The recent repatriation of soma purported IGBO to Onitsha by the Governor Fashola-led All Peoples Congress(APC) Administration in Lagos State has generated so much uproar in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and even beyond Nigeria. It is not so much the back loading of the affected people that makes it big news but rather the quality of the governor who is behind this scandal. Perhaps, for those who do not know, Governor Fashola is not just your usual run-of-the – mill governor in the Nigerian political space.Again, he is not just a lawyer; he is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).More important is the fact that he belongs to the A Class in the comity of Nigerian Governors’ forum. In my estimation, the A Class Governors are those who are very effective, resourceful and transparent in the conduct of government business. Other governors in this category include Governors Godswill Akpabio of AKWA Ibom State, Rotimi Rotimi Amaechi and Mr Peter Obi of Anambra State. Just to mention a few. So, it is this superlative performance of Governor Fashola that is making this internal deportation of some Nigerians big news. Perhaps, I need to state that although all men are born equal, some men are more newsworthy than others. If what Governor Fashola did was done by any of the BOKO HARAM Governors in the North or even by politicians like Senator Tinubu and Muhammad Buhari and the like, it would not have generated interest among the populace at all.
It is against the above background that the repatriation of 72 Nigerians from Lagos State to Onitsha in Anambra State has kept the alarm bells ringing in a high decibel since this act was perpetrated. In fact, to some people what Governor Fashola did is an indication that the much- hyped disintegration of Nigeria in 2015 has started. After ruminating over the whole saga, I feel strongly that Governor Fashola was not in a state of compos mentis when he took this dastardly and dangerous policy. This policy does not befit the person of Governor Fashola; it might have been taken in a feat of loss of concentration, hallucination and phantasmagoria. All Governor Fashola needs do is to render a sincere apology to Ndigbo in particular and to all right thinking members of the global community for betraying the confidence reposed in him by his teeming fans globally. Initially, I thought that some overzealous aides of the governor might have taken Fashola’s orders out of context. However, Governor Fashola has stoutly owned up to this bizarre policy and has even tried hard to rationalize what he did. I’’ll advice Governor Fashola to jettison the idea of proving that he was right in what he did. Such an effort by Governor Fashola is futile and reprehensible; it is akin to an effort in squaring a circle. It is a fruitless exercise which will only exacerbate animosity and anger against Governor Fashola.
What is so vexatious about the whole saga is the modus operandi of this operation which puts it in the template of a guerilla attack on a section of the Nigerian nation-the Igbo Nation. It is my hope that the Nolly wood actors of Igbo extraction will take judicial notice of this 90 minutes in Entebbe, nay, Onitsha, in order to capture it in a soap opera so that Governor Fashola and the shameless Igbo renegades and other tribal irredentists of Oduduwaland who defend Governor Fashola’s action can recognize the implications of the heinous invasion of Governor Peter Obi’s territory and the violation of Igbo sovereignty. Just imagine the scene: Governor Fashola acting like a warlord and head of an ethnic militia called his militants to round up all manner of miscreants and street urchins from the Lagos ghettoes and dump them into some rickety molues and evacuate the vehicle of its human cargo at the Onitsha Head Bridge in Anambra State. The invasion was carried out under cover of darkness. His boys swiftly saluted the swashbuckling Emperor Fashola and immediately headed to Anambra State, the new Siberia. At Bridge-Head Onitsha, they evacuated the rickety molues of their IGBO cargo and dumped the so-called Igbo charlatans there .Once the order was perfectly executed ,they engaged in reverse gear and fled to Government House,Lagos to report back to their Commander –in –Chief, Fashola, of having carried out his orders successfully.Govenor Fashola must have been full of joy that unlike his predecessor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who could not conquer Igbo nation, he,Fashola, had done what the Yoruba Napoleon, Awolowo, could not do. Too bad that, Fashola, a governor we hold in esteem has suddenly become an ethnic fundamentalist and irredentist.
What is even more perplexing is that Governor Fashola executed his policy on repatriation of Ndigbo without carrying the Igbo members of his EXCO along. He simply ignored them and damned the consequences. Ndigbo like Joe Igbokwe and the others who are members of Fashola’s EXCO should hide their faces in shame that the man they work for did not deem it necessary to brief them on the planned attack on the sovereignty of the territory of Governor Peter Obi in particular and the Igbo nation in general. The object lesson is that those Ndigbo in Fashola’s EXCO are mere errand boys who are there to ensure that the Igbo votes are used to boost Fashola’s political ambition, to give Fashola a political mileage. If they were useful, they would have acted ac an interface between Fashola and Governor Peter Obi. This would have made this matter to be resolved at the pupa and incipient stage.
In normal societies, those Igbo politicians/technocrats in Fashola’s EXCO as well as the public commentators and journalists who defend Fashola would have since resigned. Rather than bow out honourably, they are busy defending the indefensible as they force rotten yoghurts down our throats. Yes, in societies where public functionaries have conscience, the like of Joe Igbokwe said to be a mechanical engineer of Nnewi extraction and the other one who is the Commissioner for Economic Development in Lagos State would have no reasons to pretend that that all is well at a time when their employer, Governor Fashola, has declared a guerilla warfare on Igbo nation. At a time like this all they needed do would have been to keep mum. Even, the Book of Life, THE BIBLE, says there is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time when silence is golden. For the like of Joe Igbokwe, Senator Chris Ngige and the others, that time is now. The defence of Governor Fashola by Senator Chris Ngige, the man who sat on a stolen governorship mandate for about three years, is very deplorable and despicable. The mistake NDI ANAMBLA made is to have voted DR Ngige senator in the 2011 election. A man who was prosecuted and convicted by the courts for sitting on a stolen governorship victory does not deserve to be given a vote to represent Anambra State in the Senate. What example are we laying for posterity, if an election rigger can be given applause and voted for a higher responsibility as if nothing happened? Senator Ngige’s efforts to justify what Governor Fashola did is toxic and a betrayal of the confidence and trust reposed in him as senator representing Anambra State in the Senate. Senator Chris Ngige has become the veritable Frankenstein monster that even devoured its master. Pray, can Senator Ngige tell us why this black on black racial prejudice /internal repatriation on the Igbo nation has not been listed for discussion on the Senate plenary session as a matter of national emergency. Perhaps, for the umpteenth time, there is a need to ask Senator Ngige and the other Igbo legislators in the National Assembly if Governor Fashola would have had the effrontery and audacity of visiting the same mayhem on any of the Boko Haram States or even any of the States in the North of NIGERIA? In the unlikely event of such an episode on any of the states in the North, would their members in the National Assembly exhibit such untrammeled and arrogant insensitivity and conspiracy of silence to the issue as Senator Ngige and the other Igbo Legislators in the NASS have done?
It hurts that Governor Fashola does not have any pang of conscience in telling us that he wrote a letter to Governor Peter Obi and that the letter was not given the benefit of a reply. Is this not a case of carrying his defence to a level of absurdity? He could not call Governor Peter Obi on his BB Handset; he could not dispatch any of the Igbo members in his EXCO to engage Governor Obi on this issue. In all the meetings of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, he avoided Governor Obi. This defence is provocative and evinces the level of disdain and contempt of Governor Fashola on the Igbo nation. There is a need to inform Governor Fashola and the members of Afenifere Peoples Congress(APC),sorry, All Peoples Congress(APC) that Governor Peter Obi is a man after our hearts in IGBO LAND-THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN. We are thoroughly on one page with him and every effort by the agents of APC to tarnish his integrity will collapse like a house of cards. Governor Peter Obi’s agenda that Ndigbo should vote for President Jonathan in 2015 is reasonable. In 2011, we in Imo State supported President Goodluck Jonathan for the Presidency and even gave him the second highest vote in Nigeria. Our present Governor, Owelle Okorocha, is a beneficiary of the synergy between APGA and PDP in the 2011 election. In fact, in order to make some political mileage out of the influence of President Jonathan, Owelle Okorocha tactically juxtaposed his photo with that of President Jonathan on the same flex banner. Dissatisfied with the surreptitious move to benefit from the aura of the PDP candidate, President Jonathan, (I.e. by placing himself on the same flex banner), the then Governor, Chief Ikedi Ohahim, gave orders that the flex banner must be dismantled immediately. In a viewpoint entitled “Jonathan/Okorocha flex banner: What does Ohakim want?” which was published on page 9 of The Nigerian Horn newspaper of February 2-3, 2011.I defended the juxtaposition of the photos on the flex banner and punctured Chief Ohakim’s argument. The viewpoint can be read on line by Goggling the headline or it can be sent to the email box of whoever asks for it. So, Governor Okorocha who thought it reasonable in 2011 that Ndigbo should vote for GOODLUCK Jonathan as President and vote for himself as Governor has no reasons to reject President Jonathan and the PDP now. This is unfair and tantamount to mass deceit of the electorate. So, what Governor Obi is doing now in supporting the second term bid of President Jonathan has the full support of right thinking members of the Igbo nation. Governor Obi cannot be rubbished by some misguided politicians in the Afenifere Peoples Congress and some Igbo political turncoats of Igbo extraction who have been defending Governor Fashola. If Governor Fashola could exhibit this political rascality at a time when the Anambra Governorship election is around the corner, one imagines what he is capable of doing to Ndigbo in the future. It is left for Ndi Anambra to decide whether they prefer an APC governor to rule them on not. But for me, I am of the opinion that it will be an aberration for any of the Igbo States to be ruled by an APC governor. We are not yet mature for that kind of development. In the same vein, I am aware that it is impossible for any of the States in Yoruba land to be ruled by an APGA Governor. It will never happen today; I don’t know of tomorrow. In spite of everything, one still holds Governor Fashola in esteem. What if he decides to compensate the affected victims of this deportation saga? A governor like Fashola who is perched on a gold mine can afford to give a donation of about one million Naira to each of the affected victims in order to appease humanity and improve the condition of those refugees.
In their desperation to convince the unwary that Governor Babatunde Fashola loves Ndigbo, his spin doctors tell us he that he built a modern market which was dedicated to Igbo traders; he appointed Igbos in his Exco and he built an estate named after Chief Emeka Anyaoku and the like. While I commend Governor Fashola on his acclaimed magnanimity, the whole issue appears to be driven by enlightened self interest rather than altruism and love of Ndigbo. It is in Governor Fashola’s interest to rebuild the market because he was losing a lot of money due to a deficit in the States internally generated revenue(IGR)during the period the traders were not in session. But why build a special market for Ndigbo? Is it not based on the fact that such a market will be a veritable cash cow for Lagos State Government, more so, since the taxes, rates and related overheads will be astronomical and driven by price descrimination? I am not unmindful of the fact that the fastest way to develop new cities in states outside Igbo land is is to deliberately instigate an inferno to burn down existing markets. Once such a market is reduced to rubble, the Igbo traders are relocated to deserts where they will convert to modern cities in a frenetic speed.
The estate named after Chief Emeka Anyaoku is not a bid deal. There is no favour anybody can do to Chief Anyaoku that he is not capable of achieving for himself with seamless ease. As a foremost Igbo opinion leader in Lagos, the easiest way to capture the votes of Ndigbo is to pander to the whims and obeisance of the like of Chief Emeka Anyaoku.Yes, it’s good politics for a brilliant politician to appease and mollify such great personalities as Chief Anyaoku.The gambit is already paying off or how else do you explain Chief Emeka Anyaoku’s conspiracy of silence on this vexatious affront on Igbo nation.Governor Fashola needs Chief Anyaoku more than Anyaoku needs him. What should be a news is what Governor Fashola has done to uplift the living condition of the talakawas,hoi Polloi, and the so-called destitute who live in his dormain and not what he did to please the Igbo moneyed class in Lagos State. Some people refer to them as the poorest of the poor who languish in grinding poverty and financial destitution. These are the people Governor Fashola repatriated to Onitsha because, in his perception, they are no longer useful. Since when did it become a criminal offence for one to be poor, more so, in an enclave where over 70% of the populace is classified as poverty stricken? Fashola would have been applauded if he made efforts to lift the so-called destitute from obscurity to prominence. It is my opinion that a governor who swore to uphold the Constitution should not engage in acts that are incompatible and incongruous with the Nigerian Constitution as well as the Universal Charter on Human Rights.
Governor Fashola’s poor decision making on this occasion validates Lord Acton’s dictum that “Absolute Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Again, one can see the truism in William Shakespeare’s adage:”There is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face”.Yes,but for this aberration, no one would have known that a personality of Governor Fashola’s profile could also fumble and wobble in taking a simple decision.It was under a similar situation as we have now that Julius Caesar said the famous last words:”Et tu Brute” which means “Brutus, you too”. Julius Caesar made this lamentation while he was on the brink of imminent death. He was shocked that even his bosom friend, Brutus, was one of those who conspired to kill him. When Brutus stabbed him in the back, he then slumped and said the epic final words:”Et tu Brute”-‘even you, Brutus, after which he passed on. So, to most Ndigbo and admirers of Governor, it’s a case of “Et tu Fashola” which means”Even you, Fashola”. Most people in Igboland see the new party, APC,as Afenifere Peoples Congress-a Yoruba Party. Such people will readily point to the deportation of Igbos from Lagos to Onitsha as a reference point. They will also remind whoever wishes to listen that DR Nnamdi Azikiwe was betrayed by Chief Olusegun Awolowo in the 1959 general election which was won by DR Azikiwe in the Western Region but which was swiftly truncated by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.On the eve of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s inauguration as Leader of Government Business in the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo surreptitiously brainwashed the Yoruba fans of The Great ZIK that Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was Omokobokobo who should not be allowed to rule the Yorubas.As a result of this devious campaign of calumny against Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe,his supporters in NCNC abandoned Zik and carpet-crossed to Action Group, hence ZIK’S electoral victory was truncated through intrigue and subtlety. The like of Fashola should not do anything to take us back to Egypt where the Igbo and the Yorubas were pathological enemies. We also know that Chief Awolowo betrayed Ndigbo during the Civil War Period when he used starvation as a legitimate weapon of war against Ndigbo.He also reduced all the earnings of every IGBO bank customer to a mere twenty pounds;it did not matter that you had one billion pounds in your account before the war. He had earlier said that if Ndigbo were allowed to pull out of Nigeria, the Yoruba would also pull out but when Ndigbo pulled out, Chief Obafemi Awolowo capitalized on it to privatize the Nigerian PLC in such a manner that Ndigbos were alienated from the exercise because they were fighting a war and thus poverty stricken. Governor Fashola should stop embarking on actions that could pose a threat to the IGBO/Yoruba unity. It is for people like Governor Fashola that George Santayana once said “Those who don’t remember history make the same mistakes”. To Governor Fashola, I advise him to act with caution anf foresight so that the relationship between Yorubas and Ndigbo will endure.
John I. Mgbe
The key issue is left unattended in this emotive discourse. The State Governors and the Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory have all indulged themselves in criminal breach of Nigerians’ constitutional right to move or settle in any part of Nigeria. That freedom is the fundamental basis for the existence of the nation state.
All the governors and the FCT minister have been proved to indulge in this criminal past time. That of Lagos is causing such uproar because Governor Fashola exceeded the limit of violation
The key issue is left unattended in this emotive discourse. The State Governors and the Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja have all indulged themselves in criminal breach of Nigerians’ constitutional right to move or settle in any part of Nigeria. That freedom is the fundamental basis for the existence of the nation state.
All the governors and the FCT minister have been proved to indulge in this criminal past time. That of Lagos is causing such uproar because Governor Fashola exceeded the limit of this criminal violation. He engaged Lagos lay-abouts (area boys), illegally conferred on them police powers to arrest and detain. These lay abouts, branded KAI brigade by Fashola, go about arresting ordinary people going about their normal routine. Detain them for six months or so with no access to family, friends or legal aid. After six months of illegal detention during which the detainees are traumatised, they are compelled to accept any kind of freedom which includes being dumped anywhere outside Lagos.
Perhaps Governor Fashola may now erect border posts to ensure that no indigent enters or re-enters Lagos. He may as well enact a law requiring Nigerians from other States to apply for entry visa before coming into Lagos. How bizarre?
Nigeria’s trouble is that the ruling elite, the comprodor bougsoirse, have cornered Nigeria for themselves – the ruling elite. Ñigeria now exists only in name for the ruling elite who are operating a kleptocracy. Government for kleptocrats. They collect public revenue and help themselves with our rsources. If a citizen is indigent and unable to pay tax, they deport him.
If it is not a conspiracy of the ruling elite, why has the Federal Attorney-General kept mute over this issue?
It is because Mr. Citizen in Nigeria does not matter. Yet the civilised world is assessed by the value they put on the ordinary people. Nigerians need to wake up to assert their rights.
Until these despots are sued and very punitive damages imposed on them, they will continue to enslave Nigerians and deport them at will.