Fashola Betrayed Yorubas for Apologising to Igbo, Says Fani-Kayode
A former Minister of Aviation has expressed dissatisfaction with the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, for apologising to Igbos over the deportation saga.
On July 24, the Lagos State government had deported about 70 destitute people to Onitsha, Anambra State; which caused controversy between the two states.
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode accused Fashola of betraying the Yorubas, who threw their weight behind him when he was criticised for deporting the Igbos.
He said: “What Fashola has done, albeit inadvertently, is to betray those amongst his Yoruba kith and kin that stood by him and defended him when he took that historic and controversial decision to deport the Igbo destitute.
“He has also fuelled the erroneous impression that is held by most of the Igbo that the Yoruba people and their leaders are bumbling and inconsistent cowards that cannot stand firm when put under pressure and when faced with threats and hardship.
“Again will Fashola apologize to the numerous northerners that he deported from Lagos as well and will he apologize to his Yoruba kith and kin from Oyo and Osun for deporting them too? I really do wonder how far this new-found large-heartedness and seasonal expression of regrets will go? Will it be spread everywhere or is it exclusively reserved for the Igbo?
“You don’t apologise for government policy just to appease a certain group of people no matter how bellicose, violent, loud and aggressive they may be. It is better to lose a million elections outside Yorubaland than to concede even one inch of Yoruba territory to those that seek to lay claim to that which is not theirs. A word is enough for the wise.”
Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has formally withdrawn his claim on Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and Nigeria’s envoy to Spain.
The former minister had claimed to have had an intimate relationship with Bianca some years ago, prompting the former beauty queen to deny the claim and asking for an apology, with a threat to go to court.
In a statement, yesterday, Fani-Kayode admitted that some of the words he used to describe his friendship with Bianca, in his article entitled: “A Word for those who call me a tribalist,’’ were indiscreet, hence, his decision to withdraw them.
The statement, signed by Mr. Akinola Babatunde Rotimi, entitled: “Re: Statement on Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu,” stated: “We represent Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, the former spokesman to President Olusegun Obasanjo and the former Minister of Culture and Tourism and Aviation.
“Our client knew Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu in the early to mid-80s when he was a student at London University and Cambridge University respectively. They were good friends at the time and they had a few mutual friends who are still alive today. The bizarre, absurd and inexplicable assertion that they were not friends and that Ambassador Ojukwu has never met our client is patently false.
“Though he has not seen her for over 25 years, he spoke to her on the phone when her husband passed on last year.
Bianca with his late husband OJUKWU
“As our client said earlier, through his press secretary, some of the words he used to describe his friendship with Ambassador Ojukwu in his article titled: “A Word For Those Who Call Me A Tribalist,” were indiscreet. He hereby withdraws those words.’’
It will be recalled that Fani-Kayode had, in the article, published in the social media and some segments of the national dailies, claimed to have met with Bianca when she was Miss Bianca Onoh at the Cambridge College and had “intimate” relationship with her together with two other Igbo ladies.
Following the controversial article, Bianca’s lawyers had written a letter to Fani-Kayode asking him to apologise and also retract the statement claiming he dated her many years back or face a lawsuit. In the letter, Bianca said she’s never met Fani-Kayode before.
Bianca, who spoke through her lawyers, Wall Street Attorneys, threatened to drag Fani-Kayode to court if he failed to retract his libelous publication against her within seven days, which expires today.
In the letter from her lawyers to Fani-Kayode, dated August 27, 2013 and signed by Mike Ugwuanyi, Bianca demanded that the former minister writes an apology and retraction of the said libelous publication in The Sun and Thisday newspapers, as well as publish it in the online publication, where it emanated, in the next seven days or face litigation.
Part of the letter written by Bianca’s lawyers states as thus: “We have been briefed and our services retained by Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain to demand from you an unreserved apology and a retraction of a false and malicious statement, which you published online and also caused to be published in the Leadership Newspaper of August 16, 2013.
“In the said article entitled, ‘Neither a Tribalist nor a Hater,’ you recklessly alleged, as follows: ‘I was not a tribalist when I had a long standing and intimate relationship with Miss Bianca Onoh…’, a statement, which you know is untrue and unfounded, but only calculated to lower our client’s esteem and damage her national and international reputation.
“Our client has never met you, does not know you in person and has never had any official or private relationship with you, how much more ‘a long-standing and intimate relationship.’
“Our client is therefore, outraged by your bizarre and scandalous allegation and the numerous mails and telephone calls she has received from friends, relations and admirers who are equally embarrassed and who seek to confirm the veracity or otherwise of your false and reckless publication.
“Your apparent lame and half-hearted attempt, as published in the Leadership Newspaper of 17th August 2013, to clarify your false and malicious allegation falls far short of a retraction and does not sufficiently address the damage to our client arising from the widespread dissemination of your false publication and is therefore unacceptable to our client.
“In the circumstances, we demand, on the instruction of our client that you submit to her a clear and unqualified apology and retraction published in The Sun and Thisday newspapers in addition to having the retraction published online.
“Take note that should you fail to tender the apology and publish a retraction of your false and malicious publication, seven days next after your receipt of this demand notice, our further instructions are to seek appropriate redress in court. And that shall be without further recourse to you. Be properly guided.”
In the bad old days in political Chicago, the very corrupt and unscrupulous politicians were notorious for underhand dealings. Then reformers finally got an upper hand and were investigating and tossing corrupt Chicago machine politicians into jails left, right, and center! During that period marked by numerous investigations, the usual refrain in Chicago was, “admit nothing, agree to nothing, and when confronted with facts, overwhelm them with bullshit.”
Here is why: the overzealous reform prosecutors got carried away and started dragging in every body that even said as little as "hi" to the so called “known bad guys” to the tribunals. Some perfectly innocently people, instead of disputing allegations with clear readily available facts, resorted with emotional raving and ranting and tossing of kitchen sink at their accusers, and the “how dare you question my integrity”, and other crude stuff. In the heat of the scandal they ended up looking, if not guilty, suspicious. I heard this story from a friend, Ike Ezife who currently resides in Chicago.
Of course when the dust settled, and the facts came out, most items turned out to be mere tempest in a tea cup, mostly in the “twisted mind”, or to quote Joe Igbokwe , in the minds of “some irrationally exuberant commentators.” The once likable, Joe Igbokwe is here quoted with a footnote, because he turned out to be even more irrational and exuberant than those he branded with those inauspicious titles. Sadly, the minatory Joe Igboekwe ended up being balefully driven.
This is about how Fashola came to overwhelm Nigerians with bullshit and in the process provided a fertile field for ethnic jingoists like Kayode to literally provoke a fecal fall out in Nigeria.
The Fashola government failed woefully in handling the outcry over the forceful seizure, illegal detention, and dumping of poor Nigerians at a dangerous location in Onitsha in an ungodly hour.
First, Fashola called these deportees, “urchins, mentally unstable and destitute.” When reminded that the poor are humans too, he recanted and a litany of errors followed:
The hard-working Governor Fashola, then tried to justify his dubious action by claiming that, fundamental human rights are not absolute rights. Another load of bullshit! A trailer load in fact. The position of the Nigerian constitution is that freedom of movement is fundamental and guaranteed, period. This means that every Nigerian has the inalienable right of free ingress into other States, and egress from them too. Therefore, for a governor to forcefully seize, detain people and then order their “deportation” is wrong.
Finally, an exasperated Fashola, then suggested that his actions should be justifiably excused because other governors are guilty of the same crime. How that makes it right or lawful in Fashola’s eyes is another attempt to overwhelm us with bullshit.
The profundity of the crime committed can be seen from the arguments about the number of human lives involved. Some say 72, others argue 70. Fashola claimed 14. Another trailer load of same bad stuff.
Predictably, people were livid and outraged. The chat groups lit up with raw emotions. Then the theater of the absurd took a grave turn. Some politicians saw it as an opportunity to replenish their political fortunes. Desperate tribal jingoists came to play and ethnic bigots found a fertile field to plough
Enters Femi Fani Kayode
Enters the corruptly-enriched, failed politician, and ethnic bigot called Femi Fani-Kayode. He tried without success to exploit the opportunity with a view to redeeming his badly damaged name. By SSS accounts, allegation of torture of innocent Nigerians, murder plots, drug abuse, and unspeakable vices he committed with his Ghanaian wife were hanging over his head.
See report by Enobong Umohette who was Chief Security Officer to Femi Fani Kayode, by clicking here: http://saharareporters.com/report/femi-fani-kayode-assassin-government-s....
Excerpt, “Femi Fani-Kayode had agreed that having Mr. Ekundayo Asaju shot would be suspicious. He proposed that the preferred way would be to stage his killing as an accident. Two methods came to his mind: ARSON or the POISONING of the central water supply of his residence wherever he lived.
Fani-Kayode got exasperated with waiting on my regular seemingly unending ‘progress reports’ and fumed with urgency. During one of his regular libidinous binges in an Apapa hotel, he secretly called up some old-time narcotic-day friends, who recommended some mercenary thugs in Apapa to help him ‘fix’ whoever was troubling him. He gave the impression that he needed the thugs to just beat up and roughen somebody, but my insider amongst the group tipped me off and kept me posted with every move that was made in this grizzly affair. Bottom line is that Ekundayo Asaju would have been killed on the spot, by whatever violent means necessary.
The plot was to lure Ekundayo Asaju out for a scoop with a fictitious British national who was a regular visitor to Nigeria, who was impressed with the journalist’s work and wanted to meet with him for an interview. This was for Fani-Kayode the easiest and oldest trick in the book to exterminate a journalist eager to get information.
As this plot was revealed to me, I immediately intervened by secretly causing conflicting telephone calls to go to the journalist and to go to the leader of his ‘mercenary squad’ who was funded and equipped with new GSM phones and lines by Fani-Kayode for this project. Through these interventions, I ensured that there was never a time where Ekundayo Asaju met with this “British” national at any agreed rendezvous. I sent messages to Ekundayo Asaju to warn him never to pursue a meeting with any individual unknown to him unless it was in broad daylight in his office.” by Enobong Umohette who was Chief Security Officer to Femi Fani Kayode.
The same Femi Fani-Kayode with the sordid record of murder, mayhem, torture and rape, saw in the debate a golden opportunity to ingratiate himself to the embattled governor for a contract. The same minister of aviation who mismanaged, if not embezzled 19.2 Billion Naira contract money for the renovation of an airport in Lagos is today professing to be a lover of Lagos.
To Fani’s shock and dismay, Nigerians from all ethnic groups were waiting for him and they did not spare him. A desperate Femi Fani-Kayode issued a series of apologizes in quick succession. First he apologized for shamelessly boasting about his youthful escapades with women who are now happily married; malice written all over him. Three more apologies followed. Nigerians were unimpressed. Fani began to threaten legal actions.
Femi Fani-Kayode, many asserted, was being a chip of the old block, a rascal after his father who was a vicious thug that engaged in arson, murder and inflicted serious bodily harms on those who opposed his politics in his on and off relationship with Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
See quote from an eyewitness, Femi Aribisala, who as a terrified 13 years old child endured horror due to the crudest form of political hooliganism by Remi Fani-Kayode (Fani-Power), the late father of Femi Fani Kayode. Click here
Excerpt, “the year was 1965. I was an innocent starry-eyed 13 year-old and Nigeria was in turmoil. It was the era of the “wetie,” when the houses of politicians and key public-figures were burnt down in the brouhaha that was then Western Nigeria.We lived in Oke-Ado in Ibadan and our next-door neighbour was Chief Ogundiran, a minister in the government of Chief S.L. Akintola, the Premier of the Western Region. (Ogundiran was famous for only wearing white.) In the spirit of the times, a mob came early one morning and burnt down his house. He jumped out of the window and managed to escape.
Fani-Power, Fani-igbo: I was having private lessons in Mathematics at the home of a colleague, Enitan Abiodun, when we heard the noise of a crowd outside. We rushed to the veranda to see Chief Remi Fani-Kayode (alias Fani-Power), then Deputy Governor of the Western Region, standing on the seat of a moving convertible. He was surrounded by a mob, which was shouting and hailing him. On hearing the noise, Enitan’s mother rushed to the veranda shouting “Awo!” only to discover that the people outside were not supporters of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, but those of his arch-enemies.
The shout of “Awo!” by Mrs. Abiodun brought the procession to a screeching halt.
“Who said that? Who said that?” demanded the mob, enraged.
“Fani-Power” turned and looked up at us. His eyes were the usual blood-shot red. At the time, many claimed it was because he regularly smoked Indian-hemp. Fani-Kayode pointed to our building and identified to his thugs that the offending shout came from our direction. We did not know that the floor of the convertible he was standing in was loaded with empty bottles. His thugs reached for the bottles and rained them down on us as we all scrambled back inside the house for dear life.” From Femi Aribisala.
Any half-decent person will not engage a man who lacks proper parental upbringing. Femi’s Fani-Power, engaged in arson and murder during operation Wetie. Little surprise then that Femi Fani-Kayode took after his Dad. We have all read the direct and credible testimony of the man who was closest to Femi Fani-Kayode. We have also read the intrigues, the murder plots, poisoning, arsons, and other crimes as detailed by his own Chief Security Officer, Enobong Umohette. We all know that, Femi Fani-Kayode is a looter who stole billions and often raves and rants about his loot.
Femi Fani-Kayode, mongered hate, spewed bile infested message and received the same exact type of response. A few younger Nigerians overmatched him in the mud fight that he got himself into.
When he noticed that responsible people were ignoring him, he declared himself a winner in the “war of garbage.” He boisterously announcing that he is now Achilles with intellectual powers that remain un-matched. His choice of Achilles as a hero is interesting, given that Achilles, who legends considered invulnerable in all his body, died as a result of a very small wound in his heel. To the extend that, Femi-Fani-Kayode used the instrumentalities of the state and hired assassins to track down and eliminate his perceived challengers and enemies, Femi Fani-Kayode, was actually dreaded (his Achilles comparision). His name then meant fear, fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fears of being killed, fear of death, and fears of losing life, property, family members or means of livelihood, BUT, just like his hero Achilles died of a small wound in his heels, Femi Fani-Kayode is gradully dying of a malignant wound in his mouth.
Obi Enweze was the Sec. General of NADECO USA/Canada and a Director of Radio NADECO.
Permit me to begin this contribution with two incontrovertible assertions. Firstly had we successfully answered what has come to be collectively known as the ‘’Nationality Question’’ in the ’50s and ’60s there would have been no civil war in 1967. Secondly had we not chosen to forget our differences but instead had we tried to understand them, the last 53 years of our existence as an independent nation would have witnessed far more unity, stability and progress than it has done.
The agitation and quest to answer the ‘’Nationality Question’’ in Nigeria will not stop until the question has been successfully answered no matter how long our leaders, politicians, professionals and intellectuals ignore it and attempt to brush it under the carpet. The quest to properly identify, situate and define the rights, duties and obligations of each and every one of our numerous nationalities in a wider Nigeria will never end until it is achieved.
As a matter of fact, given the sheer desperation of each of the major ethnic groups to win control at the centre in 2015, the activities of Boko Haram, the agitation of the Niger Deltans, the resurrection of MASSOB, the unmistakable resurgence of a rather extreme form of igbo nationalism, the activities of various ethnic nationalist groups and the growing religious and sectarian divide in our country, it has only just started in earnest and it is a cause that I have chosen to dedicate my life to.
As long as I live, I will resist the idea of any part of Yorubaland being turned into a ‘’no-man’s land’’ where the Yoruba people are meant to live as second class citizens and never-do-wells and where they are treated like filth. If that makes me a tribalist or a bigot, then so be it.
If loving my nationality, which comprises of 50 million Yoruba people, and adoring my nation of 160 million Nigerians at the same time is a crime then I am guilty of that crime. I do not have to love one at the expense of the other. We are not America which is a nation that is made-up of immigrants and ex-slaves and a country which literally wiped out the indigenous population that they met there when they arrived who were known as the Red Indians. We are not Americans who somehow found their way into the world barely 300 years ago, we are Nigerians.
And each and every one of the great and numerous nationalities that make up our beautiful nation has a noble heritage that goes back for thousands of years. We may not be as developed or as wealthy as they are but we know who we are and we know where we are coming from.
That is why I am proud of this country and all the various nationalities that make it up regardless of our difficulties and challenges. Yet we are not so different to some others. In the United Kingdom there are basically four nationalities: The English, the Welsh, the Irish and the Scottish. Each of these four nationalities is actually a tribe yet you very rarely find a British person who will tell you that he is not proud of his Scottish, Welsh, Irish or English heritage AND at the same time proud of his nation.
He is first an Irishman, a Welshman, an Englishman or a Scot before being British even though he cherishes being both. He does not have to sacrifice his Irish, Welsh, English or Scottish heritage and roots for Britain and neither does he have to sacrifice Britain for his heritage and roots. He balances it well, he has the best of both worlds and this is indeed a wonderful thing. He derives his strength from both.
He enjoys being Irish, Scottish, English or Welsh and cherishes it deeply just as much as he enjoys and cherishes being British. And, today, centuries after Great Britain was established as one nation under one Crown and one Royal Sovereign the British citizen still cherishes his primary nationality and tribal heritage so much that power has been gradually devolved from the centre at Westminster in London to the various tribes and ethnic nationalities in the regions over the years.
Such is the agitation for the restoration of ethnic identity and devolution of power in the United Kingdom today that Scotland is preparing for a referendum to determine whether her people should remain in Great Britain or not. This is a beautiful thing. It is known as self-determination and no human being ought to be denied that right. Taking pride in your primary roots and your ancient heritage is not a crime.
That is how it is meant to be. It is only in Nigeria that we call this perfectly natural and wholesome phenomenon ‘’tribalism’’. We give it an ugly name and we ascribe to it an even uglier connotation. Everywhere else in the world the reality of ethnic nationalities is acknowledged, respected, valued, cherished and well-managed. As a matter of fact such diversity is a source of strength and pride for many. For example in the nation of Belgium one will find that there is an ancient dichotomy and deep rivalries between the Flemish people of the north and the Waloons of the south.
They speak different languages and have a completely different history and cultural heritage yet these two great and ancient nationalities or tribes are proudly Belgian and they rally under one flag. This is how it ought to be everywhere. I have no hate or ill-feeling towards any other ethnic group in this country or anywhere else. If I did I would say so and damn the consequences. Racism and tribalism is below me and such primordial traits offend my sensibilities. To harbour such views is well below my intellectual and spiritual dignity. Those that know me well can attest to this. I have as many non-Yoruba friends just as I have Yoruba ones. I look down on no other human being, no other race and no other nationality and I do not claim that the Yoruba are better than anyone else.
What I insist on though is that I should be allowed to acknowledge my history and to preserve my ancient heritage, culture, values and ethos. I also insist that my people should be allowed to develop at their own pace. I am not ashamed of who I am and where I come from and had it not been for others holding us back I know where the South-west and the Yoruba would have been by now in terms of development. And neither would I go to England or America or Enugu or Kano and claim that I own the place or that my people built it from the scratch and that they generate all the money that is there. I would never say or do such a thing and neither should I be expected to sit back quietly when someone says it about my land, my people and my territory.
In this debate I have threatened no-one, I have incited no-one, I have accused no-one and I have not sought to silence anyone with threats or blackmail. I have not expressed hatred towards anyone. Yet my family has been subjected to insults, threats, humiliation, hate-speech, misrepresentation, falsehood, intimidation, calls for arrest and lies by some people who really ought to know better. My father of blessed memory has been insulted during the course of this debate as has my late mother, my wife, my children and my people from the South-west. We have been called all sorts of names and subjected to the most filthy and disgraceful abuse and malicious lies. And now some ask me if I will ever stop this fight for the rights of my people. The answer is that I will not because a price has already been paid. I will never renounce my views.
Those that have chosen the path of aggression and open hostility and that seek to suppress our voices, intimidate us into silence and drown us with their propaganda are vulger, crude and rude. They are also experts at telling lies. Yet they cannot silence a whole nationality or just wish us away. We are here to stay. To me this is simply an intellectual exercise and we can agree to disagree and still remain compatriots and friends. However I will not give up my identity because that is all I have. I will not betray the dreams of my forefathers and their aspirations for our people. For four generations now the Fani-Kayode have contributed positively to the affairs of this country.
Unlike some of those that are bleating and insulting us we have paid our dues. Like millions of others we have a stake here and we are from Yorubaland. I have a little Fulani blood in me too and I am very proud of that but I am first and foremost a Yoruba and I will live and die for the Yoruba and indeed for my nation Nigeria if needs be.
I have written about virtually every major ethnic group and nationality in this country over the last twenty three years and sometimes in very harsh terms, including my own, Yet it is only when I disagree with some of our Igbo brothers and sisters and dispute their claims on Lagos that all hell breaks loose.
They say our territory is ‘’no-man’s land’’ yet they will never offer us theirs in return or even allow us to build there. Who is the fool here? And when we complain they have the nerve to insult us. Enough is enough. I am not a racist or a bigot but I believe that I have a right to defend that which is mine and to preserve my identity.
We ignore our differences at our own peril and this is not only naive but it is also exceptionally dangerous. They made the same mistake in Yugoslavia through the ’70s and 80s until the explosion came in the ’90s and all hell broke loose. No-one saw the war coming in that country except the more discerning and brilliant minds who had been shouting for decades before it came that their very own ‘’nationality question’’ had to be answered and that Colonel Broznin Tito’s dream of an eternal and everlasting old Yugoslavia was unsustainable. No-one listened to those discerning voices and consequently millions were killed in the most horrendous and vicious civil war that Europe has ever seen.
From being one country where the people and numerous nationalities were compelled to ‘’forget their differences’’ by law, Yugoslavia was eventually broken up into five sovereign independant states as a consequence of fratricidal butchery and unrestrained and all-out war. I pray that we never break up and that we never witness or fight such a war in Nigeria. The answer is to understand and settle our differences and not to forget them.
One lesson I learnt over the years is to ignore rabble rousers no matter the degree of their provocation. The recurrent decimal that defines political failures is their unalloyed penchant at deploying religion and ethnicity in craving for a seat on the political gravy train. The irony is the success rate of this tactics notwithstanding the damage it does to the polity and national cohesion. Are politicians really ready to learn or is the number the most important factor no matter the character of coalescing individuals?
I read the piece by Femi Fani-Kayode on the brouhaha over the “deportation” of some Igbo from Lagos to Anambra State and one thing struck me: he was a man left in political wilderness and earnestly seeking for redemption through the back door. Unfortunately for him, the Yoruba political establishment on the left flank rarely forgives “vagabonds” no matter the staccatissimos of their music. So my summation is that Fani-Kayode is on a blind mission in pursuit of relevance. I must however concede that he is entitled to dwell in silly land where bigotry, charlatanism and idiocy reign supreme.
Only an ethnic irredentist could have authored the piece in question considering the factual inaccuracies and blatant falsehoods shamelessly displayed. That the writer eulogized the virtues of Sir Herbert Macaulay of blessed memory as a thoroughbred Yoruba man is not only strange but depicts the elastic intellectual flaws associated with him. Macaulay’s father was a native Sierra Leonean of Creole origin.
He settled in Nigeria and did marvelous things and his son automatically became a Nigerian hero based on his fight for the people. If the loquacious Fani-Kayode appropriated the legacy of Macaulay and used same to demonstrate the impeccable heritage of his Yoruba tribe, what is the difference between his position and those who claim Lagos to be “no man’s land?” In any case, there are many Lagosians of Sierra Leonean and Brazilian origins that are rightly classified as indigenes. What is the difference between these Nigerians and Igbo or other tribes that settled and do business in Lagos?
Another juvenile sophistry by the writer was his introduction of Nigeria alongside Africa in the Zik’s address to Igbo Union Congress in 1948. He mischievously introduced Nigeria to deceive the gullible that there was an agenda by Igbo to “colonize” the country. 1948 was the peak of the agitation for self-rule in Nigeria and Dr. Azikiwe spoke at the Igbo Union Congress to galvanize the people to be part of the struggle to liberate the continent.
It is a shame that Fani-Kayode classified that as the beginning of ethnic politics in Nigeria. He further stretched that to the failure of NCNC to be the dominant party in Nigeria at the time. I think this guy needs to be educated a bit here. Two things contributed to the failure of NCNC to win the independence election in Nigeria: the departure of the present Western Cameroun from Nigeria and the whimsical allocation of parliamentary seats to northern Nigeria at the time.
The declassified British government’s report made this assertion very clear. Somebody should educate the writer that the NCNC and its allies led by Zik won the 1951 election in Western Region before carpet -crossing denied him of the premiership. I must also add that the NCNC cleared almost all the seats in Lagos. How did the Azikiwe’s Igbo Union Congress speech which took place three years earlier affect the outcome of that election? Review your notes again Mr. Fani-Kayode.
It is instructive to note that had the British colonial administration been fair to Nigeria, Azikiwe could have occupied the Prime Minister’s position of the federal republic at independence regardless of the departure of Western Cameroun. The facts are there. The lopsided nature of parliamentary seats allocation was responsible.
A glance at the popular votes during the 1959 independence election proved this point beyond reasonable doubt: the contesting parties at the time, namely, NCNC-NEPU alliance scored-2,594,577, Action Group-1,992,364 and NPC-1,992,179 votes respectively. However, the above result translated into NPC-142, NCNC-NEPU-90 and the Action Group-73 seats in parliament. So the tagging of Zik and NCNC as ethnic oriented could only be the imagination of Fani-Kayode.
In further addressing the infantile tattles of the writer, he misfired by describing the Igbo as unfriendly to the eastern minorities that made up the old Eastern Region.
I admit that a few issues arose at the time and my conclusion is that the minorities could have gotten a better deal. However, I am amazed that this guy could go this far in exposing the political shortcomings of the Yoruba represented by Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory. While the dominant Igbo elected an Efik/Ibiobio man as the Premier of Eastern Region despite its overwhelming majority, the Yoruba occupied all the prime positions in the Western Region from Premier to Deputy Premier, Governor, Finance Minister, among others. How do you reconcile this? How many of us still remembers the saying that “the Ooni is here, the Alaafin is here, the Western Region is complete” notwithstanding the presence of the revered Oba of Benin at a state function?
On this issue of ethnic politics, may I remind the writer that the crisis that rocked Warri in recent past was a throwback to the Action Group years of old Western Region. The Itsekiri are known to have tribal affiliation with the Yoruba and identified with the AG at the time while the Urhobo, led by the late Okotie Eboh, were of the NCNC. The government. led by Chief Awolowo. capriciously changed the nomenclature of the Olu of Itsekiri to Olu of Warri, thereby ceding the metropolis to them at the detriment of the Urhobo and Ijaw. That was the genesis of the crisis that took place in Warri.
Let me finally address the issue of citizenship in a federation as practised worldwide. Fani-Kayode must be living in utopianism to think that he has the capacity to stop a train that has taken off from the station. For his information, the “Lagos for Yoruba” he is craving for is impossible and exists only in his weird mindset. Lagos was a federal territory and was developed by the collective will of the Nigerian people.
The world has moved so fast that xenophobic actions are no longer restricted within the territorial boundaries of a country or region. What you can do is to encourage your people to compete and do so fairly. Have you asked yourself what Lagos economy will look like if oil revenue and investment is taken off the state? What do you want Niger Deltans to do about their wealth that has been used to develop Lagos, Abuja and other cities? It is the foreign exchange import cover the oil wealth provides that sustains the Lagos industrial base. Do not be deceived my brother. We all need each other but that must be based on equity.
In a multi- ethnic society, the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode are dangerous to national development and cohesion.
That this man was a federal minister was a judgmental failure on our political and administrative leadership. The fact that a man imbued with all the inglorious anti- nation building characteristic was allowed to occupy prominent positions in government is a further demonstration that our redemption is still far. Political abyss is the only dwelling place for the likes of this bigot.
The rest of the issues raised by Fani-Kayode are too pedestrian to indulge him with a response.
*Kelechi Jeff Eme lives and writes from Lagos.
Once again, the Muslim feast of Eid-el-Fitr has come and gone and Nigerian leaders, as usual, used the opportunity to preach the gospel of peace and unity. Nigeria , they insisted, is the handiwork of God.
President Goodluck Jonathan upped the ante when he hosted Muslim leaders who paid him the traditional Sallah homage at Aso Rock by insisting that those predicting the breakup of the country in 2015 would be disappointed. God, in His infinite wisdom, designed the country to be one, the President enthused.
Ennobling sentiments, no doubt! But how sincere are Nigerians, both leaders and followers, in this avowal that Nigeria must remain united?
I ask this question because I am worried. After reading Femi Fani-kayode’s latest article, The bitter truth about the Igbo, an unprovoked attack on the Igbo nation, I couldn’t but conclude that we simply don’t have a country so called. If we claim we do, why are we finding it difficult to accept the fact that a Nigerian citizen has the right to reside in any part of the country?
Ordinarily, one would have dismissed Fani-Kayode’s vituperations as the ranting of a sick mind because no sane person can celebrate the slaughtering of fellow human beings in their thousands as he did in the article.
But he is no ordinary Nigerian. For whatever it is worth, he was a Minister of the Federal Republic . Besides, it is becoming apparent that he is not alone in the genocidal sentiment he is espousing. The anti-Igbo sentiment is becoming an industry in Nigeria .
He is celebrating the ‘slaughtering’ of Ndigbo in the 1960s, a manifestation of a mind consumed by hate.
“On July 29, 1966, General Aguiyi-Ironsi and no less than 300 Igbo army officers reaped the consequences of their action and plot when they were all slaughtered in just one night during the northern officers’ revenge coup,” he wrote.
He did not stop there. “Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon was put in power – and a few weeks later between September 29, 1966 and the middle of October of that same year, approximately 50,000 Igbo civilians were attacked and slaughtered in a series of horrendous pogroms in the north by violent northern mobs,” he ululated. For him, such crimes against humanity were deserved comeuppance.
Fani-Kayode went a step further to literally declare the Igbo persona-non-grata in the South West, brazenly inciting the Yoruba against them.
There is no doubt that he would relish a replay of the savagery of the 1960s because according to him, despite all Ndigbo have been through over the years, the Yoruba are still witnessing the same attitude of “we must control,” “we must own all,” and “we must have all” rearing its ugly head again today.”
With this kind of tendentious anti-Igbo sentiment weaved around a lie from the pit of hell that Ndigbo are the problems of Nigeria, what it takes for pogroms of the 1960s to be re-enacted is a little incentive. And what could be more potent that the lie that Ndigbo are poised to appropriate the heritage of the Yoruba in Lagos ?
And what exactly did the Igbo do that so much incensed Fani-Kayode?
He said Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State, claimed Ndigbo generate “55 per cent of the state ( Lagos ) revenue,” and therefore have a stake in what happens here. How could this claim be deemed a capital offence whether it is true or not?
Fani-Kayode said he is “a servant of truth,” yet there is no single sentence in that article that can withstand scrutiny.
But that is a matter for another day. Suffice it to say that the Igbo are not the problem of the Yoruba. They are not seeking to take over the patrimony of the Yoruba. Ndigbo are Nigerians and have the constitutional right to live in any part of this country and earn a decent living.
And whatever wealth they have acquired in any part of the country is by dint of hard work.
Contrary to his claim, Ndigbo are not envious of the Yoruba. Why should they be? It is acknowledged globally that they are some of the most industrious people God ever created, which is why they were able to survive the horrendous aftermath of a genocidal war.
I doubt if Fani-Kayode, as a person, has excelled in anything in life more than his Igbo contemporaries. He said the Igbo are “mere traders” unlike the Yoruba who “were (and still are) major industrialists and investors.”
But there is nothing to be ashamed of in being “mere traders.” Ndigbo are proud of being mere traders as long as they are contributing their quota to the development of Nigeria .
In any case, were they mere traders before the civil war? Were they not in the commanding heights in the civil service, academia, industries, security services, name them? They became mere traders when someone not satisfied with orchestrating the death of over a million women and children, using starvation as “legitimate weapon of war” went ahead to ensure that those who survived the genocide were stripped of their hard-earned wealth by giving them a paltry 20 pounds and thereafter nationalising our patrimony to their utter exclusion.
One fact, which even the harshest critics acknowledge, is that Ndigbo are not known for treachery. You can accuse them of being brash, loud and not suffering fools gladly, but they are not sly. Unfortunately, in a country where treachery is a huge industry, integrity has become an anathema and that is why the Fani-Kayodes of this world have become superstars. But he cannot change who the Igbo are, no matter how hard he tries.
And he must learn to leave the Igbo out of his people’s problems.
He may twist history as much as he likes, but Ndigbo did not cause the problems that consumed the First Republic . The “wild-wild West phenomenon and “operation wetie” were neither orchestrated by Ndigbo nor did they betray Obafemi Awolowo.
Ndigbo did not betray MKO Abiola, either. In any case, it was the Igbo that made Abiola’s candidacy in the 1993 Presidential election possible when his people, as usual, rejected him for betraying Awolowo in the Second Republic . Since Fani-Kayode claims to be a student of history, he should know better.
When the chips were down and General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election, it wasn’t the Igbo that took over from him as Chairman of the Interim National Government (ING).
When Babangida summoned traditional rulers to explain to them why he annulled the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history, it wasn’t monarchs from the Igbo nation that told Babangida that they had seen reason for the annulment with a promise to go back home to explain to their people.
It wasn’t the Igbo that went to General Sani Abacha to plead that he should stage a coup against the June 12 mandate, thereby throwing Abiola under the bus. It wasn’t Ndigbo that ultimately betrayed Abiola and ensured he died in prison. Fani-Kayode’s kinsmen did.
Yet, when the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) was formed as a vehicle to be used in actualising the June 12 mandate, the Ndubuisi Kanus, Ebitu Ukiwes, Ralph Obiohas of this country were in the driver’s seat.
So, what crime did the Igbo commit against the Yoruba?
Ndigbo want to live in peace in their country and pursue their legitimate businesses. Is that a crime?
One thing that Fani-Kayode must appreciate is that Ndigbo cannot be wished away in Nigeria despite his crass irresponsibility.
*Ikechukwu Amaechi is the Editor of Daily Independent Newspaper , Nigeria.
THOSE that call me a tribalist and an Igbo-hater are simply misguided and ignorant. Perhaps they do not know the meaning of those words or the true import of their meaning.
Those that know me well like you can confirm the fact that I am not a racist or a bigot and that I consider such sentiments as being unworthy of a man of class, good breeding and culture.
I am, however, a firm believer in the propagation of truth and I, like you, appreciate the value and importance of history. Sadly many of our Igbo brothers and sisters do not believe in that. History for them consists of only one thing-how other Nigerians have always marginalised them and treated them badly.
If only they knew their own history, where they are coming from, what they used to be and where they were 100 years ago and what their forefathers did to the rest of Nigeria over the last 80 years they would know why they have always had such a hard time in this country.
Sadly because they dont know any of these things they cannot learn from it. And if they cannot learn from it they will continue to make the same mistakes. That is why they can come to another man’s land and territory and call it their own and when we say ‘’no’’ they tell us to shut up and call us tribalists.
I was not a tribalist when I wrote a tribute to Ojukwu after he died or when I condemned the ‘60’s pogroms that took place in the north in which their people were slaughtered like flies.
I was not a tribalist when I wrote against Yarima and child marriage in the north. Yet now I am a tribalist because I spoke the truth about our history and who we the Yoruba are. I was not an tribalist when I wrote essays defending the rights of the Igbo and every other Nigerian nationality to exercise their right of self-determination and leave Nigeria if that is what they wanted to do.
I was not a tribalist when I consistently wrote that Nigeria must have a Sovereign National Conference where the rights and obligations of all its various nationalities will be clearly defined and agreed upon. I was not a tribalist when I employed more Igbo people as a Minister of the Federal Republic than even my own Yoruba. I was not a tribalist when I wrote an essay, just two years ago, extolling the virtues of Igbo women.
I was not a tribalist when I condemned the bombing of predominantly Igbo and catholic churches and the killing of the Igbo and others by Boko Haram in the north over the last three years.
I was not a tribalist when I risked my life by consistently writing against Boko Haram even though I live in the north. I was not a tribalist when I wrote against political sharia.
I was not a tribalist when I wrote in defence of the Igbo when it came to the abandoned property issue. I could go on and on.These people have very short memories and anyone that does not agree with them all the time or that says one word against them at any point in time is labelled a tribalist for life.
They called Chief Obafemi Awolowo a tribalist, a genocidal maniac, a child-killer and an Igbo-hater simply because the man refused to join sides with them in the war yet they forgot that when Awolowo ran for the Presidency his running mate was from the east and not from the north.
They called Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, Chief S.L Akintola and Sir Ahmadu Bello as Igbo-haters and tribalists simply because they saw through the Igbo agenda at a very early stage and they killed them for it.
They called General Yakubu Gowon a genocidal maniac, a child-killer, an Igbo-hater and a tribalist simply because he stood up to Ojukwu and insisted on keeping Nigeria together and though he declared that there was ‘’no victor and no vanquished’’ after the war.
They accused President Olusegun Obasanjo of being a tribalist and an Igbo-hater though he appointed an Igbo man as the first GOC in the Nigerian Army since 1966 and though he appointed more Igbos into key positions in his government than any President before him.
They accused President Shehu Shagari and the northerners of being tribalists and Igbo-haters even though he pardoned Ojukwu and allowed him to return home after the civil war.
Magnanimity in victory
They have accused the Nigerian people of being tribalist and Igbo-haters simply because we have not had an Igbo President since 1966 forgetting that Nigeria was magnamonious in victory and that she not only gladly welcomed them back into the fold after the civil war but that she also gave them the Vice Presidency only ten years later.
They have labelled the Yoruba as tribalists and Igbo-haters simply because we have refused to accept their claims to our land and territory and though we were more charitable, hospitable, accomodating and generous to them than any other nationality in Nigeria after the civil war.
We have been too kind and gentle with them. That is the problem. They see our liberal and accomodating nature as stupidity and weakness. That is why they always like to go around calling the Yoruba cowards forgetting that the history of the Yoruba proves otherwise.
It is now time to tell the truth. They despise the Yoruba and they only pretend to believe in one Nigeria as long as they can always have their way and lord it over others. Worst of all they have no restraining factors because money and the acquisition of wealth is their sole objective and purpose in life.
Someone ought to tell them that this is not a virtue but a vice. It is a cultural deficiency which is borne out of not having any history. If they did they would be less aggressive, more restrained and far more civil to others. If speaking these bitter home truths and yearning and fighting for a better Nigeria makes me a tribalist then it is a toga that I would be happy to wear.
I will not sit by quietly and allow my people, the Yoruba people of south western Nigeria, to be rubbished, insulted and cheated by anyone no matter how aggressive that anyone may believe he is.
I make or offer no apology for my views. My numerous assertions in my two essays titled ‘’Lagos, The Igbo and the Servants of Truth’’ and ‘’The Bitter Truth About The Igbo’’ respectively stand.
Meanwhile I have read all sorts of strange submissions in various newspapers and blogs that have held themselves out as rejoinders to my two articles. Sadly other than the usual abuse and irreverant thrash not one of those so-called ‘’rejoinders’’ has been able to address any of the issues that I raised in either of the two articles, answer any of the questions that I posed in them or successfully challenge my presentation of historical facts
The bellicose nature and vulgarity of these so-called rejoinders goes to prove two things. First that those that I have descibed as being collectively unlettered, uncouth, uncultured, unrestrained and crude in all their ways really are all those things and a lot more and second that they cannot put up any reasonable or serious arguement to discredit or refute the message so instead they are attempting to destroy the messanger.
Meanwhile the two essays have been published in various newspapers in our country and outside and it will continue to be published by others long into the forseeable future.
The message is clear and it is already out there. It cannot be called back in. The horse has bolted from the stable and the falcon has left the nest. No matter how hard those that are attempting to intimidate us into silence may try it will not work and we will not be cowed.
The message is already out there and the genie is already out of the bottle. Those that seek to continue to denigrate and belittle the Yoruba and lay claim to what is rightfully ours should desist from doing so. They should grant us our peace and give us our due respect and they will get the same in return. If they do not do so those things will elude them and eventually history will repeat itself again in this country.
Meanwhile when anyone reads a rejoinder that addresses the issues that I raised in my essays and that has some level of scholarship and intellectual content they should please let me know and I may well dignify it with a response. The shameless and emotional thrash and disjointed verbiage that have been described as rejoinders so far are just not up to scratch.
They are bereft of any scholarship and intellectual content. They also invoke pity in me for the the faceless plebians that wrote them and those they claim to represent. When the Igbo, or anyone else, find a real writer that can cross swords with me and give me a good run for my money someone should please let me know. I am itching for a real debate with a worthy adversary on this issue.
Like the great Achilles I feel that I have no match. Are there no Hector’s out there? Sadly it appears that my accusers, traducers, opposers and haters cannot find one. All they have is their hate, their ignorance, their insults and their inbred crudity and vulgarity.
I thought for a minute: but they said the guy went to Cambridge! Then again, take a scallywag to Cambridge, he merely becomes a Cambridge-trained scallywag. There were many things Kings College Lagos and Cambridge University could have taught, and might have failed to teach Mr. Fani-kayode.
One of such things is felicity with truth. He does write about “bitter truths” and about the “Igbo” and his submissions were in fact more bitter than true about the Igbo. For one, Femi Fani-Kayode who claims to be “half-Lagosian” has not quite explained what that “half” means after the genomic mathematics that also locates and divides the Fani-Kayodes of Ife in another instance into “part Fulani” in the general scheme of things in Nigeria. I will not dwell on Fani-Kayode’s identity politics. I’m yet to understand it.
It will require one to be quite high on something to tease it all out, and so I leave that part to Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode. But I suspect that in situating himself to be “half-Lagosian” he means that part of his ancestry may be found among the “owners” of Lagos, that is, the indigenous settlers of Lagos.
For purposes of context, let me summarize Femi Fani-Kayode’s argument rendered in two parts, starting with the first titled “Lagos, the Igbo and the Servants of Truth”: to him the Igbo have basically no claim on Lagos and have made hardly a contribution to its development.
According to Fani-Kayode“The Igbo had little to do with the development of Lagos between 1890 till today and that is a fact. Other than Ajegunle, Computer Town, Alaba and buying up a few market stalls in Isale Eko where is their input? Meanwhile the Yoruba and Lagos were very gracious to them and not only allowed them to return after the civil war to claim their properties and jobs but we welcomed them with open arms and allowed them to flourish in our land. This is something that they have never done for our people in the east.
Now some of them have the effontry (sic) to call our land and the land of our forefathers (I am half Lagosian and was brought up in Lagos) ”no-man’s land” and others have the nerve to assert that up to 50 per cent of the development in Lagos came as a consequence of the input of the Igbo. This is utter rubbish.”
These are the very words of Femi, hot under his collars because Igbo Lagosians are staking their own claims to a part of the Nigerian commonwealth to which they have made enormous contributions both in material and in blood.
Fani-Kayode may deny it, but Lagos is nothing if not the result of an agglomeration of forces; a diversity of people from across the world and across the modern nation gathering at the epicenter and the margins of the metropolis in what Homi Bhabha calls “dissemination.”
But Mr. Fani-Kayode is still hung up on sterile nativism of the sort that makes it impossible for him to think clearly or rationally; he chooses to levitate on the illusory baloney that inspires him to declare Lagos to be the “patrimony of the Yoruba.” No. Lagos is the patrimony of every Nigerian who steps in it.
Lagos belongs as much to the ethnic Igbo as to the Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Efik, Idoma, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Edo, and so on who live in it, pay tax, identify with it, and settles in it. That compact was made the moment Nigeria became a single nation, and a successor power to the old principalities who were subdued and who ceded their sovereignty for the new commonwealth of Nigeria.
The Igbo did not beg to be Nigerians. First they fought for its freedom. When the Nigerian kitchen became too hot, they chose to leave. But a war was levied on the Igbo that forced them back to Nigeria. That war was fought to preserve “One Nigeria” even if the Igbo had had enough of “one Nigeria.” That war ended in 1970. The Igbo returned, and their return to Lagos and other parts of Nigeria was neither an act of charity nor kindness.
It was pragmatic. The Igbo had the skill and the industry, and Lagos was the seat of the Federal government of Nigeria and its major port. The Igbo have lived in Lagos since the 15th century when the Aro and other Igbo first settled in good number in a place we now call “Oyingbo” in the era of Benin and the Portuguese trade.
Igbo have been in Lagos, in other words, long before the first Fani-Kayode knew the road to Ilesha. So, when Femi Fani-Kayode writes that the Yoruba were “kind” to the Igbo because, in his words, “we allowed them to return to Lagos” after the civil war, he is not being a servant of truth. In any case, about kindness, he might wish to talk to the likes of Eze Okpoko N’Oba, whose property in Lagos was appropriated to this day by a prominent Yoruba as “abandoned property” after the war.
I do not wish to insult the intelligence and regard of the many honorable Yoruba people I know who do not buy into Mr. Fani-Kayode’s views, and so I will keep this simple: nobody, even of average intelligence, can deny the impact and contribution of the Igbo in the political, cultural, and economic development of Lagos as a great Nigerian city; the greatest of them in fact, in the modern era.
The arrival of Azikiwe to Lagos in 1937 from Accra after his studies in the United States, stimulated the political and cultural environment of Lagos as no other has before or after him. Zik literally resurrected the wizard of Kirsten hall from political death. Zik represented Lagos in the western house. The NCNC was the power in Lagos, and not the Action Group. The Igbo were prominent in the governance of Lagos in the Lagos City Hall.
The institutional development of Lagos – the railways, the ports and ship yards; the education and research facilities; the Banking and Commodities Exchange, the development of towns like Yaba, Surulere, Ebutta-Metta, Festac Town, Victoria Island, and now Increasing the Ajah-Lekki axis, and of course, the ghettoes along the Orile-Badagry axis, have profound Igbo imprimatur.
The circulation of the image of Lagos is to date best reflected in the cosmopolitan Igbo imagination of one of the greatest African writers of the 20th century, Cyprian Ekwensi, a thorough Lagosian if there was any. Igbo have built industries in Lagos and have been drivers of commerce and exchange.
Side by side with their Yoruba, Efik, Itshekiri, Urhobo, etc. neighbors, they have continued to negotiate the complex evolution of this city. The development had not much to do with the Western government; even then, Mr. Fani-Kayode often forgets that the Igbo were part of the Western Region when it extended, until 1963, to the bridgehead at Asaba. Lagos is not the patrimony of the Yoruba.
If any should make such a vicarious claim, it might be the Oba of Benin, to whom Lagos paid tributes up until its annexation and colonization in 1861. Fani-Kayode should read more and be driven less by sophomoric enthusiasm and braggadocio.