The chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Nigeria, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, says the comment by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, seen as a threat to Igbos living in Lagos State, is “a toxic nonsense”.
The Oba of Lagos had on Sunday advised the leaders of Igbo people in Lagos State to support the governorship candidate of his choice, Akinwunmi Ambode, or “perish in the water”.
The comment has triggered mixed reactions, with several condemnations. It has been described as a threat on the Igbos in Lagos.
Professor Odinkalu said he was disappointed by the Oba’s comment, stressing that the Oba should be more interested in binding the nation together and not dividing it.
“Sometimes it is good to allow people to expose themselves in their full and natural majesty.
“I cannot say I am not disappointed because that will not be honest.
“The current occupant of the stool of Lagos State is a former assistant Inspector General of Police, a very senior lawyer and a senior citizen.
“Election times are difficult times and we expect our traditional rulers to show good example.
“To explode this kind of toxic nonsense in the middle of a difficult election disappoints and he must take responsibility for what he has said,” Professor Odinkalu stressed.
He further pointed out that traditional leaders are not expected to be seen as surrogates to any political party.
The NHRC boss further stressed that the peace of Nigeria should a thing of concern to the Oba of Lagos and to all Nigerians.
After the comment by the Oba of Lagos went viral on social media, the royal palace tried to address the issue in a statement, explaining the context in which he made the statements.
The Oba of Lagos also restated his commitment to ensuring the peaceful coexistence of all Lagos residents irrespective of tribe, religion or political persuasion.