Dear ASIWAJU, I write you this letter with the highest regards, honour, esteem and all due respect for so many reasons, especially for the positive impact you have made in the lives of Lagosians since your emergence in the political scene in this political dispensation.
I write you in response to the speech you made, where you “appealed” to Igbos in Lagos on Wednesday 20th February 2019 to vote for APC candidates in this year’s election as published by DAILY POST and PULSE. In the said address you asked the Igbos to vote your party, All Progressives Congress, APC, while enumerating some grounds and reasons why you think the APC deserves the vote of Igbos residing in Lagos. However, while I feel that it’s your right to canvass for votes from everyone, Igbos inclusive, I have problem with the tone of some lines in your speech.
You said and I quote “the party would be monitoring election results from Igbo-dominated areas like Amuwo-Odofin, Ojo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, and Surulere in anticipation of votes for APC by the people of the South East in the state” end of quote. Looking at the tone of these lines from your speech, it suggests that the leadership of APC in Lagos State have a “special Interest” on the Igbos, a targeted and specially monitored group kind of stuff. The tone of your speech especially the lines I republished here portrays both warning and threat, and this is where I must say that you crossed the line. If you have concluded your speech without adding those lines then it would have been cool with me, but with those lines it shows that we the Igbos are endangered species in this election in Lagos State. And this really is a pity.
FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT LIKE THIS
Dear Sir, I will continue by reminding you and any would be reader of this open letter that from the beginning it was not always like this, as majority of the Igbos in Lagos, especially my humble self have always supported and voted for the progressive parties and candidates thrown up by the progressive elements in the South West, like your very self. From the beginning of our country’s current democratic dispensation in 1999, my humble self have always identified with the progressive movement in Yoruba land. I was part of AD, AC and ANC, and at a point primarily because of the kind of quality leadership you provided, but thought otherwise the moment you entered into political allegiance with the conservative North for whatsoever reason(s), and the straw that broke the camel’s back was the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of that political marriage of convenience. I know and believe that this same reason is why many people from the South East, South South, the Middle Belt and even South West are now voting differently from how they have always voted. And for your information sir, no amount of threat will change that pattern. With all due respect sir, this threat is unbecoming of a supposed and acclaimed national leader of a national party, who is rumored to be nursing a presidential ambition in the nearest future.
DEMOCRACY AND WHO TO VOTE IS BY CHOICE NOT BY FORCE
Sir, why your threat beats my wildest imagination is that I had thought that you should know that the issue of democracy, and who to vote for is a thing of ideology and choice, not by force, threat or intimidation. I have always known you to be a democrat going by your past records, but your actions since your unholy political marriage with the conservative north is to say the least surprising. Sir, you are beginning to engage in some of the horrible things which the military juntas and dictators engaged in the past that made you and other pro democracy gladiators to rise up against them. Even president Buhari who is a known dictator and worst tyrant Nigeria ever knew is showing to be more democratic than you in this election, at least it’s a credit to him that in his campaign train for this election he repeatedly asked party faithfuls to vote whoever they choose, that was his approach in places where there is division in the party. President Buhari did not try to use threat to intimidate his party members to do his biddings, so I am surprised that you of all people is using threat, covert force and intimidation to cow the Igbos to vote for your preferred party and candidates, but sir, it wouldn’t work.
THE AFTER EFFECT OF YOUR THREAT
Sir, may I inform you that your threat led to situations which are detrimental to our country’s fledgling democracy. Your threat have made Igbo dominated areas in Lagos targets of attack by hoodlums who openly declared that “it’s either the Igbos vote for your party APC or they would not be allowed to vote at all”. In places like Okota, Oshodi Isolo and other places the attempt by hired political thugs to force Igbos and other non indigenes to vote for APC or stop them from voting at all for their preferred parties led to violence, wanton destruction of properties and human lives and, disenfranchisement of voters from performing their franchise as enshrined in the Constitution of federal republic of Nigeria. They carried out their merchandise of evil and death with so much brazen assurance and hussy, considering the caliber of men behind them. As goes a saying in Nimbo land, “a child sent to steal by his father breaks the door of his victims with his leg”.
YOUR VAIN GLORYING
Sir, in that infamous speech you also mentioned how Igbo students and pupils in Lagos public schools enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by the species of children you classified and referred to as “our own children”. What I have to say on this is that availing them such benefits is nothing so special, even though I appreciate such gestures. The reasons being that there are also Yoruba children in other states other than their States of origin enjoying such benefits, yet the political leaders in such states did not make it mandatory for the Yorubas to vote for them or come out openly to rub it on the faces of their parents and tribe’s people, or come out to vain glory on the account of that. Sir, the last thing we need now as a nation from highly revered leader like you is dividing us along ethnic lines. Another reason why this vain glorying is unnecessary is that these Igbo children are children of bonafide citizens of Nigerians who pay their taxes to the government of Lagos State, therefore I don’t see the big deal and essence of this vain glorying.
PLEASE SIR, SAVE OUR SOUL
Please sir, as the nation prepare for the gubernatorial and state assembly election next weekend, I beg you to use your influence to appeal to those who seeks to force and intimidate the Igbos to vote for APC or not vote at all to please allow the Igbos exercise their civic duty of voting for their preferred candidates and parties without fear of intimidation. They must not destroy the Igbos, remember the Igbos has the right to defend themselves.
HE THAT LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE SHOULD NOT THROW STONE
My dear ASIWAJU, I want to say that you should have considered the fact that just as there are Igbos living in Lagos and other South West States so are also Yorubas living in Igbo land, and so far there are no report of threat by any Igbo politician who have threatened the Yorubas to vote for PDP or any other political party for that matter so, why are you threatening the Igbos? This trend of every tribe threatening the Igbos over non issues just because they feel that Igbos are travelers is very wrong. This is because even though the Igbos outside Igbo land mighty outnumber other tribes living in Igbo land it does not mean many people of other tribes are not living in Igbo land, they sure do, even in their hundreds and thousands.
So, we should try and live in peace, unity and harmony, not threatening our fellow country men and women because we see them as “tenants” in our tribe of origin. Sir, may I remind you that every Nigerian is at liberty to reside in any part of this country without fear of any threat, intimidation and shenanigans of any tribal bigot and Polihawks.
Just as I feel disappointed at these comments credited to you sir, which prompted me to write you this open letter, so shall I do or have done if such threat and comments have emanated from any Igbo Political or traditional leader targeted at any tribe residing in Igbo land. Why do leaders in Lagos find it convenient to threaten the Igbos? In 2015 it was His Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, now in 2019 it’s now you Asiwaju. Why! Why!! Why!!!!!!!!
Sir, let me conclude by saying that I still hold you with the highest regards, honour and esteem notwithstanding…, but on this I disagree with you, and this open letter is not on behalf of Igbos in Lagos, but in defense of democracy and the rights of all people. Thank you.
Raph McJulius Enechi,
Prophet and The Senior Pastor,
THE BALANCED CHURCH, Lagos Nigeria. firstname.lastname@example.org