The point is that PDP is not necessarily a party for or of the Igbos, it just appears to be the party that aligns with their interest in Lagos. Therefore, rather than deploy voter suppression strategies in Lagos against the Igbos, the APC can win over several of that voting bloc if the party takes time to understand the interests of the Igbo voters…


Before the stock market collapse that ushered in the great depression of 1929, the African-American community was a major voting bloc for the Republican Party. Surprising, right? In fact, an African-American Republican, John R. Lynch, who represented Mississippi in the House in the 1930s, once articulated the sentiments of black communities, that “the coloured voters cannot help but feel that in voting the Democratic ticket in national elections, they will be voting to give their endorsement and their approval to every wrong of which they are victims, every right of which they are deprived and every injustice of which they suffer”. The Ddemocratic Party at the time was viewed by the black community as one that suppressed the political rights of African-Americans in the south and hence their disdain for it.

However, by the early 1930s, 38 per cent of African-Americans were unemployed, in comparison to 17 per cent of whites, and so when Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ economic agenda kicked in, several black communities were beneficiaries of the administration’s emergency relief programme, which then began to win hearts and minds. Soon after, the political arithmetic on ground started to change and black communities felt their interest was better served by the Democratic Party.

The same can be said of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is currently being viewed by political pundits, as well as strategists, as the party of the South-Easterners. This was the thinking behind the disruptions and intimidation in a few areas dominated by South-Easterners in the recent presidential election in Lagos. It is always assumed in Lagos that the average Igbo man will vote for the PDP but very little interest is shown is understanding why that happens. If there is better understanding of why the Igbos in Lagos have decided to pitch their tent with the PDP, there is a huge chance of avoiding what could snow ball into a full-blown ethnic crisis.

One approach that the APC can consider in Lagos, being the government in power, is to look at business-friendly policies like lowering local government taxes that raise the operational costs of most Igbo traders. An upgrade of the basic amenities and infrastructure around markets where most Igbos trade, like Ladipo, Alaba, and several others, could also make a lot of difference.


It is interesting to note that of the 34 men who constituted the famous G-34, which metamorphosed into a political party, PDP, in 1998, only two of them were from the South-East – Dr Alex Ekueme and Jim Nwobodo. Whereas, 28 members of the G-34 were from the North, with four of them from the old Kano state alone (Abubakar Rimi, Ambassador Aminu Wali, Sule Lamido and Tanko Yakassai). Interestingly, Kano that was home to four of the key founders of the PDP is now the stronghold of the APC, leaving the PDP struggling to gather 20 pert cent of the recently cast votes.

The point is that PDP is not necessarily a party for or of the Igbos, it just appears to be the party that aligns with their interest in Lagos. Therefore, rather than deploy voter suppression strategies in Lagos against the Igbos, the APC can win over several of that voting bloc if the party takes time to understand the interests of the Igbo voters and sets out a few policies or programmes that align with these interests.

One approach that the APC can consider in Lagos, being the government in power, is to look at business-friendly policies like lowering local government taxes that raise the operational costs of most Igbo traders. An upgrade of the basic amenities and infrastructure around markets where most Igbos trade, like Ladipo, Alaba, and several others, could also make a lot of difference. Equally, creating special funding at low interest rates that targets specific businesses is also something worth considering. If the party shows genuine interest in helping businesses thrive, it won’t be long before the pockets of Igbos influence their voting pattern.

Just like African-Americans now vote for the Democratic Party they once loathed, the APC could win over South-Easterners if it is willing to put on its thinking cap.

Ayodele Adio, a communication strategist, writes from Lagos.

Photo source: PM Express.