IT IS ILL MANNERS TO SILENCE A FOOL, AND CRUELTY TO LET HIM GO ON. Benjamin Franklin.
I have watched from the sidelines with consternation the constant barrage of venom spewed by one Femi Fani Kayode on fellow citizens of his own country basically because they come from a different tribe and region and have decided to pursue their dreams in another.
I was hitherto under the impression that every Nigerian had the freedom and right to reside and exist in any part of this country as a full citizen, I must have been wrong because there seems to be a forked tongue on this issue. Apparently a Governor in my dear country can evict anybody from his state once that person is proven destitute.
As a country we must say no to this ugly trend because those promoting it do not know what they are about to set in motion and the ugly precedent it is already precipitating. How can one be a second class citizen in his own country because he is poor and from another tribe? How can a free citizen be deported from one part of his own country to another? Can a Texan be repatriated from New York back to his home state of Texas by an American Governor on grounds of poverty? Or can an English man from Liverpool living in London be sent back to his shire once he can no longer pay his rent?
The answer is a resounding NO! A Nigerian is a Nigerian, we shouldn’t let tribal affiliation becloud this issue. I understand that Lagos is over populated, but the state cannot deny that it hasn’t benefited economically from the commercial activities of the droves of Nigerians who go there to do business, especially the Igbo people. They’re the ones on the street from dusk till dawn pushing the wheels of commerce. I am not from the East but nobody can fault their naturally industrious nature.
In terms of successfully doing business entirely outside government no one does it better than the Igbo man, who no matter what the economic circumstances this country throws at him, strives to keep his business afloat. They’re the commercial muscle of this country and should be treated with respect.
When the Igbo people opted out of this potpourri called Nigeria, the Hausa, and Yoruba in connivance with the rest of Nigeria subdued them and forced them to stay, it was infact Obasanjo that accepted the Biafran surrender after a bloody civil war which ironically bore the theme ‘ONE NIGERIA’. I’m wondering what the Nigerian government fought for if even after the war the Igbo people are still suffering butchery in the north and are subtly treated with disdain by the west. With Fani-Kayode almost degenerating to Nazi ideologies in his theories of the Yoruba man in juxtaposition with the Igbo. This is what he wrote in his latest diatribe –
“This is because they fear the northerners who have often put them in their place when they cross the line but they have nothing but contempt for us…”
Fani-Kayode and his yoruba tribalist troupe may want to say the Igbo people where not the only ones deported from Lagos, but my question is, by what right do you throw people out of a state in this country? Do the Lagosians think that people like me from the Niger-Delta are happy that the crude oil milked from our backyards have now become the National cake? Or can anyone deny what the proceeds of crude oil has contributed to the physical development of that city. The Lagos that men like Fani-kayode lay claim to was built from scratch with the common wealth of Nigeria not from any ingenuity the Yoruba people can lay claim to.
Femi Fani-Kayode in his latest tirade also had this to say:
‘I also commend him (Fashola) for admonishing the igbo to develop their own region and to decide whether they are ”igbo before they are Nigerians or Nigerians before they are igbo”. This is a fundamental question that I believe that we must all determine in our hearts and minds whether we are of igbo, yoruba, hausa/fulani or ijaw stock or anything else.’
If it indeed is true that perception counts for everything as Fani-Kayode aptly stated in this latest piece, how then can a former Federal minister and one who wishes to be treated as a Nigerian leader be so blatant in the above sectionalism? I am a Nigerian and that is what matters. We are talking about unifying this country by blurring the lines between tribes, this man is asking us to cling to our tribal differences. The same differences that in our chequered history has led only to bloodshed from tribal warfare, suspicion and sabotage even when we pretend to be at peace.
Fani-Kayode prides himself a historian, so I’m sure he knows very well that the Eko he loves so dearly as a Yoruba man was founded by the Bini and all the rulers of Lagos were descended from Ashipa and consequently Ado until a Yoruba conspiracy with the British invaders stole the crown from Kosoko and gave it to Akitoye who died mysteriously and the crown devolved on Dosunmu. It is a fact that modern-day Lagosians have so intermingled that no single tribe or people can claim it even though the predominant language is Yoruba.
Tribal Lagosians have nothing to be proud off, not after Dosunmu ceded his throne to the British for £1000 a year thus making Lagos an English possession. We are all aware what led to the sacking of Benin city and the exile of Oba Ovonramwen, the story of Jaja of Opobo, these are men who held fast in the face of impossible adversity, when they should have given up. The Ekumeku of Anioma in Delta state resisted the British for 31 years, the Ekumeku War is one of the greatest resistances to the British empire and inspired later rebellions such as the Mau Mau of Kenya. The Igbos on their part being naturally democratic vehemently resisted the English and their indirect rule till we got independence thus making them highly unpopular with the colonial government.
The Yoruba people are so enamoured with Lagos perhaps like smeaogol and the ring. They feel they should be treated different from other Nigerians in that city but I dare say it would never happen because Lagos is Nigeria and Nigeria is Lagos. Fani-Kayode says Fashola was wrong to have tendered any form of apology to the Igbo people, that it suggests weakness on the Yoruba but I say Fashola is a brave man and Femi a coward; or he shouldn’t have waited till Ojukwu’s death before claiming dalliance with Bianca.
I respected Fani-Kayode once, but in my opinion now, he’s a very petty, attention seeking man. A retrogressive tribalist.