Lagos indigenous group affirms Rhodes-Vivour as bonafide Lagosian
By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Natives of the five districts that make up Lagos State, under the umbrella of Lagos Indigenes Congress (Igbimo Omo Eko), have affirmed that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is a bonafide son of a reputable Lagos Island family and cannot be wished away because of his matrilineal lineage.
Igbimo Omo Eko is a network of Lagos bonafide indigenes across Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe (IBILE) in a communique issued and signed by the communique secretary, Dr Olusola Bangbowu, at the end of its emergency meeting over the weekend, described the discussion on Gbadebo’s identity as worrisome.
The group stated that the issue of Gbadebo’s identity must be nipped in the bud to avert election violence “that will do our state, indigenes and none indigenes alike, no good.”
According to them, the scar of the #EndSARS protest is still very visible in Lagos even as the state government is grappling with rehabilitation using very scarce state resources. The state cannot afford any such incident under any guise again.
The group claimed it is for this reason that they are stepping forward to speak against the divisive narrative being peddled about the LP candidate for governor.
“We dissociate from it, we say it is wicked and planned to impair the love and harmony with which Lagosians have lived together in the past, just for the gains of a few,” the group held
They said further that claims that Rhodes-Vivour is a non-indigene are a reaction to the winning performance of his party in the state in the last presidential election. “We say without mincing words that he is a true son of Lagos and indeed one of us,” the group added.
The communique reads further:
“That it is a distortion of fact, wrong, selfish, very insincere, and wicked for anyone to claim or argue that there are no true indigenes of Lagos.
“The actual indigenes of Lagos hail from and have the roots of their progenitors traceable to IBILE, the 5 divisions of Lagos namely, Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, and Epe.
“That, unlike indigenes of other states in the Nigerian Federation, our progenitors handed over to us the culture of humanness, accommodation, and assimilation; of fairness and of equity. This apparently is based on their ill experience with the slave trade. And we have taken this spirit of fellowship further to the extent that even our immediate neighbours, join others to say: There are no Lagosians
“For the avoidance of doubts, there are Lagosians. Some of us have both parents who are from Lagos, some, are the father only and we also have some who claim to be from Lagos only on a maternal basis. We do not discriminate.
“A major lesson our progenitors handed over to us is that ‘owo eko, eko lo n gbe’ means Lagos money must not go out of Lagos. This is why we encourage visitors to own properties, marry our children and take positions in government, even traditional titles. Not because we are fools as we are being abused by some of our Yoruba neighbours. This policy has made our state to be the melting pot for all Nigerians today.
“This brings us to the current gubernatorial discussion on a none Lagosian wanting to be Lagos Governor and we say very clearly that the majority of those seeking to govern Lagos today do not have their roots in Lagos.
“That only 2 or 3 of those who have governed the state in the past from Brigadier General Mobolaji Johnson are from Lagos or can be linked with a true Lagos family, but all have done well in their rights that they can never be forgotten.
“That the impression trending that one of our gubernatorial candidates Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is an Igbo because he has an Igbo mother, is a wicked political campaign strategy meant to take political advantage.
“Gbadebo is a true son of Lagos born into a reputable Lagos Island family. So many of our Political leaders today are married from other tribes: Chief Bode George married from Delta, so also is Senator Bola Tinubu married from Delta and that does not change their identity or their Children’s identity.
“Gbadebo is like many of our children born and trained abroad. This cannot in any way vitiate their identity. It should be added advantage.
“That he is not the only Lagosian in the race, there is also Jide Adeniran Jandor said to hail from Isagira in Ojo Local Government Area, and our current governor, His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu also grew up in Lagos Island
“That Lagosians should vote based on truth, experience and conscience not according to the campaign of calumny going around.
“We do not believe the lies that somebody wants to be governor of Lagos so as to take Lagos away or snatch its common goods for others. We urge Lagosians not to believe it. We say without mincing words that it is a wicked lie to divide the state and turn us into tribal enemies.
“Our former Governors many of whom were not from Lagos didn’t take Lagos away. They only contributed their bits and left them for others. No one is taking Lagos away. We must be careful of those who want to use politics to divide us for their selfish agenda.”