Being A Text Of A Press Conference Addressed By Association for the Defence Of Igbo Interests In Lagos (ADIIL) On Wednesday, 4th March, 2015.
Gentlemen of the Press,
We warmly welcome you here this afternoon as a group, Association for the Defence of Igbo Interests in Lagos (ADIIL) to correct an erroneous impression we have been getting as Igbo in Lagos, which suggests that Ndigbo in Lagos are in conspiracy with the Jonathan government and the PDP to impose an unpopular government in Lagos and fight the Yoruba for the possession of Lagos.
We are concerned that in all parts of Lagos, we have been inundated with innuendoes that will clearly endanger Ndigbo, their properties and other interests in Lagos if not well handled. We are concerned because there is a raging feeling all over Lagos that Igbo are deep into a conspiracy to undermine the political interests of the Yoruba and help impose an anti-Yoruba surrogate in Lagos, as a way of mocking and undermining the political interests of the Yoruba Nation.
We see this as dangerous and we note that this has sparked hostile reactions and promises to spark more reactions after the election.
We are compelled to state that Ndigbo are parts and parcel of Lagos and that we share an excellent relationship with the people of Lagos, especially the Yoruba. We state also that Ndigbo are the prime beneficiaries of the conducive environment Lagos offers, that Ndigbo are the prime beneficiaries of the good, orderly and secure governance in Lagos, especially in the past sixteen years, we note that Igbo businesses and spirit of enterprise have flowered so well in the new Lagos, a working and modern Mega City that offers a home for all Nigerians and offers an expansive environment for Igbo businesses to thrive unimpeded.
Our concern is that these great benefits stand to be endangered by a misreading of the present and unfolding political situation in the country, where it is being made to seem as if Igbo are in the forefront of what is seen as a political battle to upstage the Yoruba in Lagos. We are concerned that the greedy and selfish interests of some self-serving Igbo masquerading as leaders of Igbo people and self-serving groups, stand to endanger the Igbo in Lagos in the near future hence we issue this disclaimer. We want to state the afore-mentioned impressions amounts to a misreading of the Igbo in Lagos and their well-known republican disposition especially as it relates to issues and politics in Nigeria and do not represent the feelings and political inclination of the majority of Igbos who do their business, live their lives and work in Lagos unimpeded.
We note that the PDP has been brash, immodest and loud in dropping the good name of Ndigbo for their political ambition to rule Lagos. We note the insinuation being created all over Lagos at present that Igbo are being mobilized with huge money and resources to work for PDP. While we do not deny this, we insist that this is restricted to few people who are transacting business with the name of Ndigbo. They neither represent the generality of Ndigbo nor do they represent credible Igbo platforms, which have worked well with Yoruba since the amalgamation of Nigeria.
We align with the huge success story Lagos has been in the past sixteen years under APC leadership and we are happy that Ndigbo have expanded tremendously in this period, investing hugely in the expanding economy of Lagos and exploiting the promises of the state, enjoying excellent security, good infrastructures, good transportation and a friendly business environment.
Given that there is clear danger ahead, we want to state that Ndigbo are not part of the indecent money sharing going on now as a campaign strategy of President Jonathan and the PDP. This is not to dispute that various so-called Igbo groups are not partaking in this malfeasance. They are on their own and represent themselves the few members of their groups and families. Millions of Igbo in Lagos are not part of this and we wonder how much it will take to settle all Igbo in Lagos. Those who have partaken in the sharing of dollars and Naira are on their own, if we must restate this fact. They should not drag Ndigbo to their illicit business.
Proceeding further, we want to advance just twelve reasons why Ndigbo must vote the APC government in Lagos. We are advancing these reasons to all Igbo in Lagos in this era of using the money that would have been used to improve the staid conditions of Nigeria to bribe Nigerians, particularly Ndigbo to tow destructive political lines that will certainly endanger Ndigbo in Lagos and Nigeria in the coming days.
TWELVE REASONS WHY NDIGBO IN LAGOS SHOULD CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR APC
1) APC Lagos has shown through actions and deeds that it understands what leadership is all about. It has shown leadership in Lagos and made Lagos a destination for all Nigerians especially for Ndigbo when the Federal Government under PDP has abdicated its responsibility to Nigerians.
2) APC government in Lagos has made the issue of Security the number one agenda and this has made it possible for Igbo businesses to thrive in Lagos. When kidnappers ravaged the South East I know many Igbo Lagosians who travelled to the village to bring their parents to Lagos. Today, Lagos is the safest state of Nigeria where Igbos sleeps with both eyes closed and do their lawful businesses without molestation.
3) APC government in Lagos led by Gov. Fashola fought Ebola to a standstill and effectively stopped the spread to other parts of Nigeria. This led the United Nations to declare Nigeria Ebola free. It could have been worse if not because of this courageous intervention that led the way in curbing this deadly virus in Nigeria.
4) APC government in Lagos has created a conducive atmosphere for Igbo businesses to thrive in Lagos whether is Real estate, Commerce, Transport, Artisans, Okada, Churches, Construction and other professions.
5) More than 500 Igbo are working in Lagos State Ministries and LGAs in various capacities, including the powerful office of Commissioner for Budget and Planning. Time and space will not permit me to mention their names here. In Abia State, a PDP Governor, Theodore Orji sacked Igbo from Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi States.
6) Lagos APC government has fought for justice for Igbo Lagosians like Miss Uzoma Okere who was assaulted by a Naval Rating. Lagos also funded the treatment of a popular Actress, Ngozi Nwosu, OJB Jezreel, Prince Ifeanyi Dike, etc abroad. Lagos APC government not only rehabilitated the family of the late Human Rights Activist, Chima Ubani, it also gave the family a house and offered his children scholarship to all levels of education when the Federal Government and his home PDP State government turned their backs on his family after he died fighting for the masses. APC government in Lagos has fought for countless number of Igbo Lagosians to get justice in Lagos. Again time and space will not permit me to mention their names here.
7) Lagos is the second home for Igbo in Nigeria. Check the number of Igbo in Lagos. Check the volume of investment and check the successes. This can only happen because a stable and trusted APC government has been in place. Contrast this with what obtains at the Federal Level where PDP holds sway.
8) Under APC government, Lagos is the fifth largest economy in Africa, larger than the economies of many African countries. Today, Lagos remains the driver of the Nigerian economy and pulls its weakest links. This is what the Igbo need to thrive and excel and not the consumptive politics the PDP promotes which excels in looting and sharing parts of the loot during election time.
9) APC government in Lagos has remained a pacesetter for other states to copy in Nigeria. Every good idea, every good thing, every evidence of good leadership you see anywhere in the country must have a link and or connection with Lagos. APC government is a thinking government and you do not prefer a 4th eleven for the first eleven.
10) It is better for Ndigbo in Lagos to work with those they know than to plan a deal with total strangers. His Royal Highness, the Oba of Lagos Oba Rilwanu Akiolu has told all Lagosians that they do not want PDP anywhere on their soil. Igbo in Lagos should listen to him as a mark of respect. PDP has devastated Yoruba land since 1999 from Ogun to Oyo, from Ondo to Ekiti and to Osun. PDP has devastated Nigeria in sixteen years and made the country a laughing stock in the comity of nations. Yoruba see PDP as a virus. That is why they formed an alliance with the North to stop PDP.
11) A lot of money is exchanging hands in Lagos but money cannot buy friendship or relationship. Friendship and Relationship are built over years of hard work and commitment. Money can buy you a bed but it cannot buy sleep. Money can buy you a car but it cannot buy you safety. Money can buy you the best shoes in the world but you need to have legs to wear shoes. If Igbo make the mistake of investing in a dying horse by voting PDP at a time other Nigerians are rejecting it for its sixteen wasteful years in power, it will neither affect the electoral choice of Lagosians nor make any positive difference for Igbo. It will rather worsen their woes in Nigeria especially in Lagos where they co-exist and compete favorably with other Nigerians. Igbo be warned!
12) Lagos is home of progressive politics and that explains why it had favoured Ndigbo. Since its creation in 1967, Lagos has been controlled by the progressives. The PDP and its forefathers, the NPN, the NRC have never controlled Lagos, even in the brief period when Lagos fell to the hands of the NRC through protest action in the SDP; it has never had its soul seized by the conservatives as the progressives controlled every other sphere of politics and governance except the governorship. This informed the reason why Ndigbo returned after the Civil War without any of their single properties seized in Lagos. None was deemed as Abandoned Property as was the case in the present day Niger Delta. This is why Ndigbo bounced back so quickly after the civil war. Lagos was the vortex of that stupendous rise and those that fled as a result of the civil war, came back to have their properties, businesses and houses returned to them. Ndigbo will not endanger this tremendous goodwill by aligning with those that seized and looted Igbo properties after the civil war to fight the Yoruba. We note, on the other hand, that conservative politics has never benefitted Ndigbo. The sixteen years of PDP rulership and how it has left Ndigbo with no known benefit is legendary and well known to all Nigerians for us to carry a dead child, which PDP has become and make enemies of our friendly neighbours and compatriots for all the money in the world. This is not for the millions of Ndigbo in Lagos as those now receiving dollars and sharing in the name of Ndigbo for the purpose of patronizing a dying PDP are on their own.
Igbo remember the wise saying; Ebe Onye Bi Ka Ona Awachi!
In concluding, we want to debunk the impression being created that Ndigbo are against the present wind of change in Nigeria. We want to correct the impression that Ndigbo are very comfortable with the state of affairs in Nigeria as to oppose the change that is raging all over the country. We want to debunk the sentiment that Ndigbo have been bought to sabotage the change that is raging all over Nigeria today. We want to warn that it is wrong to bandy Igbo alongside the greedy tendencies of some traders of fortune who are doing money business with the name and fate of Ndigbo. Ndigbo are not hatchet people. Ndigbo are not Judases. Ndigbo are not money lovers that could be persuaded to sell their mothers for money. We are all for change and Ndigbo will maintain significant presence in the change movement sweeping all over Nigeria today. We urge Ndigbo in all parts of Lagos, who are living in Lagos because other parts of Nigeria are not offering them what Lagos is offering them, to vote for APC to consolidate their interests and gains in Lagos. Ndigbo in Lagos should vote APC all the way, nationally to align with all Nigerians to bring the much needed change to the putrid state of Nigeria and in Lagos State to consolidate the great developments in Lagos for the past sixteen years, which have tremendously benefitted Ndigbo.
Thank you and God bless.
Chris Nwokobia (Coordinator)
Harris Chuma (Secretary)