By SOLA EBISENI
ON this page last week, asking rhetorically for the whereabouts of Mr. President as the nation boiled during the elections between February 18 and March 18, we bemoaned this curious premonition of the coincidences in times between these occurrences in our land and the tragic happenings in Rome in the Shakespearian Julius Caesar. It is both about the politics and leadership of a nation.
We have expressed that those who gave Peter Obi and his structure-less Obidients no chance but swept off their feet in the unprecedented political hurricane that the youths wrought throughout the land in electoral victory for Obi, would rather die than surrender power and its lucre. They would spare nothing, including our cherished legendary culture of civility, to regain and keep power. Losing Lagos was particularly too scary to them.
Months before the elections they despised and dismissed the youths as irrelevant and inconsequential in the power game. They turned deaf ears to the early warnings of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State that the Obidients had taken over his state, even from his household.
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Being an insider to the OBIDATTI phenomenon, I had also severally warned them on my Facebook page in several Yoruba adage, the most aptly delivered, as it now turns out, was: ‘eni f’oju ànà w’òku, ebora á bo láso, which literally warned of impending doom for those who are fixated in their old views about events.
We searched for the President in vain while the nation boiled and the seeds of Rwanda was being planted on our streets even in our own Lagos which has had a reputation since the 17th century of being a potpourri of nations and cultures within the territory that came to be known, centuries after, as Nigeria and beyond the seas. We watched as some of our values we proudly flaunt were being frittered away by a few misguided among us.
The spirit of Adekunle Fajuyi who refused to surrender his guest to his murderers even at the loss of his budding career, high office and life ultimately meant nothing to the power-hungry amongst us, nor did they remember that our parents avoided the temptation of declaring other persons property as abandoned so they might be converted for our own even when it wouldn’t be an offence to do so as booties of war.
Like we also said on this page last week, about 30 years after the heat of inter-ethic war gushed out like molten magma in Rwanda the world was treated to the spectacle of tribal war chanting on the streets of Lagos by misguided power mongers who felt called upon to rule the people without their consent. Only they are right, the rest of the world is wrong and may go to hell. The world is made to believe that the justification for letting hell loose on our communities is the allegation that some Igbos said Lagos was a no man’s land, as if such words, if ever spoken or even true, would transform Lagos to an Igbo territory. They knew, of a truth, that in spite of their snatching of ballot materials, avoidance of statutory technological processes of credible elections and violent suppression of voters, the elections were a vote of no confidence of their administration of Lagos these past 24 years.
They could not reason that if Igbo truly had such commanding population status, how many of the constituencies of Lagos have ever gone to the Igbo in previous elections.
They falsely proclaimed themselves as builders of modern Lagos without mentioning further contributions since Jakande left the stage in 1983 and the efforts even of military administration. Only non-Lagosians may buy such crappy products. Bereft of any achievements or legacy that may be sold to Lagosians who have been at the receiving ends of their maladministration, they resorted to cheap ethnic bigotry enforced by miscreants who ignorantly feel loved by their oppressors for such dehumanising assignments.
Even after being declared winner they are haunted by their primitive manipulations and tragic victory they can not celebrate. Drowning in their iniquities, they clutch to every words and events to justify their unwholesome behaviour. Their division of the people knows no limits.
They must also be divided as Saros, Aguda, Islanders and Araoke as further strategy to promote their preferences. Their jaundiced history of Lagos contains names of individuals and families known only from the 19th century. Not in any sentence in their presentation are the names and families of the grossly marginalised aborigines, Ilaje, Awori or Bini, ever mentioned.
The world now being a global village, they have nowhere to hide except to hang on to inanities, thinking that the rest of us are gullible. Clear remarks by Chief Emmanuel Iwunayanwu that Yoruba and Igbo were not at war but that the event in Lagos was the handiwork of some political rascals was interpreted as insulting reference to all Yoruba by which they took over every social media space and even cheap press statements seeking recruits into their misguided but deliberate ethnic army.
The larger world is not deterred by pretentious diplomatic niceties to speak out against evil as the British Deputy High Commissioner just fired the first salvo. He wondered “if Lagos can’t be that kind of cosmopolitan melting pot of culture and language and all the things that should be, really how’s Lagos going to succeed”. This intervention is long due.
The international community cannot fold its arms to allow the recklessness of some of us unleash the process of another Rwanda pogrom on the rest of the world. Nigeria obviously has no capacity to keep its citizens within its territory should we allow the unguarded outbursts of some push our federation into needless wars.
One more thing: it appears they are not comfortable even with the third position they awarded to the Obidients. They seem to be more bothered even by the Petition of the Labour Party.
Some have said they never reckoned that Obi could head for the Tribunal. First, they are not strange to a party coming from the rear to claim the electoral trophy. The case of Hope Uzodimma from number four to the Government House in Imo State is still very fresh as he is yet to complete his first term. The precedent was set by them. The grounds of the petition in any way you look at it is frightening and occasioning these destabilising responses.
For the umpteenth time, we warn those beating the drums of war and seeking partnership in the war against all to justify their electoral shenanigans against the people, that they beware of the Ides of March for it is not yet over. Nigeria, we hail thee.
Ebiseni is the Secretary-General, Afenifere and South West Coordinator, OBIDATTI Campaigns Organisation.