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Wednesday, 22 March 2023 10:58

[OPINION] LAGOS Election Violence: The real issue - George Onmonya Daniel

Whether Lagos is a "no man's land" or not is not the issue here in the 2023 presidential and gubernatorial election in Lagos, Nigeria. The issue is that, are Igbos and other non-Yorubas eligible to vote on Lagos State? Are Igbos and non-Yorubas in Lagos eligible to contest election in Lagos State if a political party give them their ticket? 
For those making false allegation that Obidients started this, I will tell you outrightly that it is a lie. Many Obidients are Yoruba youths and other youths across the nation. Obidients are not just Igbos. If Obidients are just Igbos, there is no way the Labour Party would have won the presidential election in Lagos. This whole Igbo taking over Lagos started when Tinubu lost Lagos in the presidential election. The Lagos State government panicked and started talking about Lagos not being a no man's land. They started singing an Igbo takeover of Lagos, just because the Labour Party candidate's mother is said to be Igbo. 
Many Yoruba youths were all riled up on social media screaming Lagos is not a no man's land by propagandist seeking to use that to make Yorubas in Lagos vote for Sanwo-Olu, the incumbent governor. As usual that wasn't enough, violence entrepreneurs, like MC Oluomo was hired to do the dirty job. On election day he sent his boys everywhere with large concentration of Igbo voters to disrupt election and ensure they do not vote, all under the pretext of Lagos is not a man's land. 
In 2019 when the major candidates were President Buhari of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, the same violence was unleashed on Igbos in areas where they are concentrated. In 2019 there was no Lagos is no man's land drama. There was a video that Tinubu's wife was telling an Igbo disabled man that they don't trust the Igbos because she perceived the Igbos voted for Atiku and not her husband. 
It is appalling to see some Yorubas in the United Kingdom buying into this argument that Lagos is not a no man's land to justify the staged intimidation and violence in Lagos against Igbos because the ruling government panicked and used thugs to rig election. The Prime Minister of the UK is a Hindu man of Indian origin. The Mayor of London is a British Pakistani Muslim. How can you live in this UK and be passionately supporting the violence against Igbos in Lagos? It is baffling. Will the Major of London now take London to Pakistan? Will the British Prime Minister take the United Kingdom to India? 
What happened in Lagos is shameful. We should all condemn it. Every Nigerian has the right to vote in Lagos and be voted for, if she or he is contesting. That is the law. If you feel your support is for a Yoruba candidate, go and vote for that candidate peacefully. You have no rights whatsoever to stop anyone from voting. Lagos is theirs as it is yours too. 
That the Nigerian government under President Buhari has not condemned what happened in Lagos is disturbing. More disturbing is that Asiwaju Bola.Ahmed Tinubu, the president elect according to INEC, has no.qualm with it. 
George Onmonya Daniel, a student of Media for Development and Social Change, University of Sussex, Brighton, writes from United Kingdom.

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