…Says Bini Kingdom didn’t conquer Lagos like colonial masters
Former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, has said that disheartening, 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.
Bode George in a statement said all the 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.
He said it is shameful that at a time when millions of Nigerians are going through anguish and extreme pain, some elders are flexing their muscles on proprietorship of the Centre of Excellence.
Bode George said: “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 have settled down from all over Nigeria and 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 owns Lagos has gained momentum but we know ourselves. No matter how twisted the narrative Nigerians know the truth.
“Indeed, the Bini were here at 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 a 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.”
According to Bode George, it is laughable to hear Ohanaeze Ndigbo 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.”