Wednesday, August 17, 2022 8:00 am
By Promise Adiele,
It is bewildering that some disgruntled people are busy stoking the embers of ethnic strife between the Igbo and Yoruba people across the country, especially in Lagos. This mindless attitude questions every claim of common sense in any enlightened person. The bone of contention is the 2023 general elections pointedly, the seat of the president. Suddenly, political apostles claim to love the politicians more than the politicians love themselves. Such unctuousness pulverizes every strand of humanity within the context of civilized order. Everywhere you turn, on every social media platform, disoriented elements are busy promoting the stale narrative that the Igbo hate the Yoruba and the Yoruba hate the Igbo. Nothing is more appalling. The peddlers of these hate messages, with hearts full of animosity, magnify every infinitesimal news item turning it into an emblem of hostile revulsion. They push these offending figments of their imagination into public space to unsettle the polity. One wonders what these purveyors of hate and hostility stand to gain if their bloody intentions gain traction leading to a breakdown of law and order between the two inseparable, brotherly ethnic groups.
For many of these agents of death, once anybody supports Peter Obi, the person is a Bola Tinubu hater and disrespectful to the Yoruba people. The question is – can we in all honesty say that Bola Tinubu represents the Yoruba ethnic group? There are millions of people from different ethnic groups in Nigeria including the Yoruba who believe that Tinubu is not what Nigeria needs at this time. He is the APC candidate and there are other political parties in Nigeria with their candidates for the office of the president. Therefore to say that Bola Tinubu represents the Yoruba is to insult millions of Yoruba people who do not share that sentiment. Tinubu has his agenda as a potential president which does not resonate well with millions of people across the country among them Yoruba and many others.
In the same vein, many people see any Tinubu supporter as a hater of the Igbo people. But many Igbo people do not support Peter Obi or believe in his philosophy. The question to ask is – can we rightly in all honesty say that Peter Obi represents the Igbo in today’s Nigerian politics? Peter Obi is the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party which is a national party. Millions of people from different ethnicities support him as a beacon of hope for an ailing country. Millions do not think he has what it takes to occupy Aso Rock. These analyses are important so that those who want the Igbo and Yoruba to go to war will see the futility of their desires. Anybody who shares any inflammatory post on any social media platform to cause enmity between the Igbo and Yoruba is an agent of death. Anybody who insults any ethnic group while supporting a politician drinks from the same trough as Satan, the undisputable suzerain emperor of the kingdom of perdition. Support your candidate, promote him, and share information to diminish the chances of other candidates but don’t share hate speech. Different people, colleagues at work, former classmates, business associates, and neighbours have all turned into enemies due to the political aspirations of Peter Obi and Bola Tinubu. It is sad.
Politics is a beautiful art, but some people do not believe it can take place without bloodshed. Many Yoruba people in Enugu, Aba, Owerri, Umuahia and other major Igbo cities support Tinubu. Many Igbo people in Lagos, Akure, Abeokuta, Osun, Ibadan, and other major Yoruba cities support Peter Obi. Some Igbo people support Tinubu. Some Yoruba people support Peter Obi. Most importantly, I am convinced that Peter Obi and Bola Tinubu are not enemies. Therefore it is senseless to attempt to create chaos and imperil the lives of any ethnic group living in any part of Nigeria because of their political preferences. We may know the beginning of a matter, but we may not know the end of it. Let us immediately quit all manner of inciting behaviour. It is needless to create enemies because of politics while politicians remain friends and associates.
Every Nigerian has the right to live legitimately in any part of the country and earn a living. Peter Obi does not own Igbo land or any city in the South-East. Bola Tinubu does not own Yoruba land or any city in the South-West. If you are reading this piece and you share posts that traffic on ethnic hate, shame on you. In the past, many Igbo people voted for Abiola. Many Yoruba people voted for Tofa against Abiola. I remember clearly that many Igbo people voted for Awolowo as a UPN presidential flag bearer. Many Yoruba people voted for Zik as an NPP presidential flag bearer. So where is the ethnic mindset in all of these? Politics in the 21st century has gone beyond such base demarcations. The Igbo and Yoruba must get some sense and quit hate speech immediately. Both ethnicities are suffering the same economic fate in the country. If a bad leader emerges, we will all suffer more. If a good leader emerges, we will all be better for it.
The three candidates aspiring to the highest office in Nigeria Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu should be subjected to the highest level of scrutiny. In fact, we should scrutinize their background, academic records, health, business dealings, psychological make-up, and everything about them. When this scrutiny is done on Atiku Abubakar, it does not mean that the person scrutinizing him hates the Hausa/Fulani people. When anybody scrutinizes Peter Obi, it does not mean that the person hates Igbo people. When anybody scrutinizes Bola Tinubu, it does not mean that the person hates Yoruba people. The candidates must be thoroughly scrutinized. Everything about them must be exposed and laid bare. The next president of Nigeria must not be spared at all.
Every Nigerian has the right to live legitimately in any part of the country and earn a living. Peter Obi does not own Igbo land or any city in the South-East. Bola Tinubu does not own Yoruba land or any city in the South-West. If you are reading this piece and you share posts that traffic on ethnic hate, shame on you. In the past, many Igbo people voted for Abiola. Many Yoruba people voted for Tofa against Abiola. I remember clearly that many Igbo people voted for Awolowo as a UPN presidential flag bearer. Many Yoruba people voted for Zik as an NPP presidential flag bearer. So where is the ethnic mindset in all of these? Politics in the 21st century has gone beyond such base demarcations. The Igbo and Yoruba must get some sense and quit hate speech immediately.
Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to make a point or engage in a political debate without resorting to abuse, insults, and foul language. This is condemnable. I know of some people on social media who ooze hate and animosity in each of their posts. Such people fail to expand the frontiers of their narrow, slippery political perception. Every of their post is couched in very offensive, inappropriate language. Expectedly, such posts will attract the same kind of insulting expression and before you say, Jack Robinson, enemies emerge to destroy many years of friendship. This is more prevalent between the Igbo and Yoruba. My word of caution is this – beware. The Igbo and Yoruba share an inseparable relationship developed over time through business, marriage, profession, and accommodation. There is hardly any Igbo person or Yoruba person who does not have one friend or some sort of relationship with a member of the other ethnic group. Politics will come and go, yet we will remain here.
If Nigerians think that Labour Party, under Peter Obi is the answer to the current mess in the country, if indeed they conceive him to embody the renaissance that Nigeria desperately needs, so be it. If Nigerians want to return PDP to power after chasing them away in 2015, there is no problem. If Nigerians, after their experience in the last seven years, want to stick with APC under Bola Tinubu, it is all well and good. Ethnicity has nothing to do with it. Let the Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani support whoever he wants to support. Let Nigerians of any religion, ethnicity or persuasion support whoever they want to support. As former President Goodluck Jonathan said, the political ambition of anybody is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
Promise Adiele, PhD
Mountain Top University