Perhaps, I hail from a people whose tradition is strict and firm. Maybe too, because of the mature disposition of the occupants at different times of the Oba’s palace back home in Benin, and indeed that of other Enigies across my dear Edo state, you can hardly find them being drawn into the murky waters and slippery sands of politics.
And given the historical relationship between Edo land and the Yoruba, I should expect similar or almost comparable conduct from an Oba of the status of that of Oba Akiolu of Lagos. With all its aquatic splendor and sophistry that have become the hallmark of Nigeria’s foremost cosmopolitan and business headquarters, a monarch seen and perceived as the true representative of the gods or ancestors of the people must be father of all that set their feet in his domain.
Alas, Oba Akiolu of Lagos, for very partisan political reasons, has chosen to abandon his fatherly role. He has taken sides in the ongoing politicking in the state. But that would have equated to nothing if the monarch whose middle name is fast becoming “Controversy,” has not spiced up his not-too-likeable persona with an overdose of threat to his very own people. Yes, every man, woman, boy and girl resident in Lagos is Oba Akiolu’s subject.
But his antecedents and recent actions swing between questionable double-speak and disservice to the people.
Akiolu’s ethnic cleansing call
Last Monday, my colleague and friend who is also a renowned poet, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu had every reason to retort: Have we descended to the level of ethnic cleansing a la Oba Akiolu of Lagos?
His reaction was a follow-up to the monarch’s alleged threat to Igbo indigenes living in Lagos to vote for the governorship candidate of All Progressives Progress, APC, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, at this Saturday’s governorship election or else, they will die in the lagoon.
According to the report which has since gone virile on social media, the livid Oba Akiolu, ostensibly worried by the groundswell of PDP sympathisers in the state which no doubt, constitute serious threat to the emergence of APC’s Ambode, said he was not ready to beg Igbos in Lagos; but that if they repeat what they did on March 28 when they voted for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, President Goodluck Jonathan, they should be ready for the consequences.
The governorship election holds on April 11 and it is believed the Igbo will vote for the PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje.
To be very sure of the Oba’s motive, hear him: “On Saturday, if anyone of you goes against Ambode who I picked, that is your end. If it doesn’t happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it is not my father who gave birth to me.
“Jonathan is my son and I speak to him every day. By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. This is an undivided chair. The palace belongs to the dead and those coming in the future. On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die inside this water.
“I’m not ready to beg you. Nobody knew how I picked Ambode. Jimi (Agbaje) is my blood relation and I told him that he can never be governor in Lagos for now. The future belongs to God. I am not begging anybody, but what you people cannot do in Onitsha, Aba or anywhere, don’t do it here. “If you do what I want, Lagos will continue to be prosperous for you. If you go against my wish, you will perish in the water”.
No matter the efforts by the monarch’s aides to smoothen the rough edges of Oba Akiolu’s threat of ethnic cleansing against the Igbos, as a very experienced journalist who has been privileged to serve as a media aide to some political appointees under the current democratic dispensation, I must state that there are certain matters spin doctors cannot successfully manage. If you like, argue that you were misquoted or misrepresented or you never met the press, the truth always has a way of exposing itself. The Holy Bible said that much: you can’t light a lamp and hide it under a bushel…
I do not hesitate therefore to join the call for Oba Akiolu to resign or be questioned by relevant authority on his threat of ethnic cleansing against the Igbo electorate in his state. It will also interest Nigerians to know if this is not another case of “Voice of Abel and hand of Esau” playing out in Lagos. If this is the case, is the monarch Jacob? Then who is/are Esau(s) there?
It is pitiable that the naivety of the Eze-Ndigbo’s of Amuwo-Oriade, Dr. Gordian Dimojiaku caused him to kow tow to the monarch threat, assuring him that Ndigbos in Lagos will vote APC’s Ambiode come this Saturday.
Anyways, who will not do it under the circumstances. But like well-meaning anti-corruption crusaders will say, “if they come with their money, take it and vote your conscience.” I must say same to my compatriots of Igbo extraction resident in Lagos. Forget Oba Akiolu’s threat and the assurances your leaders gave to the rampaging monarch. Go out on Saturday and vote your conscience; be the candidate, PDP, APC, HOPE, NCP, ADC or PDM. Nigerians are behind you. And until Oba Akiolu apologises publicly to not just Igbos resident in Lagos but all other residents for this conduct unbecoming of a traditional ruler which may not be the end to the entire brouhaha, stay away from his palace. You are stakeholders too in the affairs including survival of Lagos.
But by the way, are our security services still watching while a monarch threatens ethnic cleansing against fellow Nigerians resident in his domain for whatever reason? They must act now!


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