LAGOS 2015: IGBOS SHOULD VOTE FOR APC
Prior to the victory of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1999 governorship election in Lagos state which produced Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as governor, many progressive Igbo people in Lagos had forged a common alliance under National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) with like minds of Yorubas and other Nigerians from the North and Southern parts of Nigeria to push for the return to democracy from military rule. Under the able leadership of Abraham Adesanya, the Late Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) some of these Igbos which includes Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (Rtd) and Engr. Joe Igbokwe, to mention but a few, suffered deprivations in their quest to ensure that the military returned to their barracks.
With the metamorphosis of AD into Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now All Progressive Congress (APC) the political ruling class in Lagos continued carrying Igbos along together with their political and economic interests. It is instructive to note that before his inauguration in 1999, some prominent Igbo sons were part of the Think Tank set up by Tinubu to formulate policies for the Lagos State government. These include Professor Pat Okedinachi Utomi and OlisaAgbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Under the leadership of Tinubu, an Igbo man Ben Akabueze a technocrat was appointed a Commissioner in Lagos State and has continued to serve till date. Another illustrious Igbo son Engr. Igbokwe was also appointed a General Manager of one of the government agencies. In honour of Rear Admiral Kanu, a Park inAlausa, the seat of government was named after him just like it was done for GaniFawehinmi (SAN) in Ojota and Dr Beko Ransome-kuti in Anthony. Several Igbo sons and daughters have continued to prosper in their businesses courtesy of the enabling environment created by the Lagos State government in the last sixteen (16) years.
It may also be pointed out that leading Igbo groups in Lagos such as Aka Ikenga, the Pan Igbo Think Thank, Ndigbo Lagos, a Socio-Cultural organization and also the leading Igbo Socio-Cultural group Ohaneze Ndigbo have held strategic meetings with Tinubu and later Fashola over the years. These groups in recognition of the contributions of these governors to the protection and development of Igbo interests in Lagos have also honoured them on several occasions in the past.
As the 2015 governorship elections approaches in Lagos State, one of the rival political parties to APC has gone into its bag of tricks and has come up with a plot to deceive Igbos into voting for it. It is tinkering with the idea of making an Igbo man a deputy governorship candidate of its party together with a few slots in commissionership and the State House of Assembly. This promise would have been good if not that it is only a gimmick to win elections in Lagos State and notbourne out of a sincere love for Igbos. Why is it that in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 governorship elections in Lagos State, the party did not nominate an Igbo man as its deputy governorship candidate? Having lost its deposit in the last four general elections, this party is desperate to win at all cost.
Further, Igbos should remember that the mere fact that a person is chosen as a candidate does not mean that his kinsmen would vote for him. In 1999 the ruling political mafia in Nigeria chose General Olusegun Obasango (Rtd) as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His kinsmen, theYorubas instead voted for Chief Olu Falae, the presidential candidate of AD.Obasango was roundly defeated in the six Yoruba states including his home state of Ogun.
Since Igbos have made appreciable in road into APC, it is better for them to remain there and negotiate their interest inside that party. The transformation of Lagos which started with Tinubu in 1999 and has continued with Fashola since 2007 has benefited all Lagosians without discrimination.
Infact, I dare say that as a people given to mercantile pursuits, these two administrations which has boosted the economy of Lagos State by logical deduction has favoured the Igbos more than any other ethnic group doing business in Lagos. Therefore, it is in the enlightened self interest of the Igbos to vote for APC in 2015 governship election in Lagos state.
Written by Aham Njoku.