As the entire world reels under the excruciating pain of the lockdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recently came to the aid of residents with truckloads of foodstuff to the needy.
Among the beneficiaries was Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State, with its six million-strong members. The president of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Chief Solomon Ogbonna, who couldn’t hide his joy, described the governor as a man with a heart of gold.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo leader said since the COVID-19 episode started, the governor had been up and doing, giving succour to the needy. He said even though the lockdown in Lagos had exacerbated the suffering of indigent residents, Sanwo-Olu had done well with his relief package.
“Governor Sanwo-Olu made the greatest difference in the lives of Lagosians, including Ndigbo, as he shared relief materials, especially food items, to people of various ethnic nationalities in Lagos. The Igbo community in Lagos also benefited from the COVID-19 palliative from the governor,” he said.
Ogbonna said Ohanaeze Ndigbo is the umbrella organisation for all Igbo in Lagos, adding that the package from Lagos government to Igbo community was channelled through this apex body. He spoke further: “The governor’s gesture at this crisis period attests to his vow to run inclusive governance. Babajide Sanwo-Olu demonstrated that he is a true born-again Christian, a man whose word is his bond. He is a man of the people. And God Almighty will continue to guide him in his determination to transform Lagos, protecting the lives and property of all Lagosians. “The popular axiom is: ‘one good turn deserves another.’ So, I call on all Lagosians to show appreciation to the governor by cooperating with his administration to make Lagos greater and safer. We should abide by all the rules and recommendations to stay safe and stop the spread of the virus.
“This is the first time in the history of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos that the organisation is in tandem with the Lagos State administration, and the difference is clear. We are now doing things differently, enjoying our pride of place in the scheme of things in Lagos State. We are really reaping the benefit of identifying with the ruling party in the state. Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos calls on all Igbo people in Lagos to key into the fraternity, rally round Ohanaeze Ndigbo and support the Sanwo-Olu administration.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State, is a unit of the larger family, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide. Ohanaeze Ndigbo is the apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria. The group represents all Igbo communities within and outside Nigeria. Although the group is not a political party, part of its objectives is to foster unity among its members in order to better allow them to be representative within the political scenario of Nigeria.
“Though, there are many Igbo social clubs, trade unions, town unions and business organisations in Lagos State, the umbrella organisation is Ohanaeze Ndigbo. So, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has the onerous task of overseeing the wellbeing of all Igbo in Lagos. It therefore, means that all other Igbo unions are under the watch of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which supports, guides and ensures ethical conducts of Igbo; as well as ensuring harmonious relationship with people of other tribes and nationalities in Lagos. Every Igbo person, no matter his/her social leaning and association belongs to Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In our respective towns in Igbo land, there are social clubs, age grade unions, village unions and other associations, but the town union is the umbrella organisation for all people of the town. So, all associations and unions in the town are subsets of the town union. In turn, the town union is a subset of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Same is applicable to the relationship between all Igbo unions and Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos State. All Igbo social clubs, unions and associations in Lagos State are subsets of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. It therefore behoves all Igbo in Lagos to pledge allegiance and show commitment to Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In the same vein, all Igbo across the globe should pay allegiance and show commitment to Ohanaeze Ndigbo.”
Ogbonna added that an Igbo person in Lagos, Ndigbo in the state have the right to belong to other Igbo organisations in Lagos, including their town unions.
He said: “This year’s Easter celebration in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for sober reflection. We should use this period to cultivate the habit of living in peace with our neighbours. The Covid-19 pandemic will definitely blow over, but we should learn some lessons from the crisis. We should emulate the good examples of our governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who delivers dividends of democracy to all Lagosians not minding your tribe or religious background.
“I am reminded of God’s unconditional love for His children; a love so strong that His Son had to die in order for us to be reconciled with him.
“In sharing our resources and being hospitable to strangers, we awaken the presence of God around us. In fact, we can only recognise godliness through the way in which we interact with each other, since Christ’s consciousness is something that must be lived and embodied,” he said.