"Shun Petty Politics": Osita Izunaso, Obanikoro, Others tell Igbos, Yorubas in Lagos

"Shun Petty Politics": Osita Izunaso, Obanikoro, Others tell Igbos, Yorubas in Lagos

  • Yorubas and Igbos in Lagos state have been advised to shun hostility and unite for a better Nigeria
  • During the 2023 general election in Nigeria, Lagos made headlines over verbal wars between the two ethnic groups
  • Speaking on this, stakeholders called for mutual respect and harped on the need for collaboration and understanding across ethnic lines

Prominent political leaders in Nigeria have advocated unity, cooperation, and harmony between the Igbos and Yorubas in Lagos state.

In recent years, politics and some government policies in the state have led to the ethnic groups calling each other out on social media.

Musiliu Obanikoro, Tokunbo Abiru, and Osita Izunaso canvass unity between Yorubas, Igbos in Lagos state
Stakeholders seek unity between Yorubas, Igbos in Lagos state
Source: Original

Igbos, Yorubas must work together as brothers

Recently, a socio-political group, Eminent Senators Club of Nigeria (ESC), hosted serving lawmakers of the National Assembly (NASS), political leaders of thought and captains of industry, at a banquet organised to honour Osita Izunaso, senator representing Imo West Senatorial District.

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Those at the event include Tokunbo Abiru, senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District; Musiliu Obanikoro, former Senator for Lagos Central; and Joe Igbokwe, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Speaking at the event, Izunaso enjoined Igbos and Yorubas in Lagos state to avoid political bitterness, and instead focus on strengthening their bonds to create a common front.

He said:

“We want Igbos to live in peace with the people of Lagos, and we want Nigerians to feel at home in any part of Nigeria. Because as we say in our anthem, ‘Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand’, so we want to bequeath on our children a country that has no stain.

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“A Yoruba senator is the chairman of a banquet held to honour me, an Igbo senator. The lesson Nigerians must learn from this is to unite with each other because we’re all one nation. We must work together as brothers and sisters so that we can forge a better country.”

On his part, Senator Abiru, the chairman of the occasion, commended members of ESC for their show of faith and regard towards their representatives.

He described the forum as a reflection of what true democracy is all about, where leadership is brought closer to the people.

Igbos, Yorubas have come a long way

Also speaking, Obanikoro, former minister of state for defence, stressed the need to mend divisions between Igbos and Yorubas caused by 2023 political activities.

He said:

"I have reflected on what transpired during the last election. First, I'm going to say that our Igbo brothers and sisters, I want you to see yourself as a Lagosian. Those who are residents in the southeast are Igbos of southeast origin, and those of you based in Lagos, are Igbos of Lagos origin. Let's start to define ourselves in that manner. So that Lagos interest will become your interest. This should be our primary focus.

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“Igbos and Yorubas have come a long way. We shouldn't allow politics or anything to destroy us. We can make Lagos a shining example of what Nigeria should be. We have that capacity, but we are allowing petty politics, and issues of no significance, to make us lose focus on what would add value.

Igbos have serious investments in Lagos -- Igbokwe

Similarly, Igbokwe tasked Igbos to approach politics with clear-eyed objectivity instead of unhelpful emotions.

“I’ve been in Lagos for over 40 years so I know a lot, and I can tell you that Igbos have made serious investments in Lagos. So my advice to you is that politics is superior to economics. If you don’t play politics you and your business can go down," he said.
“Be involved in what is going on where you live. Then please love where you are, love Nigeria, because our country is still one of the greatest countries in Africa. I encourage you to be at peace with people wherever you are. Please, where you work and live, claim that place. Be part of the progress of that place, but don’t forget where you’re coming from."

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Uzodimma meets Sanwo-Olu over Yoruba, Igbo crisis

Legit.ng previously reported that Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo state, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu met to address the face-off between Igbos and Yorubas in Lagos state.

It was gathered that the meeting followed heated crisis between Igbo traders and Lagos indigenes.

Source: Legit.ng

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James Ojo (Copyeditor) James Ojo is a copy editor at Legit.ng. He is an award-winning journalist with a speciality in investigative journalism. He is a fellow of Nigeria Health Watch Prevent Epidemics Journalism Fellowship (2023), WSCIJ Collaborative Media Project (2022), ICIR Health Reporting (2022), YouthHubAfrica’s Basic Education Media Fellowship (2022), Countering the Fake News Epidemic (MacArthur Foundation) 2021, and Tiger Eye Foundation Fellowship. Email: james.ojo@corp.legit.ng