The just concluded governorship election campaign in Lagos was dominated by ethnic rhetoric.
There were allegations on social media that some people were not allowed to vote due to their tribe.
The bitter campaign ended with the reelection of Governor Sanwo-Olu.
Eko Hot Blog reports that Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, has called on the federal government to look into the ethnic profiling of the Igbo in Lagos state.
The group made the call in a statement issued on Monday by its national publicity secretary, Alex Ogbonnia.
The call came after several people expressed anti-Igbo sentiments on and off social media during the Lagos governorship campaign.
The candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, a Yoruba man, was often referred to as an Igbo candidate because of his Igbo mother.
The controversy worsened after claims that people Igbo people and those “who looked Igbo” were not allowed to vote on Saturday in some parts of Lagos.
Reacting to the situation, Ogbonnia said there is a need to end atrocities against the Igbo in Lagos.
He urged the government to curb the humiliation the people have been subjected to since the 2023 general elections began.
The Ohanaeze spokesman described Ndigbo as “essentially republican and cosmopolitan in nature”, noting that despite the horrific hardship endured during the civil war, they have embraced Nigeria with open-mindedness and patriotism.
“We, therefore, call on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director of DSS, the Governor of Lagos State, as well as Bola Tinubu, and others, to wade into this ethnic profiling of the Igbo in Lagos,” Ogbonnia said.
“The question on every lip is what have the Igbos done? Ohanaeze wants to let the world know that Ndigbo have paid the ultimate prize for the unity of Nigeria.”
Ogbonnia said Igbo in Lagos were usually a target of attacks while the government would “complicitly watch and sanctimoniously preach that the unity of Nigeria is indivisible and indissoluble.”
He pointed out that highly placed persons such as Bayo Onanuga, the spokesman of President-elect Bola Tinubu’s campaign, who had championed threats, maiming, and killings of the Igbo in Lagos, were never brought to book.
Onanuga recently posted an ethnic-charged statement on Twitter, saying this election season should be the last time Igbos would interfere in Lagos elections.
However, Ogbonnia said Ndigbo would not view the Yoruba ethnic group through the lens of uncivilised and uncultured miscreants and hoodlums.
“It is once more pointed out that Lagos was the capital of Nigeria at the Nigerian Independence in 1960; just like Abuja is today the capital of Nigeria,” he said.
“It is of course highly inconceivable for a particular ethnic group to be excluded from the social, economic, and political activities in the federal capital territory of any country or in any part of the country for that matter.
“Instead of commendations and plaudits for the invaluable contributions of the Igbo in Lagos State, some miscreants have taken barbarism to the extreme by killing and maiming the Igbo because they came out to vote in a democratic election.
“This is because, Ohanaeze cannot forget the likes of Dr Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere, and indeed all those eminent Yoruba that stood on the side of justice, equity, and history by supporting Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party for the presidency of Nigeria in 2023.
“Neither are we unaware of the numerous Igbo sons and daughters whose spouses are from the Yoruba ethnic group. In the First Republic, a Fulani man was elected the Mayor of Enugu.
“In last Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections, a Yoruba man, Chinasa Abiola was elected as a member of Abia State House of Assembly to represent Umuahia South State Constituency.”
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