t is so important for one to draw positive elements from any negative situation, I don’t dwell on failure if there is any such thing, as I rather view it as feed back for improvement and that is exactly what this Lagos State reintegration or deportation saga has brought to the table.
I plead with all aggrieved parties to sheath your swords as there is a mighty positive note emanating from this situation.
In the interim I would like to reference, Femi Fani-Kayode’s bitter article about the igbo’s in Nigeria, as it has obviously steered up a lot of formal and informal National debate about the strength of Nigeria’s unity and emotions are at an all time high.
As much as I totally and publicly condemn Chief Fani-Kayode’s intentions, as his write up in my own opinion was not to inform and bridge rather it was to discredit and demonize. It was not to unite and build but to divide and confuse, it was not to heal and calm tensions but to inflame and incite distrust. On the other hand the Chief is entitled to his opinion.
However, I wish to concentrate on lessons learnt here.
Nigeria is a great Nation, great People and simply a God blessed country. I believe in a United Nigeria no matter how hard some try to divide us. It is only natural that one could get emotional when he feels aggrieved but for others to use the same platform to open up old wounds is deliberately dubious as it appears that the author of the Bitter truth about the igbo’s may have fathomed these extreme views for a very long time, views he may have even had when he held public office at National level.
Gov Fashola, Gov Obi and former Gov Orji Uzor Kalu simply gave the author the platform he had been waiting for.
I picked keen interest in Nigerian politics from 13th February 1976 but I began to analyse and dissect its political DNA from 1979/1980 when I was denied 20 kobo to go to the library and was asked to go and read a newspaper and I have never stopped neither have I looked back.
My point is that, I am very familiar with Femi Fani-Kayode’s data source and the research material that he used in his article. I am also familiar with other articles and poems that he has written particularly the ones that mocked late President Yar’Adua’s ill health, titled "I Stand and I Fight". In this poem, he described Yar'Adua as a "sickly tyrant with an amalekite foundation" and he predicted that "his end would soon come". The other poem was titled, "Corpsology: Umaru's Gift To The Modern World. In this poem the author’s definition of Corpsology was "the rulership of the living by the dead" I will not glorify these poems by going into detail as I found some extracts highly offensive and unnecessary and so may other true Nigerians.
I want to see a United Nigeria but could one view Chief Fani-Kayode’s bitter article about the Igbo’s as trying to derail the progress of the recently registered APC and to possibly deter any Igbo following. I wonder how Gov Okorocha and Gov Fashola would view that very bitter article.
As I read the article, it is only common sense that they were possible intentions to cause injury to Nigeria’s Unity and as I previously advised, I am familiar with the research material that he used and I strongly question the author’s intentions and so should his peers and the rest of Nigeria question his intentions.
We all know that this debate emanated from Gov Obi’s and other prominent Igbo leaders reaction to the Nigerian citizens of Igbo decent that were dumped at Onitsha head bridge at about 3.20am in the morning of 24th July 2013. It is alleged that the Lagos State Government were trying to reintegrate or deport them back to their States of origin.
History and Geography would also tell us that Igbo land is spread across 7 states or more so not all Igbos come from Anambra State. It is also alleged that the Lagos State Govt had already established a line of communication with the Anambra State Govt in Awka prior to this incident. If this is in fact the case as it may well be, then why were these Nigerian citizens dumped at head bridge Onitsha as we all know that head bridge is not the capital of Anambra State?
Again if the Lagos State Govt had allegedly established a line of communication with the Anambra State Govt on this matter then why did Lagos adopt a stealth approach to an alleged transparent initiative by dumping these Nigerian citizens outside the State capital at 3.20 am in the morning.
We all agree that Gov Fashola and Gov Obi are nice guys and nobody can take that away from them, we also know that Gov Fashola didn’t usher them into the vehicle or dump them at the head bridge but we also know that as the CEO of Lagos State Govt the buck stops at his office. As a result of the ripples that this saga has caused I genuinely feel sorry for Gov Fashola and also for those Nigerians citizens that were dumped at head bridge Onitsha at 3.20am in the morning.
Those in charge of the said operation should have done their home work properly as Gov Fashola would have expected and trusted them to do so. One assuming that all Igbos whom have been in existence for thousands of years come from Onitsha head bridge is a separate insult in itself.
You will be amazed to note that a lot of Nigerian citizens believe that Igbo land is made up of mud houses with thatched roofs as I recall a former colleague of mine in London who was very quick to reference igbo Land as backward, underdeveloped and that we eat people and that is why he is afraid to visit the region. I simply drew his audience’s attention to pictures of my State and I also directed them to youtube and a website called skyscraper city urging them to type in any igbo town.
The mocker ended up with egg on his face while his audience simply asked how much a flight ticket was. His feeble apology came in the form “omo igbo, no vex” we are still friends and he now wants to visit.
I have lived in 5 Nigerian States spanning 2 Eastern States, 1 Western State and 2 North Central States I speak and write fluent Igbo, I speak passable to reasonable Hausa and a fraction of Tiv, as a result I would never assume that an Oyo indigene is from Eko because he is of Yoruba decent nor would I assume that an Ngas or Birom man is Hausa because they come from the North.
So how did this reintegration initiative intend to reunite these Igbos with their families when they were dumped 10’s if not hundreds of miles from Eboyin, Imo and Abia States. Am I correct in saying that the actions of those who managed this operation simply defeated the purpose of any good intentions the Lagos State Govt may have had.
Dumping Igbos from different States in Onitsha is questionable, dumping them at 3.20 am in the morning is questionable and Femi Fani Kayode’s intentions behind his bitter article by opening up old wounds of the 50’s and 60’s is totally unacceptable and unrelated to the matter at hand.
Igbos are not in Lagos or others States because the said States are hospitable, Igbos are in these Nigerian States simply because they are Nigerian citizens full stop. Igbos travel a lot, you would find them in the most remote villages all over the country running a business no matter how small or simply trying to make ends meet. It is in our nature to keep busy, be it in farming, trading, schooling or corporate affairs.
It is not about hospitable Nigerian States allowing them to stay rather it is that of freedom of movement which is accorded to every Nigerian citizen by the constitution.
However, the said movement or migration of people has to be spread evenly in order to support the development of other states in the North, South East and South South
I agree that Lagos State is congested in comparison to its geographical size. I also agree that the whole of Nigeria doesn’t have to live in Lagos. Again we must note that wherever one is at any particular time be it a day or a life time, you will spend money to sustain that stay, be it on food for a day or food for a month or on anything such as rent or car repairs or purchase.
The fact is that, that money spent eventually filters into the local or state economy one way or the other. If we look at the bigger picture, whether Igbos contribute 55% to Lagos State economy or whether non Lagos indigenes make up that contribution. In basic economics that 55% difference has been met regardless who made it. The down side is that other States suffer or are starved of these much needed funds for local development simply because everyone has run to Lagos State to live. Love it or hate it, Lagos has turned into a super West African state because of this overwhelming interest in the region.
Every Nigerian makes a contribution to the National economy and to measure GDP per state, Lagos comes first, River State second, Abia State comes third with Imo State coming in at sixth. So we all make contributions.
However, the economy of the Igbo, Hausa and other states could grow tremendously if Igbos, Hausa’s and others in Nigeria and diaspora invest more in their home state as well, creating more employment opportunities and developing infrastructure further.
Paying particular emphasis to Ndigbo resident in Lagos, please just spend a fraction of your wealth in Igbo land collectively and you would be amazed at the outcome and you can quote me any day at any time you will not regret it in the long term.
I don’t believe in putting all my eggs in one basket nor should any Nigerian businessman regardless of your State of origin. Spread your investments as it would simply benefit you in the long term.
If the Igbos, Hausa’s, Efik, Edo, Ijaw and other tribes of Nigeria who are resident in Lagos spend or invest just 30% of their income in their own states of origin over a period of 10 to 15 years their own home states will rival Lagos State’s beauty and commercial edge and the competition will become tight as it will attract similar local and foreign investors.
Why sink your entire fortune in Lagos, please sit back and think about it, charity begins at home. This is the exact reason why I feel that Igbos and non Lagos indigenes should see this entire saga as a positive streak drawn from a negative situation. Please don’t feel aggrieved about it, use it as a wake up call.
The rest of Nigeria has to develop like Lagos and the time is now.
If you spend your entire life savings voluntarily developing my house 400km away from your own, when we get old and you go home to your own leaky roof, you would sound a bit silly if you blame your leaky roof on me.
Everyone has got complacent and relax in Lagos, thinking that the entire Nigeria is set for life in terms of development, well it is not.
A well written piece from Azuka Onwuka, hinted at rotating the FCT from state to state or region to region at 20 year intervals. Mr Onwuka also referenced a system whereby the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative arms of Govt should not be concentrated in one region but to spread them across the country as this would further support development of these regions. Onwuka’s write up can be an interesting read and I simply view his sincerity as a common sense approach towards problem solving.
It is not rocket science to understand that the Nigerian Govt, cannot build the nation alone as we all have a part to play.
If we look at Imo State for instance, she is beautiful, green, clean with fertile land but there has been a recent wave of kidnapping due to high unemployment. The State Govt cannot employ everyone and pay them a salary as unemployment in the State can only be reduced by other investors establishing a base or branch in the said region.
A very large proportion if not majority of investment/industry in Lagos State are owned by non Lagos State indigenes of which Igbos make up a good fair share. The same applies to Abuja.
Mr Onwuka and other Nigerian citizens are aware of the overwhelming evidence of underdevelopment across Nigeria which has led to a high influx of people and investors to Lagos and Abuja but to encourage an even spread of development this gentleman has suggested the location of the FCT to be rotated across regions.
My own contributions to this suggestion is that, I strongly encourage State Govt, Investors and citizens alike to consider investing in your own States of origin as well. There is nothing wrong with it, if we feel that we have helped to develop Lagos State which is actually a very strong and checkable fact then we NOW need to start developing our own States of origin as well.
It would simply create employment, it would reduce crime, it would beautify our States of origin and no one would dare spit in our face.
I vividly remember when Imo State Indigenes were asked to contribute towards the development of Imo State airport in the 1980’s. This airport is still there today and in use everyday.
I Love Nigeria’s unity so, so much, yet I continue to hear the echoes of the predicted break-up of Nigeria by 2015 and the strength of the bitter venom attached to the recent comments trailing the Lagos State reintegration or deportation saga sends shivers down my spine. Is this the cue to the dreaded break up of Nigeria?
I wish, I believe and will continue to pray for a strong United Nigeria.
Ndigbo lets make hay while the sun is still shining, if we can invest heavily in Lagos State for over a century then so can we invest in our own. Remember that old Igbo saying,” ozuzu zuchaa, onye nwe nwa, nwe nwa”
In a hypothetical situation, given a worst case scenario, If Nigeria all agree to peacefully part ways. All regions would require the appropriate infrastructure, existing and robust investments and a strong positive mind-set to sustain any successful administration and economy.
For one to be taken seriously has nothing to do with how much cash you have.
Ndigbo, we need to strongly organise ourselves, we need the right structures in place, we need to revamp our industries and strengthen other institutions and values, we simply need to agree as One for others to take us seriously as the cash we have is secondary to the above.
I wish, I believe and will continue to pray for a strong United Nigeria
God Bless you all
God Bless Nigeria