Ohanaeze Slams Bode George Over Remark on Igbo People and Lagos Development

Lagos Igbo Bode George Ohanaeze
Chief Bode George
The National Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, has reacted to the remark recently made by the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, over Igbo's persistent claim to the "development of Lagos".

Dr. Chiedozie condemned Chief Bode George's remark and marked it "malicious" for supporting what he called the destructive policy of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu which Ndigbo alleged to be focused on Igbo businesses in Lagos.

Ohanaeze's statement in reaction to Bode George reads “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the remarks credited to Chief Bode George as to “why the Igbos couldn’t focus on developing their own states instead of Lagos”.

“George went on to ask “What stops Iwuanyanwu from developing the Igbo land instead of developing Lagos? ….And that “given the pervasive problem of widespread poverty among Nigerians, the subject” chosen by Iwuanyanwu “shouldn’t be the main focus”, etc.

“Chief Bode George made the above remarks as a reaction to the World Press Conference by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.

“In the press conference, Chief Iwuanyanwu stated that when Lagos was elevated as the capital of Nigeria, it attracted persons, groups, and governments from all parts of Nigeria and across the world. The Igbo leader pointed out that, Lagos as a federal capital gave rise to multi-ethnic inflow, population explosion, and diverse economic activities.

“The Igbo leader commended the Igbo spirit of corporate social responsibility by adding values to whichever environment they find themselves.

“The PG stated very correctly that the Igbo, like every other group, did not acquire their properties in Lagos by brute force; instead were lawfully purchased and evidenced with certificates of occupancy.

“Any person who knows Lagos will agree with the Igbo Leader that some of the Igbo properties are standing on what used to be swamps. Iwuanyanwu used the press conference to condemn the demolition of properties by the authorities of Lagos State, most of which are owned by the Igbo.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo would have ignored such malicious comments by Chief Bode George, but we, however, believe that since silence may lend credence to the unsuspecting minds or may give validity to a whimsical figment of a transactional imagination, this press release becomes imperative.

“In the first place, the unsolicited support to the policies and programmes of the Lagos State Government led by Babajide Sanwo-Olu by Chief Bode George is both curious and misdirected. Otherwise, how will an elder statesman in the mold of Bode George query an ethnic group for their loyalty, allegiance, commitment and development of the former capital of Nigeria.

“The George theory will also query why are other Nigerians are obligated to the development of Abuja to give it the required international status. For Bode George to suggest that the Igbo erred by contributing to the development of Lagos is not only un-statesmanly, bigoted, narrow-thinking and self-serving but stands at variance with the ethics and decorum of a man who has benefited immensely from the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“Ohaneaeze Ndigbo has watched with dismay, the selective vocality of Chief Bode George; when many parts of the Alaba International Market were destroyed, George was mute. When there was intimidation of voters in Lagos state, George was mute, among several others.

“Finally, the Igbo will remain broad-minded, hardworking, law-abiding, forward-looking, dynamic and courageous even in the face of daunting challenges,” he said.

Bode George Slammed Ohanaeze Over Claims on Lagos Development

Chief Bode George had, last week Wednesday, reacted to claim by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, who claimed at a World Press Conference that "Igbo people developed Lagos," and brutally condemned Governor Sanwoolu's policy of destroying unsafe buildings in the state.

Raising eyebrows on the argument about ownership of Lagos and its development, Chief Bode George, in a statement, said: “It is disheartening, shameful, embarrassing, disgraceful and unpatriotic that at a time like this when Lagosians and Nigerians are going through economic hardship, some elders are infatuated with ownership of Lagos.

“What a distraction. What a disturbance. What a perturbation.

“It is shameful that at a time millions of Nigerians are going through anguish and extreme pain, some elders are flexing muscles on proprietorship of the Centre of Excellence.

“The question to ask is: What exactly is the intention of these agitators?

“The whole gamut of argument about the ownership of Lagos is not of any importance to patriotic Nigerians at this crucial time.

“Obviously, it is just a diversionary issue. All these combatants and gladiators should know that all efforts, at this trying time, should be geared at ensuring good governance, how to tackle economic issues and take people out of poverty, how to put food on their table; how to get the people out of abject poverty they are into; how to tackle the insecurity plaguing the country and how to deliver good healthcare to Nigerians whose lives are being cut short by lack of a good health care system.

“Anything short of all these is a complete waste of time.

“Pitiably, the ship of the nation is currently drifting, yet the issue of who is the rightful owner Lagos is what some people prefer to discuss.

“What a pity. As a bonafide Lagosian, I say without any sense of equivocation that Lagos has been, and would remain, a centre of commerce, which has allowed everybody to settle down here. It is not in our tradition to discriminate. People settle down from all over Nigeria and from the entire West African coast from time immemorial – a culture which has remained with Lagos and the city of Kano, the only two cities known for commerce in Nigeria.

“People are presently angered, thus the rhetoric about who truly own Lagos has gained momentum but we know ourselves.

“No matter how twisted the narratives, Nigerians know the truth.

“It is true the Bini were here in the earliest time, but it was temporary. It was not that they conquered Lagos like the colonial imperialists, as it is being bandied about.

“Inter-marriage had also overshadowed a lot of things. For instance, the only sister of my paternal father married a Benin man and gave birth to all my cousins, who are all in their 70s and 60s. They have spent the greater part of their lives in Lagos. We should stop dissipating energies on a frivolous issue like the original owners of Lagos; rather governance should take centre stage, how to improve the lives of the ordinary Nigerian without making the Centre of Excellence lose its candour of a commercial Nerve Centre of the West African sub-region.

“It is rather most disheartening for the government to encourage the people to engage in frivolous narrative about founders of Lagos, a debate triggered by the comments freely expressed by a traditional ruler, who himself did not choose the tribe he originated from.

“I say, enough of engaging in such a diversionary issue as nobody created him or herself to be a Bini, Hausa, Igbo, Itsekiri, Kanuri, Fulani, Ijaw or Yoruba. We are all humans.

“What should be of utmost concern at this critical period of despondency is how to make life meaningful to all and sundry.

"Nigerians should refuse to be divided by diversionary issues which add no value to their lives, and make government accountable to them through good governance.

“We should stop wasting time or dissipating energies on non issues as nobody chose to be a member of the tribe he or she hails from in the country from birth.

“In New York City in the United States of America, you have Italians, Irish and all those who migrated into the city. Switzerland is also a good example, we have the Germans concentrated around Zurich area, the Italians concentrated in Lugana, and French concentrated in Geneva, making the country one of the best well organised economic giants in the heart of Europe through good governance.

“But here we are made to engage in needless issues.

“It is laughable to hear Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the socio-cultural organisation of the Igbo, chipping tribal sentiment of contributing to the development of Lagos.

“If people don’t have anything to say, they should just keep their peace. We have serious numerous problems begging for attention. We have a near-disaster challenge in our economy which needs urgent government solutions, towards transforming the lives of the people.

“When we were growing up, we had classmates of Igbo, Hausa descent, who spoke fluent Yoruba language. We did everything together, education and sports. There are better ways to co-habit, not through frivolous issues like who is the true owner of Lagos.

“My great-grand uncle, Herbert Macaulay, was the man who established the first political party in the country. He was a selfless Nigerian, who cared about the wellbeing of every Nigerian.

“He was all over the place, trying to emancipate the people from colonial rule, motivating the people on how to gain independence from the colonialists. Unfortunately, he died in the struggle, after contacting disease on his way from a trip to the Northern part of the country. He did a lot of sensitisation against colonial rule, influencing the emergence of nationalists like Nnamdi Azikiwe, and others who took over from him.

“We should not allow tribal sentiments to becloud our sense of reasoning to focus on making positive decisions to the society, irrespective of where you live.

“Look at the late Pa Chris Ogunbanjo, he was not a Lagosian, but he lived the greater part of his life in Lagos, achieving greatness in all endeavours in Lagos. There are others like that

“My plea goes to all sides on this issue, to sheath their swords and send the clarion call to government, to address issues directly affecting their existence for the better as well enhancing the future of Nigerians. Every Nigerian should live above tribal sentiments. Enough of this distraction.”

Category: World-News
Tag: Lagos Igbo Bode George Ohanaeze
Written by Author (author)
Published 12/12/2023 12:51:00 AM

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