Many Nigerians have expressed outrage over the threat by Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, against Igbo if they fail to vote for the Lagos State All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, in Saturday’s election.
The monarch reportedly told Igbo leaders in Lagos on Saturday that he would “make life unbearable” for the Igbos in Lagos if they frustrate efforts to ensure that Am¬bode emerges as the next governor of the state.
Oba Akiolu was quoted as saying, “On Saturday, if anyone of you goes against Ambode, whom I picked, that is your end. If it does not happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it is not my father who gave birth to me.
“By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos State, the person is going to die in¬side this water.”
Some Nigerians took to Twitter to comment on the controversial ‘anti-igbo’ comments.
Read some below,,,
Watch video of Oba Akiolu’s speech
Apart from the Twitter users, many others who called out the monarch are the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and the youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
While the CCFN asked Oba Akiolu to revert his “curse” on the Igbos, the Ohanaeze youths gave the monarch 48 hours to withdraw his threat and apologise for his outburst against the Igbos.
CCFN, an organ of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, in a statement by its Executive Secretary, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, on Monday in Abuja said Akiolu was “missing the point that Nigeria is a Republic and a democracy and not a monarchy.”
He said, “We humbly call on the Oba himself to withdraw his curse and rather appeal to the people, for indeed, such a threat may amount to playing God and God, who is a merciful father, will not allow his children to die so senselessly just because they are fulfilling the dictates of their conscience.”
According to him, the fact that APC is the government at the centre is a strong factor to employ and appeal to people to vote for its candidate “rather than invoking ancestral powers for destruction.”
Bassey added, “Why is it that in Africa we usually invoke our powers for destruction and not for building-up? Why single out a particular ethnic group for this curse? Does it mean a Yoruba or Hausa person, living in Lagos. who votes for Jimi Agbaje will go scot-free, while any Igbo, who votes for Agbaje, will drown in the Lagoon?
“Does it mean that people should vote out of fear and not their consciences? Would such an election be free and fair, where people have to vote out of intimidation?
Does not the threat of the Oba Akiolu amount to voter intimidation?”
The Ohanaeze youth wing said it considered the comments credited to the monarch as “a despicable insult on the Igbo nation home and abroad, least expected of a royal father in the rank of Oba of Lagos.”
In a statement in Umuahia on Monday, the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said, “Igbo youths will not take this insult lightly, and unless he apologises within 48 hours, he should know he is courting our wrath.
“Nobody, no matter what he thinks he is, has the right to command Ndigbo anywhere on who to vote for in a democratic setting.”
He said the “unprintable comments”, credited to the Oba, had only revealed his innate hatred against “Ndigbo, whom God has destined to prosper in any part of the world even in hostile environments.”
He, called on security agencies to immediately invite the monarch for questioning over his remarks “which portend grave security implications.”
The monrach has however released a statement adressing the issue.
Read statement below…
My attention has been drawn to a publication in a national newspaper where HRM Oba Riliwanu Akinolu was alleged to have threatened Igbos in Lagos to make them vote for Ambode.
Last Sunday, all honorary Eze Ndigbos in Lagos paid a courtesy call to HRM Oba Akinolu. At the meeting the visitors praised the Oba for his fatherly support for and cooperation with Igbos in. Lagos. They assured him of their continued good neighborliness with other tribes in Lagos and support everything that’ll further strengthen that harmony.
Oba Akiolu on his part acknowledged the enviable performance of Governor Fashola and his contribution to the growth of investments in Lagos. He gave the assurance that he is not disturbed or angry with South-East and South- South votes for President Jonathan as perceived by the Eze Ndigbos. The Oba thereafter called on the Igbos chiefs to show appreciation to Lagos State by supporting his candidate Mr. Ambode for continuity of excellence as they had earlier promised. He assured them of his continued support and assistance where needed and the meeting ended with the traditional breaking of kolas, alligator pepper, and bitter kola and pouring of liberation on the ground.
It was within this context that that the tradition of Lagos with regard to the lagoon came up. It was said that according to tradition, whoever works against the throne and the interest and peaceful co-existence of Lagos would end up in the lagoon. Oba Akiolu stated further that the Igbo people have not betrayed the throne. Lagos has also not betrayed the Igbo people. Lagos has done so much to make the Igbos comfortable and to prosper. For this, we expect reciprocal respect and understanding.
The Oba of Lagos prays that the Lagoon and the throne will continue to bless and protect all those who reside and visit Lagos.
Oba Akiolu is the father of all irrespective of tribe, religion or political persuasion. In Lagos, we have an old traditional proverb that relates to the Lagoon. The Lagoon is unique to Lagos. The proverb stresses the need for unity and understanding when you do business in an environment and in this case when you live and do business in Lagos. Oba Akiolu prays for peace for the land of Lagos and prosperity for all its inhabitants.
Signed: Chief Lateef Aderibigbe Ajose, Opeluwa of Lagos April 6, 2015
Source: Nigerian Eye
. That man is a pure disgrace, he should go and hide his face in shame. Not worthy to be Oba. shame on him.