By keeping a narrow focus on the so-called illegality of "deporting 'fellow nigerians' ", the contrast between Lagos State's official antagonistic stance towards all persons with limited means and how it welcomes (and provides) an enabling environment for moneyed persons from various foreign origins is obscured.
This contrast is important because it is the very thing that shows the nature of the people in charge of Lagos State.
In other words, to either criticise the policy by identifying it as 'tribalism' or, to praise it by calling it an assertion of State's rights is to respond in a way that misses the mark.
Since what differentiates those who are welcome to the State from the unwelcome is money and connections, it could be rightfully surmised that neither ethnic prejudice or ethnic pride was behind the action taken by the State government.
We know that they are not bigots because we clearly see how willing they are to allow people that are not from the State to control significant segments of its economy and infrastructure. We only need to look at the personnel involved in the ongoing Eko Atlantic project to know this.
We also know that they are not motivated by ethnic pride because persons who have this as a primary motivation will not downgrade their own language to favour the advancement of foreign languages...which this Lagos State government did when it prioritised the teaching of Chinese in State schools over the teaching of Yoruba.
Unfortunately, due to the volume, intensity, and utter offensiveness of those who were earliest to the cause of championing Igbo 'rights' in Yoruba territory, the main lesson contained in this policy was obscured. So, in the heat of the moment, foot-soldiers in the intellectual battle to defend Igbo 'rights' - some of whom are persons ones who should have known better - lined up behind unscrupulous and venal creatures who were already proven to be misleaders...just because these persons were now holding Igbo colours high...
Forgetting/ignoring the fact that at no time (while they were in a position to do so) had these pathologically self-serving individuals implemented any policies to improve the lot of ones like the persons who were evicted from Eko.
This is the curse of Nigeria. This is the demonic edict that demands mediocrity (or worse) in thought and action from all that identify wholeheartedly as 'Nigerian' whenever 'national' issues are the subject. But then again, maybe it is not a curse, maybe the stupidity is self-imposed. Because when denizens of a non-nation spend the best part of their intellect and energies pondering over 'national' issues, what else - aside from monumental follies - could the results be?
So, here we are, once again at a crossroads where the growing intensity of a war of words between Yoruba and Igbo is increasing the probability of deadly conflict between the two groups. Throughout recent history, actual warfare on battlefields between different ethnic groups occupying the same geographical space has been preceded by warfare on the propaganda front. Of all such events, the ones that should be of particular concern to Yoruba are the examples presented by events in Belfast, Beirut, Sarajevo and Baghdad. Because of all other places that could have been used, these three cities, like present-day Eko, were also once containers for uneasily co-existing ethnicities/sects whose antagonisms manifested in deadly ways once the weak glue that had formerly bound them together was dissolved by exigent circumstances.
I will not make reference to Nazi Germany or Rwanda because the current situation in Yorubaland, while pregnant with dangers, is not similar to what obtained in either of those two places.
The tragic events of 1993 Rwanda cannot be used as markers on a probable route since it is as of yet unlikely that the Yoruba will experience the same long and brutal history which created the pathology that made those events possible. Also, unlike Germans under the Nazis, the Yoruba are not governed by a militaristic group whose founding principles are based on asserting the superiority of a 'master race' over all others and, on expanding the 'living space' over which this 'master race' will exert hegemony.
Which brings us to the question: Which of the nations that make up Nigeria has consistently asserted that because they are of superior stock, they not only have a right to claim living space wherever they wish, but also the right to assert power in other people's territory?
We cannot help but hear, in the assured statements of those supremacists who declare that only an Igbo President can 'rescue Nigeria', an echo of Nnamdi Azikiwe's several statements about how, as a consequence of their innate superiority, the Igbo were destined to rule over other Africans. Declarations that were/are viewed with scepticism because they insinuate that the Igbo identity alone is enough to make up for deficiencies like the lack of a truly progressive ideology or proven expertise in productive governance.
Also, memories are still fresh about the critical roles played by Igbo-supremacist intellectuals like Francis C. Nwokedi (sole commissioner of the Administrative Review Commission) in the decision making process that led Aguiyi-Ironsi into making a fatally detrimental decision to turn the multi-ethnic (and unintegrated) Nigeria into the centrist-directionless state that we more or less still have today. Aside from the aforementioned Nwokedi, others in Ironsi's inner circle were Gabriel Onyuike (Attorney General), Pius Okigbo (Perm Sec Finance Ministry and Economic Advisor to the Federal Military Government) - all appointed by Ironsi and all asserting influence in shaping the direction taken by government.
These memories remind us that hegemony is not only a theory but also a desire that was once put into practice. Recent events where some Igbo in positions of power have over-indulged in advancing their fellow-nationals have also served to justify suspicions of what awaits non-Igbo in Nigeria if supremacy-minded Igbo are allowed to have their way.
Therefore, though Igbo advocates of Newspeak may continue describing themselves as potential victims of atrocities similar to what happened in Nazi Germany and Rwanda, it is their comrades (past and present) who have consistently advocated for a perspective that upholds the Igbo's 'natural superiority' over all other so-called Nigerians.
A consequence of this perspective the way all opposition is seen as manifestations of backwardness. Which is why it is easy for ones with this peculiar mind-set to describe persons making their own fortunes in lands outside of their home territories as being ones who are doing favours to the host peoples.
In other words, we are told (over and over) that Igbo are the 'best Nigerians' because they are the ones who are most likely to seek commercial benefits outside their traditional territory. Individualistic activities that are purely profit-driven are thus described as patriotic service...which would be true if the country was a bank account that any/all could draw as much as they wished from.
Finally, this ingrained sense of a superiority that places one outside the bounds of normal morality explains why it seems just that ones whose leadership have never staked a claim to an inch of Igbo territory can be repaid by having an integral part of their ancestral territory described as "no man's land". And as we know from previous occurrences in history, declaring a territory "terra nullius" or "no man's land" precedes the design and implementation of genocidal policies.
Should it be that the voices whose perspective will determine the course taken by Yoruba at this time are the ones who downgrade Yoruba nationalism as being nothing more than rank 'tribalism'...advocating instead for adherence to the 'nationalism' of a non-existent nation, then there should be no doubt that the Yoruba will eventually join the list of extinct (or subjugated) nations/cultures.
So should it happen that Yoruba who hear others referring to their indigenous land as "no man's land" recognise the preceding shadow of notable events that had happened to other people, ones should not be surprised by their reaction. After all, had it been that Yoruba were so divorced from reality and morality that discussing ways to find a 'final solution' to the Igbo problem became a part of their norm, I am sure that others similarly aware of historical precedents would have raised the alarm.