In my opinion, Lagos is not a NO MAN’S LAND. If for nothing else, for the mere fact that it is located in the Southwest of Nigeria establishes it as a Yorubaland. However, Lagos is cosmopolitan. After Calabar it became the colonial capital and later the federal capital of Nigeria before the capital was moved to Abuja. Lagos houses the biggest seaports in Nigeria, local and international airports, foreign missions, multinational corporations, massive industrial estates, Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies and so on. It is a potpourie of sorts and the commercial capital of West Africa. These attracts Nigerians from all over to come and do business and somehow settle and start living their lives here.

The Igbo’s are known to travel far and wide and they have a penchant for settling down too quickly and start a life wherever they find themselves. By default they easily embed in any Community they find themselves. They quickly settle down, marry, acquire assets and begin to raise their families. They are hugely successful in whatever they lay their hands upon. It is not just because they are hardworking. They are not the only hardworking tribe in Nigeria. If it is by hardwork I believe the iron bender, bricklayer and cart pusher will be very successful as well. I believe it is more an act of the Grace that God has bestowed upon them, just like the Israelites. They are a people that have found special favour with the Lord. An Igboman can make water to come out of a rock.

The problem some of our Yoruba brothers have with Ndigbo stems from the fact that some are arrogantly proud, unnecessarily loud and overtly flamboyant and they rub these into their faces. Even the most stupid coward and imbecile has some elements of pride in him and he will like to protect it.

Truth be told, Ndigbo have acquired a substantial part of Lagos and they keep acquiring and there are pockets of huge Ndigbo settlements all over Lagos. There is no settlement of Ndigbo in Lagos that have not been massively developed through self efforts. Even if it is a swamp give them five years and you will not be able to recognise it again.

The original indigenes of Lagos in actual fact, do not have any problems with Ndigbo. They are largly easy going and very accommodating and always want to catch their fun whenever the opportunity presents itself. The problem of Lagos is actually from their Western neighbours and brothers (Ogun,Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi and Kwara States) who have in real terms subdued them and somehow have pushed them to Isale Eko and environs while the other aborigenes have been abandoned at Epe and Badagry.

It is this their neighbouring states who have conquered the Aboriginal Lagosians that feel threatened with the fast rise, growth, prosperity and massive acquisition of landed properties by Ndigbo in Lagos. The fear is that the domineering posture of Ndigbo in Lagos will one day relegate them back to their long abandoned states of origins so they are pushing back.

To make matters worse the demography of Ndigbo in Lagos is so high now that they are contesting for political offices and they are winning. The fear is that with the way and manner in which Ndigbo are winning elections in the state these days there will come a time when they will rise to become Local Government Chairmen and even the State Governor and will start dictating to them how to live their lives in their own state.
There is absolutely nothing anybody can do about this. It is a normal and natural phenomenon in life especially in this fast changing world of high mobility of labour, health, science, technology, education and the search for the proverbial golden fleece.

For instance Kemi Badenock is a Yoruba woman but she recently contested elections to become the Prime Minister of the United kingdom and she came fourth in that election losing to Rishi Sunak who is Indian born and the new Prime Minister of the UK. She is now the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the current administration, a very powerful and high ranking portfolio. In the United States of America President Joe Biden has continued to appoint numerous Nigerians into his cabinet, including Osaremen Okolo, Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo and Funmi Olorunnipa Badejo. In the last elections, at least eight Nigerians won elections into various political offices in America as Councillors and Mayors, same goes for Canada and other western countries.

If Nigerians can go to far away European countries and contest and win elections and even be appointed into political offices at Federal levels over there why then can’t we be as accommodating to our own brothers back home?

This notwithstanding our Igbo brothers need to tone down our rhetorics. We should not rub our God-given successes down the faces of our hosts. We should show humility and continue to be friendly as we have always been and also continue to contribute to the development, peace and progress of our immediate communities.

The simple truth is that the average Igboman is hard working, desires to live a very decent, comfortable and convenient life and wants to enjoy himself. He will do anything possible to achieve these lofty goals.

These are the things that drive and motivate the Igboman to success. An Igboman has the propensity to turn sand to gold and create something out of nothing. Our brothers should understand this and give us the opportunity and just wait and see what we will make of it.

Prince Ikenna Charles Oham KSM


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