The Mischief Of Calling Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour Igbo

By Kemi Yesufu
The Lagos political establishment is still smarting from Bola Tinubu’s loss of the presidential election to LP’s Peter Obi in Lagos.

The fear and anxiety being displayed by Tinubu’s political family is understandable. Until the February 28th election Lagos was the impregnable stronghold of the man known by different aliases, BAT and Jagaban being the most popular of his nicknames.
However, the negative reactions from the Lagos political establishment and undeniably, a good percentage of Yoruba people has reached worrisome levels.
In the battle for Lagos and the ensuing calls for Yorubas to ensure that Lagos isn’t taken over by non-Yoruba, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour has become a target.

The unintelligent targeting of Rhodes-Vivour who is a Lagos indigene as Indigenous can be, only points to how divided Nigerians have become. As confusing as it sounds, Obi’s victory showed how united Nigerians can be, just as it is now showing how divided we are. What best describes the current situation in Lagos is the famous saying once used by GTbank for an advert, that, ‘the more things change the more, they remain the same’.

I am like Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour. I have an Igbo mother a fact I am very proud of. I like Gbadebo spent most of my childhood Christmases and other holidays in my mum’s village where by Igbo culture, I enjoy the full rights of an indigene. Gbadebo can go to his mother’s village to ask for land to build a home and it wouldn’t sound strange. He can claim indigenship, but he like me stuck with the overriding patrilenal culture in Nigeria of claiming your father’s state or village. What crime has Gbadebo committed by claiming his father’s state and running for political office in the same state? We in Osun are happy and proud of our governor who is proudly the son of an Igbo mother and even speaks the language. In fact, Gov. Adeleke’s second wife is Igbo.
Like I said earlier, the fear and worry being expressed by the Lagos political establishment and Yorubas by extension is understandable, but attacking GRV isn’t sensible. What Yorubas simply need to do or the best ‘reaction’ to Tinubu’s defeat is deep retrospection. We have to think and come up with a realistic and sensible philosophy for the leadership of the South West and its followership. We have to bring back the the Omoluabi ethos. We have to face the reality of the changing demographics in Lagos, Nigeria and the world.

….Ndigbo, Please Stop The Display of Triumphalism

On the part of LP supporters in Lagos and Ndigbo, I would say, it is absolutely insensitive and unrealistic to describe any where as ‘no man’s land’ to be conquered. Lagos no matter its history, like nations of the world, has always been inhabited by people who identified by one description or the other.

People, groups and nations are ever evolving with some of them changing how they are identified with time.. the problem in Lagos and other parts of the country is the sense and show of triumphalism by some residents who throw the ‘no man’s land’ talk when it suits them. If someone completely adapts to his new place of dwelling or country where he migrated, he/she is expected to fully naturalise and even swear an oath of allegiance in the case of countries.When Sunak became UK PM, he didn’t go calling white England names or declare himself their master. Both Sunak and the London Mayor see themselves as British despite their migrant roots.I can speak for Lagos where I was born and Yoruba land were I come from, to say, we are probably the best at accepting and fully integrating people who become Yoruba by identity. Look at Dele Momodu, look at Yoruba Nollywood where you have non-Yoruba as top stars. Our governors and biggest stars are married to non-Yoruba women and no one is complaining. In Lagos an Igbo man, Ben Akabueze is probably the longest serving commissioner. Akabueze managed Lagos budget for years and he was appointed by Tinubu.If a fully integrated Sesugh, Emeka, Yakubu or Nkechi emerges the governor of Lagos and doesn’t display a sense of truimphalism, he/she will govern Lagos in peace and with much support.Recently, I posted about FCT residents voting out NASS members who are indigenes and replacing them with non-indigenes. I intentionally recognised the fact that the Federal Government met people who are indegidenous to Abuja before declaring it as the new nation’s capital even if the current reality is that there are more non- Indigenous residents and registered voters in the urban centres. That the urbanites voted out Gbaygi NASS members this election doesn’t mean they won’t vote in good Gbaygi candidates next time or they denied the indegidenship of Gbaygi to Abuja.Returning to Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour, I sincerely hope that he learns from this episode by minding how he speaks on sensitive issues like the civil war and groups like IPOB. It’s unfair to ask someone like Gbadebo or myself not to have strong opinions about the civil war or strong attachment to Ndigbo. But we certainly can express our views intelligently and with less emotions.Whoever wins the governorship election in Lagos must prioritise reuniting Lagosians not just by words but by taking development to parts of the state dominated by non-indigenes. President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu can use Lagos as a model for the difficult task of bringing Nigerians together after a keenly contested presidential election. He and whoever emerges Lagos governor actually must work towards reuniting the people. They don’t have any other options.


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