booth, in the presence of a Law enforcement officer has not elicited any response by the authorities. They called it a joke. Of course, that threat was ignored by the Igbo in Lagos and by many other Nigerians,  including the sophisticated Yoruba, who defied Tinubu’s goon brigade, and voted massively against the APC in Lagos, and turned the party into ass-swipes in their so-called domain. That defeat stung.They had to quickly cook the numbers to reduce the extent of their loss.

The governorship election was something else. The APC  prepared for this, as if they were going to war. It was in fact war. On the eve of the election, they telegraphed their resolve by burning down a major Igbo spare parts market in Lagos. On election day, they sent an armed militia into the streets; they called out the Oro; they macheted, beat up voters; they scaled up the violence, and they stole the elections at gun-point. They did not end there. Following the elections, they have mounted a campaign of terror against the Igbo, and those who look like the Igbo in Lagos.

They have acted like the Nazi Stormtroopers in 1935 Germany, and Nigerian authorities have remained quiet about this violence specifically directed at the Igbo population in Lagos. Just this past Thursday, yet to be apprehended arsonists again, burnt down the Olowu Spare Parts market, another Igbo market in Lagos. Those who have threatened the Igbo are making good their threat to teach the Igbo a lesson. This threat has been publicly, unambiguously made by key spokesmen of the Tinubu Campaign: Bayo Onanuga, and Femi Fani-Kayode. Bayo Onanuga has said the Igbo must be taught never again to interfere in Lagos politics.

His companion,  whose wife is Igbo, and whose first son is by the Igbo woman has also threatened the Igbo with fire and brimstone, and has called the child of another Igbo woman who contested against his party a “slave.” It is rich that Fani Kayode, the great-great-grand child of returnee ex-slaves, who defied slavery and rose above it, and helped in creating the modern, cosmopolitan “Negro city,” Lagos, is calling another slave! It is all very Freudian. He must also secretly hate his own children by his Igbo woman, since they are like Gbadebo  Chinedu Rhodes-Vivour, Igbo.

There is this conundrum: Fani Kayode’s Igbo woman. Run!  Run for your life now with your children! Because if she doesn’t, whatever happens to her, Igbo kinfolk will not move a finger. It would be her choice. And if she has a sense of her own dignity and self-worth, she ought to know now, that a man who is willing to destroy the Igbo, or threaten them, calling them slaves, thinks of her as nothing better than a foot mat. Fani-Kayode is not loving her. And there is a world of difference in that. In any case, these threats on the Igbo by Bayo Onanuga, Fani-Kayode and their likes aim to drive Igbo from Lagos. Of course, few people take Fani-Kayode seriously.

Today, he is calling for the death of the Igbo. Tomorrow, you might find him again, singing the high praise of the Igbo as a great, cultured, and entrepreneurial people. And that they are. The Igbo did not ask to be born into a great culture. It is not their fault. They just are. They should not be hated, despised, or feared for it. The Igbo are great, not because they are better or worse than any other people, but because they have a culture that values life, liberty, tolerance, and the universal kinship of people.

They do not make kings because they see the king in all men. They strive. They enter into a place of darkness, they join hands with others, and turn on the light. That is what they have brought to Lagos, and other places where they have settled. They have brough light and enterprise to Lagos, and helped to build it into a great Nigerian city. If the Igbo leave Lagos, as those like Bayo Onanuga and his attack dogs are pushing them to do, a massive light will leave with them, and the city will turn into cold ash. 

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