read with utmost dismay the article written by one Femi Fani-Kayode, and titled, "The bitter truth about the Igbos", published on the August 10, 2013 online edition of Vanguard Newspapers. When I continued to go down the write-up, it was easy to observe that this writer, who said he was a Yoruba man, was unleashing his (and not the Yoruba people's) resentment against the Igbos whom I believe he could have long ago (if not since his childhood) considered as his innate foes. This article was another unpopular one and actually not worthy of reading, because as I went through it, what my mind suggested to me was that this writer must be a young, unintelligent tribalist, who wanted to bring himself to stardom among his people by seizing the opportunity of the recent deportation of Igbos from Lagos to exhibit some sort of radicalism uncalled for. But matter-of-factly, what triggered my decision to respond to this article was learning the fact that Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode had once served Nigeria as a minister of aviation. It is appalling to learn that a radical tribalist of this magnitude has served Nigeria on this capacity.
The harangues lashed against the Igbos by Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode can easily warn us that in Nigeria, the spirit of mutual co-existence among tribes is yet far-fetched. Tribalism still lingers deeply in the country, and when we consider the fact that a former minister, a well-placed government man, could make attacks on a whole tribe, not mincing words, and using the pretext of statements made more than forty years ago, probably when he yet knew nothing about governance, it tells us that Nigeria may not be going anywhere nearer to positivity. Why? Because there are still a tiny fragment of humans like Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode who still have the 1960s mentally towards Nigeria.
The Youruba people are a good tribe, like their Igbo counterpart. I personally have many of them as friends, and I believe that the entire Yoruba people, especially the middle and lower classes, will not be in support of the level of enmity Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode is trying to instigate for his own ambitious reasons. Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode is going back to the 1960s, but he did not understand that many Nigerians of different tribes are no longer interested in this kind of deceit. Mr. Kayode's careful option to distinguish the Yoruba and Igbo tribes as 'nationalities' speaks volumes. It means that he never had and will never have faith in the future of a united Nigeria. The incapability of those who we choose to serve and call them leaders is what is driving the black Africa down.
I wish to advise Mr. Kayode not to be afraid. Nobody is taking Lagos away from the Yorubas, if that was what caused his fear of writing such obnoxious article. I will still want him to come up to the modern age. Igbo people who were born in Lagos have the right to be addressed as Lagosians. Nobody can take that away from them. In the same sense, any Yoruba man born in Anambra state has every right to be called Anambrarian. And if any Igbo man wakes up tomorrow and buys a house in any part of Lagos, within the government laws, nobody has the right to revoke it from him. Lagos is strategically located in Nigeria with its harbors which make business thrive, and that is why people of every other tribe other than the Yorubas converge here. The reigning and abundance of a particular natural resource can drive a people to a particular area at a time. I have seen many Yorubas in River State and Warri fighting for their livelihoods because of the existence of petroleum. If any of the Igbo states of Nigeria happens to discover a natural resource on demand by the Yoruba people tomorrow, we will witness the drive towards Igbo land. I don't think that Igbos would have any cause to eject any Yoruba man if this happens.
It is good a thing that Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode has said it himself that Igbos are traders. If he thought that his words were victimizing, the reverse is the case. Igbos acknowledge that we are traders and we accept it. That is our nature and we have seen the extent of positivity that has brought us. But it was good a thing too that Mr. Kayode also accepted the fact that Igbos have produced prominent medical professionals and lawyers. If the reverse had been the case, I wonder the kind of words this man would have used to describe the inability-towards-education of the Igbos. The kind of brag over education that Mr. Kayode put in black and white is typically the type you can hear from a five year old child who understands nothing about life. I will like to educate Mr. Kayode that the laws of Geography and development do not lie. In the right sense, Igbos and Yorubas are not supposed to be competing in education. Development has always begun first from the areas in coastal zones. This is where the people who live there were able to encounter foreigners and imitate other cultures that helped them develop rapidly. The whites landed in the western Nigeria first, am I right? So, at the pace Igbos moved towards acquisition of education, we did well, right? You see, there is a law of geography which states that population growth decreases from the tropical rainforest zone to the semi arid zones. It is only in Nigeria that this law has not held.
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode seems to be a very good history student. But the problem is that he also seems like a man who remembers history from one perspective. He spoke so much about the turmoil of the past in Nigeria but I want him to remember that when the civil war broke out, Chief Awolowo was still in jail in Calabar. Calabar was part of Biafra, wasn't it? And Ojukwu was the Biafran head, right? So, it means that Ojukwu released Awo from jail and allowed him to go back to his people in the west. Always remember this favor, Mr. Kayode.
It is of no importance to keep writing further, noting that Mr. Kayode could be an ambitious man who may be trying to broaden the scope of a little conflict so as to fulfill his wants of becoming somebody big among his people. Let me tell him once again that Igbos are very vibrant people whom other tribes accept because of their industriousness and good business skills. Any one person out for diatribes against Igbos hardly succeeds. It is good to remind Mr. Kayode that fame is not easily achieved through instigation of troubles. The better way is through good governance. Chief Awolowo is a legend in Yoruba land. He was an intelligent man who achieved the legendry among his people by governing them well. Mr. Kayode can't ever attain such height by cutting corners. He has to jettison tribalism and enmity against the Igbos so as to achieve his leadership goals. This is my sincere advice to him. In the first instance, if Nigeria were a nation headed for positive development, a man who made such horrendous statements against a tribe is not supposed to be allowed to smell a position in the federal government again until he apologizes to the people he offended.
And to my fellow Igbos in Lagos, I will advise you to open your eyes well. There is one man called Femi Fani-Kayode in Lagos. His hatred against Igbos may be brewing. Remember, Igbos, that you still have a whole lot of spaces in the East for investments.