Obasa’s re-election as Speaker confirms Lagos as land of migrants, By Lanre Adewole 

Mudashiru Obasa is an indigene of Ijebu from Ogun State, neighbour to Lagos State, where he is a six-term lawmaker and now a third-term Speaker of the Assembly. Despite the huff and puff of those who tried to cancel him, including Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, using an indigene of the state from Epe, four-termer Hon Mustainu Tobun, Obasa, the one with the cap style that my Ijesa people will call “elemu un get on” (the drunk retaining his mojo) effortlessly cruised into “victory” in a one-candidate contest, because the apex leader who now happens to be the iku baba yeye (the ultimate) of the polity, President Bola Tinubu, decreed he should and must retain the speakership, not minding the shakara (empty threat) of indigenes of the state, that the number three seat should be willed to them.


Even the other lawmaker from Epe, who should have at least demonstrated clannish solidarity and nominated Tobun, the candidate of the indigenes, avoided his kinsman like a leper. On Tuesday, as an indigene of Ogun was strolling back to number three citizenship of Lagos, Tobun, an indigene, abandoned by all, including the governor, was a forlorn, pitiable sight. Because he even dared, Obasa rubbed in his victory so much that Tobun wasn’t even considered for any leadership position in the 10th Assembly. He must pay for daring the leader.


The re-election of Obasa, again, completed Ogun State hat-trick at the top of Lagos rulership with the governor and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, all from Ogun State, compelling a withering fire-back from ex-Minister of Communications, General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, a Lagos prince and Trustee of Omoeko Pataki, a group of prominent Lagos indigenes, targeting the nebulous Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) for supporting Obasa, “for stability and continuity.”


Like a lone voice in the wilderness, he had been on the rooftop since the demagoguery over the seat began, using an admixture of not-too-subtle threats and helpless-man plea to rally support for power-shift to the aborigines.


Sounding broken aftermath Obasa’s return, the ex-General said, “The return of Mr Obasa is a deliberate policy of marginalisation of the indigenes in the state.


“No matter how the occupants of the three most important political offices of the state administration today launder their curriculum vitae, they remain indigenes of Ogun State, but residents in Lagos and incapable of claiming indigeneship of two states because the constitution does not allow it.


“In any case, by this re-engagement, our Assembly in Lagos has become ‘One-man democracy’ (apology to Sonala Olumhense, a Punch Columnist). The return of Mr Obasa is a big slap on the faces of the indigenes of the state,” he added.


Following Obi’s victory over Tinubu in Lagos, the Igbo community in the state allowed itself lured into an ethnic narration, purposely couched for votes, and was allegedly partly responsible for the ease with which perceived electoral malpractices that dogged Sanwo-Olu’s re-election were perpetrated, because many Yoruba, who enthusiastically turned out for Obi and made his landmark victory in the state possible, sat out the gubernatorial election over the “who owns Lagos” uproar. It was a poorly-managed success Ndigbo Lagos should learn from, going forward, because the truth is the Igbo in the state are a big political factor and they aren’t going to be blown away anytime soon, except if they decide to skip town or politics. None seems likely for now or in foreseeable future, though nothing is given.


Despite the sustained suspicion that Democrats are pro-migration because of vote harvest which sympathies of migrants are expected to deliver to them, Joe Biden was being factual when he called the country a land of migrants.


In January, at the height of the border crisis when illegal migrants almost overwhelmed the border with Mexico, the president said in his address, “We should all recognise that as long as America is the land of freedom and opportunity, people are going to try to come here. And that’s what many of our ancestors did. And it’s no surprise that it’s happening again today. We can’t stop people from making the journey, but we can require them to come here in an orderly way.”


The president’s ancestors were Irish. Just like the Kennedys. Just like the Clintons. Historians counted at least 22 US presidents with Irish or Scotch-Irish ancestry, which is just one shy of half of all the presidents to the incumbent 46th. Of course, the world knows Barack Obama is African; Kenyan, with a touch of Cameroon.


On October 7, 1885, Friedrich Trump, a 16-year-old German barber, bought a one-way ticket for America, escaping three years of compulsory German military service. More than a century later, his grandson, Donald Trump, became the 45th President of his adopted country, though the ex-President loves claiming his grandfather’s roots lay further north in Scandinavia, particularly, Sweden.


In fact, there is no recorded history of any native American ever leading the country, with most descending from British Isles, with outliers like Van Buren (Dutch lineage) and Eisenhower (German/Swiss), while Obama is the only one with ancestry outside Western Europe. For those wondering why America is beholden to EU/NATO alliance, history says nearly all American presidents have European roots.


That can’t be truer for Lagos. Despite being geographically-Yoruba, South West, indigenous Lagosians hardly see themselves as South West-Yoruba. Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, on May 3, 2017, had issued a lengthy riposte to widespread claim that Lagos is Yoruba, amid uproar over his perceived public humiliation of Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye, taken as the spiritual symbol of the Yoruba race.


The opening part reads, “Coming from the palace with what I was told by my late paternal grandmother who is a descendant of Oba Ovonramwem Nogbaisi and also reading from factual historical books, let me share this knowledge with you all on Eko/Lagos.” He then took another 17-long paragraph to lecture on why and how aborigine Omo-Eko can’t be called Yoruba.


Confirming Yoruba as migrants in Eko/Lagos, the monarch wrote, “About 1450 AD some Yoruba who hailed from Isheri in Ogun-State and Ekiti were allowed by the King to settle in Eko during a war. They came in a very large numbers thereby surpassing the numbers of the Aworis and Binis. (Hence Yoruba’s claim to own Eko due to their numbers).”


Just like indigenous Americans, native Lagosians have been cancelled out in political relevance, leadership and governance. Migrants who share linguistic compatibility with them, like the Irish/British Isles invasion of America, have overrun them, even in population arithmetic. When it is convenient like the last general election, Yoruba migrants would identify with native Lagosians, against those not bonded with, by mother tongue, only to leave the natives high and dry when it is time, to share.


Without the numerical strength and political influence, to upend the current power arrangement in the state, or alter it significantly anytime soon, native Lagosians have just two options; accept crumbs or fight like hell. Only that they appear to lack the capacity for the latter and too self-conscious of their faded glory, to quietly accept the former.


*This piece was first published in the Nigerian Tribune



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