Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, told Igbo people living in Lagos on Easter Sunday to vote for Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) or else they will die in the lagoon. A video of Oba Akiolu saying some of these things has since gone viral on social media.
Even though Easter is about the death of Christ, according to Christians (and Oba Akiolu should know despite being a Muslim) it is even more about His resurrection. Many Nigerians have condemned the royal speech as inappropriate, tribal and undemocratic.
HAMILTONSTYLE lends its voice to this condemnation. Indeed, Ambode and the APC ought to dissociate themselves from Oba Akiolu’s vituperation, if he really said all these things. However, spokesperson for Akiolu’s throne, Chief Lateef Aderibigbe Ajose, Opeluwa of Lagos recanted this controversial position in a statement signed and released to the Nigerian media today.
WHAT WAS CREDITED TO OBA AKIOLU
The governorship elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday, and it is believed that Igbo residents in Lagos will vote for the PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje, just like they did during the presidential and National Assembly elections that led to the victory of PDP candidates of Igbo origin and from Delta State in three federal constituencies in Lagos.
The voting pattern of the non-indigenes of Lagos did not go down well with the Lagos chapter of the APC. Speaking at a meeting with Igbo leaders in the state, the first class monarch said: “On Saturday, if anyone of you goes against Ambode who I picked, that is your end. If it doesn’t happen within seven days, just know that I am a bastard and it is not my father who gave birth to me.
“Jonathan is my son and I speak to him everyday… Jimi (Agbaje) is my blood relation and I told him that he cannot be governor in Lagos for now. The future belongs to God. I am not begging anybody, but what you people cannot do in Onitsha, Aba or anywhere, don’t do it here. If you do what I want, Lagos will continue to be prosperous for you. If you go against my wish, you will perish in the water” he said.
In his response, the Eze-Ndigbo of Amuwo-Oriade, Dr. Gordian Dimojiaku said, “The mistake of last Saturday was caused by everybody, not only the Igbos. It is not only the Igbos that were responsible for the votes. But we have learnt our lesson. Saturday’s election is going to be a different thing and Ambode is going to win.
“Everybody knows that when you fail the first time, you cannot afford to fail again. We are going to tell our people that Ezes from the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas are here and that we have sworn with the Oba that we are going to make sure that Ambode wins next Saturday’s election,” he said.
WHAT AJOSE SAID ON BEHALF OF OBA AKIOLU
My attention has been drawn to a publication in a national newspaper, where HRM Oba Rilwanu Akiolu 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 Akiolu. 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 neighbourliness with other tribes in Lagos and support everything that will 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 was 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 Igbo chiefs to show appreciation to Lagos State by supporting his candidate Mr Ambode for continuity of excellence, as they have earlier promised.
He assured them of his continued support and assistance where needed and the meeting ended with the traditional breaking of kola nuts, alligator pepper, and bitter kola and pouring of liberation on the ground. It was within this context that the tradition of Lagos with regard to the lagoon came up. It was noted that ‘whoever works against the throne and the interest and peaceful co-existence of Lagos would end up in the lagoon as per tradition’.
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.