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By Emmanuel Edom
Foremost Igbo Leader and President General,PG, of the Pan – Igbo Socio – Cultural Organization, known as Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide, has corrected the errornous impressions making rounds across the country,that Igbos have an ongoing rifts with their Yoruba Host in Lagos State.
This is even as Oba Rilwan Akiolu , who hosted Chief Iwuanyawu,calls for genuine contribution to National development.
Chief Engineer Iwuanyawu who rested the raging controversy of Yoruba and Igbo rifts, stated that ” Igbos do not have rifts with the Yorubas and the two ethnic tribes have been living together in peace and harmony, investing and inter- marrying since 1914″.
Buttressing his position with facts, the Igbo Leader,Who is the Founder of Champion Newspapers, Oriental Airline, Hardel and Enic Construction company and three times presidential candidate, gave himself as an example of Yoruba – Igbo affinity and age long ethnic Cooperation.
He said, “There is no rifts between the Yorubas and Igbos.I have served the nation,lived for over 40 years in Lagos and invested millions of dollars into my newspaper business in Lagos state and it was managed very well by a Yoruba person”, Chief Iwuanyawu said.
Continued He : “My daughter is married to a Yoruba person from Oyo State and they have four children and once your daughter is married to a place, you are part of that place”.
He blamed some pockets of people he described as vicious elements and people , as people who are creating such atmosphere of rifts, saying , “People should stop molesting Igbos, and Igbos should get whatever is their right , and because we have inter-married, it will be stupid of anybody to start thinking as such “.
This second official visit of Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide Leader to Lagos State, since his election and inauguration as President General, is coming on the heels of recent infractions and demolitions affecting Igbo residents in Abule Ado, Amuwo Odofin local Government Area of Lagos State, where some multi billion Naira properties were said to have been demolished by the Federal Housing Authority, FHA, without prior , proper and adequate notices given to residents and owners.
Appealing to the Oba of Lagos during his December 16th,2023, courtesy visit, Chief Iwuanyawu,charged Oba Rilwan Akiolu, to ensure the safety and rights of all Law abiding Igbo residents: Your Royal Majesty, you have been my friend and when ever I call on you, you always answer and when you call upon me, I always come .Your friend is now the leader of Igbos World Wide.As such, every Igbo man and woman living in Lagos are my children,Son’s and daughters .And as their Father, my friend, the royal Majesty, Iam handing them over to you as the Royal Father, for you to look after them for me.If there is any problem, we should be able to solve it .The early Igbo residents may have died, but their Children are still here, learning and speaking yoruba language. “
Chief Iwuanyawu further emphasized that, “Igbos have no problem at all with the Yorubas.Many Igbo residents were born here in Lagos. I did a lot of my business carrier in Lagos and many Yorubas were my business Associates “.
Speaking to Igbos in Lagos, Iwuanyawu, enjoined them to be law abiding in all that they do in Lagos State and elsewhere.”You must respect the laws of the land.The younger generation should obey the laws of the land”.
On the issues surrounding the last general elections in Nigeria, Chief Iwuanyawu, categorically told Oba Akiolu that Igbos voted for Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu re-election, but didn’t vote for Bola Ahmed Tinubu during the presidential poll, because they were told that it was their turn.
“During the election, it was clear that we did not support Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but I told my people to support Sanwo Olu.True Bola did well for Igbos as a Governor, but we were told that it is our turn .We didn’t see Peter Obi as a Nigerian but our brother . For the avoidance of doubt, Tinubu was elected by his party APC, went through the primaries and and won, Declared elected by INEC and the post election litigations dragged on to the highest Court, the Supreme Court”, Iwuanyawu explained.
Responding, Oba Akiolu, extolled the virtues of Chief Iwuanyawu and the leadership style of his Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide led administration.
He acknowledged their friendship and enjoined him to strive more in ensuring that Igbo residents abide to the laws of the land.
“We have no problem in the country Everybody must have to contribute genuinely and meaningfully to the progress of the country.We need peace, discipline, Prayers and fear of God.There is no one that comes to Lagos with out achieving success”, Oba noted.