Ohanaeze Ndigbo has condemned intimidation of voters in Lagos State by some traditional rulers.
Dr Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in a statement also condemned the attack on Labour Party’s supporters in Lagos.
The group also called on the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to caution the Baale of Igbara..
The group said “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to remarks made by one Baale of Igbara community, Jakande, in Eti-Osa LGA of Lagos State to the effect that “only residents who have their Permanent Voter Cards, PVC and are ready to vote for the All Peoples Congress (APC) would be allowed to do business with them in the community”
Jakande made the remarks while addressing his cabinet on Monday, January 30, 2023.
“The traditional ruler said We are ready to fight; yes, I am not hiding it; I have narrated everything to you. In Nigeria, there is Lagos; in Lagos, there is Eti-Osa; within Eti-Osa, we have the Igbara community and by the grace of God in Igbara today, we can take our decision. The Baale went on to say: “You want to vote for PDP or Labour Party? Not here”…among others.
“In April 2015, the Oba of Lagos, His Majesty Rilwan Akiolu was quoted to have threatened the Igbo living in Lagos that “anyone that fails to vote for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would perish in the lagoon”. Although His Majesty was able to restore the Igbo confidence in him when the late Ambassador George Obiozor, the former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led an Igbo delegation to pay him a visit with respect to one spurious and frivolous allegation against the Igbo in Lagos State, yet the remark by His Majesty is, to say the least, most unwarranted.
“Although the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr Benjamin Hundeyin is quoted to have stated that “the traditional ruler will be invited for questioning.” And that “everyone should feel free to vote for the candidate of his or her choice.”
Ohanaeze thereby called on the Presidential candidate of the APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, security agencies and indeed the lovers of democracy in Nigeria, to caution the Baale for such unreflective, provocative, incendiary and inflammatory remarks by a Baale in Lagos State.
He said “The Baale should be made to understand that Nigeria has gone beyond such careless and inciting rhetoric as: “We are ready to fight; yes, I am not hiding it…” And that the Baale and his cohorts may know why the fight will begin but will surely not know how, where, when and in whose favour the fight will end. In other decent climes, the said Baale should be arrested and detained until the election is over.
“This will serve as a deterrent to some other ethnic chauvinists, crises entrepreneurs, hoodlums and low opportunists.
“A few days ago, hoodlums in Lagos State attacked supporters of the Labour party said to be on their way to Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) — the venue of the party’s presidential campaign rally.
“The hoodlums were said to have targeted the supporters to prevent them from attending the Labour Party rally. Some of the supporters had their clothing torn to shreds, while others sustained various degrees of injury during the incident.
“The report further indicates that lives were lost. This is one of the outcome of the Baale incantations. Most recently, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Mr Segun Agbaje stated that the reason the Igbo in Lagos cannot have their PVC is that they are from the South East part of the country, inferring that they are immigrants; in what Dr Bolaji O Akinyemi criticized as a “Conspiracy against Democracy: INEC REC; Segun Agbaje’s Outburst, Other Matters Arising” and thus accused the INEC REC of being complicit in a plan to disenfranchise the Igbo in Lagos”