The Oba of Lagos singled out the Igbo residents of Lagos State and threatened them with death, if they did not vote his chosen APC candidate in the April 11 governorship elections.
The Oba said to Igbo Ezes in Lagos on a courtesy call on him: “If anyone of you goes against Ambode, whom I picked, that is your end. If it does not happen within seven days just know I am a bastard… If anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Ambode will be next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water (the Lagos lagoon).” He said a lot more, swearing and threatening.
In living memory the world over, nothing has so fragrantly infringed upon a people’s human rights and freedom of choice and conscience as the threat. Are Igbos in Lagos his slaves? Of course, the Oba’s threat is an empty one. But that does not mean it will not be taken seriously and appropriate response found to it. It is not a sin to Igbos alone. It is a sin to all humanity. All must rise in unanimity to condemn it. Those to rise against it include the federal government, the Lagos State government, the international community, and the media.
We see the Oba’s statement as an incitement that could lead to genocide against the Igbos in Lagos. What the Oba has done has salutary consequences for world peace and stability, should the Igbos feel really threatened and decide to check the Oba and take laws into their hands in self-preservation.
Mindful of the need for peace, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has issued a watery and apologetic statement instead of calling the bluff of the insult on their people.
Luckily too for Nigeria’s unity, Igbos ignored the threat, went over and voted as their minds dictated to them. They refused to be unduly provoked and treated the Oba’s threat with the contempt it deserved. We wait to see what will happen next.
People who watched the threat of the Oba on television, U-tube or Facebook did so with amazement and disappointment. Already, on the social media, there is a war of words. Hostile exchanges are like wild fire. We only pray and hope it does not degenerate into something else which nobody knows how to put a stop to.
The Oba threw a spanner on the wheels of peaceful elections and official reactions to it is getting late in coming.
If Nigeria’s aversion, indeed the world’s aversion to electoral violence, is anything serious, this threat to Igbo residents of Lagos ought to be a matter that offends our collective conscience and should be dealt with promptly, so that in future, such reckless people do not try the nonsense again.
The threat by the Oba is violence in itself. It does violence to the psyche of Igbos and Nigerians because of the shock we all feel about it. At the level of Nigeria’s democratic growth today, it is primitive for the tribal ruler to speak the way he did. He is certainly outdated about Nigeria’s democratic practice.
From the abundance of his heart, the man has spoken. It matters a great deal how the smoldering fire from his speech will be handled. This is an effusion that is capable of being infectious and putting Igbos into danger again countrywide. It is intolerable. It should not be taken lightly or swept under the carpet by the government.