There is a general notion that the Igbo people hold some sort of grudge against the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has helped many Igbo people in Lagos. Some of them today are today playing big in politics and in business. This may sound confusing to many because the Yoruba/Igbo have been living together in harmony for decades. But historically, Igbo and Yoruba often clash especially when it comes down to the issue of politics or debate on national issues.
The distrust between the Yoruba and Igbo is not only age-long but deep-rooted. The so-called rivalry between Yoruba and Igbo dates back to the pre-independence era but was aggravated during the unfortunate civil war (1967-1970) and the perceived role of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, played during the war. The South-Easterners believe (to date) that Awo’s primed ingenuity gave the Nigerian forces the edge to scuttle their secession bid. Till now the Igbo people still haven’t forgiven Awolowo and Yoruba in general. It has been established that due to this the Igbo people didn’t vote for MKO. They believe, politically that Yoruba is an obstacle.
According to a political analyst, “It’s an obvious truth that Tinubu represents the success story of Yoruba’s political sophistication. So it’s normal “people” are attacking him because they hate the entire Yoruba race. If Tinubu drops out of the race today and supports Osinbajo, they will attack the VP with the same energy they are using to attack Tinubu. They never supported Awolowo. They hated MKO Abiola and voted against him. They voted against Olu Falae because they see him as a Yoruba candidate. So, what they are doing to Tinubu should not be a surprise to you. It is nothing new. It is who they are”.
Another reason is that some of the major markets in Lagos are dominated by the Igbo people. There have been stories that, these markets are controlled by Tinubu, through his daughter who happened to be the Iyaloja General, Mrs Folashade Tinubu Ojo. Talk of Computer Village where they had a protest a few months back over Mrs Folashade’s interference. The traders in the Oyingbo market a few months ago accused Mrs Tinubu-Ojo of requesting N5 million from the traders operating in the market without any prior notice.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Bola Ahmed, please save us from your daughter,’ Lagos Mainland, our children are crying of hunger, pls save us from the hand of Shade Ojo,’ ‘Folashade Tinubu Ojo, Ahmed Tinubu’s daughter leave Oyingbo Market alone. Mainland Local Government, hear our cry.’ An average Igbo man on the streets of Lagos believes that Tinubu controls all the major markets in Lagos and that all the levy goes to him.
Another reason is that the south-east has never produced a President and they are bitter and pained as this continues to elude them every four years. So, they see other contestants as their enemies. People from the zone are of the opinion that since the power will be coming to the south, it should come to the zone (South East). There was a press release a few months back warning Tinubu and co to drop their Presidential aspirations. According to Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, the Igbo people insist that it was the turn of the South-East to produce Nigeria’s next President and not the South-West.
He added that separatist agitations would increase in the South-East if the zone does not produce the next President Ogbonnia urged Tinubu to drop his 2023 ambition and back a competent aspirant from the South-East to emerge as the next President of the country after the eight-year regime of the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, 2023.
With less than a year to the next general elections, the politics of zoning has dominated public discourse with prominent Southern elements and political parties demanding power shift to the Southern region after Buhari who is from Katsina in Nigeria’s bandit-ridden North-West.
In the last few weeks, Tinubu has been receiving all sorts of online attacks over his presidential ambition. This is so because is an obstacle, a hindrance to Peter Obi’s presidential ambition and generally to the Igbo aspiration.
Another reason is that in 2016, it was alleged that the foremost king, Oba Rilwan Akiolu said, that the South Easterners living in Lagos were warned that anyone that fails to vote for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Akinwumi Ambode, would perish in the lagoon. This statement angered the southeasterners across the country. They believed it was a plot by Tinubu to scare them during the election from voting for the candidate of their choice.
There were strong indications that Igbos residents in Lagos wanted to vote for the PDP candidate, Jimi Agbaje, just like they did during the presidential and National Assembly elections that led to the victory of PDP candidates of Igbo origin and from Delta State in three federal constituencies in Lagos then.
People should also be aware that the Igbo will never forget the Biafra war, the agony after the war and those who betrayed them. The deaths of more than a million Igbo people as a result of the brutal civil war which ended over 50 years ago are a scar on the nation’s history. For most Nigerians, the war over the breakaway state of Biafra is generally regarded as an unfortunate episode best forgotten, but for the Igbo people who fought for secession, it remains a life-defining event.
In 1967, following two coups and turmoil which led to about a million Igbos returning to the south-east of Nigeria, the Republic of Biafra seceded with 33-year-old military officer Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the helm. The Nigerian government declared war and after 30 months of fighting, Biafra surrendered. On 15 January 1970, the conflict officially ended.
They believe that Igbo would’ve been a free nation by now if not that Awolowo betrayed them and since then, it hasn’t been easy for any Yoruba person running for the post of President to convince an Igbo man to his side. This is one reason south easterners have been pained and angry at any candidate who is not from their zone.
One of the good reasons the Igbo people across the country are also angry and bitter about Tinubu’s presidential ambition is that he’s one of the major players who worked against Jonathan’s second term as president in office. The merger of ACN and CPC was his idea and the emergence of Buhari as president provoked the Igbo people. Although many of them are saying Jonathan is from the South-South but they are still comfortable with him. That’s why till today, the Igbo people will always make reference to Jonathan and how he was betrayed and how Tinubu worked against him. They said it was Tinubu that ensured Buhari became president and hence he is the cause of the hardship and insecurities across the