August 10, 2013 – Igbo Man Supports Deportation Of Igbo People From Lagos By Fashola
Article by Ikenna Emewu
In about 2004, during those days of frequent workers’ strikes over fuel price increase, I recall a day my immediate boss drove me to the office as there were just few vehicles in town that had fuel to operate. Just after the Mile Two bridge on the way to Kirikiri, we noticed a clearing in a swamp that had been there for ages. There was a market springing up. We later got information that some Igbo traders acquired the place and converted it to a market.
My boss made a statement that it’s just a matter of time before war would ensue over the spot even though the place had been useless for ages.
Two years ago, I was in the office one day when some men came asking for me. They came with a load of documents. They were court processes, lease agreements, payment schedules and many others by the trustees. Just few years after the traders had commenced business in the market, the leasee changed the rules, wanted more money, refused every negotiation with the traders and threatened to eject them within a given time if they failed to pay. They went to court and started spending more money on litigation without enjoying the market they spent over N1.2b to develop. That day, I went to my boss and reminded him his words. That day, I knew he is also a prophet.
That is a tip of the travails of the Igbo man in Lagos as in other cities of Nigeria. That is the plight of a man who created for himself the eleventh commandment of ‘love your neighbour more than yourself.’
Last week, I emptied some good quantity of fuel into a burning fire. Every Igbo man, the traders especially, even those that barely understood the sentences in my writing called for my head for justifying the deportation of Igbo people from Lagos. Most of them read just the headline and drew their conclusion. Interestingly, over 90 percent of those that reacted through text messages aligned with me. To those that wanted me dead, I was paid billions of naira by Fashola, I was anti-Igbo, false Igbo, betrayer and an evil and foolish man.
It is the same evil I want to extend today and I insist that Fashola was right to deport the people who have decided, even after being victims of Nigeria since 1960 to love their neighbours more than they love themselves.
I met a man last Sunday who said all manner of funny things to me in an interview vilifying Fashola, and I persisted that if Fashola’s move, which I prophesied was just the beginning of such trend would force the Igbo man to think home and get back and develop himself, I welcome it.
This week, Rivers State has extended the trend and deported 113 persons they called destitute and beggars from Port Harcourt. Fashola’s men justified their act by citing that Governor Godswill Akpabio sometime ago invited Lagos to take people of the state who were homeless dwellers of Uyo.
Let me pull this argument further by reminding my callers that wanted me dead for being false Igbo the experience of ASPMDA Igbo traders. The space called Trade Fair was fallow for many years until Igbo traders mainly, who traded at the Balogun Market at the Lagos Island got the space, raised billions of naira to put it back into use. Just few years after, they faced threats of ejection after the federal government allegedly in privatization concessioned the space to a company without considering the investment interest of these people that got money through loans to bring back a moribund facility into use. If you ask the ASPMDA traders, you will get a better picture of their travails. If that market were developed in their land, maybe it would be a different story.
The Igbo man I interviewed entertained himself with a long tale of how God created the Igbo man to be development agent for the nation and that it does not matter where he invests. I asked him if Igboland is part of the Nigeria the Igbo man according to him, was ordained to develop. He could not find a ready answer. If Igboland is part Nigeria, the development agent should also develop himself. He argued again that God will shake the heavens and by happenstance what would trigger the development of Igbo land would come one day. I asked him again if it wise for the Igbo to strategically and meticulously develop other places while he waits for luck and chance to develop his.
I argue and I insist on it till the day I die that that man who intentionally forgot himself in the scheme of things and deceives himself in a place like Nigeria that really doesn’t exist by having over 80 percent of his hard-earned wealth and population out of his home needs some shaking to remind him that he fools himself. Even if the Igbo man believes he is the custodian of the one-Nigeria project, nothing says the project would perish if the Igbo man lives in his land and invests in his land. We have lived in dream world for too long that we just have to wake up. Those people who could troop back to develop those places that declared their property abandoned about 45 years ago more than they do in their land should have their heads examined. They should be awakened from their stupor somehow. If that wake up approach is deporting them from those places they delude themselves are theirs, so be it.
When the killings of strangers got out of hand in Kano last year, what Igbo unity groups, including Ohanaeze advised was that the Igbo man should remain where he is because this is one Nigeria. Remain to be killed?
Some years ago at the World Igbo Congress in Owerri, a pressman from Edo State worried by the ‘wisdom’ of the Igbo to live the way he does asked Prof. Joe Irukwu, then Ohanaeze president if he would not advise his brothers for a change of attitude. The Igbo leader answered him that Igbo believes in one Nigeria and there was nothing wrong with the way they behave and no need advising them otherwise. It was Dr. Sam Egwu, then Ebonyi State governor who interjected and said he disagreed with Irukwu. In his personal opinion, he said his position is that Nd’Igbo should think more of their land.
Last week I said that Fashola has set the ball rolling, and others would soon join the deportation train. In less than one week that has happened, and who would be the major victim of the deportations other than the man who lives more outside his homeland. That is the Igbo man.
Over time the Igbo man has developed thick skin against the killings he faces in the north, and that is the reason Igbo leaders advise him to stay put and be killed rather than return home. We least expected any jolt from the west or Lagos because those have been friends over the years.
[Article By Ikenna Emewu, culled from Daily Sun]