Lagos – Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has threatened to banish the media and publicity director of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, Bayo Onanuga, from Lagos to Ijebu Ode, his hometown, if he makes further Igbophobic comments against Ndigbo in Lagos State.
Bode George made the comment on Tuesday at his Lugard Avenue, Ikoyi office in Lagos while receiving a delegation of the leadership of Anya-Ndi-Igbo, a non-partisan, socio-political and economic development-oriented organization, committed to equity, peace, unity, justice and progress of Nigeria.
Recall that immediately after the governorship election, Onanuga threatened the Igbos against interfering in the politics of Lagos.
He said via his Twitter handle: “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Let there be no repeat in 2027. Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, or any Nigerian state. It is not No Man’s Land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba land. Mind your business,” he tweeted.
Bode George said it was dangerous for Onanuga, an Ijebu man from Ogun State to be making such a comment which does not represent the culture of true Lagosians.
He said: “And until now Onanuga has not apologized for the comment and I expect Prof Wole Soyinka to tell him to apologize. It was a misnomer, senseless and insane to make that kind of comment in a country where we are still trying to build a nation.
“How can you tell them (Ndigbo) that they can’t come here? Is that the culture of Lagos? Lagos is the commercial-nerve centre not only for Nigeria but for the whole of West Africa.
“I believe that there is a new move in Lagos and the elders of the real Lagosians are going to meet because you don’t come here to come and define our culture, the culture that has existed.
“And I want to apologize publicly for that kind of detestable statement by Bayo Onanuga. Who the hell is he to be throwing such tantrums and I’m shocked that even Bola Tinubu has not told him to shut up. Already I could see that he is part of the transition committee. How do you put that kind of man in that committee? Do you think that Abuja is Lagos? And you are going to meet with all the various tribes in this country in the Villa. So, I want to apologize as a true born and genuine Lagosian that that is not our style and attitude and we must stop him.
“If Bayo Onanuga is not careful, we will also ban him from Lagos. He can’t talk on behalf of Lagosians and what authority does he have to make such a comment?
“I’m sure that now there is a move by elders too to get the real Lagosians irrespective of political leaning to come together, let us save the culture that was handed over to us by our forefathers. Nobody can start to manipulate or re-write the history of our state.
“I see that the misinformation grew because the Nigerian government stopped teaching history, which was a fundamental mistake on the part of our country. If you don’t learn about your past, you will repeat the same mistakes going forward.”
Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Anya-Ndi-Igbo, Dr Uma Eleazu, who also was one of the founders of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, said it was worrisome the trend of playing one tribe against another in the quest for power.
Hear him: “There is a development we noticed in the last election, it turned out to be a do or die affair. If you do a content analysis of the just concluded elections, the words that were used were worrisome. These are words that create fear in the minds of people.
“In the last election, it went beyond that. In an attempt to dissuade people from voting, we saw one ethnic nationality brought out to be antagonized and given names. This had nothing to do with politics and it created fear in an attempt to degrade and dissuade people from coming out to vote.
“So, our people felt there was a need to talk to leaders like you because we have heard some people say that Igbo and Yoruba are going to fight for Lagos. This is misinformation and it puts fear in the minds of the people, they are asking whether the Igbo people are safe because we have been here for a long time.
“So, our coming to you is to tell you that the Igbo people are not in Lagos for a war or a fight. We are in Lagos to earn a living and to contribute to the development of the place where we are making a living.
“As a leader, we are telling you what we feel because most of our people are now afraid. Some faceless people are going round fomenting trouble for Igbo people. The latest one is that they said Igbo traders want to close their markets for two weeks. This is fake news.
“Please help us in spreading the word that Igbo people are not at war with Yoruba people in Lagos State.We are not planning any and like I said, we are here to do our business and we don’t want to be molested. We need to douse this tension so that everyone will live in peace.”
Among members of the Anya-Ndi-Igbo delegation that visited Bode George include; Engr. Ben Akah, who is the group’s Lagos coordinator, Chief Amechi Ebeledike, president of Anambra Town Union and President of South East Town Unions in Lagos, Emeka Ugwu-Oju, chairman of NESH Foundation, Ikechukwu Amaechi, publisher of TheNiche and Elvira Salleras, Chief of Staff to the Labour Party Governorship candidate in the March 18 governorship election, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.