I’ve been in Enugu state for my friend’s wedding preparation, her traditional wedding will be taking place tomorrow. Due to the frenzied and frenetic pace of activities I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath. So I missed out on perhaps the most controversial story making the rounds this Easter season. Yes, that story that alleges that the Oba of Lagos issued a death threat on non-lagosians (igbos) who would vote 4 PDP in Saturday’s elections.
My initial reaction was a numbing shock, how could he say this in public? Unfortunately disbelief wasn’t and hasn’t been one of the gamut of feelings that have passed through me today. Sadly, I believe the story, I just don’t believe it happened in that setting.
I’m a second generation Lagosian, I was born in Lagos to two parents who were in Lagos. Apart from education purposes, three years of junior secondary school and my university years. I’ve never spent more than two weeks away from Lagos. Yet I would be termed an “omo igbo” and a stranger if I want to contest for an elected position or on appointment to a plum government post. But they have no qualms about collecting exorbitant taxes from all and sundry, even omo igbos.
I’m not in the mood to write an (undoubtedly long) epistle on the none indigene discrimination that is common in Nigeria, make no mistake… it’s not peculiar to Lagos or the South West for that matter. But I find it appalling and disgusting that the paramount traditional ruler of the state where my parents, brothers and I were born, would try to impose his candidate on me and issues a curse if I fail to toe his line. Even a military dictator will not be that brazen. For me the bigger picture isn’t the rants of a power drunk king but the underlying currents that gave him the boldness to say this.
Most young people have no idea of the myriad reasons for our civil war and a good number of them are of the opinion that we “let it go, after all it ended forty five years ago”. I almost wept when I read a comment by someone of my generation who said “Ojukwu caused the war”. Sadly, when I mentioned a few of the many factors that led to that war; he felt bad that he knew so little of history of that war.
It is often said that those who do not learn from their mistakes are inclined to repeat them. The little fault lines that break the fibre of our nationhood are rife in many parts of our national fabric and we refuse to see… we shut our eyes with glue, I pray we open them early. If a paramount leader calls for people to be thrown in the lagoon, in the most cosmopolitan city in Nigeria. Then the genocides of Rwanda might seem like child’s play. Speaking of Rwanda, I grew up with that war in the background of my childhood with genocide, Tutsi and Hutu as common words on VOA. I pray that no child somewhere grows up with genocide, Nigeria, igbo as common words on CNN.
Ok… I’m done with my rant. Here’s a selfie of a fine woman to lighten the atmosphere on this blog.
PS: I’m pretty sure there are typos on this post *more than usual* ;-). I wrote this on the spot with anger running through my veins and I want this post to reflect that.
Here are two posts about the lagoon saga
Again I reiterate that I do not believe that the Oba said this at a meeting with Igbo “leaders”. However I’ve heard worse, much worse from certain leaders here in Lagos.
PPS: I got the video from a friend… It is REAL!!!. How terrible.