Threats, Violence, Abuse: The Undemocratic Credentials Of The APC – By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu



It is no longer news that the Oba of Lagos, Oba Akiolu summoned Igbo leaders in Lagos to his palace and threatened that they and other non-indigenes resident in Lagos would drown in the Lagoon if they didn’t vote for Akinwunmi Ambode the APC gubernatorial candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections.  In the course of the tirade the Oba had also revealed that he personally picked Ambode to be the governor of Lagos state thus underscoring the personal interest and godfather connection in the whole affair.  It is instructive to note that both  contenders;   Jimi Agbaje of the PDP and Akinwunmi  Ambode of the APC are  from the Southwest, it is therefore not a case of someone from another region trying to become governor of Lagos state in a divided house like Nigeria. What is at stake is simply an issue of democracy and party alliances.


It is understandable that the Oba of Lagos given his personal interest in the Ambode candidacy feared that the sizable votes of non-indigenes in combination with indigenes could swing victory to Jimi Agbaje particularly in light of the same trend having been observed in the presidential election where substantial votes had gone to President Goodluck Jonathan from the same groups. But isn’t that what democracy is all about?  The Oba of Lagos could have marketed his candidate in the spirit of democracy rather than issuing threats that has turned out to be counter-productive. The practice of democracy is all about the free exercise of choice, anything to the contrary is not democracy but a dictatorship. Nigerians fought for democracy but unfortunately the mindset of dictatorship still remains deeply embedded in Nigerians particularly the APC that has most frequently manifested verbal and physical violence in the course of the elections.  Given the antecedents of the APC, the decision by the Oba to issue threats instead of engaging in vigorous democratic campaigns for his godson did not altogether come as a surprise. The social media, twitter, facebook, whatsap and other mediums of communication has for sometime been awash with threats, abuse and bigotry predominantly by APC zealots who condemn anyone who does not support their candidate.


Online forums have become virtual theatres of war by internet urchins who engage in relentless attacks, while physical violence has been frequent in the North and parts of the country as APC zealots destroyed PDP posters and attacked their supporters. Some even called for genocide against those they perceived to be their enemies.   As far as APC zealots were concerned the election was considered an act of war rather than an exercise of democratic choice.  Little wonder the nation was enveloped in fear as none expected Buhari to accept defeat without inciting violence as he previously did in 2011. The APC and its affiliated fanatical zealots is a party that promotes threats, abuse, intimidation, violence, bigotry and even genocide. As a party it has little democratic credentials as it has all too frequently associated and engaged in verbal and physical violence.  The threat by the Oba of Lagos is just another manifestation of such tendencies. While pretending to stand for change, the APC might actually represent a dangerous return to the old order of bigotry and violence.

It is thus no surprise that while clamouring for change at the centre, the APC has curiously settled for godfatherism and the status quo in the states and regions as is evident with Bola Tinubu’s stranglehold of Lagos in the last 16 years, likewise Bukola Saraki’s stranglehold of Kwara State in the last 16 years. One would have imagined that change at the centre would also reflect in states and regions but in the APC it is the reverse as the godfathers have viciously maintained their domains.


For all the noise about change, the leadership of APC from Muhammad Buhari all the way down has not found it convenient to condemn the outrageous threat by the Oba of Lagos as is done in normal societies, instead some are even rebuking the victims for crying out with the same typical nonsensical clichés of Lagos being accommodating that is driven by crass ignorance.  If this shameful support of bigotry and undemocratic attitude by the leadership of APC is how they propose to bring change then Nigeria may not survive an APC administration.  The Dublin metro area has a population of 1.8 million which is roughly 40% of the Irish population of 4.8 million people. I am still waiting for the day the indigenous people of Dublin who make-up less than 5% of the Dublin population will claim to be accommodating because people from other regions, towns and villages overwhelmingly settled in Dublin. I am also waiting for the day the indigenous Londoners or Parisians will claim to be accommodating because more than 12 million of their citizens from other regions, towns, villages and even foreigners from other countries overwhelmingly settled in London or Paris.


Whether by deliberate design or an accident of history, some cities will due to economic and or political reasons inevitably thrive and be larger than others and will thus necessarily attract people from other regions, towns and villages. The most developed nations on earth still has little developed villages or regions many of whose citizens migrate to larger cities to settle.  It is only in Nigeria that you hear such nonsense to the extent of being declared a non-indigene in what is supposed to be your own country. Even by African standards, I am yet to hear of such nonsense in Accra Ghana or elsewhere in Africa. Little wonder Nigeria is not and may never become a nation. The APC leaders who should forbid such nonsense are either silent or siding with the bigots, yet they seize every opportunity to make silly noises about Nigerian unity or one Nigeria when their actions suggest otherwise. For all the faults of the PDP it did manifest a nationalist outlook. With a party like the APC, brimming with rabid undemocratic bigots set to be at the helm of affairs, Nigerians might yet live to regret it.

Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu




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