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The end of hate

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AKIOLU-OK

Oba Akiolu

WITH the conclusion of the 2015 general elections, Nigerians must now examine all the factors that shaped or even damaged political or ethical values all over the country while the electioneering lasted, especially the hate speeches and foul languages that characterized the campaigns. This is with a view to repairing burnt bridges, broken bonds and sanitizing the air for a cleaner polity.

Sadly, that assessment and soul-searching will have to include the unedifying comments by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, in his palace shortly before the governorship and state assembly elections. That statement, unguarded and offensive, has certainly tainted the aura of his throne and portrayed as a belligerent rabble-rouser a man who ordinarily should be seen promoting traditional and cultural values as well as the unity of the people in his domain.

The unfortunate words, said to some notable Igbo residents who were the Oba’s guests, were considered weighty enough to be a threat to the peaceful co-existence of two of the country’s major ethnic groups, and the unity that was forged at a great price.

It is just as well that the palace has since scrambled some control measures though the damage had been done.

The royal faux pas, which, not surprisingly went viral, raised dust and generated bad blood, especially among the Igbo community in Lagos and across the country, civil society groups and political activists and socio-cultural organisations, showing that even for a traditional ruler, in anger, there should be grace.

Certainly, the gaffe, an unnecessary bombast from a traditional ruler with no legal authority over how people should vote, was avoidable. A monarch is father to all in his domain, the different ethnic backgrounds of residents notwithstanding. Oba Akiolu has no place in politics and if he must express be partisan, a more discreet approach would have been more edifying.

It is also important for every opinion leader to imbibe and exhibit, always, a culture of tolerance for opposing political views as guaranteed by the constitution, in the knowledge that political seasons, like this will ebb like a tide, but the society remains.

The so-called non-indigenes who have over the years contributed immensely to the growth and development of Lagos, especially the economy, had every reason to take umbrage at Oba Akiolu’s manner of delivery of his wish for the “settlers” to respect his political wish and support a candidate of his choice to secure the governorship seat, failing which, according to his reported statement, any violator would end up in the lagoon.

The royal’s preferred candidate and his political camp, sensing their fortunes almost collapsing at being linked with the royal threat, appropriately struggled to distance party activities from palace activities.

Certainly, it was bad enough to drag the revered traditional institution into politics to the level of threatening innocent Nigerians, it was doubly embarrassing for the traditional ruler to openly express so much contempt for his own subjects’ feelings even if there was a gap between Akiolu’s delivery and what the media transmitted, as the palace later claimed. Even if his intended message was different from what went viral and almost disrupted peace, this must never happen again.

A few questions, for example, are germane: Was Oba Akiolu reacting to some political undercurrents that the larger society was not privy to? Was his message lost in transmission or twisted for political gain? Couldn’t he have put the same message across with a plea? Should the electorate have voted out of fear and not convictions about the worth of a candidate? How fair would the process have been if the choice were a product of intimidation? Anyway, such inflammatory comments as shown, are inexcusable and if an elder must express his feelings, couldn’t he have said it in the privacy of his palace outside of media attention?

Now, how would royalty across Nigeria go about restoring credibility to the battered institution? For instance, in Ondo State, another top class monarch has been accused of instigating violence in a constituency for alleged political interest while in Osun State, rampaging youths violently desecrated a monarch’s palace in Aagba and carted away the crown in a post-presidential poll victory celebration over the ruler’s alleged political bias. There are more examples but the message is simple: Traditional rulers must leave politics to politicians; if they are interested, they must vacate the exalted throne. The example of the Awujale of Ijebu, Oba Sikiru Adetona, who privately and publicly preached neutrality by traditional rulers, is worthy of emulation.

Lagos is a cosmopolitan city and all residents, even the dominant Yoruba stock, cherish freedom of choice as one of their most guarded values. Also, the people have no history of fuelling ethnic tension and it is in this context that Oba Akiolu’s comments should be understood as not representative of a people’s desire to alienate any other group.

In the interest of Nigeria, individuals and groups, no matter their status, must learn to live in accord with one another in any part of the country.

Now that the elections are over, it is incumbent on all persons to consider all foul words and wrong deeds during the campaigns as some human errors that must be forgiven and forgotten in the spirit of a new Nigeria emerging from current political developments.


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35 Comments
  • Kalusia

    Its quite appalling that people will stand this Oba of a fool that calls himself a leader. If we collapse into a civil war between tribes, this Oba will be the first to jet off the shores of Nigeria, leaving the likes of me to fight war of hatred with other tribes. All because a canon mouth and careless Oba could not use his brain and know what is de-tasteful in the public domain. A leader has the duty to protect his own people but this Oba is pitting his people against other tribes and not protecting them. Yorubas are not threatened and so why threaten other tribes who came for a peaceful pally? Oba Akiolu is a disgrace to traditional ruler-ship and will never be forgiven until he drops his arrogance. The likes of Akiolu could be linked to those slavery-era rulers who could sell their fellow kinsmen for nothing believing they are untouchable.

    • tunex aina

      Seee, Seeee, SEEE let me tell you, jes leave our Oba out of this, the crazy Igbos are beginning to wanna bite more than what they can shew. The Oba made his comments, though he became so emotional and went out of track, that does not mean that he never knew what he was saying.

      The Igbos wanna rule Lagos? Govern Lagos? They say Lagos is no mans land? I am from Lagos state, I got my village there, we have extended family members who hail from Ibeju Lekki, we wont sit and watch these people hijack our state, if the Igbos don’t stop this move and concern themselves only with their businesses, should they delve into Lagos politics or dare to repeat this same act again, they will be annihilated in Lagos State, just watch out.

      Ifeanyi Ubah better watch your back, because very soon………………………………………..

      • jonny12

        They are ruling lagos already economically ,didn’t you know?

        • Julius Joel

          You must be out of your mind

        • prince Adetokunbo Balogun.

          With your petty trading, The real captains of industries are the yorubas.

          • jonny12

            You mean human parts industry. boasting as usual

      • Kalusia

        An average Igbo already run Nigeria’s economy

        • ASH ASSET

          which economy?,kidnapping and armed robbery economy

        • Layi Niyi

          Lack of investment education is worrying the Ibo, you just sit in small corner shop and be bragging.

        • prince Adetokunbo Balogun.

          With your master servant culture sorry you people need more education than involving in petty trading.

          • losuoha

            Nothing has shown that you are more educated than those petty traders. Those petty traders you see are the engine of the economy.
            However, I agree with you that “The real captains of industries are the yorubas” but that’s a very few. The larger Yoruba population has no clue what an industry is, not to talk of being the captain on one.

      • chew, not shew

    • Anthony Aluko

      I really wish I could disrespect your leaders as you do to the Oba of Lagos but as a Yoruba person brought up with manners I just cannot do that@ Kalusia. Now Imagine you’re a father and you say to your child, if I see you with that Chinedu boy again I will kill both of you, even though Chunedu is not that bad of a child, will your child use that opportunity to insult his father for such remark? @kalusia

      Let’s be clear, I blame the editors and individuals who write articles without the foresight recognizing that there is a very thin line to cross when articles are attributed to traditional rulers in our country and referencing cultures.

      We the Yoruba’s have acknowledged the statement from the Oba of Lagos is wrong and spoken out against it, did you hear Tinubu insulting the Oba of Lagos when the APC dissociated themselves from the statement?

      Funny thing is that I never used to factor such way of thinking (tribalism) in all my interactions with Nigerians prior to the Oba of Lagos unfortunate comment, I now know we can NEVER be alike in this country hence proud of my heritage and what it offers as compared to other cultures as depicted in some of the articles I have read. The YORUBA’s are very respectful in addressing our fathers hence you either state your concern with respect or SHUT UP! It’s not like these comments or articles will unseat the Oba of Lagos anyway.

      It will be interesting using such bad words to describe the Owele of Onitsha, Sultan of Sokoto and any other first class ruler out there and see how there people will throw a tantrum of violence and chaos hence the Yoruba’s are very tolerating but again there are lines that need not be crossed@emmanuel_kalu:disqus

      Let me use this medium to say editors should note that in process of selling a story they create history, these histories can either be for peace via dialogue or war via factions. Please carry out your job understanding the sensitivity of its outcome.

      • Alh

        Mr. Aluko,please google what Chuba Okadigbo called Zik (the owelle himself) both of them are dead now and I don’t want to talk ill of the dead. You will know how much regards they have for their elders.

    • Layi Niyi

      Never mind this idiot, they are all ashamed of their tribe that they don’t even use their real name again. A fool man with a fool name Kalusia,

    • Layi Niyi

      —-Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, reacting to Chuba Okadigbo’s
      “ranting of an ant” (1981)

      “My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to as dizzy a
      height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to
      rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise like an eagle
      atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow
      men…as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breath into her ear.
      But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are
      roundly insulted by young men before the world as you have unjustly
      done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you
      look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace
      that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the
      land, maythe great big hand of fate snatch it all away from you.
      Just as it appears as if nothing can possibly go awry,, Chuba, as you
      Look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his
      hand, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo
      people,may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your
      shoulders. None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have
      risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you
      will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility
      and your name in tatters forever…..”

      —-Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, reacting to Chuba Okadigbo’s
      “ranting of an ant” (1981)

    • malachi ideba

      Hmmmmmm…….speechless

  • Julius Joel

    This write-up is in bad taste. What the Oba said waste not good and unfortunate, but it is not a hate statement. The Oba was speaking to his friends who although represented their ethnic group, but I did not hear the oba referring to their ethnic group, but to them as his guests and friends. The Guardian should also have written about the same oba castigating Mr Obasanjo when Jonathan visited the oba. Guardian could have also written about hate speech of Mr Patience Jonathan when she referred to the North as producing too many children they cannot take care of and that was why her husband was building Almajiri schools. Hate speech was also exhibited By Mrs Patience Jonathan when he referred to the president-elect Mr Buhari as brain dead. Why did such speech not attract editorial comments of the Guardian. I suppose this paper’s conscience is being nurtured by hatred for one particular ethnic group of Nigeria or Individuals belonging to that group.

    • nnanta

      This is to wise ones. Please let no Igbo man/woman be involved in this type of discussion. It is not in tradition to be hurling insults and abuses at people. Buhari is not a Yoruba man and there no quarrels with him and there should not be with Yorubas. Let us concentrate in improving our products to meet world standards. You voted wisely and ‘Histroy will vindicate the just’. Igbo nma nma nu!

  • AFEMO

    I am sure the writer is an Igbo. The Oba has spoken and he has spoken well. Your Igbo brothers and sisters have as expected, written in lampooning the Oba. Only God knows when you would stop this. Indeed, your write-up is insulting to the high office of the Oba. If in your culture, you don’t acknowledge and respect elders and traditional rulers, we do in Yoruba land. Indeed, in Yoruba culture, Obas top the list of leaders you are not expected to react to whatever they say irrespective of your feelings. Back to the Igbo question, why couldn’t you tell your Igbo brothers to check and watch their mouths. Indeed, Igbos are the architects of their misfortunes. When a tenant starts querying the rights of his/her landlord, his/her days are numbered. The same problems that arose for the Igbos in the North is what they are re-enacting in the South West. First, it was the thoughtless and stupid Igbos that declared Lagos a no man’s land. This is highly insulting. When an Igbo person has ten Naira, he would tell the world that he has arrived. It is their mouth that will destroy them. Why couldn’t you use your medium to educate your fellow Igbos on how to respect the culture of your hosts and live peacefully with them. Yes, without the Igbo block vote in Lagos, Ambode still won! Wither the empty boasts of the Igbos that they own Lagos! Yes, only the enemies of Lagos could have contemplated taking Lagos state into the hands of the rabid locusts, the PDP. Oba Akiolu knew what is best for Lagos and he saw enough signs to be worried about the direction the Igbos wanted to take Lagos to. This is the duty of a loving father, even God expressed His preference for Abel (against Cain} and Joseph {against his brothers} in the Holy Books!

    • Fuzio

      The Guardian newspaper is owned by the Ibru dynasty from Warri Delta
      state. You should go and learn how newspaper editorials are written
      before posting your jargon.

    • gatland

      The bottom line whether the writer is Igbo or Yoruba Oba Akiolu irked. He should have kept his thought private for this he will forever be remembered as a divisive Obo who held grudges spew venom on his loyal subjects.

    • Layi Niyi

      @AFEMO: Thanks

    • there is really no need for the insults. d oba erred n d palace apologised. dt shd be d end of it. if trouble ensues in lagos, d yorubas will suffer as much as any1. take a hint from what is currently happening in south Africa. d foreigners are killing as much pple as d indigenes are killing. if u try to annihilate any tribe or group of pple, they’ll sure fight back.

      • Mazi JO

        These minions of tribal idiocy are incorrigible! Some of them are even quoting the Holy Books castigating someone in a distinctive opinion visiting peace on the Nigerian people. Isn’t dismal trying to be reasonable with them in their mindset about the politics of this Nation beginning to be re-born? It is best we move ahead and just peek in our rear-view mirrors to observe what happens to them while the World progresses. The millennium is 15years and counting people.

    • losuoha

      Your useless oba erred and will always be remembered for his stupidity.

      • yinka

        In 1966,these were the same type statements that led to that conflict after the military coup. They were mocking Sultan of Sokoto, TB, etc. until their host could not take it anymore. Insulting the Oba will help Igbo cause in Lagos on the long run. Enough is enough, o. IGBO are traders and that makes them vulnerable.

  • Omo Ijebu

    Lets call a spade a spade. Igbos need to be placed where they belong. They have spilled the first blood and cried foul only when they got verbal response. Claiming what does not belong to them is a robbery and telling their landlords that the property in which they dwell is no man’s property because they are paying rent is a complete nonsense. Oba Akiolu has every right to claim his possession and place a curse upon the robbers in his domain. Igbos telling Our revered Oba that Lagos is no man’s land and vowed to claim the land by installing the next governor of the state who in turn will install an Igbo as a paramount ruler of Lagos is an affront to their host community. Thank God they failed but we have taken notice of the danger in our hospitality towards our tenants who hate us from the bottom of their heart and are doing everything possible to bring us down and impose their foreign culture and traditions and be our lords on our land. Simply put it, they are set out to dominate us on our land. God forbid. Every right thinking Yoruba man and woman must stand by His Royal Highness, Oba Akiolu and let it be known that Lagos has owners, culture and tradition even before the white people settled in Lagos and long before Lagos was once federal capital city and the custodian of the culture and traditions is Oba Akiolu.

    • Inyourdreams

      Igbos are thieves, period. Go and see what they do in Lagos. That’s why they are declaring lagos as No Man’s Land. They know quite well the land is not theirs but to have full control of the land they decided to declare it as No Man’s Land. If not stupidity how could another tribe declare other tribe’s land as No Man’s Land. Just imagine.

  • Dejo Oladimeji

    Oba Rilwanu Akiolu of Lagos was sitting quietly inside his own domain when the Igbos came calling. The Oba presumably attended to them in his own wisdom not knowing that the Igbos were only interested in sounding him out before they launched their venon on him. Oba Rilwanu Akiolu would have been bitten if the Igbos that came that day were snakes. Oba kabiyesi, I hope you have learned your lessons about the Igbo agenda in your territory by now. All Yoruba Obas perform libation in the name of ritual when they have concluded important meetings. The Ooni of Ife did the same thing when President Jonathan visited the Ife palace. During libations, the words are usually twisted as the “alawos” would do. The inportant thing discussed in the meeting are like “Adeun” that are then solidified by the twisted words during Libation. The Igbos that went to see the Oba need to know the Yoruba culture before arranging to go inside the sacred palace ground. I am sure they went into the palace on a false pretext, but the Oba knew so well that those people could not be trusted, so they deserve what they get in return. I hereby say that all the Igbos of this world should not tread on Yorubas delicate ground, never again, we are not kidding. Stay away from our palaces if you do not have any respect for our culture. You are insulting us pretty much. Enough is enough. “Abo oro laa so fun omoluabi”

  • Hero

    Anybody can say anything he likes about what the Oba has done. None of the traducers of the Oba will publicly claim to be Yoruba. The problem starts when your visitors begin to lay claims to your space simply because you are accommodating. I thinks this has put all of us on alert. The Igbo should be careful so they do not face resentment in Yorubaland laying claims that cannot be made in their backyard. It is only Lagos that has Igbo as member of House of Assembly. a commissioner and so on… please let us be careful. The eyes of the Yoruba is open and we are watching.

  • Innocent Odinkamere

    Truth is bitter they say that notwithstanding TRUTH WILL ALWAYS BE SAID. Even if you guys sumersaulted million times, it cannot be changed. For someone you people hold at such high esteem to speak like a tout in a motor park is very appalling, especially when the political tension in the country is very high.

    I was thinking that you people will be asking yourselves some serious questions about his ability and fitness to occupy such a respectable position. I admire the way you people respect your elders, but this is a different case altogaether. Don’t you guys think that respect is earned? To whom much is given much is expcted of him. I was told that he is a lawyer, well from all indication he can’t defend that certificate. You guys should stop defending him he is a disgrace to that throne and to the people that he is serving, that is just the unpleasant truth. The best thing he can do for himself is to tender in person unreserved apology to Nigerians and stop fooling himself by trying to do damage control.

  • wally

    You need to warn your brothers against unguarded and reckless pronouncement. Lagos is a Yoruba land and not ” a no man’s land”.

  • Mazi JO

    Amen! Amen!! Amen!!!

  • inokyson

    The recent xenophobic attacks against foreigners in SA came at the heels of the unguarded comments of a Zulu king. That atavistic king should form an association with the oba of Lagos, one time. Then they should be kept in a museum to be watched by tourists and studied by researchers. When other countries are trying to build multi-cultural modern societies these atavistic remnants are trying to draw us back to the stone age. Shame on them.