By Chukwudi Nweje / Acting Features Editor
The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu’s alleged threat to make life miserable for people of Igbo extraction if the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is not elected as the next governor of the state is condemnable and tactically calling for and endorsing post election violence should the outcome of the governorship polls not go the way of the APC. Oba Akiolu is reported to have summoned all the Eze-Ndigbo in Lagos State to his palace on Sunday April 5 where he literarily threatened to drown any Igbo that voted against Ambode in the lagoon.
He warned: “On Saturday (April 11 governorship election), if any one 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. By the grace of God, I am the owner of Lagos for the time being. This is an undivided chair. The palace belongs to the dead and those coming in the future. 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 inside this water.
“For the Igbos and others in Lagos, they should go where the Oba of Lagos heads to. When they were coming to the state, they didnít come with all their houses. But now they have properties in the state. So they must do my bidding. And that is the bidding of the ancestors of Lagos and God. I am not ready to beg you. Nobody knew how I picked Ambode. Jimi is my blood relation and I told him that he can never 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 you cannot 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 added that Ambode is ìhighly cerebral, heís a symbol and he is going to deliver the message which I the Oba of Lagos have said. And he will govern the state for another eight years…”
What message Oba Akiolu sent Ambode is not clear, but what is clear is that the Oba’s statement is offensive; it not only violates the spirit and letter of the Abuja Peace Accord entered into by the political parties to eschew violence and utterances capable of stoking violence before, during and after the elections, which had also replicated in the states by the gubernatorial candidates. The Oba did not say what would happen to the Yoruba who vote against his candidate of choice but vowed to make life miserable for the Igbo and drown them in the lagoon. His threat is a call to violence and contravenes the Rome Statute of The International Criminal Court.
Article 6 of the Statute classified such acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group as genocide. The use of threats to sway the voting pattern of the Igbo with the threat also violates every known democratic tenet.
Ibrahim Babatunde Olorogun-Etti a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State said the threat reemphasis the need for the Igbo to vote out the APC and thus neutralise the potency of the intimidation. Chief Nwabueze Ohazuluike, Eze Igbo Lagos said the statement is provocative and annoying noting that the Igbo community in the state will meet and come out with an official position.
Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) said that if the statement credited to the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, is true, then it is very unfortunate. Threatening people all in the name of campaigning for a candidate or a political party is the highly reprehensible.
“All the necessary security agencies should sweep into action, investigate this threat by the Oba and prosecute him for encouraging violence, if found culpable.”
Meanwhile, Chief Lateef Aderibigbe Ajose, Opeluwa of Lagos said the Oba was speaking proverbially and not literally.
SOURCE: Daily Independent.