The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, has clarified statements of threat credited to him against the Igbos living in Lagos.
In a statement by the Opeluwa of Lagos, Chief Lateef Aderibigbe Ajose, the Oba of Lagos explained the context in which he made the statements, restating his commitment to ensuring the peaceful coexistence of all Lagosians irrespective of tribe, religion or political persuasion.
There have been reports in the media that Igbo leaders in Lagos paid the Oba a visit on Sunday April 5 and during the meeting they were told to vote for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Akinwumi Ambode, or else they will die in the lagoon.
He was alleged to have been angered by the votes garnered in Lagos by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan, which is believed to have been from the Igbo community.
Full Text of the Statement:
The Palace Makes Further Clarification On The Statement By The Oba Of Lagos
My attention has been drawn to a publication in a national newspaper, where HRM Oba Rilwanu Akiolu was alleged to have threatened Igbos in Lagos to make them vote for Ambode.
Last Sunday, all honorary Eze Ndigbos in Lagos paid a courtesy call to HRM Oba Akiolu. At the meeting the visitors praised the Oba for his fatherly support for and cooperation with Igbos in Lagos. They assured him of their continued good neighbourliness with other tribes in Lagos and support everything that will further strengthen that harmony.
Oba Akiolu on his part acknowledged the enviable performance of Governor Fashola and his contribution to the growth of investments in Lagos. He gave the assurance that he was not disturbed or angry with South-East and South- South votes for President Jonathan as perceived by the Eze Ndigbos. The Oba thereafter called on the Igbo chiefs to show appreciation to Lagos State by supporting his candidate Mr Ambode for continuity of excellence, as they have earlier promised.
He assured them of his continued support and assistance where needed and the meeting ended with the traditional breaking of kola nuts, alligator pepper, and bitter kola and pouring of liberation on the ground. It was within this context that the tradition of Lagos with regard to the lagoon came up. It was noted that ‘whoever works against the throne and the interest and peaceful co-existence of Lagos would end up in the lagoon as per tradition’.
Oba Akiolu stated further that the Igbo people have not betrayed the throne. Lagos has also not betrayed the Igbo people. Lagos has done so much to make the Igbos comfortable and to prosper. For this, we expect reciprocal respect and understanding. The Oba of Lagos prays that the Lagoon and the throne will continue to bless and protect all those who reside and visit Lagos.
Oba Akiolu is the father of all irrespective of tribe, religion or political persuasion. In Lagos, we have an old traditional proverb that relates to the Lagoon. The Lagoon is unique to Lagos. The proverb stresses the need for unity and understanding when you do business in an environment and in this case when you live and do business in Lagos.
Oba Akiolu prays for peace for the land of Lagos and prosperity for all its inhabitants.
Signed: Chief Lateef Aderibigbe Ajose, Opeluwa of Lagos