The leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Lagos State has called on eligible Igbo voters in the state to cast their votes for the Peoples’ Democratic Party in protest against the hate remarks by Rilwanu Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos.
Campbell Umeh-Nzekwe told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview, Tuesday, that Igbo residents in Lagos stand a better chance of fulfilling their potentials under the PDP than the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“Since PDP has given us opportunity by allowing Ndi Igbo to win (three) House of Reps and go to Abuja and defend Igbo interest and Lagos interest, because we are all Lagosians,” said Mr. Umeh-Nzekwe, who contested for governor in Lagos State in 2003.
“Then I’m of the candid opinion that it’s better you support what you are having. Except APC are now coming again on the table to tell us what they will offer us if they win.
“There must be bargaining power in between. In the absence of that, I ask Ndi Igbo to vote for PDP because PDP has given us opportunity, and we need a lot of opportunity to grow. That’s what we are asking for, not peanuts or hand-outs from APC leaders. Give us opportunity to run for elections.
“Than looking for where they are chasing shadow, in APC, after 16 years they use one dummy – one commissioner and one member in the state executive – to deceive Ndi Igbo.”
Mr. Akiolu had told Eze Ndi-Igbos (Igbo traditional rulers) of all the local government areas in Lagos State, who had come to pay him a courtesy visit, that they should cast their votes for his chosen governorship candidate or “perish inside the lagoon.”
The Oba supports the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Mr. Umeh-Nzekwe blamed the Igbo chiefs, who he described as “political traders,” for Mr. Akiolu’s hateful remarks.
“How can you tell a race, like an Igbo race, that they will die or lagoon will swallow them if they did not vote for APC? It’s because there are people who went there to go and beg him for money,” he said.
“Some people gathered themselves and went to him. He give them kola, and giving you kola and asking you to go and vote for somebody, let’s take it that he armed them to go and vote.
“If so called Ezes dragged themselves and went to the Oba palace to go and pay unsolicited homage, what do you expect at the end of the day?”
Mr. Umeh-Nzekwe said during the election period, a lot of people had claimed to be representing the interests of Igbo people in order to obtain favour from politicians and prominent people.
“This is a political period. Some group of Ezes went to Tinubu, some were campaigning for Jonathan. I know some group who say they are Eze. Everybody is claiming Eze in Lagos, that’s why we will never find our level.
“Ndigbo cannot vote for APC. PDP have allowed non-indigenes to participate. APC closed their doors, non-indigenes cannot contest elections under APC. You can see from the whole arrangement that there is no non-indigene from the whole candidates they fielded for the election,” he said.
“In 2003, I ran for governor of Lagos State under APGA. In 2006, when the issue of Funsho Williams and APGA was trying to form an alliance prior to 2007 election, Tinubu appointed Ben Akabueze as Commissioner for Planning and Budget, and appointed Joe Igbokwe as Publicity Secretary of AD (Alliance for Democracy) then.
“Up till today, there is no other appointee of Ndi Igbo either in the party or in the cabinet of Lagos State government, apart from other administrative and council officers. There is no any other political appointment, either as commissioner or DG or Permanent Secretary. So it’s like a dummy.”
The APGA leader argued that Yorubas do not get the same opportunity in the South East because Lagos is a “colonial settlement.”
“It’s a cosmopolitan city. The name itself ‘Lagos’ is a Portuguese name, not a Yoruba name, or Igbo or Hausa name. Do we have such in Igbo land? We don’t have such.
“Lagos is purely a colonial settlement, forget those who are claiming it. Some people came from Ogbomosho, they are only enjoying proximity. And they are taking the thing as the owner of the land, which is wrong.
“In those days you dare not cross Marina, there is a prison yard near that Marina there, you don’t cross there because they will arrest you and put you in cell. You don’t go there. All the Ikoyi you see, all the Victoria Island, was a colonial master arrangement, not a Yoruba arrangement. So the issue of Igbo land and Yoruba land is a different thing.
“If you say Igbo man cannot go to Oyo State or Ekiti State and contest, I will concede, but Lagos is a colonial settlement, not a Yoruba land. They are only laying claim.”