Rwanda: Here we come!
Because the sentence on the evil doer is not carried out on the instant, peoples heart are full of the desire to do wrong (Ecclesistes,8:11).
I did not want to go to Rwanda this week. Indeed, since my desire to undertake a tour of Rwanda collapsed due to ‘pocketities’, the country has been far from my mind. I had wanted to write on the Obi-Effect; how a single fellow has, without prior notice, turned our structured and predicable political ecosystem upside down.
However, I changed my mind after a brief interaction with one of my colleagues on 20/3/23. I had told him that all was well, except what is happening to ‘us’ at Lagos. And he said ‘but you people caused it!’. To say that I was shocked was an understatement.
That meant that since we ‘caused it’, we should bear the consequences! In effect, he said ‘good for you’! When I recovered from my discomfiture, I asked him how we caused it and he replied, it is said that you people said that ‘Lagos is a no man’s land’! I prefaced it with ‘it is said’ because, I know that anybody told him so directly; it was what he heard in the market square!
When he saw how disappointed I was, he tried to clarify further, as an afterthought and added ‘I am not pontificating on whether what they are doing is right or wrong’. I told him that he had made his point and I left it at that.
Of course, you know very well that the ‘they’ referred to some misguided Yoruba fellows and you/us referred to Nd’Igbo, who in this instance refers to anybody who is a trader, obviously not Yoruba, does not live at Idi-Araba axis of Lagos, and is neither a BATist nor a BATian sympathiser.
In 1966, one thing led to another and a coup engineered by some soldiers, who thought they were doing the country a favour occurred. The coup which included co-conspirators from the west, middle-belt and the present South-South, and had the objective of making the detained Awo the Prime Minister, was branded an Igbo Coup.
And suddenly, the people who were initially ecstatic about the coup were programmed into violence and our people were murdered in their thousands in the North, with the support of government officials, traditional institutions and those paid to protect the people.
The definition of Igbos was initially elastic and included everybody from the Western and Eastern Nigeria, and some from parts of Benue Plateau. Funny enough, that’s how the current madness in Lagos played out: those who should act took sides and ‘Igboness’ became an elastic concept.
Eventually, it became an ‘ogu-ikpu’( war of all against one) and the one week ‘police action’ led to the 3-year civil war in which we lost about 3m people mostly through starvation.
We were not accepted and we were not allowed to go! And since we pretended that nothing happened, nothing was done officially beyond Gowon’s RRR programe which was neither sincerely intended nor prosecuted. As of today, the government never set up any enquiry; nobody was held accountable and nobody was punished. As my colleague just told me, it was caused by nd’Igbo and they should bear their cross!
24 years later, Rwanda went up in flames. It was the Hutus (poor and the majority) against the Tutsis (minority, rich and the dominant ruling class); culturally the same people with wealth as the key distinguishing people. About 600,000 Tutsis, moderate Hutus and Twa were slaughtered in the 100days of rage.
The government took coordinated efforts to have a total grasp of what happened, engaged in a sustained drive to promote national unity and reconciliation and took steps to prevent its recurrence, including a new flag and an anthem, which refers to citizens as Rwandans, not Tutsis and Hutus.
Those responsible, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, journalists and ordinary folks were tried and punished, with a good number receiving death sentences. One of them was arrested and prosecuted about 3 year ago. Compare with Nigeria where the victims are blamed (as my friend has just done) and nobody ever answers any questions.
There is also a cenotaph where the names of all the murdered are listed and there is the annual Genocide Memorial, starting from April 7th with the theme of ‘never again’! I was touched that Rwanda, which had only 600,000 deaths, took concrete steps at reconciliation and prevention, and has an annual remembrance for the event but ours in which millions died was/is a non-issue.
After reading about this memorial in 2020, I decided to identify and construct a cenotaph for my townsmen who died fighting in the war. However, the project is in abeyance for now due to some domestic dynamics.
Unfortunately and with our eyes wide open, we are taking the expressway to Rwanda via unrestrained ethnic profiling and syndicated brigandage against those with ‘contrary spirits’. We all know how the Obi Tsunami of 25/2/23 shook those who thought they had unshakable hold on Lagos.
Now rather than strategizing on how to win the electoral battle for Lagos, they turned it into Igbo-Yoruba war and as I explained earlier, every non-BATist became an Igbo man. They forget that people like Joe Igbokwe, who weeps more than the bereaved, and Eze Monday Obijiogu, who holds a dozen ‘Taiwan’ titles in Lagos, in addition to being the distinguished Asst Welfare Officer for APC Constituency1 in Mushin, voted for APC.
They also forgot that a good number of disgruntled Lagosians, civil servants, some ‘original’ Lagosians, several non-Igbos and some Yorubas voted against him. GRV, an original Yoruba-Lagosian, Oworu, who contested against Desmond Eliot (who suddenly remembered that his mother is Igbo) and even Tee Mac, all became Igbos.
Of course, MC Oluomo, the commandant of the BAT warriors, warned those who would not vote APC not to venture out on the election day he later said it was a joke and the police are still investigating; you recall that the Oba of Lagos had issued a similar threat before.
Oluomo’s 1001 lieutenants went about Lagos echoing their master’s order. The chief BATist also made a derogatory statement about people who come into Lagos at 12 with polythene bags, who were accommodated kindly, and probably spoon-fed and then wanted to bite the fingers that fed them.
He had earlier preached that ‘we should grab power’ (by all means). The traditional leaders fixed emergency day-time oro festivals, held meetings at night on how to contain the Igbos, and also passed threatening messages. And so, on election day, all real and imagined Igbos were beaten, beaten, broken, murdered and prevented from voting.
Even those who looked like Igbos suffered the same fate., in an electoral contest between 3 Yorubas! Thereafter, the BATist mobs descended on areas dominated by the Igbos, burning, maiming, and breaking; unfortunately, supported by policemen, clothed, fed, and armed with our money.
Sanwo Olu, as the governor or as the candidate, did not say anything. How could he when even in his own polling unit, red-eyed agberos were shouting: If you are Igbo or PDP, get out! BAT was so busy savouring his ‘victory’ that he did not know what happened but his official spokesman warned that it would be the last time that Igbos would interfere in Lagos politics and that they should not try it in 2027.
But on 2/9/18, Bayo Onanuga posted a picture he took at the Kigali Genocide memorial( Rwanda) and noted how sober he was after spending 90 minutes there, recommending the visit for ethnic champions and asking: ‘why do we hate a person because he is not a member of our ethnic group’? Probably, it is not the same Onanuga or he had just had a reverse Damascus-Road experience.
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I have been thinking seriously about this Igbo-Haram antics of my Yoruba friends and neighbours and I have identified these options: Change my name(to Abdulwahab Ik’bat Moou); replace my red cap with the traditional white Yoruba cap or one with that special insignia( you know it now!) join or pretend to join APC( this will be easy since one of my students is a trainee-BATist), undertake regular primages at Bordelon,( with Igbokwe as my consultant), enlist into the Oluomo Vanguard, take insurance on my head, especially my eyes( with which I read) as well as a ‘neighbourhood’ cover; return my village and make a bonfire of the Yorubas there (one of them repairs my generator and he is also a rainmaker) or run away from Lagos.
All these are not palatable and they are not in sync with my person. But as Lagos is getting increasingly stressful, I will gradually leave it (not run from it) and as my contribution against the Igbo taking over Lagos, I will ONLY sell my shack there to any Yoruba man certified by the Oba of Lagos, who, by the way owes allegiance to Benin.
Now back to my colleague and his ‘them say’ allegation. I have not heard our people describing Lagos as a no-mans land. I was not there when Lagos became a national capital but I remember that when Abuja was made the national capital, it was officially declared a no man’s land because the aborigines were relocated and compensated. The issue of ‘who owns the land’ however crops up there anytime there is election.
The speech delivered by Jakande on 1/10/79, where he declared Lagos as a no man’s land is also in circulation for the past 2 weeks. I have lived in Lagos since 1994 and I am thus more Lagosion that some of these folks out there. I am not and I will contest who owns Lagos.
But I join in determining, through my 1 vote, who governs Lagos. I can even contest, if I am so minded However, I will NOT be involved in the installation of the Oba or in the celebration of the original or emergency oro festival
Meanwhile, I agree with Eccle8:11 that evil unchecked leads to more and greater evil. I also believe that it is counterproductive to glorify, condone, support, defend and overlook evil because what goes round comes round and when you throw a stone into a crowded market, you don’t know who would be affected.
Some Yorubas were prevented from voting because they looked so ‘Igbotic’. The shop and source of livelihood of an Igboman married to a Yoruba lady was razed and some Yorubas who had offices, workshops and other assets in Igbo dominated areas were also affected.
And it appears that nothing unites Nigerians more than hatred, fear or envy for Nd’Igbo Whenever two cocks fight over a hen in Kano, when a woman starves the husband in the other room in Warri when a careless okada rams into a keke in Lokoja or when three Yorubas are contesting election in Lagos, the Igbos are slaughtered! Why? There is Godooo