March 30, 2023

We Are All Iya Chukwudi

4 min read

By Dr. Moses O. Paul

A recent remark by the Lagos State Park Management Committee Chairman, Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, has generated a social media storm. The remark directed at a woman whom he called Iya Chukwudi, warned her to remain in her home and not bother coming out to exercise her franchise if she will not vote for candidates of the All Progressives Candidate (APC) in today’s gubernatorial and state assembly election. This pronouncement, one of many in recent times, has come as no surprise to me and many Nigerians as his notoriety for verbal ethnic vitriolage seems to pass for entertainment in the ears of the authorities with zero police invitation till date. He remains a free rambler wielding the torch of implosion over dry grass in the valley of delicate ethnic balance. I am bemused by his insistence on this path and the dead or conniving silence of the authorities despite being an employee of the state.

In a manner reminiscing his nervous mien in the post-Lekki Toll Gate shooting interview with CNN, incumbent governor and APC guber candidate, Governor Jide Sonwolu, has condemned the ethnic turn of politics in the state calling on proponents to desist forthwith. However, with characters like MC Oluomo giving fuel to the sentiment and allowed to roam free, his words are without any effect. It is clear, without any doubt, that MC Oluomo is dancing a tune from the dark forest of impunity by big drums resonating at the call of interest by political big wigs in the state and beyond. We are aware of the heightened dissonance among politicians of the old order on what should be done to disband the youth – driven Obidient Movement which has united Nigerians across ethnic, religious, and ideological lines since mid – 2022 neutralizing their usual four – year poison. The goal is to precipitate fear, shrink hope, extinguish the fire of political participation and force the Nigerian voter back to the cocoon of apathy. Hence, the desperation of political desperados and opportunists in Lagos State in particular is not surprising at all. Like I said in an earlier article, the fall of an old political order hardly passes without a fight. Nigerians must be awake to their gimmicks and desperate attempts to perpetuate the enthronement of ineptitude.

I call on INEC’s president – elect, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to rein in his dog. We have come a long way in our nationhood to be cajoled by a stale ethnic politics. Our focus, as is with the Obedient Movement, is on the enthronement of competence, character, capacity and compassion in our Government Houses and State Houses of assembly so that dividends can be driven to their appropriate destinations without diversions to personal coffers. People like MC Oluomo represent the past that we must never return to. Nigeria has moved on to better days. We cannot afford to make this unfortunate U-turn. He must be made to understand that no one individual or group is greater than the state anywhere in the world. This is also a historical truth looking at the histories of the great kingdoms of Africa and the city states of Europe and the Americas.

It is important to note that the moment he spat that warning, Iya Chukwudi became a superstructure of the global Obidient family. A symbol of defiance. A finger in the face of the old political order.

A vote for the promise of a New Nigeria. She became a voice shouting down the wall of disenfranchisement by the hasty declaration cum seeming politicization of the famous Oro Festival. Iya Chukwudi is us, the Igbo, who have been told that Lagos is not our land despite years of living, investing and contributing to its development. The Yoruba who have been sold a lie that the Igbo want to take over Lagos State and establish a pseudo Igbo state averse to established culture and practices. She is the average Lagosian, a trader, who has been threatened with arson and all sorts of intimidation to submit to the call to rate ethnicity over competence. But today, she will go out and vote. For in her heart she knows that Lagos is Our Own. And we must be part of recruiting its next leaders. She knows that this is the right thing to do as it gives her the right to demand accountability and call for the recall of any public official. She has her vote. She knows what power it holds and that her life does not deserve to be wasted in the next four years. She will vote and stay like Mrs. Jennifer Efidi, to defend her vote.

I am Iya Chukwudi. You are Iya Chukwudi. We are Iya Chukwudi. Let us go out today and make the right choice for Our Lagos.

Dr. Moses O. Paul is the National Coordinator of Yell Out Nigeria.

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