Could it have been out of place, if Lagos State Government first contacted families or relations of the victims, from whom it could have proceeded to organize some form of training or healing programmes for those whose relations they could not reach or those who may have opted to stay back while at the same time continuing discussions with governments of respective states to be affected on what should be the possible final solution?
It’s possible after all these interactions some of the victims could still have wanted to remain in Lagos to live and do their businesses; a right guaranteed by Nigerian constitution. If Lagos State Government still insists on this line of action, it’s of high probability that states whose citizens are involved would have seen the need to make contribution one way or the other including proffering alternatives with sustainable capacities. By not exercising patience and taking a critical circumspection on this matter, Fashola led himself into a path that is not so pleasant. This has also subtracted from the positive aura surrounding his personality. He even lost his sense of timing, which has imposed some constraints on his party, the All Progressives Congress. I am still wondering why taking back persons who “voluntarily agreed” to be taken back home should be in the darkest hour of the night, around 3.am, and victims considered of unsound mind dumped under the bridgehead in a crime infested area of Onitsha in Anambra State.
Such an act could never have contained elements of kindness; if there was any, as Lagos claims. It’s what I have heard musicians sing about in “Kindness to the dead”. In this kind of gesture, you clothe the dead in the finest apparel, build a fine house for him, spend money to cook the kind of food the dead man never ate while alive and in the end you dump him to rot and disintegrate to become manure. That is what Lagos government and its officials did with amazing ease.
I’m dumbfounded by the state of passivity and quiet collaboration that has accompanied this development. I was however, consoled by James Arany who in one of his very popular quotes had educated me that “it is one of the maladies of our age (time) to profess a frenzied allegiance to truth in unimportant matters, to refuse consistently to face her where graver issues are at stake”. What if Jonathan had done this? I have asked some of my friends, they didn’t answer but bursted out laughing. I recall Shugabarisation by Shehu Shagari and how the nation rose to condemn that evil. What is the difference? This even involves more people including possibly others yet to be accounted for. We shout to high heavens about the crisis in the Governors Forum and the Rivers conflict and how they constitute imaginary threats to our democracy. But here is one matter capable of pitching one group against another and igniting a conflict of huge proportion and yet those who cry about threats to democracy have gone to sleep. I’m waiting to see if nobody would take to the streets to protest this degradation of humanity.
For the Igbos, I don’t want to say so much here especially on the leadership question. Yet, I believe that what the Igbo race go through is enough to cause the leadership to come real down to have real moments of introspection and general reflection. When all every growing adult does is to pick his or her baggage and off they go into migration; the story that tells is that something is fundamentally wrong with the set-up, the environment and the people. The civil war has caused the Igbos some high level dislocation no doubt, but where creative thinking is in place, forty years is enough time to regain balance. Do governors and economic giants in the zone ever sit down to contemplate what can be done to make south-east a thriving economic zone? A gentleman, one Ukegbu, called me up during the week and said Igbos are naturally forced to move by high population. I told him fine, immigration is a natural thing but it has to be qualitative. I don’t subscribe to situations where young men and women, run away to engage in street trading, crimes and prostitution. These are things thrown-up by base politics and poor socio-economic management. It is reversible and within a short time too.
Are there no things the states in the south east can do jointly? How about collectively reviving all the old but dead industries that dot the zone with capacities to make the young ones find lucrative jobs at home? Is it lost to the Igbo leadership that with creative thinking and little financing, they can have cities comparable to Abuja and Lagos where life is at its best and still establish thriving economic centres in places like Aba, Onitsha, Nnewi and other places I can’t pin-point here? With the knowledge Igbos are reputed to have, is it not possible to make the South-East lead the nation into the inventive and productive era. Igbos are great in commerce; how much thinking has gone into organizing and modernizing the sector with a view of realizing competitiveness and capturing west and central African markets as it used to be in the 70s and 80s? Don’t Igbo leaders see the imperative for positive social mobilization and enlightenment of the indigenes in the zone?
The Igbos have cried marginalization enough. At a point, that cry made sense but today it is not only odd, it is very stupid. The man who knows he is down must resolve to lift himself even if others refuse to help. That is the way to go. It’s foolishness for one to count himself out. Playing the crab game with each leader in the zone carrying the conqueror’s mentality has not helped and would never help matters. Leaders in the zone must be bold and strive to harbor an open mind which will enable them harness talents that abound in the zone. What is more, the earlier people of the zone drop the politics of the highest bidder and sycophancy ravaging the zone, the better it would be for all. South east is in dire need of well thought-out rescue mission.
Finally on the furor over “deportation”, Fashola should redeem his high rating by admitting that a wrong has been committed and express deep regrets. This incident apart, Yoruba particularly the indigenes of Lagos have been great hosts for long . Lovers of this nation like me must give them kudos,because it’s not easy and encourage them to continue. Fashola too appears to me to be a good man with a fine brain. I believe that in spite of this incident, we should protect and nurture him for the greater good of this nation. Besides, Fashola has some Igbos working with him, which is a sign of good fate and must count for him. Would Nigeria survive? Of course this nation would survive and become very strong. There is nothing happening here which has not happened elsewhere including America. Our bad sides will definitely become history. It was legendary Martin Luther King who said, “With dedication we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice”. Of course I agree with him. We shall surely overcome.