There is palpable fear among the Igbo in Lagos State as they have been warned by yet-to-be identified persons not to come out to exercise their franchise during the upcoming governorship election in the state.
Ndigbo both home and in Diaspora have been sending messages to their relatives in Lagos State to boycott the election so as not to incur the wrath of political thugs who have warned them to steer clear of the election.
Their predicament started at a polling station in Okota, Lagos, when one Ademola led thugs to sack the place, saying the Igbo were not going to vote for a particular candidate. The thugs in their numbers snatched ballot boxes and destroyed some.
On Wednesday, the hostility against Igbo traders continued as they were prevented from opening their shops as punishment for not voting for a particular candidate. Following the development, traders have resolved not to vote during the governorship election.
When Daily Sun visited Idimu-Ota Market yesterday morning, traders swore not to come out of their homes during the governorship election. John Madauagwu said: “We have been warned by some political thugs not to come out on the gubernitorial election day. Well, we have been receiving messages from our leaders and seniors to remain indoors during the governorship election. We have vowed to stay at home because we may be attacked by hoodlums. If anything happens to anyone on the day of the elections, the person has himself to blame.”
On his own, Okechukwu Madukaife was of the opinion that Ndigbo would be voting for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state, Jimi Agbaje: “That is why they are intimidating us. Well, we have been intimidated. The thugs have succeeded, but what they don’t know is that not every Igbo man will vote for Agbaje. Some of our sons are in the cabinet, some are teachers and government workers in the state. Why should the political thugs and their godfathers disenfranchise us? We have been denied of our franchise in a state where we live in.”
Lagos State commissioner of police, Muazu Zubairu, who dismissed the claims, said that the mastermind of last Saturday’s crisis at Ago Palace Way, Lagos, Demola, would face the full weight of the law as soon as he is discharged from hospital.
It would be recalled that Demola’s attempt to flee the scene with his thugs after setting some ballot papers ablaze at Baba Ewe Bus Stop, Ago Okota, was foiled by angry voters who beat him to a pulp. Having survived the attack, Muazu said that Demola would be arrested and prosecuted.
Muazu said: “Demola is one of the suspects. He will be treated as a principal suspect. He will assist us in the arrest of other members of his gang.”
The CP, however, refuted claims of an impending attack on Igbo traders and major areas dominated by non-indigenes in Lagos State.