By FCC Jones Onwuasoanya
Those who are promoting ethnic hatred and spewing all kinds of ethnic slurs are not friends of their own people more than us.
Neither Tinubu nor Onanuga, and not even MC Oluomo likes his Yoruba kith and kin more than the average Igbo living in Lagos.
The Igbo are not in any tussle with the Yoruba and I am sure that the true Yoruba sees the Igbo as friend, partner and sibling.
Those promoting ethnic hatred and divisiveness through their speeches and actions are rejected, irresponsible and cowardly politicians, who cannot compete in a free and fair contest, hence their resort to cowardly acts of thuggery and ethnic profiling. We must not fall into the temptation of accepting that as the thinking of the Yoruba majority.
We have thousands of Igbos who campaigned for and voted for the APC in Lagos and other parts of the country. The narrative that subvertive elements are trying to sell that Igbos are anti-APC is a lie from the pit of hell. As always, Igbos are Republican in nature, and no group of people has contributed more to the growth, peace and unity of Nigeria than Ndigbo. We are traders and developers, we develop anywhere we find ourselves. We do not aim to displace original owners of any part of the country. We align with them and contribute to the development of our communities and better governance.
Ndigbo will not apologize for any political choices they make. We are freeborns of this nation and we have rights to participate in the politics of any part of the country we find ourselves in, just like every other tribe is free and qualified to participate in the politics and development of any part of Igbo land.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees us the right to participate in politics wherever we find ourselves in. And if an Igbo wants to be the governor of Lagos State, Oyo State or Kano State or any State in the country for that matter, all he needs to do is to secure the support of majority of voters in that area. If he is elected, he will become governor and nothing should stop him. If a Yoruba or Hausa man wants to become the governor of Imo State where I hail from, and I consider him qualified and competent, I will vote for him ahead of my Igbo brother or sister. I know that is the same with millions of Igbos in Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Delta and elsewhere across the country.
We will not be intimidated into abandoning our rights as citizens of this country. We will not be blackmailed into ceding our rights as citizens and residents of any part of this country.
We have millions of Igbos who have made Lagos home, and they will retain that right. Nobody can send them away or diminish their rights to ownership of properties, participation in politics, marriage, competition, business and education. We welcome people from Yoruba land to Ala Igbo, to own properties, to marry, to vote, to contest for elections in Ala Igbo and even to holding titles and competing with us in anything.
My own father married a Yoruba woman. I have two younger half siblings whose maternal roots is Yoruba. They have lived in Lagos more than they have lived in any part of the Southeast. I have friends whose roots are Igbo but who do not know a word in Igbo language and I know a few Igbo people who would want to be called Lagosians. It is their right. Nobody should deprive them of that. Nobody can deprive them of that.
I have read with concern, a trending campaign from some sections of Igbo social media users, urging Ndigbo in Lagos to boycott the upcoming census in Lagos. That is overreaction. Nobody will abandon Lagos for the other. Every Lagosian has the same right as the other. Ndigbo, who wish to, should and will participate in the upcoming census, as Lagosians, the same way any Yoruba who wishes can and should participate in census in Akokwa, Owerri, Aba or any part of Igbo land they wish to.
Ndigbo in Lagos must not fall for the blackmail. They must boycott nothing in Lagos. They must stay put and assert themselves as free citizens that they are in Lagos.
Onwuasoanya FCC Jones is the Deputy National Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide – Youth Wing