Evangelist Elliot Uko, founder of the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and leader of the South-East Self Determination Group (SESDG) says the statement by Oba of Lagos HRM Rilwan Akiolu showed the deep hatred he has for Igbos.
“What the Oba is saying is that I should make life difficult for my security guard, his wife and two children who told me he believes in Buhari and voted APC. The Oba is also saying that the Igwe of my community should kill all non-indigenes in my home-town who voted APC, place a curse on them or ask all the area boys to drown them in the village river,” he said in reaction to the monarch’s statement.
“He is saying that democracy does not exist in Nigeria and every traditional ruler has the right to insult, harass, intimidate and command people from other ethnic groups in their domain to vote the way the Oba likes or face intimidation. The Oba has confirmed a deep hatred for Ndigbo because we all know that he cannot talk to the Ijaw like that. Fear will not let him talk to the Hausa-Fulani like that. The Igbo are the only people he can abuse and humiliate confirming that the boys who stormed the Enugu Radio Station with Biafran flag, not long ago, were probably right that Ndigbo are hated and despised in Nigeria. What the Oba is letting the whole world know is that come May 29, Nigeria will embark on the road to Armageddon.”
Also speaking after consultations with Igbo leaders, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement by its President-General, Gary Enwo-Igariwey, viewed the Oba’s threat “with serious concern especially coming from a first class traditional ruler in the country at a time when Nigerians are celebrating the peaceful conduct of the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.”
“As a people, Ndigbo live in all parts of the country and have respect for the culture and traditions of their host communities, including Lagos. We, therefore, have respect for the ancient heritage of the throne the Oba of Lagos occupies.
“Lagos, by its special designation in the country, for over a century, has been home to all tribes from far and near. The Lagos we see today, is the product of the sweat of all Nigerians.
“Democracy is about free choice based on interests. It is the right of every Nigerian to exercise that freedom of choice freely given by the Nigerian constitution.
“It is, therefore, the responsibility of all political parties in the country to pursue programmes that address the interests of the electorate from which they make their choice. Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians should be free to make their choice.
“Ohanaeze, therefore, directs Ndigbo to be bold and courageous as always and vote massively for any candidate of their choice based on their conscience and interests without fear.
“As a people, Ndigbo cannot and should not succumb to any form of intimidation from any quarters no matter the consequences, especially in a place they have laboured with others to build. Ndigbo are interested in building a nation where all Nigerians are free to live and develop in any part of the country in harmony with other nationalities without discrimination.
“We, therefore, wish to bring this threat to the notice of the Governor of Lagos State, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the Inspector-General of Police, The Presidency and the international community, including the International Criminal Court of Justice, ICC, to ensure the safety of life and properties of Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians, at all times.”
Also reacting to the Oba’s statement, former governor of Anambra State Peter Obi said he prayed it would turn out that the revered Oba was either misquoted or quoted out of context.
Speaking at an event in Umuoji, Anambra State, said the recent statement, if true, by a revered traditional ruler is worrisome, inflammatory and capable of truncating the unity of the country, which he said is at variance with the stand of President Jonathan towards the election that had engendered peace in the country and trust among Nigerian’s many ethnic groups.