by Chinwe Okafor
One would expect that we’d be solving a problem not aggravating it. But the leadership of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) probably thinks otherwise.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the body warned Nigerians to stop the uncomplimentary remarks being directed at the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, following his threats to Igbo residents in Lagos last Sunday.
According to OPC, the Yoruba traditional heritage must be respected by all and as a group, they will ‘not tolerate anybody irrespective of their places of birth of conviction denigrate what their hosts (Yorubas) hold sacred’.
Read the statement below;
The attention of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has been drawn to some unruly and unbecoming comments purportedly in reaction to alleged comments by the paramount ruler of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu and warn all those involved to desist from such unbecoming acts forthwith.
The institution of the oba is one the Yoruba race hold in high esteem, and the OPC as irredentist defenders of Yoruba culture and heritage would therefore not tolerate anybody -irrespective of their places of birth of conviction- to denigrate what their hosts (Yorubas) hold sacred. While we accept that that institution should remain non-partisan, it must also be acknowledged that the Palace of the Oba of Lagos has already claimed that the royal father was misrepresented in the press and pleaded for understanding.
Be that as it may, the Yoruba’s accommodating and loving nature should not be misconstrued as timidity. As hosts, we have given all our visitors enough space and opportunity to bloom and flourish without molestations, and of all the tribes and visitors in Lagos, none has enjoyed the benevolence of Lagos and indeed all of Yorubaland as much as the Igboman and nation.
The evidence of the claim above can be found in the fact that Yorubaland as a whole is the most cosmopolitan area in Nigeria. We Yoruba have allowed other tribes to own businesses, properties and even contest and hold political positions on Yoruba soil in a manner unreciprocated anywhere else in Nigeria.
Using the same Lagos as an example, the fact that the likes of Pastor Ben. Akabueze and Joe Igbokwe have become an integral part of the political frame work of Lagos State for years now is proof enough that Lagos and indeed the Yoruba are excellent hosts. Akabueze has for the last ten years been directing and coordinating the economic direction of the state from his enviable position as the honorable commissioner for budget and planning while Igbokwe has held sways general manager at LASIMRA and head, UFRU.
Others such as Ngozi Nwosu the popular actress from Imo State who got N6million for overseas surgery, the late comrade Chima Ubani whose family got cash and a gift of 3bedroom accommodation at Marwa Gardens as well as First Consultant Hospital that got N50 million as compensation for involvement in the Ebola case are evidence that the Igbos are not despised in Lagos.
Nowhere in Nigeria -east of the Niger- is the Yoruba or any other tribe accorded the kind of gesture the Igbos have been enjoying in Lagos in the last 12 or so years since these bonafide Igbo men entered into the Lagos political scene. As for the likes of Bode George, Fani-Kayode, Musiliu Obanikoro and their party the PDP, their outcry is the reaction of a person or group without shame and critical thinking (arojinle).
Is it that they have a case of memory dysfunction or are they just plain mischievous. Have they so quickly forgotten that it is their party that started the politicization of the institution and monarchy with the president’s visit to the same Oba of Lagos earlier this January as the forerunner to visits to many other obas in Yorubaland. None of the PDP members complaining now saw any thing wrong with the attempts to involve our obas in partisan politics until it backfired against them and their party.
This brings us to the warning we issued earlier, when Gani Adams in his treacherous, sycophantic and reactionary move turned on the good people of Lagos unleashing violence and threat of violence against the perceived enemies of his paymasters. If Adams had not behaved like an omo ojuorolari, he should by now be defending the sacredness of the stool of the Oba of Lagos or any other one in Yorubaland for that matter. If Adams had not collected the billions he did, along with MASSOB and other ethnic groups, his co-travellers would now be degenerating and abusing our hospitality the way no one can replicate in their homelands.
In closing, we enjoin all members of the OPC and indeed the Yoruba nation to beware of the enemies within like Gani Adams and with one voice condemn all fifth columnist within our fold. And with the foregoing it is abundantly clear that Gani Adams who brought this odium upon us must quit the OPC.