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Monday, May 27, 2024

NIGERIA 2023 – SO, WHO OWNS LAGOS?- By Ike P. Ibekwe, PhD

In the opinion of this writer, this is one of those propositions and narratives that exposes the frailness and superficiality of the human being, notwithstanding the feats of space travel and other scientific achievements. A human is so fundamentally flawed and weak in many respects, (and he knows it too), irrespective of the carefully arranged exterior of courage, confidence and self-assurance. I suspect that is why every man seeks glory, commendation and praise all day long. They told us Mungo Park ‘discovered’ Nigeria by happening on River Nigeria and her tributaries; just like Columbus ‘discovered’ America. Both are important personae of history. I suppose some other important man or woman found and that both Africa and America had natives before the arrival of their ‘discoverers’. Some other important men/women wrote to describe the anthropological and sociological underpinnings of these peoples. After a time, these important men and women, and their discoveries recede into history and quickly become discussions in antiquity. But the quest for achievements and glory even after death abides with men. This partly accounts for why we write; in a sense, to speak from the grave. The truth is that man is a glory-seeking creature. Who founded Lisbon, Paris and London; and better still, who owns them? This last has become so nonsensical and ludicrous a question that the enquirer is sure to attract strange stares, should he venture out on the streets of these ‘megacities, with this question. 

This writer cannot but express his confusion and puzzle with regard to the current fruitless and idle debate about who owns Lagos; and whether the city is a ‘one man or women’s) land’ or a ‘no man’s land’, etc. Am I simply expected to next ask; ‘but what does it matter?’ No! this is plain folly. Revealing the weakness and frailty that is in man, this time of the Nigerian hue; exposing his underlying vulnerability and helplessness, in the face of all his feats, signifying that the root of his pursuits of these achievements is self-glory and approval and praise. A basic introduction to anthropology and how societies segment and emerge will reveal that endless migration is the culprit. To be simple and blunt. Everybody is a pilgrim and a sojourner everywhere. There are early settlers, and there are the earliest settlers. The early settlers would soon become the earliest settlers; while the modern settlers would graduate into early settlers. The earliest settlers’, hitherto recorded by history as such would as soon be obliterated and vanish into antiquity. How much history can History and archaeology retain and pass on? This is why we sometimes outdo ourselves by digging up items from the soil and ascribing to them a time in existence that makes them as old or even older than the earth. In turn, and in order to validate ourselves, we claim through our sophisticated science that the earth itself has lasted zillions of years. We formulate the rules of science; we decide its rules of validation. But always staring us in the face are truths we cannot pretend are nonexistent So, we continue to search and march on against nature, with nature seeming to move the goalposts, a few inches away from our last but now conquered target. Incidentally, one such truth is the effluxion of time and its effect on belief systems, ethos and mores. A ‘nothing’ (person. Place or thing) today; becomes something tomorrow, and vice versa. Our minds (society) construct the ‘something’ and the ‘nothing’, within space and time. At one time ‘Lagos is a no man’s Land’. At another time, ‘Lagos is a one man’s Land’. The victory Speech of the recently ‘re-elected’ Governor of Lagos state, Mr B. Sanwu-Olu is a testament to this fact. It is now time to heal wounds; time to accept and proclaim that we are all one; that Lagos as usual will accommodate us all. All good until the next election is around the corner. Then there will be again a differentiation and segregation between those who own Lagos, and the passers-by of Lagos; between the Landlords and the squatters; the citizens and the non-citizens of Lagos 

I find it appalling, and particularly embarrassing that grown adults like Mr Fani-Kayode and his ilk (in pursuit of the peculiarly Nigerianprebendary politics of ‘me, myself and I’ of yesteryears), continue to revive the narratives of who owns where. Presumably, upon this narrative rests the methodology for the ‘sharing and choppings’; sorry, resource allocation of the trillions of the oft-touted outlandish Lagos state IGR; actually a diplomatic euphemism of saying how the money generated in Lagos state would be shared between and amongst the boys and the men of the party that makes it to Alausa. 

But, surely, there are better things to meditate upon. In the safe assumption that the gentleman (Fani-Kayode) is above 50; I suggest we turn our attention to eternal matters. According to the scriptures; the stuff we see is temporal, while the ones we cannot see are eternal. Well then, sir, it’s time to turn our attention away from money wine and women (earthly), to weightier and eternal matters (heavenly). I must perforce also mention that whether Mr Biden decides or not, to congratulate our Presideny-elect, is entirely an earthly issue. Unsurprisingly again, Mr Fani-Kayode is fixated on what Mr Biden thinks of our recent charade, in the name of elections. Mr Biden has maintained an honourable silence by refraining from his lips. But instead of allowing the man peace to consider his options ahead of 2024; here comes our rabble-rousing Fani-Kayode, asking that Biden come over to Nigeria to help with the approval of a charade that should be rightly regarded as a rape of democracy; a pitiable excuse for that system of governance. Truth is Mr Biden is personally embarrassed at the recent turn of events in Nigeria (touted as the world’s largest black democracy). Think about it this way: America champions, promotes, protects and encourages democracy everywhere in the world, with claims that it is the best system of governance the world has ever known; in any event, better than its prominent rival, Communist-Socialism. Please, Mr Fani-Kayode, at least, let Mr Biden be, after you have given the Chinese and Russian Presidents a good reason to turn their lips and smirch at Mr Biden, with our practice of Nigerian democracy 

Following that, I conclude thus. Lagos I can see; as well as Enugu and Port Harcourt; but God and his ways and thoughts, and what will be after me I cannot see or know. Therefore, away with that nonsense about who owns Lagos, Ibadan, or New Delhi. Ask rather, have any of their previous owners had been able to take a half inch of its lands or resources with them when the time was called on their sojourn this way. Then, you will begin to understand how ludicrous and embarrassingly low Nigerians have become of late! 


Perhaps, the most ridiculous of this pre-election propaganda is the allegation that the Labour Party Lagos state governorship hopeful, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour (GRV) is not a Lagosian and has no right to even contest the election, speak less of being voted for. I should simply have dismissed such assertions as those of lazy and idle minds, except that this appears to be how elections are won and lost in Nigeria. Regrettably and shamefully so. The first question should have been, even if that were so, did that convert him (GRV) to a non- Nigerian. I mean if he were a non-Lagosian, but a Nigerian, and had the courage to thrust himself forward to the electorate, having lived in Lagos for a considerable length of time (as our Laws permit); How is that anybody’s business? But that is not even the case for this gentleman. Hereunder is the plain, marketplace truth of this matter 

Everyone who knows a bit about Nigeria knows that Lagos is one of the cities in which returnee slaves from the Americas were rehabilitated. For that reason, any Lagosian of any length of time from five years upwards would be conversant with such Lagosian surnames as Macaulay, Williams, Benson, Cardozo, Johnson, Peters, Brown, etc. The name Rohdes-Vivour is just one of several foreign-sounding names. Indeed, this brings me to the question of whether the murderers of Funsho Williams have been found and brought to justice? I ask because if GRV was merely tarred with a similar brush as was Funsho Williams before the latter (who was already cruising to Alausa as governor) was mysteriously murdered. I mean if GRV is regarded as non-Lagosian, notwithstanding his Lagosian surname, and because his mother is Igbo; who knows where Mr Funsho Williams’ mother hailed from since it is clear that those foreign names with which we associate the group also known as the ‘Saro’ in Lagos, no longer matter. I must venture to remind those who are enjoying it at the moment, and speaking of a huge ‘war chest’ and ‘vast structure’, that dictators do not just happen overnight. If you do not stop them today; tomorrow night’s dinner will be your sons and daughters. You laugh and call it political dexterity that one fellow (only one!) has hoodwinked the majority of an ethnic group widely regarded as refined and enlightened, into demonizing another ethnic group, and is literally ostracizing any individual that ventures to associate with his ‘political enemies’ – which is the fate of GRV at the moment. Again, I find that embarrassing, speaking as an averagely exposed, educated and free-thinking Nigerian. In effect, Is Nigeria no longer one because of the 2023 elections? And Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is no longer a Lagosian because he happens to have decided to be his own man- meaning, exercising his right to freedom of association? Now his mandate has again been stolen by that disgraceful umpire chaired by the equally un-blushing, shameless Yakub Mahmood. Men like Professor Osinbajo must be shifting uneasily in their seats to have to share the prefix ‘Professor’ with characters like this man. The stolen mandate has again been delivered to the APC candidate as happened in the presidential election. 

While we await God’s own verdict in the charades that President Muhammad Buhari had gleefully touted as his parting gift (and his only redeeming legacy) to us; it is apt to recall this wise counsel. That is when you ride on the back of a killer leopard/Tiger, out on a killing spree. When it finds no other prey, it will turn its attention to you. For the time being, those of you who think men like Funsho Williams, G.R.V. and P.O., are troublemakers, and should not be members of the Nigerian space; I urge you to enjoy your victory, and your victory laps, for now. I will expect that GRV, just as Obi did, will go to court to reclaim their stolen mandates. It is no longer a secret that one of the institutions that have been weakened by our politician’s war chests is the judiciary. That is the kind of ‘war-chest’ other nations boast about; even now, Russia and Ukraine are currently being supplied arms by our politicians boast about now as they are engaged in a fierce battle, ‘abi, be-eko’? Shameless people! We’ll wait and see what the courts will say on this one. At all events, we’ll let God judge! He does not slumber, we are told. Perhaps, He is waiting for somebody’s cup of iniquity to fill up to the brim. He is very patient. 

By Ike P. Ibekwe, PhD, email: ikechukwuozo@yahoo.com, Port Harcourt, Nigeria


The opinions and views expressed in this write-up are entirely that of the Writer(s). They do not reflect the opinions and views of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or any of its employees. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or its employees concerning the legal status of any country, its authority, area or territory or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers. Equally, the sketches, images, pictures and videos are obtained from the public domain

Nigeria is an Enigma. The capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of her is undoubtedly God’s endowment to us, her citizens. As a citizen of this lovely nation, I’ve spent decades of my life trying to understand this, Mirage. Hope someday, this Mystery that houses about 250 million blacks will be globally understood, widely accepted, and given the opportunity to play its vital role in the world stage. So, help us God! #NigeriaDeservesBetter #AfricaDeservesBetter

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