19


There is a mistrust in the way the Igbo relate with their Yoruba compatriots. But analysts say the premises are faulty

The past 18 months or thereabout have yielded bountifully, elements that have inflamed tempers among the Igbo and Yoruba, as it usually plays out when members of the two major tribes have cause to discuss who did or did not do what in Nigeria’s pre- and post-independence era politics. This happens through street corner arguments, newspaper articles and even more significant nowadays, in online discussion forums. For one, there was the death, after months on sick bed, of Dim Chukuwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the leader of the defunct Biafra Republic in November 2011 which, as was expected, resulted in fresh debates about who played what role in the 30-month failed effort of the Igbos to pull out of Nigeria.


There was also the publication of There Was a Country, the last book of Nigerian and global literary icon, Chinua Achebe, followed by the death of the writer last March. And lately, there was the relocation of some indigent persons of South-East origin to Onitsha by Lagos State government, an act interpreted by some of their kith and kin as another demonstration of general hatred for the Igbo. At the height of one of such Igbos-Yoruba spats, a Kenyan, alarmed by the ease with which the two major tribes of southern Nigeria threw insults at each other on the basis of their ethnic affiliation, posted a picture of a dog and cat lying side by side on an online forum, urging the two groups to take a cue from the animals on peaceful coexistence.

The good thing, however, is that the seemingly age-long duels have so far been devoid of wielding and using cudgels, daggers and guns. But it has not been short in verbal assaults, with some of the participants seeming to compete in seeing who can do the most denigration of the other person’s tribe. Such spats, borne out of age-long rivalriy between the two groups for domination of Nigeria’s political and economic space, actually date back to pre-independence Nigeria.

Colonial Period
In his autobiography, A Measure of Grace, Professor Akin Mabogunje, the first Nigerian professor of Geography, recalled one of such rivalries that played out at the campus of Nigeria’s premier tertiary institution, University of Ibadan, in 1950, over the invitation of Nigeria’s first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe. The Progressive Party which the Geography Professor served as Secretary had mandated him to invite the late nationalist, popularly known as Zik, for a lecture in the run-up to the introduction of the McPherson Constitution in 1951. The Constitution, for the first time, provided for election into the houses of assembly of the regions, rather than appointment of official representatives stipulated in the constitution it was replacing. The Students’ Progressive Party had actually invited Zik for a lecture designed to give further enlightenment on what the new constitution portended for the country. The Progressive Party had perfected the invitation and received assurances that the leader of the then Nigeria’s foremost political party, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons, NCNC, would be available for the lecture.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe

But just as the Progressive Party members were getting ready to receive their august guest, they received information that not to be outdone, the Dynamic Party, with membership made up predominantly of the Igbo, did not like the idea of an Igbo leader coming to address a union of another ethnic group..

As recalled by Professor Mabogunje, the real drama played out on the day the NCNC leader arrived the university for the lecture. “As soon as the motorcade arrived, I went to the motorcade conveying Dr. Azikwe and introduced myself as the representative of the Students’ Progressive Party that had invited him to give lecture. An Igbo student representing the Dynamic Party jumped into the car and started talking to Dr. Azikwe in Igbo. Realising what was happening, Zik told him: ‘Speak the language the other person understands!’ Whereupon, he pushed him out of the car,” the Professor of Geography wrote in the book. The struggle for under whose banner Zik would deliver his lecture between the two students’ parties snowballed into a minor crisis necessitating the intervention of the university authorities. The lecture was eventually held under the auspices of the Students’ Union as advised by the University Warden, thus preventing the situation from ballooning into a full scale crisis. Of course, Zik also handled the situation with grace and impartiality.

However, in spite of such rivalry, the Igbo and Yoruba, to a great extent, were able to work together in the pre-independence era, especially in the fight to see the back of the British colonial rulers.

Herbert Macaulay, a detribalised Yoruba Lagosian, worked with Zik to establish the NCNC, regarded as Nigeria’s first truly national party because it was made up of many groups and associations across the country in 1944, for example. Macaulay was the party’s first president, while Zik served as the secretary.

Despite the preponderance of other equally competent Lagosians in the party, Macaulay did not entertain any doubt handing over the leadership of the NCNC to Azikiwe on his death bed two years later. Zik spoke Yoruba with effortless grace and even gave his children Yoruba names to further demonstrate his affinity with the part of the country he lived in throughout his active years, economically and politically. On the other hand, Yoruba politicians like late Chiefs Theophilus Benson, Adeniran Ogunsanya, among others, also pitched their tent with Zik and remained in the camp of the Owelle of Onitsha in all their active years in politics.


In spite of such few bright spots, the mistrust between the Igbo and the Yoruba has endured over the years. Ironically, analysts situate the beginning of the enduring mistrust between the two tribes in the rivalry between late former Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Zik. Awo and Zik started off as members of Nigerian Youth Forum, regarded as the pre-eminent nationalist organisation of the period.
The two leaders, arguably, had their first major clash in the run-up to the 1941 election to fill a seat vacated by the late Sir Kofo Abayomi in the Lagos Legislative Council. In the election, Awolowo, an Ijebu, backed Ernest Ikoli, an Ijaw man; Zik threw his weight behind Samuel Akinsanya, the late Odemo of Isara, an Ijebu man. Many believed that Zik’s lack of support for Ikoli was an extension of the competition between the duo for control of newspaper business in which they were major stakeholders. Zik however resigned from the NYM with the claim that Akinsanya’s loss was due to a tribal gang-up by the Yoruba.

Many Igbo members of NYM accepted this explanation. Consequently, they also quit the party alongside Zik, who they regarded as their foremost leader in Lagos at the time. The outcome of 1951 Western regional assembly election in which Zik had contested on the platform of the NCNC with the aim of becoming the Premier of Western Nigeria further deepened the bitterness between the two tribes. Given the immense popularity enjoyed by the NCNC in the West and wide acceptance of Zik, the task was not a totally impossible one. But then, the NCNC had as opponent in the election the Action Group, established just a year before the election by Awolowo – who had by then become one of the prominent Nigerian political figures – and his associates. Awo, who had also by then become a lawyer, had returned to Nigeria in 1947 after his education at University of London to, in the words of Achebe, “found the once powerful political establishment of Western Nigeria – sidetracked by partisan and intra-ethnic squabbles”. The late writer observed that consequently, “Awolowo and close associates reunited his ancient Yoruba people with a powerful glue – resuscitated ethnic pride – and created a political party, the Action Group in 1951, from an amalgamation of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, the Nigerian Produce Traders Association and a few other factions.”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo
Chief Obafemi Awolowo

During this period, Awo was accused of sending Zik away from the West. In a past interview with TheNEWS, Odia Ofeimun explained that Azikiwe’s West African Pilot reported after the 1951 parliament election in the West that Azikiwe’s party, the NCNC, had 25, the Action Group had 15 and Independents 40. Anybody who knew the Western Region, according to Ofeimun, knew there was something wonky with that way of presenting the results, because that particular election was run on the basis of very many ethnic organisations.

“People ran on the platform of Otuedo in the Benin-Delta area, Ibadan Peoples’ Party in Ibadan, Ondo Improvement League and so on and so forth. The only part of Nigeria where political parties existed properly was Lagos. NCNC swept all the five seats in Lagos. But it was because the NCNC swept all the five seats in Lagos, and journalism and communication was strong in Lagos, that almost all the Lagosians and, therefore, supposedly Nigerian public opinion, came to believe that Azikiwe won. The truth is that if you win in Lagos, you did not win in the Western Region,” Ofeimun added.

But that belief that Azikiwe won, in spite of what his own newspaper reported, became folklore. Odia continued: “And people forgot that among the 40 people, whom Azikiwe’s paper regarded as independents, were people who said they owed allegiance either to the NCNC or the Action Group. The Action Group was just being formed as a party and the NCNC was entering regional party politics for the first time. So you had these big political parties on which platforms candidates did not run because their people did not know them. So it was after the election that many of them were coming out.”

But something, according to him, happened. Before the election, the electoral officer insisted that the two political parties that were claiming candidates should bring a list of their candidates. Only the Action Group published a list of their candidates before the election. And it was on the basis of that list that the Action Group was claiming that it had won. So, because the NCNC apparently did not present a list, it could claim seats that it did not win. That was where the problem is.

And what was interesting is that Zik, as Odia put it, never stopped repeating it that he won, but that it was on the floor of the House that people cross-carpeted. No, it was not on the floor of the House.

Odia explained. Between November 1951 and January 1952, when the House actually met, where all the candidates belonged to had become well known and obvious. “But you know political parties never stop asserting strengths that they may not possess. So you had a situation where the newspapers were wrangling over who had moved to this side or who was moving to the other side,” Odia argued. Many of the candidates moving this way and that way, of course, were being lured by many things. Some of them, as he put it, had been members of Egbe Omo Oduduwa. Naturally, they were close to the organisation that Awolowo led. There were those who did not care about any ethnic organisation. The individual party members were simply looking for their own deal. The six members who came from the Ibadan People’s Party were shifting this way and that way, as the wind blew them. Most of the people who won on the platform of the individual parties wanted to know which of the two parties was likely to form a government.
Odia argued further:”Akinloye, after zigzagging, stood with the Action Group because the Action Group was particular about one thing: it wanted the brightest and the best. Akinloye had just come with a first class degree from Europe and, therefore, they wanted him at all costs. Awolowo just wanted the best in the place and offering Akinloye a job was one easy winner. And by the time Akinloye was offered a job, it was already clear that the Action Group had more seats in parliament than the NCNC.”
•Ojukwu: Led Biafra
•Ojukwu: Led Biafra

 
On the day the parliament actually met, Odia explained that the Action Group – and anybody who knows how Awolowo organises would understand that – moved to the House of Assembly as one team. They worked as one team, all of them brandishing Action Group plaques on their chest. Awolowo was their head; they followed him. When Awolowo got to the door and discovered that all the NCNC members were scattered all over the place, he said: “No, we shall not enter until they move to one side.”

The pattern in any serious parliament, as per the traditions of the House of Commons, is that parties stay on their side of the House. So, as Odia narrated, Awo insisted they must do so before they would enter. The traditional rulers came there and begged, saying: “Please, not in this new dispensation. Don’t let’s spoil it with rancour.” Awolowo never listened to such debates. He told them that until they moved, he and his men would not enter.

Awolowo’s chances of emerging the Premier of West with the regions becoming self-governing in 1952 was further boosted when elected members of Ibadan People’s Party, IPP, which was not affiliated to NCNC anyway, joined forces with AG members on the floor of the House.

“The IPP took its independent decision to join the Action Group to form the government in good conscience, based on the sentiment of the people they were elected to represent, and that is what republican democracy is all about,” Bari Salau, political consultant for Movement For Progressive Change In Nigeria, said in article he published in 2009 to commemorate what should have been the 100th year birthday of Awolowo. The late Chief Adisa Akinloye, a leader of IPP, actually said he led members of his party to join the AG which won the highest number of seats in the House when Zik refused to step down for a Yoruba man within the NCNC to be Premier of Western Region.

“What swelled the majority of the Action Group was not as a result of any ‘carpet-crossing’ from the NCNC to the AG but the declaration of support by most of the small parties for the AG,” noted S. Kadiri who challenged those who hold such opinion to publish the result of the election in an article published on a popular website. Kadiri further noted that even the charge that Awolowo had on ethnic grounds prevented Azikwe from leading the Western House of Assembly, the AG leader would have been acting in tune with principles enunciated by the leader of NCNC in an address to Igbo State Assembly at Aba on 25 June, 1949.
Zik had told his audience, as reported in compilation of his selected speeches published in 1961, that: “The keynote in this address is self determination for the Igbo. Let us establish an Ibo State, based on linguistic and ethnic factors, enabling us to take our place side by side with other linguistic and ethnic groups which make up Nigeria and the Cameroons.”
Chimamanda Adiche, award-winning author, had in an essay, “We Remember Differently”, published in November 2012 to celebrate Achebe’s clocking of 82 years, noted that Igbo children are raised on such anti-Awolowo staples. “I grew up hearing, from adults, versions of Achebe’s words about Awolowo. He was the man who prevented an Igbo man from leading the Western House of Assembly in the famous ‘carpet crossing’ incident of 1952.”
Even then, rather than stay in the Western House of Assembly as leader of opposition, Zik returned to the East to chase out and to take the position of the non-Igbo leader of the Eastern House of Assembly, Professor Eyo Ita, thus becoming guilty of the same accusation his supporters charged the AG leader with. An action which, according to Achebe, “compounded his betrayal of principle by precipitating a major crisis which was unnecessary, selfish and severely damaging in its consequences”.
Post-Independence Era
The rivalry between Zik and Awo persisted till the post-independence era, though there was a thaw when the duo worked together – AG-NCNC alliance which crystallised into the formation of United Progressive Grand Alliance, UPGA.
•Achebe: Accused Awolowo of genocide
•Achebe: Accused Awolowo of genocide
However, the interpretation of events of the Nigerian Civil War and Awo’s role in it has been another major cause of distrust between the two major Nigerian tribes. Adichie, in the article quoted above, listed the other crimes of the late AG leader, as related by Igbo parents to their children till today, to include “He (Awo) was the man who betrayed Igbo people when he failed on his alleged promise to follow Biafra’s lead and pull the Western Region out of Nigeria.” She quoted an unnamed uncle telling her that Awo “made Igbo people poor because he never liked us.” This was because at the end of the war, every Igbo person who had a bank account in Nigeria was given £20, no matter how much they had in their accounts before the war, an act which Chimamanda herself said she has always regarded as “livid injustice”. Many Igbo regarded Awolowo, who was the finance minister during the civil war, as the architect of this policy.

Achebe also averred in his last book that Awolowo had during the war deliberately initiated schemes to starve the Igbo, with the aim of eventually killing them and reducing the voting population of the group for his own political end, thereby committing genocide. The writer said Awolowo based this policy on a statement “credited” to him that, “…All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder.”

Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode however described such claims as just one part of the story.

The bitter truth, according to him, is that “If anyone is to be blamed for the hundreds of thousands of Igbo that died from starvation during the civil war, it was not Chief Awolowo or even General Yakubu Gowon but rather, it was Col. Odumegwu-Ojukwu.” The former minister recalled that the Federal Government had asked Ojukwu to open a road corridor for supply of food to the civilian population during the war as part of a deal that was brokered by the international community, but the Biafran leader turned down the offer. Instead, Ojukwu had insisted that the food should be flown into Biafra by air in the night, a demand that was unacceptable to Federal Government out of fear that such night flights could be used to smuggle arms and ammunition for use of rebel soldiers: “That was where the problem came from and that was the issue. Apart from that, Ojukwu found it expedient and convenient to allow his people starve to death and to broadcast it on television screens all over the world in order to attract sympathy for the Igbo cause and for propaganda purposes.

“This, however, worked beautifully for him,” said Fani-Kayode.

A secret United States dispatch made public recently supported these assertions. In the dispatch, it was noted that disagreement on the form of transportation to be adopted for supply of food to hundreds of thousands of starving Biafrans between Gowon and Ojukwu, were the chief reasons for hunger that claimed the lives of many in the rebel territory. It was specifically stated in the cable that Gowon stopped air shipments of food to the rebel territory at the height of the civil war in 1968 despite pressure from the United States and the Red Cross, because of fears that the transport airplanes were being used to supply arms to Biafra. While Gowon was willing to allow land shipment, the Biafran rejected it with claims that the food might be poisoned, and that such route would be corridor for federal soldiers.

Awolowo himself was confronted with the same charges in a radio interview during his electioneering campaign as the presidential candidate of Unity Party of Nigeria in 1983. According to him, the decision to change the currency which many Igbos said was aimed at preventing Ojukwu from using money looted from the Central Bank of Nigeria branches in Benin, Port Harcourt and Calabar by rebel soldiers to buy arms abroad: “We discovered he looted our Central bank in Benin, he looted the one in Port Harcourt, looted the one in Calabar and he was taking the currency notes abroad to sell to earn foreign exchange to buy arms.” He also said the policy to limit withdrawals to £20 was because depositors could not show proof of what they had as deposits, as Biafran soldiers burnt bank documents during their raids on the banks. While reiterating that he was a friend of the Igbo, Awolowo recalled that he saved the accrued revenue for the East Central State during the period the war lasted and gave it back to them at the rate of £990,000 as monthly subventions.

The late sage also said he ensured that the houses owned by the Igbo in Lagos and in the other parts of the country not affected by the war were kept for them: “I had an estate agent friend who told me that one of them collected half a million pounds rent which has been kept for him. All his rent were collected, but since we didn’t seize their houses, he came back and collected half a million pounds.” Segun Adeniyi, Chairman, Editorial Board of ThisDay newspapers, actually recounted the instance of Reverend Moses Iloh in his column titled “Memories of Biafran Nightmares” published in January this year. The reverend gentleman not only met his property as he left it, he also received help from friends like the late Ambassador Segun Olusola to kick off a new lease of life in Lagos. Adeniyi recalled in the column that Iloh told him how Olusola and another Yoruba friend, Dapo Gbalajobi, helped him with funds that enabled him participate in buying a company when the indigenisation policy was introduced, an act which eventually made him a very wealthy man.

“I remember a friend’s uncle in Lagos who collected and saved up the rent on two houses belonging to his Igbo colleague who had been forced to flee as a result of the war. When he came back three years later, after the war, haggard and mercilessly dispossessed and his colleague handed over his bank account, he was frozen with gratitude,” Professor Niyi Osundare also recalled in an interview published in The Guardian.
Though there may be few exceptions, the situation in the West was far better than in Port Harcourt where, in the guise of abandoned property, the indigenes proceeded in taking over the property of the Igbo at the inception of the war. Ironically, Senator David Mark who presided over the abandoned property saga as an army officer
 in Port Harcourt, has not come under serious attacks over his role in the civil war from the Igbo as had Awo. Analysts wondered why the supposed sin of one man is attached to his people.
The Igbo had also accused the Yorubas of betrayal. The allegation is that the Yoruba reneged on the promise of declaring an independent Oduduwa Republic in response to the declaration of Biafra. The late sage, claim those who hold this view, said this at a meeting between him and Yoruba leaders in May, 1967.
But in a recent interview with this magazine, Professor Ropo Sekoni recalled the exact words of Awolowo on the issue: ‘By act of commission or omission, if the East left, that the West would follow suit.’ In other words, the Professor said while interpreting the statement, said what Awo implied was that ‘circumstance that allowed the East to go might also push the West out.’ He added that the statement can also be interpreted to mean ‘Look, let us make sure that they don’t go.’ In addition, the fact that the AG leader led a delegation of Western and Mid-Western leaders to Enugu on 6 May 1967, to dissuade Ojukwu from seceding, as has been recounted in many accounts of the war, indicated that Awolowo was not ready for the potentially bloody adventure.
Second Republic
In the Second Republic, the then National Peoples Party, NPP, led by Zik, and Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, led by Awo, had also mooted the idea of working together in the 1983 elections but the arrangement did not eventually work out.
The Deportation Saga And The Status of Lagos
The latest act that brought the distrust genie out of the bottle was the relocation of some Igbo destitute from Lagos. Lagos State government said the relocation was part of its programme of taking homeless people, beggars and urchins from the streets. It added that a large number of “area boys” who are mostly Lagos Island indigenes have been taken off the streets by its Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI Brigade, while it has also sent over 3,000 of such destitute individuals back to states in northern and south-western Nigeria.
The state also said it transported the destitute persons, whose number it put at 14, to Onitsha after the Anambra State government refused to respond to its letter urging it to prepare to receive them. Lagos State government claimed that states like Akwa Ibom and Katsina had made proper logistic arrangements to receive destitute individuals it relocated to their states in the past.

But this explanation was not acceptable to many Igbo, who accused the Lagos State governor of driving Igbo people out of Lagos through “brazen deportations and repatriations”. Former Abia governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, soon weighed in, accusing the Lagos State governor of working against the Igbo who contributed 55 per cent to the economy of Lagos. He also declared that Lagos was a no-man’s land, a view that received the support of some Igbo.

“In today’s world, cosmopolitan cities like Lagos are located in a specific place but usually transcend primordial ownership criteria,” said Chidi Amuta in an article published on the ThisDay issue on 13 August.
However, this logic was challenged by C. Don Adinuba, a public commentator of South-east origin. In his words: “There are so many investments in Lagos because Lagos has for long welcomed the Igbo people, enabling Ndigbo to prosper in Lagos more than in any other state. And no governor in Nigeria’s history has demonstrated as much affection to our people as Fashola. Commonsense dictates we protect in a strategic manner the interests of our people and reciprocate the friendship of well-meaning individuals and groups.”
He concluded that if the Yoruba hated Igbo, the Igbo would not be thriving in Lagos.
According to a US based academic, Dr. Wale Adebanwi, in a paper, “The City, Hegemory and Ethno-spathal Politics: The Press and The Struggle for Lagos in Colonial Nigeria,” agitation against Lagos started in the colonial period when there were plans to relocate the seat of Colonial government to Mount Pattle behind Lokoja [Kaduna or Abuja now].

However, the Governor General, Sir High Clifford, in his address to the Nigerian Council on 29 December 1919, argued for the retention of Lagos as headquarters for commercial reasons. But Adebanwi added: “Clifford was also concerned about the government moving far away from the articulation of dissent,” and that the colonial government ” would suffer in its execution if it moved away from critical appraisal that was evident in Lagos… Where activities of critical elements are exposed to the closest scrutiny and criticism.”
In fact, Adebanwi quoted H.O Davis as saying that Lagos contained “the genius of the country.” Adebanwi added that the matter was raised in the 1940s and 1950s.

The fight over Lagos also involved the media, especially Zik’s West African pilot and Daily Service. Adebanwi, apart from the origin of Lagos, traces the fresh clash over Lagos to the advent of Zik. Before that, Lagos was inhabited by what he describes as “closed aristocracy of the Yoruba and Yorubalised Creoles.” They were Yoruba or Creole families who, apart from Ernest Ikoli, an Ijaw, controlled the press.
The war between the Yoruba went deeper. As Adebanwi writes: “Azikiwe had earlier protested the domination of Lagos politics by the Yoruba who were also discriminating against non-Yoruba, particularly in the area of housing but his presidency of the Ibo state Union did not help matters. He had said while addressing his ibo constituents that it would appear that God of Africa had created the Igbo nation to lead the children of Africa from the bondate of ages.”
The conflict, as Adebanwi posits, ran deeper with the creation of Egbe Omo Oduduwa. In fact, a member of the Egbe, Oluwole Alakija wrote: “We were bundled together by the British who named us Nigeria. We never knew the Ibos, but since we came to know them, we have tried to be friendly and neighbourly. Then came [Zik] to sow the seeds of distrust and hatred.”
At a point, Zik’s NCNC argued that Lagos be separated as a federal capital from the rest of the West, “while the Action Group, led by Awolowo, rooted for the retention/merger of Lagos with the Yoruba West.” Zik held this opinion “for the sake of unit.”

When the Macpherson Constitution merged Lagos with Western Region, Zik’s pilot argued that it had “given us a country without a capital.” The newspaper fought the Macpherson constitution until, as Adebanwi put it, ” it way abandoned.

When the war became hot, the Service in 1953 wrote that the Yoruba “are not compelling the whole country to make Lagos their capital. But at least, it is the duty of the Governor to make it clear that the only alternative to the present situation of Lagos is for the people of Nigeria to buy a piece of land and establish on it a federal capital independent of the three regions.”
General Ibrahim Babangida fulfilled that when he moved the seat of government to Abuja!
An analyst of Igbo origin who resides in Lagos but declined to be named, reminded everyone that if the Yoruba hated the Igbo, would Lt.Col. Adekunle Fajuyi have defended to the death, his supreme commander and guest, General Aguiyi-Ironsi, who was assassinated during the July 1966 counter coup. “How come this has not been a major plank of this debate? Fajuyi’s wife, Eunice, recently died in Ado-Ekiti, how many Igbo leaders went there?”
Analysts believe that, given the long history of intermarriages between the two tribes, with many prominent Igbo men like Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Professor Chukwuemeka Ike married to Yoruba women and vice versa, the rivalry should by now be a thing of the past.

—-Ayorinde Oluokun

Post a Comment Blogger

  1. THANK YOU SIR, FOR BRINGING A TOUCH OF THE PAST TO THIS DISCOURSE.GOD BLESS YOU

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice writeup, thats the longest thing ive ever read on NE and i enjoyed it, we should learn to live together, no need for Hatred and Distrust

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another typical slanting of history by a Yoruba man.
    You could not bring yourself to mention the fact that Awo did not want to support Sam Akinsanya because he was an Ijebu like him;and will pose an obstacle to his planned leadership of a Yoruba party,if he (Akinsanya) had replaced Dr K.A.Abayomi in the legislative council.Awo did not want an Ijebu competition.Meanwhile Zik supported Akinsanya.

    You could not bring yourself to write that Awo encouraged Ernest Ikoli to establish DAILY SERVICE newspaper,using NYM resources,to compete with WEST AFRICAN PILOT,Zik's private newspaper.Despite the FACT that Zik was a member of NYM.

    You tried to gloss over the carpet crossing of 1951.That election held on 24 sept 1951. 80 seats were up for contention. However on that date,72 seats was contested as the 5 seat lagos election and 3 seat benin election were postponed.Yes Harold Cooper,the british Government Public Relation officer asked all parties to submit contestant list.However this was not a constitutional provision for that election.Also the 68 names submitted by AG were not exclusively members of AG.Several 'independents' whom the yoruba AG felt will win were put on that list,as plans of using traditional rulers to persuade them to cross-carpet was fully hatched.AG actually won 29 seats.Otu edo u mentioned won only 3 seats.Ibadan Political party,led by Akinloye won 6 seats.26 seats were won by organizations formaly allied with NCNC.Remember these were maily Yorubas.So if they loved Awo then,why didnt they join AG,ab initio? The obas and sundry tribal influences were used to help them cross carpet.NCNC won 25 seats.According to Bala Usman,during the tribal carpet crossing,16 of the seats of previous NCNC allies were lost.

    You also failed to mention that the Zik-led NCNC won the Federal Parliamentary election in the west in 1954,to further prove the 1951 NCNC victory as no fluke.NCNC won 23 out of the 42 seats,while AG won only 18 seats.Zik-led NCNC was the only party in the 1st republic to win in two of the three regions,further proving a lie to the AG stolen victory of 1951.

    You failed to write that NCNC was the only national party in the first republic,and it was led by Zik.This has always been the source of Awo's ungenerous attitude to Zik.You also coudn't bring yourself to write that Zik won the 1959 general election. His party won 2,592,629 votes,NPC won 2,027,194,while Awo won 1,980,839.Yet Awo went to negotiate with Ahmadu Bello to form govt at the center,and later sent another team to negotiate with Zik.Double game.

    You couldn't bring yourself to write about the 'Missing Manuscript' of the jan '66 coup,which your Odia Ofiemun stated showed that the coup plotters fully intended to hand the Govt leadership to Awo,yet they were mainly Igbos.And it was labelled an Igbo coup.

    You could not discuss or rationalize the undenied Awo statement of "hunger as a weapon of war"!! That is a war-criminal statement,if we want to be objective.I do not say Awo is a war criminal,but that statement and the ensuing policy is patently criminal.
    In your opinion,giving the tribe known for their personal thrift 20 pounds,for each working adult is justified.So Nigerian Army did not loot/burn banks? WHY only 20 pounds? Why then institute indegenisation policy,just 2 years after the 20 pounds policy? Can you publish a list of direct beneficiaries of the indegenisation policy?

    Let me suspend this discourse for now,but whenever Yorubas want to slant history,an Igbo person somewhere will definitely make it straigth,or at least less slanted.
    Wole Soyinka said "a lie should not be allowed to lie"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oluokun at least made an atempt to give both sides of tje argument. But in ur response u are only interested in.a rebuttal of one side by selectively picking a few of the.points. To be fair its either you do same for all the points raised or at least provide explanation for the reasoning on both sides for. And u think you are smart by quoting wole soyinka now. Why not quote Chinua Achebe who believed a lie should he told and retold and wriiten for his generation even at the.point of death?. Old habits...they say.
      ...die hard.

      Delete
  4. This is history at it's best, let nigerians now be the judge. Who is the agressor between the yorubas and the igbos? One Nigeria.

    ReplyDelete
  5. the only reason i did not finish this article is thaat the writer called repatriation to be relocation. i stopped reading at that point. i try my best to be open minded and have sought deep to understand the reasons for such unlawful act. i m a Nigerian nd the Igbos are not alone in this. that this hs happened before does not justify it. this writer is ultimately going to be biased and it is not far to be seen.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A good analysis that shows that the leaders mentioned in the article pursuied personal goals. However sir, I have always know Dr Odia as a die hard supporter of Awolowo and would expect his narations to be in line with his mentor's views. My father an Igbo politician from 1959 through 1979 never supported ZIK for personal reasons. In fact, in 1979, he contested in the old Imo state under UPN but lost because it was unpopular. My step brother who is my father's first son supported NPP. For me that was politics. Your analysis also revealed that ZIk was winning in western Nigeria until Awolowo by however means curried other non lagos Yoruba leaders to his favour. If it was non Igbo that was in Zik's place, he would feel the same way if not worse. This is what I think. My father is 93 years old but has never told me that the Yorubas are bad. He rather told me of his disagreement with Zik and Ojukwu. This is where I disagree completely with the like of Femi Fani Kayode's blanket statement about the Igbos. He is completely wrong when he said all the evil things against a whole tribe. He probably should know that we are first individuals before we became members of same family, not to mention our community,LGA,State and tribe. To bypass all these and call a tribe rude, crude, unlettered, cowards, betrayers etc.was to say the least evil. I can tell you that some Yoruba people, per their association with Igbos behave like them and vise versa. I supported a Yoruba lady to win a departmental election in Unical against an Igbo candidate that I didn't just agree with. As a prominent class rep. I campaigned and made sure she won the election. People should tell FFK that he goofed because Orji Kalu's statment that Lagos is no man's land is myth that was accepted at some point. I remember the first time I visited Lagos, I passed many states and read at the entrance of the state "welcome to say Edo" but when I got to lagos it read "this is lagos" alluding to the fact that it is free place for all. Kalu's statement did not in any way necessitate femi fani kayode's naration of hate in his bitter truth article. Emeka Udeagu

    ReplyDelete
  7. A good analysis that shows that the leaders mentioned in the article pursuied personal goals. However sir, I have always know Dr Odia as a die hard supporter of Awolowo and would expect his narations to be in line with his mentor's views. My father an Igbo politician from 1959 through 1979 never supported ZIK for personal reasons. In fact, in 1979, he contested in the old Imo state under UPN but lost because it was unpopular. My step brother who is my father's first son supported NPP. For me that was politics. Your analysis also revealed that ZIk was winning in western Nigeria until Awolowo by however means curried other non lagos Yoruba leaders to his favour. If it was non Igbo that was in Zik's place, he would feel the same way if not worse. This is what I think. My father is 93 years old but has never told me that the Yorubas are bad. He rather told me of his disagreement with Zik and Ojukwu. This is where I disagree completely with the like of Femi Fani Kayode's blanket statement about the Igbos. He is completely wrong when he said all the evil things against a whole tribe. He probably should know that we are first individuals before we became members of same family, not to mention our community,LGA,State and tribe. To bypass all these and call a tribe rude, crude, unlettered, cowards, betrayers etc.was to say the least evil. I can tell you that some Yoruba people, per their association with Igbos behave like them and vise versa. I supported a Yoruba lady to win a departmental election in Unical against an Igbo candidate that I didn't just agree with. As a prominent class rep. I campaigned and made sure she won the election. People should tell FFK that he goofed because Orji Kalu's statment that Lagos is no man's land is myth that was accepted at some point. I remember the first time I visited Lagos, I passed many states and read at the entrance of the state "welcome to say Edo" but when I got to lagos it read "this is lagos" alluding to the fact that it is free place for all. Kalu's statement did not in any way necessitate femi fani kayode's naration of hate in his bitter truth article. Emeka Udeagu

    ReplyDelete
  8. To many MUMU NIGERIANS a SPADE will never be called a SPADE, rather it wld be called a "HOE", "SPOON", "SHOVEL" even "CUTLASS"
    Another biased analysis of the HISTORY of this MUMU COUNTRY. RUBBISH!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Again, another Yoruba man has come to give history a slant that will favour Yorubas.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Leopard does not change its spots. Elmatosky and his fellows will forever remain unlearned despite strong efforts at putting their thinking straight. Animals

    ReplyDelete
  11. Emeka Udeagu, i would have totally agree with your opinion, but u refused to understand that NO MAN LAND is another name for SLAVE in Yoruba culture. i am a Yoruba man married to Igbo lady that i so much love, people have cultural differences in Nigeria and we need to understand this and respect our host wherever we stay outside our immediate village setting. So, think about it and blame both FF-kayode and Orji Kalu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the point. Thanks. The day i see a prominent Igbo take responsibility for his action or orther prominent igbos given him his due blame... that day i see hope for.the igbo race in their journey to self realization.

      Delete
  12. I read your write up with great trepidation, I was thinking we are over with this lingering diatribe between the yorubas and the Igbos over who owns Lagos , unfortunately it is not really about that , it is the uneasy and recently hateful relationship that seems to be increasing albeit via the Social media ... a platform that greatly irritates the great one "Kongi" .I get the feeling that it was in a bid to secure Lagos as "ours" that has raised this much fresh dust and what has got me worried so to speak , is the level of parochialism attached to arguments on both sides .
    I have lived, not just visited but lived in Ibadan , Lagos , Kano ,Kaduna , Jos and now resident in Abuja . As an Igbo man, I only feel at home when I get into my house irrespective of which town the house is in , because the things that plague us and make us uncomfortable in this country barely have ethnic colourations at all , when you are invaded by robbers or jihadists from the BH crew , they really care less if you are Ibo , Hausa or Yoruba . Ironically , if you go to the UK or US and see how our people hustle to partake of those countries welfare packages , you wonder what the fuss about where and who owns what AND most of all where you come from . You think the average Yankee cares ifI am Ibo or Tiv... to hell they care .I would have imagined that the Yoruba will be happy that Lagos has attained a status comparable to most metropolitan cities of the world such as Bombay , New York , Tokyo , London , paris etc , but unfortunately we are still suckling like infants , holding on to a city that has far gone from our grip. Lagos is mega , there is nothing like it in Africa , close to it may be Cairo or Joburg , but like those cities , it has become home to people of the world and has people who reside in it as citizens of the world . This cannot be changed by a " repatriation" of a million Igbo people and in no way takes a way the tradtion or culture of the landlords who are the Yorubas . So that it is termed a "no mans land " only confirms Lagos a microcosm of the Nigerian state , which is what it will always be even if this country ceases to be one . Lagos is not the making of a Yoruba or Igbo or Hausa, it has gone beyond that .
    I would expect that my dear Fashola and his team will always appreciate this fact about Lagos and hasten with overcoming the challenge that comes with such mega cities . Regarding the rendition of history by our new day historians, it is indeed a pity that they refer to history and make quotes of this very important people when they want to justify a parochial position , my question to the guys who do this is , why do you believe what a Zik or Awo said ; how are you sure such speech are borne out of sincerity ,were you in their minds when they were making such statements or do you know what they want to protect, also remember these guys were all politicians like the ones we have today , so why trust their judgement . I think the youths of Nigeria should resolve to do away with tribalism , I have been in several ways a victim of tribalism , in deeply very hurting ways like being denied to marry your friend because you are not from same tribe , but I have come to realise that these are personal issues and do not have anything to do with the generality of that tribe . For this Lagos issue, like a friend of mine said ," the owners of Lagos are the Lagos landlords". QED.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ayorinde Oluokun you are not different from FKK but you're only trying to deceive the readers by your last paragraph:

    "Analysts believe that, given the long history of intermarriages between the two tribes, with many prominent Igbo men like Chief Emeka Anyaoku and Professor Chukwuemeka Ike married to Yoruba women and vice versa, the rivalry should by now be a thing of the past".

    With this kind of ending at the back of your mind prior to your write-up, you only had to adviced FFK, his supporters and opposition to shield their swords. Forget and move forward. Not to renew or recreate Kayode's piece with fresh fabies, lies, unverifiable, hateful and deceitful add-ons just to continue the insults on ibos. I believe why you people are writing is just to call for hatred or eventually war btw different tribes against ibos, of which if it is not stopped may lead to serious problems. Ibo have paid so much ultimate prices for the existence of this country, and you people need to understand there is limit to everything. Ibo have continued to be slaughtered in various parts of this country for no reason, without provoking their assailliants. You, Kayode, and your supporters are yet to be satisfied, hence you diverge into media onslaught. Your look-a-like Kayode has in his pieces being trying to instigate hatred, rejection, assults or attack from almost all tribesagainst ibos. This is still the old fashion of the west towards ibos, always trying to portray iboman as worst human to associate with in order steal their opportunities. This has been trick, to cojoin with others whenever there is any national share. Awo did it, Obasanjo did same, Abiola also did, the list can go on and on. So lets stop this, and let the past be in order to move forward.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We are all one, so let put aside what divid us and move forward.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes Nigerians hussle to collect benefits in US etc. Yes Obama from a Kenyan Father is US president. But has dt made Kenyans d owners of Us? Or has it turned Nigerian to d owners of US?Anybody can work,live,married,build houses or even Steal anywhere in Nigeria. I don't have issues with dt.But dt does not change d history of that geographical location. If Fashola is been lambasted for making wrong decision ok. But to continue suggesting dt he moved them bcos they were Ibos or becos of Ibo hatered or bcos of Yoruba hatered for Ibos is what I wil never accept.Dt to me is cheap blackmail. Were they d only or d first set of pple affected by d program? How come it ws only wen if affected d eastern part dt it suddenly became an ethnic Agenda? Or is it dt the pple from other state affected ar 'lesser' Nigerians?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes Nigerians hussle to collect benefits in US etc. Yes Obama from a Kenyan Father is US president. But has dt made Kenyans d owners of Us? Or has it turned Nigerian to d owners of US?Anybody can work,live,married,build houses or even Steal anywhere in Nigeria. I don't have issues with dt.But dt does not change d history of that geographical location. If Fashola is been lambasted for making wrong decision ok. But to continue suggesting dt he moved them bcos they were Ibos or becos of Ibo hatered or bcos of Yoruba hatered for Ibos is what I wil never accept.Dt to me is cheap blackmail. Were they d only or d first set of pple affected by d program? How come it ws only wen if affected d eastern part dt it suddenly became an ethnic Agenda? Or is it dt the pple from other state affected ar 'lesser' Nigerians?

    ReplyDelete
  17. During the civil war, many Igbos came to work, live and school in my village, EWU OSI new Sagamu. Many of the small children who came with them attended the same primary school with me, people like FREDRICK TOM, JOSEPH THOMPSON, THERESA JAMES, GODWIN, SUNDAY, etc. Nobody ever discriminated against them. Those of them who could afford to build their own houses, like Godwin's and Joseph's parents, were given land to build on, while those who could not were given free accommodation. Right now, my father's four room house in the village is being occupied by Igbos at no cost.

    It is only those who want to cause mischief that are making noise about hatred of Igbos. 25% of the rights and privileges the Igbos enjoy in Lagos, they don't and cannot hope to enjoy it in Kano. The Igbos make up more than 80% of the traders in Sabongari market in Kano, yet they dare not dream of becoming the leader of Sabongari market traders. They constitute over 70% of the people who live in Sabongari and No Man's Land areas in Kano, yet they have never been considered even for Councilorship in Kano.

    I think we ought to reflect on who and what we are. We have (Igbos and Yoruba) come a long way together. We share many things in common. We should not allow the inordinate political ambitions of a few disgruntled politicians to becloud our send of reasoning.

    Most Yoruba men and women would rather court an Ibo woman or man than their counterparts from the North.

    Enough of this brick-bat.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are Moderated. Clean Comments will be swiftly approved. No swear words, no racism, allowed

 
Top