Following the public outcry that has so far greeted Sunday night’s outburst against the Igbo ethnic stock and non-indigenes by the Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday night met with leaders of Igbo and non-indigenes in the state at his Hill Top residence, Abeokuta.
Obasanjo was said to have apologised for the outburst of the Oba, who asked non indigenes in Lagos to leave if they fail to vote for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Akinwumi Ambode on Saturday.
Coordinator of the Amalgamation of Lagos State NGOs and Civil Societies, a group of Igbo traders and non indigenes non-governmental organisations resident in Lagos, Chief Oliver Akubueze, told newsmen on Tuesday that the former President was full of apologies, promising that the interest of non indigenes will be protected by the party with the victory of Ambode in the forthcoming election.
Akubueze however added that Igbo leaders like Prof Anya O Anya, Pascal Dozie and Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, will meet later in the day on Tuesday to deliberate on the outburst of the Lagos monarch and come out with a final decision on it.
When contacted on the meeting, the Eze Ndigbo of Lagos, Chief Nwabueze Ohazulike, said he was aware of the meeting of the elites but he could not be at the meeting, adding that an enlarge meeting of Igbo leaders of thought will hold on Wednesday afternoon at his palace at Ikotun before a statement will be issued on the matter.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State chapter has however called on the state governor, Babatunde Fashola to suspend the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, over the death threats.
The party in a statement on Tuesday by its Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani said the monarch should be suspended till after the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in Lagos State.
It said this was necessary in order to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in the state.
It stated that it had also alerted the security agencies to hold the monarch responsible for any attack on non-indigenes or PDP members in Lagos.
The party further said that Fashola’s silence, over 48 hours after the inflammatory statement and threat to life suggests that the king acted on behalf of the state government.
The statement said in part, “the governor is thus a conspirator in this threat to life and must also be held accountable for any violence in this elections. We have at this point been vindicated about the desperation of the APC to retain Lagos state at all cost including the All Progressives Congress’ plan not to concede the imminent defeat on April 11.
“The positions of the PDP are coming on the heels of the now viral threat issued by the Oba of Lagos to Igbos that they must vote for the APC Governorship Candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, or be drowned in Lagos water.”
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Tuesday vowed that Ndigbo cannot be intimidated in any part of Nigeria, not the least, Lagos State, where they have contributed immensely to its development and economy. He was reacting to threats allegedly issued to Ndigbo by the Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Rilwan Akiolu over their political choices and voting patterns in the last election.
He, however, assured president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, that Ndigbo have nothing against him as a person and his in-coming administration. Ekweremadu spoke in his Enugu residence while meeting with officials of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), from Enugu West senatorial district.
He noted that the Nigerian constitution upholds the right of every Nigerian to reside in any part of the country while the National Assembly have gone further by introducing the new Section 24A in the Fourth amendment of the 1999 Constitution to confer indigeneship on any Nigerian who has continuously resided in any state for at least 10 years.
He assured Buhari that Ndigbo would work hand-in-hand with him in line with their regional agenda and overall development of Nigeria. Ekweremadu said Ndigbo would give Buhari all the support to succeed because he was elected as President of Nigeria, not President of APC or any section of the country in particular.
“He has the choice to be a statesman, bringing every part of the country on board his government or to run an exclusive government. He has the choice to ensure that no part of this country is discriminated against in the distribution of opportunities and development projects on account of their ethnicity, religion, party affiliation, and religion or to do otherwise.”