No, Fashola should apologise to Obi — APGA
LAGOS — All Progressives Congress, APC, Sunday, accused Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, of threatening the country’s unity and whipping up tribal sentiment by sensationalising the recent ‘deportation’ of some indigenes of the state from Lagos.
The party in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, called on Obi to apologise to Nigerians, noting that only 14 Anambra indigenes were deported and not 72, as widely claimed.
But National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, in a reaction, said there was no basis for Obi to apologise to anyone, as he did not err in any way.
According to Umeh, “Why should Obi apologise to somebody, who did a wrong thing? There is no law in Nigeria that empowers anybody to deport Nigerians from one part of the country to the other.
“What Babatunde Fashola did is illegal and unconstitutional. Nigerians have the fundamental right to reside in any part of Nigeria. Instead of Obi apologising to Nigrians, Fashola should apologise to Obi.”
APC in its statement, said Governor Obi should apologise to the people of Nigeria for allegedly engaging in a blatant distortion of facts, making himself an agent of destabilisation and sensationalising what it described as a routine issue he (Obi) wanted to give a certain political party a bad name just to hang it.
The party said: “We are not saying Obi has no right to play politics, but he must fight clean and avoid any action that could hurt not just the enduring harmony between the Igbo and the Yoruba, but also the unity of the country.
“Resorting to primordial sentiments anytime election is approaching is Obi’s modus operandi. He did it just before the 2009 election, when he labelled the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN under which Dr. Chris Ngige contested as a Yoruba party, and he is going down the same path now.
“This is all about the November 2013 election. If Obi is sure of his performance, he should allow that to speak for him and stop whipping up tribal sentiments.
”It is very dishonourable for a political leader at the level of Obi to show total disregard for the truth and to whip up emotions for personal gains, as he has done on this issue. By his deliberate and blatant distortion of facts, as we will show shortly, Obi has raised a serious doubt about his leadership qualities.
”Equally guilty of indiscretion at best and deliberate peddling of falsehood at worst are the various ‘analysts’, ‘commentators’, out-of-luck NGOs and organisations that have jumped onto the bandwagon of bashing Lagos over the issue, mischievously tagged ‘deportation’ instead of what it is (home return for proper integration), when they could have sought the truth from the Lagos State Government.
”Even some of the respectable Igbo socio-political organisations failed the simple test of fairness by not unearthing the truth before making pronouncements.
“Even if they do not trust the Lagos State Government, they could have, at least, inquired about what happened from their son, who is a ranking member of the cabinet of Lagos State.
Condemning Governor Obi’s action, APC continued: “There was an exchange of correspondence dated 9th, 15th and 29th April 2013 between the Lagos State Government and Anambra State Government, through its Liaison Office in Lagos, about the ‘integration’ not ‘deportation’ of the 14 people.
“Anambra State Government did not respond to requests by Lagos State to come and validate/identify the people who claimed to have come from Anambra. Had it done so, this issue could have been better managed.
“Lagos State itself received notice from the Government of Akwa Ibom to come, identify and pick up two Lagos indigenes whom they picked up in a ‘lunatic clean up’ exercise in Uyo. Lagos responded promptly without making any noise about it.”
“In December 2011, the same Anambra State Government that is now crying foul over the home return of Anambra indigenes, arrested and repatriated 29 beggars to their home states in Ebonyi, another Igbo State, and Akwa Ibom. Then it was conveniently not ‘deportation’ but ‘repatriation’ and no tribal meanings were read to such action.
“Also in 2011, Abia State Government sacked 3,000 non-indigenes (but fellow Igbo) from her workforce and asked them to go back to their respective states, yet not even a whimper was heard from all those who are now raising hell over the ”deportation” of 14 Anambra indigenes from Lagos.
”If Gov. Obi’s logic is to be followed, then the government of Akwa Ibom, and the entire people of the state, harbour bad intentions toward Lagos State and the Yoruba by asking Lagos State to come and pick up two ‘vagrant psychotics’ identified as Lagosians who have been rehabilitated.
“Suffice it to say that these home returns have been going on for a long time among states, even within the same ethnic groups (as we pointed out above), and has never before elicited the kind of jaundiced interpretation that has been given to the return of 14 Anambra indigenes.”