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Gubernatorial Election: The Dangerous Politics of Ethnicity Emerging in Lagos State

Emerging trends, especially on social media, indicate ethnic sentiments will play a key role in deciding who wins the March 11 gubernatorial election in Lagos State

Lagos is a cosmopolitan state with sizeable populations of different ethnic nationalities. It is a melting pot of different cultures primarily because of its past status as the capital city of Nigeria. However, because of its location in the Southwest geopolitical zone, it boasts a larger Yoruba population with its aboriginal Yoruba people.

Smarting from the loss of their candidate, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25th presidential election to his All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State, in controversial circumstances, his (Obi’s) supporters, alias Obidients, have vowed to mobilize support for the LP candidate in the Lagos State governorship election, Arch Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, to win. This, they intend to spite Tinubu, who is regarded as the Godfather of Lagos politics for his role in almost singlehandedly installing all successive after him in the State.

Bolstered by Obi’s victory over Tinubu in the presidential election in Lagos State, the Obidients are convinced that they could cause an unprecedented upset in the gubernatorial election as well. 

However, supporters of the APC are interpreting the Obidientsas a threat by "outsiders” to take over Lagos State from its aboriginal "owners”. This is the unfortunate and divisive narrative that is being pushed to gullible voters ahead of the March 11 election in the State. 

It comes from the deliberate but erroneous profiling of all supporters of Obi as Igbos. And so the outsiders in the context of this discourse are essentially Igbos. The profiling has been extended to the LP governorship candidate, incidentally an aboriginal Lagosian from the famous Rhodes family, who is being portrayed as an outcast representing the outsiders’ interests. Someone on Twitter even said that he speaks the Igbo language more fluently than he does the Yoruba language as if that is enough to diminish his Yoruba heritage. 

The narrative is creating unnecessary tension in the State and is a deliberate calculation to intimidate voters so they will not come out to vote on Election Day. 

This is not good for democracy. Unfortunately, it is being actively encouraged by highly-placed politicians. Those going threatening to deal with Igbo voters on Election Day should realize that when push comes to shove the same politicians sponsoring them would not only deny them but would also readily abandon them. 

Content created and supplied by: Ifyafrica (via Opera News )

Labour Party Lagos State Obi Peter Obi Yoruba


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