Presidential Election: Are Igbos Responsible For Tinubu’s Defeat In Lagos?

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Loyalists of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu are yet to recover from the electoral tsunami that enveloped them on the 25th of February 2023. On that day, the Nigerian presidential election was conducted and when the results were announced, Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) defeated Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state and candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in his homebase.

 Even though the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Obi won the state with 582,354 as against Tinubu’s 572,606, many analysts including leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued that Obi won with a wider margin given the fact that the figures announced did not tally with the number of votes cast.

Shortly after the announcement, all hell was let loose in Lagos as many APC supporters accused the Igbos in Lagos of being responsible for the electoral loss. The governorship and House of Assembly elections was to take place on the 11th of April, two weeks after the presidential election. Supporters of Tinubu, sensing that their party, may again lose the governorship election and the state to the LP began a campaign of calumny against the Igbo people living in Lagos. They accused them of wanting to impose one of their own as governor by sponsoring Gbadebo ‘Chinedu’ Rhodes-Vivour, the LP governorship candidate against the incumbent, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the APC candidate who is seeking reelection for a second term.

Luckily for the APC, INEC moved the election forward by one week. This further gave Tinubu’s supporters the opportunity to carry out an ethnic profiling against Igbos in Lagos. They took to social media to make incisive comments against Igbos, especially the traders in Lagos.

Also, in a viral video, the Lagos State Parks Management Committee Chairman, Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, threatened Igbos to steer clear of the elections and stay at home if they are not ready to vote for the APC

MC Oluomo, while addressing a gathering,warned Igbo neighbours not to bother going to the polling units if they intended to vote for candidates other than the ruling party’s flag bearers.

“It is not a fight. It is not wahala (a problem). What do we want to correct it? Our PVC. And we will stand there. Yoruba should get there first and should vote first. 

“When we finish voting, we’ll be watching because we have begged you and you said you have heard. If you make a mistake, you will understand. Please tell them, we have begged them. If they don’t vote for us, it is not a fight. Tell them that, Chukwudi’s mother, if you don’t for us, sit down at home. Do you understand? Sit down at home” MC Oluomo had said.

Even after the conduct of the election which was won by the APC through intimidation, snatching of ballot boxes and physical injuries to voters, leaders of the APC continue to engage in ethnic profiling, threatening the Igbos to leave Lagos and go back to their states.

Bayo Onanuga, a spokesperson for the President-elect, Bola Tinubu shortly after the elections issued a last warning to Igbos in Lagos State against interfering with politics in the state.

 “Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Let there be no repeat in 2027. Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, any Nigerian state. It is not No Man’s Land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba land. Mind your business.”

When many Nigerians criticised for stoking ethnic hatred, Onanuga was defiant, saying he owes nobody any apology.

He tweeted “Let me make myself abundantly clear: the views I express on Twitter are my personal views. I don’t owe anyone any apology for addressing the existential threats of our people. I am after all, first of all a Yoruba, before being a Nigerian,” he added.

Onanuga’s views were also re-echoed by some other APC leaders such as Femi Fani-Kayode who described the Igbos as bad tenants and ingrates. He also asked them to leave the state if they feel they can install one of their own as governor of Lagos state.

Are Igbos really responsible for the electoral defeat suffered by Tinubu in places such as Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Eti-Osa, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Oshodi-Isolo, Ikeja, Amuwo-Odofin, Ojo, Alimosho, Kosofe and other places?. These are areas with large Yoruba voting population and many of them have boldly come out to say that they voted against the APC because they are fed up with the years of misrule by the party and wanted a breath of fresh air in the state.

Speaking on the issue, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, British deputy high commissioner to Nigeria said ethnic profiling shouldn’t happen in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos.

He said “If you live in London, you are a Londoner, a British-Pakistan, is a Londoner. The British Prime Minister lives in London. My boss, the British foreign Secretary is clearly British-Sierra Leone and lives in London, they are Londoners,” he said

“Why is it that people who pay taxes, who work, who provide teachers, who built businesses, who create jobs, who live in Lagos, who happen to be from a different ethnicity to some other people are not Lagosians? Of course, they are. The strength of Lagos is its diversity, and if Lagos can’t be that kind of cosmopolitan melting pot of culture and language and all the things it should be, then really how is Lagos going to succeed?” he asked.

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