As Nigerians look forward to electing various leaders across the country in 2023 general elections, Ndigbo has been advised to speak with one voice to achieve the much-desired political height at the national level.
This was the submission of the president of the Igbo Speaking Communities in Lagos, Mr Sunday Udeh, along with other stakeholders, during the awards of appreciation to ethnic bridge builders in Isolo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, in Lagos.
The association in recognition of their valuable contributions, towards the political progress of the Igbo nation in Isolo, honoured some personalities in their host communities in Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) who created the platform for Ndigbo to be recognised and participate in the affairs of governance.
Present at the event include Joe Igbokwe, the chairman of the occasion, Prince Nixon Okwara, Other awardees included the Osolo of Isolo kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabiru Kolawole the Alawi Adelaja Agbabiaka as the champion of peace, Mr. Gani Abiodun Bello, Chairman APC Isolo LCDA, Alhaji W. Raji, former chairman, APC, Isolo LCDA.
While speaking during the pan-national award for ethnics bridge builders in the community, Udeh stated that, they are celebrating the great people of Isolo kingdom, the heroes of democracy who had given two illustrious sons of the Igbo community, the opportunity to serve in governance as a councillor in this present legislative arm of government they are Mr. Kanayo Osundu Okota ward and Mr. Chidiebere Iheasirim Ajao estate ward.
He noted that apart from the legislative arm, the executive arms also have positions that have made Igbo a reckoning voice as Franca Ene Udogwu SSA Ethnic Affairs among others.
Igbo’ are not clamouring for recognition and position in the community because they were given the opportunities to participate in the socio-political space apart from running their daily business and this has gladdened my heart because Isolo Local Government is leading other local government by bridging ethnic rivalry but has successfully built an ethnic bridge of peace and harmony.
Igbo nation all over the country should speak with one voice in order to be able to tackle the political space and opportunity denying them to achieve it.
Unless the Ndigbo unites and speaks with one voice, it would be difficult to achieve the much-desired political height at the national level.
“As a people, we don’t need to have multiple voices, but a united force so we can speak in unity just the way they were able to penetrate at the grassroots level, Udeh stated.
While responding on behalf, of the awardees, the immediate past chairman, APC Lagos state and member governor’s advisory council (GAC), Mr. Henry Oladele Ajomale, commended the group, who conferred the award on him.
Ajomale said that the award was a call to do more, any award given is in recognition of what the community believe as a developmental impact made by the individual to a particular community.
He expressed joy for being celebrated and appreciated by the community, who believe, in his contribution to their development.
“I promote what I believe regardless of your ethnic background. I am a Nigerian not just from the Yoruba race. The Igbo have been living here with us in our community and contributing their quota to development, but they occupy, about 45 per cent of the population in Isolo and decided to carry them along in governance and other aspects due to their contribution in Isolo which is noticed everywhere.
”I take this award as a challenge by the Ndigbo for me to do more. This award is not for me alone but for the people of Isolo and the state at large. I see it as the celebration of unity between the Igbo and Yoruba people.”
Ajiomale explained how he started the initiative based on his conviction that the people must be given the opportunity to contribute to every aspect in the community. I did that when I was an adviser in the legislature.
‘When I became the chairman for campaign for our party in Lagos 2003, about 12 years ago, I had to brainstorm, and devise a means to ensure the unity of everyone in the community, I included Arewa, Igbo. We needed something that would work for all which was unity.
My aim was to achieve unity, equity and peace, closing the ethnic bridge and how to resolve the many challenges of the community, so I decided to build clusters where every ethnic group in the community can participate in the political affairs apart from the economic development, they are involved within Isolo and this has worked out for us.”
He stated that the Igbo and other ethnic groups, resident in the community are united cause I was able to fashion out an APC way to involve them in the political sphere and we were able to work together and understand each other.
”We created an enabling environment that made Isolo great regardless of creed, ethnicity or political persuasion apart from being an adviser, I became a commissioner.
“There is a need for equity, fairness and justice for non-indigene with their host, adding that it is the hope and feeling of being carried along. The clearest pathway to the nation’s unity is equity achievable through fair implementation and equal opportunity regardless of ethnicity.”
Ajomale said in Isolo they have a common ground with other ethnic group and these peculiarities have aided a renewed understanding for peaceful coexistence among us.
”Lagos has several ethnic groups as inhabitants, but the population is 21million so I created an atmosphere of peace and understanding among us.
”I equally gave them a sense of belonging since they have contributed to the development of the state, my concerned was to ensure that Lagos excel, I try to carry other ethnic groups that is one of the reasons we don’t have an ethnic rivalry, in this community, there is a passion and enabled environment between the Igbos and other ethnic group residents in the community, and as their host, I used that medium to captivate and win elections because of the understanding shared among us.
”The truth is that most of the powers that will engender real growth and development is mutual understanding and unity.
”What we have today, in Isolo is a clear picture of peaceful, coexistence in unity despite the diversity in culture.
“In 2015, 2019 election, Lagos was delivered due to the unity, but I cannot advise another state to emulate Lagos state because what is applicable here may not be obtainable in their environment since the population density varies of non-indigene, compared to Lagos, they should rather determine what will work for them in their own environment,” Ajomale added.