THE DOUBLE EDGED SANWO-OLU’S CAMPAIGN STRATEGY
By Mcanthony Onuoha
The political game in Lagos State is not supposed to give anyone any joy considering its ethnic/tribal shade and colour.
It is quite saddening that what have been streaming on social media since after the presidential election which recorded the Labour Party as having the highest number of votes cast in Lagos State are strings of ethnic profiling and unwarranted threats.
It is indeed amazing reading comments on how the Igbos will take over Lagos if Labour Party’s candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes- Vivour(GRV), is voted into office as Governor, how he is not an aboriginal Yoruba because he has an Igbo mother.
This is not the first time that the Igbos have been marked as an endangered specie because their political interest is not in tandem with that of those who claim ownership of Lagos. And one begins to wonder whether we are really practicing democracy, because if at all we are, everyone should be allowed the liberty to choose and not be chosen for, as it is an inalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human.
Interestingly, Gov. Babajide Sanwo- Olu is being seen traversing the Lagos metropolis soliciting support for his reelection as the State Governor, and what is most significant in his personal campaign strategies is that he keeps meeting with people of different ethnicities, not excluding the Igbos, for endorsement. We have heard different sociopolitical groups canvassing for votes for him, we have seen him in market places, shopping malls and churches, and we have listened to him at different fora asking to be given a second chance, but he has never at any forum brought tribal sentiment into his campaign, he has neither criticized the Igbo nor the Hausa but has only sought their support.
It becomes a common knowledge that those fanning the embers of division are mostly bigoted Yorubas who are non indigenes of Lagos State but claim ownership of Lagos because they speak the language and share the same ancestry that are traced within the same region (the Southwest), and that automatically bequeathed them that very entitlement which they keep bragging about every now and then.
Sadly, the APC as a party, has never preached peace in every of its electioneering campaign in Lagos State, its foot soldiers, like unleashed Savage dogs, go after the Igbo community, threatening their existence and livelihood, verbally and physically attacking them and no one among the party leaders cares to call them to order, they have been caught in camera many times nudging and inciting them against the Igbo community.
It is very clear that Sanwo-Olu’s political campaign is double faceted, interwoven with ethnic sentiment and inclusiveness. The Igbos are being threatened and terrorised while they, on the other hand, pretentiously extend the olive branch and preach unity.
Besides, the Lagos State pattern of campaign has assumed a very dangerous dimension as people are not at liberty to make their choices, not to talk of the disruptive measures being deployed at different polling units where political thugs come all out to unleash mayhem especially in places perceived as Igbo dominated areas, they destroy ballot boxes, tear ballot papers and freely walk away in the full glare of security operatives.
Indeed, it is the same as biting someone and fanning the particular spot at the same time. Lagos should be a model to other states considering its long standing political history, international exposure and metropolitan status, but what we are witnessing today is a modern State, a former Federal Capital and commercial capital of the most populous black nation, increasingly plunging deeply into primitive and traditional politicking of which instead of diplomatically engaging people to win their hearts and support, intimidation, voters suppression and all sorts of threats are rather deployed.
It is really shocking to always see Baales and other traditional rulers threatening to either kill or chase a particular tribe out of their respective domains if they do not align with their Party’s candidate. This does not define freedom in any shade or colour.