"LAGOS IS NO MAN'S LAND: Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani-Kayode enmeshed in an apocryphal journey - NIGERIAN NEWSORBIT


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

"LAGOS IS NO MAN'S LAND: Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani-Kayode enmeshed in an apocryphal journey

By David Adenekan

A brief history of the writer of this article will help the readers to understand his openness and perception on issues.

From my paternal side, I am a third generation Lagosian. My grand parents migrated from Egbaland to settle at Ebute Metta/Yaba in Lagos (Àgọ́ Àwọn Ẹ̀gbá). It should be noted that the Egbas, apart from the indigenous people of Lagos state like the Aworis, Egun and Binis in Lagos Island, are one of the first settlers in the now cosmopolitan area of Lagos state.

Also, on the side of my father's maternal family; which is one part of the legs, we have family ties with the Aworis (Ọlọ́tọ̀/Olùwa). In a nutshell, I can claim to be an indigene of Lagos state.

Now, what is the true history of the statement; "Lagos Is No Man's Land" and what is the seemingly originality of this statement without prejudice? 

Is it really fair for this generation and generations to come, for the likes of Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani Kayode to justify an apocryphal statement, "Lagos is a no man's land" against the Igbos that are part and parcel of the engine room of the economy of Lagos state? This is a statement that has overheated the polity of Nigeria and also, flaming the embers of hatred between two major ethnic groups in the country; the Yorubas and Igbos? 

Where did Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani Kayode get the information that the originality of the words, "Lagos is a no man's land" evolved or started from the Igbos that lived in Lagos state? 

Bayo Onanuga, a veteran journalist and Femi Fani Kayode, a lawyer have to produce a video or audio clip that ascribed the words, "Lagos is a no man's land" to the Igbos. 

Yes, we must get the records straight and leave the rest for prosperity to judge.

Historically, the distinction between the real Lagosians and other Yorubas that trooped in from states like Kwara, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi and Ọ̀yọ́, started as far back as the late seventies. At the peak of Olúwọlé (also called Agbo) notorious business activities in Lagos Island, there were slangs they used to identify the real Lagosians and "àwọn ọmọ àtọ̀húnrìnwà" (migrants from other Yorùbá states). These migrants from other Yorùbá states were stigmatized as Ajao or àtọ̀húnrìnwà (not street smart). The "Ọmọ à ti ọ̀hún rìn wà" started evolving in the new Lagos lifestyle. Many of them took advantage of Lagos big markets to engage in many business activities. The likes of Oro/Igbomina people from Kwara state, known for buying and selling of building materials emerged. They became so successful that they were buying houses from the real Lagosians in Lagos Island. Few of the 4 or 5 stories buildings at Idooluwo street in Lagos Island are owned by the Òrò/Ìgbómìnà people. At a point, they had to resist the attitude of some Lagosians that still wanted to treat them like strangers. They took the "bull by the horn" to establish their own authority over the little space they now have in Lagos as new settlers. 

This set of Yorubas from Kwara turned their resistance to a popular song, "ẹ má pè wá ní àlejò mọ́, àwa yín la ni Èkó." This may be interpreted as "live and let live". You may tacitly call it, "Lagos is a no man's land." 

Methinks, there are similar resistance from our brethren from the east whenever the excesses of some "Ọmọ onílẹ̀" who voluntarily sold their properties to some Igbo merchants but still want to tax them anytime they are loading or offloading their products inside the buildings they now own. The Igbos, sometimes feel offended and are forced to establish their legal rights over their properties. 

I have asked many people on social media to produce the video or audio clip where Igbos officially declared, Lagos "is a no man's land." Till date, nobody has produced the originality of this statement except if, Bayo Onanuga or Femi Fani Kayode have the information with a verifiable source and date. 


Moreover, if Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani Kayode are asserting that Igbos in Lagos state should stay clear from the politics in Lagos state, on the premise of the Apocryphal statement that, "Lagos is a no man's land", then it is borne out of ignorance, ethnic bigotry and primordial to whip up sentiments for their principal; the de-facto Governor of Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to stay put in power. 

Did Tinubu and his cabal not use similar negative rhetorical and Apocryphal statements that, "Lagos is a no man's land" against the Igbos to intimidate and suppress their votes for Jimi Agbaje in 2015 and win the Governorship of Lagos state for Akinwunmi Ambode (Tinubu's estranged political son)? 

Did Bayo Onanuga run an issue based campaign during the electioneering campaign except a lot of damage control? What is the score card of Tinubu's campaign team? Hmm, another topic for another day.

In summary, the likes of Bayo Onanuga and Femi Fani Kayode might have sowed a seed of discord between the two major ethnic groups, Yorùbá and Igbo in Nigeria. I hope they will be on the side of history when the table of leadership turns against them and still be able to hold their heads high, that they did the right thing when history beckons on them.

Life is a vicious circle. This may be interpreted in Yorùbá language as "Ìlu gángan ni ọ̀rọ̀ náà, ohun tí ó bá kọjú sí ẹ lónìí, le kọ ẹ̀yìn sí ẹ lọ́la."

Hmmm, "ìgbà layé, ẹ ṣe ayẹ're" This is interpreted as "life is a season, do the right thing."

Time will tell.

David Adenekan Is The Editor Of Shekinah International Magazine And A Media Expert. He Writes From Chicago, Illinois.

Email Address: davidadenekan5@gmail.

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