Dr. Josef Onoh, the All Progressives Congress’ (APC’s) spokesperson for the South East Presidential campaign, has called with Lagos State’s Igbo residents to support Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his bid for reelection on March 11.
According to Onoh, Sanwo-Olu has shown love and support for the Igbos in Lagos over the past four years, and as a result, he merits reciprocation from well-meaning Igbos who are excellent tenants and have consistently demonstrated loyalty to the project Lagos State throughout time.
“I recall how he helped former Super Eagles captain, Henry Nwosu, who was at the point of death and couldn’t get any assistance even from our Igbo brothers, Sanwo-Olu took over Nwosu’s treatment just three hours after being notified, flew him from a hospital in Asaba to LUTH Lagos and went further to build a house for him,” Onoh recalled.
He emphasized that not a single South East governor offered support during Nwosu’s ordeal, and he said that not a single Igbo brother showed up to offer words of encouragement when he was betrayed and defeated in the Enugu State governorship primary. Instead, he said, he received the greatest brotherly love, support, and encouragement from his Yoruba friends and royal fathers, who, to this day, he claims are still loyal, supportive, and supportive.
He expressed gratitude to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for giving him the chance to give his finest performance, saying that little things matter in life.
Onoh asked Ndigbo in Lagos to disregard the misleading statements made by a faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo against the Governor and the Oba of Lagos, noting that his late father, HE Chief C.C Onoh, was one of the major founding fathers of Ohaneze Ndigbo which he remarked is today more political than a socio-cultural organization subjected to divisiveness.
“Lagosians and the Yorubas have been immensely kind to the Igbos. Many famous streets are named after our sons and daughters in lagos but we cannot find as many streets named after a Yoruba man in the south east.
“They have given us a sense of belonging and accommodated our excesses even when we make proclamation that irritates the Yoruba that Lagos is no man’s land, which comes for the most part from my Igbo brothers and sisters, yet In all of these conglomeration of ethnic groups, it is ultimately true that Lagos still remains the centre of cultural melting point where there is high level of ethnic tolerance and great opportunities for the Igbos.”
Onoh stated that irrespective of whatever position one has taken, there are some facts that are sacrosanct and should be linearly preserved.
“It is obvious and clear that we the Igbos don’t own lagos, no matter the extent of investment and wealth we may individually acquire to buy their land and properties. If truly it is no man’s land, how come there is no land in the entire lagos that belongs to us that we don’t pay ground rent to the customary owners?.
“Ownership of Lagos issue was settled in 1920 when Chief Amodu Tijani, the Oluwa of Lagos took the British Colonialists to the Privy Council in London. Hence, today, there is no contest on who the landlord is on the land in Lagos( not Lagos State).
“The legitimate ownership of Lagos land is vested in the Idejo who are the offspring of Ogunfunminire and not the Bini. Anyone who cares, can read the landmark judgement delivered at the Privy Council in London in 1921 and no Igbo man was plaintiff or defendant.”
He noted that the Yorubas could have their faults, still, they have remained Igbo partners in progress even before Nigeria’s independence and supported well-meaning Igbos in most of their political journeys.
In 1959 same Yorubas supported my late father to become the first black chairman of the Nigeria coal cooperation with the support of Pa Anthony Enahoro despite Nnamdi Azikwe’s resistance. Till his death, he shared a rare brotherly bond with Akinwole Michael Omoboriowo then Deputy Governor of Ondo State, stood by Abiola, remained committed to Nadeco and was one amongst few that were prisoners of conscience during the military onslaught on Nadeco members.
My father shared great friendship bonds with many Yoruba sons and daughters till death. Dim. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu spoke Yoruba fluently, Lagos was his home and in his lifetime I always heard him speak worthy of many Yoruba sons and daughters. These are qualities we should currently seek as Igbos and foster unity, peace and love amongst our Yoruba brothers.
He said that ethnic tolerance and or intolerance in Lagos politics and even daily living amongst the Igbos and Yorubas is such that requires a lot of repetition about how Nigeria is a nation that must always strive for national integration and embrace ethnic tolerance in order to promote unity.
He decried that it is yet still a problem in Lagos state that during elections, ethnic affiliation would increases as political parties strategically position themselves in a bid to gain the upper hand even if it means causing ethnic divide in order to maintain relevance.
“At this point, it is worthy of note that Lagos is that state that gives voice to other ethnic groups in political affairs in Nigeria. It is not done in other states in Nigeria. Ethnic politics and political intolerance always manifest in Political party formation in Nigeria and promoted by the selfish.
“I recall the previous presidential election result in Lagos State was very confounding. Nobody expected it to be ‘too close’. The APC scored 792,460 while my party then, the PDP scored 632,327. The difference between the two rival parties was 160,133.
“It is quite a shock even to us in the PDP back then to realise that there was the emergence of two Igbo candidates namely: Mrs. Rita Orji (Ajeromi/Ifelodun Federal Constituency) and Mr. Tony Nwoolu (Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency). Both of them were members of our then party the PDP. Even this past election Igbos are still benefiting politically in lagos state yet in the south east we dare not allow a Yoruba or any other ethnic group run for any political office, even to sell our land and issue them with a certificate of occupancy is a problem but in lagos Bola Tinubu, Fashola, Ambode, and Sanwo-Olu have continued in the legacy set by Tinubu to support and appoint our Igbo brothers and sisters to various political offices in lagos. Truly they deserve our immense respect and support.
“The above successes were made possible because Lagos and Yorubas accommodate people from all spheres of influence which is a major ingredient in fostering national unity. Politics is about interest and not sentiments, it’s only wise that Ndigbo in lagos support Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s re-election because the devil you know is better than the Angel you don’t know.
“Your greatest interest is your businesses in lagos hence it’s wise to vote continuity, don’t be your own executioner and if you fail you carry your cross alone and be assured that your fellow Igbo brother will be the first to laugh at you and non of the presidential candidates that lost the election will speak on your behalf, their families are abroad, they will not lift a finger to stand up for you if you commit political suicide out of sentiments, let’s think interest first,” Onoh advised.
He said that in his interactions with various Igbo trade unions in lagos state, he was made aware that during the past campaigns, there were promises made but weren’t kept four years after.
But Onoh assured that despite the redeemable setbacks, assured that he will personally lead a deligation to meet with Governor Sanwo-Olu once he’s re-elected into office, to press home the demands for a more conducive business-friendly environment and government precence and support for the Igbos in lagos.
“As brothers, all I ask to make this possible is your support and vote for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the 11th of March 2023. If he still doesn’t address these promises that were made, provided they are within reason, although I know he will, I’ll personally drive home your demands to our incoming President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who we all know has so much love and shown great support for Igbos.” and as A president under the platform of the APC, he will address these issues seamlessly under an APC led government in lagos.
Onoh told his brethren in the state that the presidential election that involved an Igbo candidate was over, hence they must move on and consolidate in their contribution to building Lagos, an area the Igbo have taken as their second home, that doesn’t stop us from holding our great son Peter Obi in the highest esteemed for he made us proud and history will be kind to him.
He said that it was pertinent the Igbo key into the new era of Nigeria that will unfold from May 29 with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the pilot of the moving train for stabilisation of Nigeria.
He noted that Sanwo-Olu is a pound trainee of Tinubu whose legacies in Lagos have been sustained by his successors, and currently Sanwo-Olu who he said has continued to improve Lagos state with better infrastructure, and economic and social development.
Together let’s deliver Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for a second term. Onoh pleaded.
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