By Obi Nwakanma.
Lagos is an excellent city. Hot, roiling, edgy, bitter and often terrible, the city’s terrific source of energy, the oil that fuels the eager beaver of Lagos, is its terrific variety. It is a city, depending upon whose stats you’re utilizing, of about fifteen million individuals. It is definitely the biggest city on the continent of Africa, and as some financial experts have actually stated, Lagos as a city alone is the 5th Largest Economy in Africa.
This is what makes it appealing: the theatre of the streets of Lagos, the bitter sweet odor of sweat, gunk, and the most costly fragrances worldwide, blended with the heady whiff of hot African food drifting in salt-sea air, leaves the senses swooning with intricacy. The crowd– the performance of individuals in their everyday movements speaks straight to the type of craze of the French social theorist, Gustave Le Bon’s 3 phases of Crowd habits, submergence, contagion, and recommendation. I have actually resided in Lagos, and I have actually experienced its contagious and often heady mayhem, however I will never ever once again reside in Lagos, since it is unhealthy, overcrowded, very bad, and based on lethal contagion.
I choose the quieter, calmer, life-sustaining atmosphere of the beautiful countryside of my town house in Imo state nowadays. Or stunning, quickly accessible cities, like Orlando. When the Ebola fever showed up Lagos, I was really terrified, since it struck me that the living conditions in Lagos, the state of its facilities and real estate, and the density of its population was a catastrophe waiting to take place. It is still possible, that this city, will be not able to include a lethal contagion, which when such a force gets here, half the city of Lagos will be eliminated since Lagos does not have the facilities of a 21 st century city of its size and intricacy.
READ ALSO: The threatening silence on ranchers.
It is is a large ghetto– the world’s biggest ghetto; bigger than Calcutta, since even Ikoyi and Lekki are ghettos when we analyze their conditions and details. Lagos is a bad, completely misgoverned megacity, and in spite of all its well known wealth, is unworthy a copper compared to genuine, world class cities. So, why is Lagos the website of contention in between the Igbo and the Yoruba? Given, these are the 2 biggest ethnic populations in the city of Lagos. However they are by no implies the only ethnic cultures that populate this large city. So, why is the ethnic flare-up constant? I believe we need to return to 1955, in the dispute over the status of Lagos in the federation in between Nnamdi Azikiwe’s NCNC, and Awolowo’s Action Group.
The NCNC competed and pressed the argument that Lagos was, and stayed a Federal Area, unique from the Western Area, while Awolowo and the Action Group competed that Lagos ought to belong to the Western Area, and even threatened secession ought to that not hold true. Ultimately, the British, familiar with the distinct history of Lagos, kept Lagos as a Federal Area. That arrangement survived even with the production of Lagos state in 1967 as an unique state from the Western states, following presses led by Lagosians themselves, who were constantly terrific fans of the NCNC.
The origins of Lagos has when again end up being a matter of contention, in between those who state the Igbo are “non-indigenes” in Lagos, which Lagos is “Yoruba land.” This unique misconceptions played out in these elections, when the ethnic Igbo were assaulted by political criminals who support the Tinubu-led APC in Lagos, who have actually been pressing this argument of Igbo non-indigeneity. Let’s be clear about this: for as long as Nigeria is a modern-day nation-state, and for as long as the history of guy is the history of settlements and resettlements, the Igbo are as native to Lagos as any other ethnic claims, consisting of Yoruba declares to Lagos. Aside from the constitutional assurances to residency status, the Igbo are covered by citizenship rights. They have best to vote, and be chosen, and to equivalent treatment, accumulating to any other resident of Nigeria with clear residency rights in Lagos.
Indigeneship is “due” declares to coming from land, and it moves, as the weather condition shifts. If you were born in Lagos, regardless of the time lapse, you’re an indigene of Lagos, duration. So, Igbo kids born in Lagos are the “Igbo of Lagos.” Simply as Yoruba born in Onitsha are the “Yoruba of Onitsha.” There is quite little anybody can do about this, and it has to do with time that this rubbish about the location of the Igbo, or any other ethnic groups living in Lagos stopped. The Igbo have a right to vote, to arrange their society in Lagos, their management, their religious beliefs, their financial and cultural interests, and they are neither based on the Oba of Lagos nor do they owe him loyalty, nor to any other plaintiff to some pseudo-authority, aside from the authority of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as presently made up.
Whoever feels that the Igbo are too “aggressive” and need to be consisted of need to go and delve into the lagoon, since the Igbo are not about going to stop being “aggressive” just since some folks do not like them aggressive. They press to get things done. Lagos as a postmodern city in a republic is “no guy’s land”- no, let me rephrase that, Lagos is “everyman’s land” who wishes to reside in it, who discovers chance to flourish, add to its society, and makes it grow. The origin of Lagos is much more complicated than present deconstructionists even try to come to grips with. Modern Lagos was not constructed on Yoruba culture. As MJC Echeruo, among the world’s most powerful intellectual historians composed, “Lagos of the late 19 th century was a “negro” Lagos.
The prominent figures in it were either returned servants from the West Indies or Brazil, or informed and advanced specialists from Liberia or Sierra Leone. The high culture of Lagos of the 1880 s was appropriately that of non-native upper-class, sharing a typical historic identity with the negroes of black America; it was a civilized elite all of a sudden and fitfully looking for to establish a regional African patriotism based not a lot on a specific Lagos identity however on a cosmopolitan black values.” These returnee black folk developed the cosmopolitan outlook of Lagos. It was hence not odd that a person of these, a Liberian-Igbo, with roots from Maryland, John Payne Jackson– for whom Nnamdi Azikiwe later on called the Jackson College of Journalism at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka released and modified the most powerful paper in Lagos of the 19 th and early 20 th century Lagos, the Lagos Weekly Record, which he began in 1892, and which on his death in 1915, was modified by his similarly powerful boy, Thomas Horatio Jackson.
It remained in the plan of things those years that John Payne Jackson who showed up from Liberia to work for J.S. Leigh, a popular merchant in Victorian Lagos, was later on sent out to Brass, and from Brass he went back to Lagos, and used up a task working for R.B. Blaize’s Lagos Times. The point is that Lagos is the city of the “cultural flaneur,” that wanderer who accretes worths, and settles, and distributes it within this area.
The Igbo have actually been such a cultural flaneur. Returnee-Igbo, like the Pratts of Gambia, and the Kings of Sierra-Leone, simply for circumstances, have actually belonged to contemporary Lagos from the 19 th century. However the Igbo have actually remained in Lagos even long prior to its 1861 addition: the Aro, the Igbere, the Abam, etc, were currently trading in Lagos, when Lagos was still a slave-trader’s port, and were even part of the early Benin settlement of Eko, as mercenary soldiers in the Benin royal army, and settled greatly in the cluster of the location we even now still called “Oyigbo” in old Lagos. The Igbo remain in that sense not brand-new inhabitants in Lagos. They have actually been here even when hinterland Yoruba, like the Ijebu, were still paying tasks prior to they might be enabled to sell Lagos. It is essential that the modern Nigerian comprehend the history of contemporary Nigeria, too undoubtedly as the history of what we now called Southern Nigeria.
If anything can be stated of that history, from its classical times, the Igbo have actually been the mobile glue and muscle of Southern Nigeria. As even the custodian of Lagos history has actually stated, Lagos was initially established by the Benin (Idu/Edo). As even the Ooni of Ife has actually hinted the habitation of the ancient Igbo of Ife (which the Igbo called “Igbo-Omoku”) are still understood to the Ife, and are still the kingmakers who crown the Ooni of Ife. These histories are protected in routine and in story. The late Teacher Ade Obayemi did develop these linkages. It is an indictment on Nigeria’s modern historians, anthropologists and archeologists that they have actually not completely produced and linked the nationalist history of Nigeria, and plainly periodized the really close contacts of these groups that now comprise contemporary Nigeria, and have actually hence enabled jingoists field, and totally free reign to close the Nigerian mind.
Let us return a bit to the history of Southern Nigeria, and firmly insist that the Igbo are not simple “visitors” to “Western Nigeria.” When folks talk nowadays, they forget that Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, an ethnic Igbo, was the very first leader of opposition in the Western local Home in 1951 -3, and followed later on, by another Igbo, Dr. Denis Osadebe who ended up being the leader of opposition until1963 Western Nigeria, with its borders stopping at the bridgehead of the River Niger in Asaba, consisted of large locations of Igbo nation. Simply put, the Igbo were politically part of Western Nigeria. Although the Yoruba were the ethnic bulk because area, the Igbo were the 2nd biggest ethnic background in Western Nigeria.
Until 1957, Azikiwe’s paper, the Southern Nigerian Protector, was the most prominent paper in the city of Ibadan, even when Awo developed his Tribune on November 16, 1949 because city, to honour Dr. Azikiwe’s birthday, in addition to complete for viewpoint because city. The Igbo have actually likewise remained in Ibadan from the time Lagoelu initially increased the Okebadan hills, to start the life of that republican city. For that reason, those speaking about the Igbo as “visitors” and “aliens” are either filled with beverage or are uninformed.