Bringing Jos to Lagos?

There was peace and tranquillity in Jos until a few decided to deface the intelligence of the natives and make them feel inadequate. For a land once prized as the home of peace and tourism; that accolade don't seem real anymore. To say Jos is now Afghanistan, is an understatement. Jos in the true sense of the word is a disaster zone, where human lives have no value.

Many still believe the hospitality of the natives in Jos and their ever willing nature to accommodate visitors became their undoing. Because some of these visitors now feel they owned the land and that they are equal to the natives when it comes to the privileges of the land. While there is nothing wrong in feeling at home in any part of the country, it is wrong to pretend that the natives of these lands do not have greater rights on their ancestral homes than you, the visitor. GOD in his wisdom locate certain people in certain areas; it is appalling and disheartening to see immigrants to these lands making parochial claims to the lands of their hosts when they still have their own ancestral homes to go back to.

It is insulting to say Lagos is a no man's land. Even if such assertion could be true, the geographical location of the Igbos in Nigeria makes it obvious that they are nowhere near the land called Lagos. Prior to the coming of the colonial rulers to Nigeria, the Igbos would not have gotten anywhere near Lagos because the only closest tribe to the land called Lagos if at all it's empty is Yoruba. And for a journey from the eastern part, the Igbos would have to run over the kingdoms of the Ijaws, Urhobos, Ishekiris, Ikas, probably the Binis and the Ishans before getting to the nearest Yoruba nation. Nothing like that ever took place, so how did the Igbos suddenly discover their newfound claims to Lagos?

I am not an ethnic chauvinist, every Nigerian should feel free and enjoy equal opportunity like their hosts anywhere they are domicile in Nigeria. But it is insulting to tell your hosts that their lands belong to no one. Lagos has its original natives, and they are Yorubas. If they were Igbos, the colonial masters would have met Obis on the thrones and not Obas. And the people would have been Igbo speaking and not Yoruba speaking.

Like the Hausas, Yorubas are one of the most hospitable people in this country. They allow their visitors to make a living in their lands without intrusion and persecution. People come and go in Yoruba lands without any religious molestation or ethnic cleansing. Such hospitality deserves accolades from its beneficiaries, not disrespect.

Majority of Igbos residing in Lagos came to earn their living and have remain loyal and honest to what brought them to Lagos. They see Lagos as a second home away from their ancestral homes in the eastern part of the country. They do not seek more than their dues in Lagos, but some of their uncouth elites are beginning to heat up Lagos. These so called elites, most of them came to Lagos as nobody seeking greener pasture. The hospitality and conductive atmosphere of Lagos provide them the opportunity to actualise their potentials; now they talking trash about the ownership of Lagos.

Igbos do not have the rights to become Governor, deputy governor or even commissioners in Lagos state, just as no tribes have such rights in all Igbo states. Their claim to more than fifty percent of Lagos population beats one's imagination. It is laughable that such claims is coming from a geopolitical zone that is the least populated in the country. Or did they relocate half of their entire population in the east to Lagos?

What geographical, historical or cultural affinity do Igbos have with Lagos? How far is the nearest Igbo land to Lagos compared to the farthest Yoruba land? If these funny Igbos have any knowledge of Geography, I believe these questions will be easily answered.

An Igbo man or woman staying in Lagos, is a Lagosian if they believe they are, but are certainly not natives of Lagos state and will never be. The acceptability granted Nigerians of all walks of lives is what made Lagos the most cosmopolitan and commercial capital of Nigeria today. Lagos was developed and is still being developed by all Nigerians, just like every other parts of the country have the inputs of other tribes to move forward. The contribution of Igbos to Lagos is just as significant as those of Yorubas, Hausas and many other Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the state.

Lagos belongs to Yorubas, and it is not available for any expansionist Igbo to conquer. And the provocative tone being used by these Igbos, that Lagos is a no man's land should stop forthwith if the Igbos do not want to receive the wrath of their hosts.

Respect begets respect, no well trained Yoruba son or daughter would go to Enugu and call it a no man's land, despite the fact that it is a colonial creation. The Igbos should stop taking the hospitality of their hosts in Lagos for granted, if they don't want the Jos scenario to play itself in Lagos. Let's this message go round, Nigeria needs peace.

By Olurotimi Adeola

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