By Perpetua Egesimba
Igbo in Lagos recently honoured Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode, the former Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, and some other dignitaries, as part of activities to celebrate Lagos State at 50.
Ambode, speaking through his representative, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, at the National Theater, Orile Iganmu, Lagos, said the relationship between the Igbo community and the people of Lagos dates back in time and has been a relationship built on mutual understanding and respect.
“It is a historical fact that the great nationalist and one of the foremost leaders of the Igbo nation, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, won an election to represent Lagos State in the Legislative Council of Nigeria from 1947 to 1951. Today, the Lagos State House of Assembly comprises members of Igbo origin, including Sir Jude Idimogu,” Ambode said.
He further noted that the state takes pride in its reputation as the most accommodating in the federation, adding that Lagos is a mini Nigeria because there is no ethnic group that is not represented.
According to the governor, Lagos cannot celebrate its achievements in the past 50 years without acknowledging the contributions of the various ethnic groups, including the Igbo community in the state.
Ambode further said, “I would like to thank the entire Igbo community in Lagos State for organising this solidarity celebration of Lagos at 50. We sincerely appreciate your gesture in identifying with the outstanding achievements of our dear state, to which you have contributed.”
He stated that he has no doubt that the state would continue to maintain harmonious coexistence among all ethnic groups and urged all to be law-abiding.
Member representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II in the House of Assembly, Sir Jude Emeke Idimogu, said, Lagos is known for social, economic and political greatness.
Idimogu explained that, apart from the cosmopolitan nature of the state, it provides the best opportunity for Igbo to do their legitimate businesses. He stated that Igbo have been making the best out of the opportunities provided by the state.
“Non-indigenes, especially the Igbo, are the most welcomed in this state. That is why our people build houses, rent shops and comfortably go about their businesses, which have contributed immensely to the development of Lagos State, thereby giving back in no small measure to the land that blessed them,” Idimogu said, adding that many Igbo, including himself, have excelled in the state.
Also speaking, Eze Ndigbo of Lagos State, Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, noted that it was not appropriate for the state to celebrate alone, a reason Ndigbo, the most populous ethnic group resident in Lagos, decided to join hands in solidarity with the people and government of the state to celebrate the golden jubilee.
“We should recall that immediately after the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, the Igbo were among the first ethnic groups to come to Lagos to begin life afresh.
“We are lucky to have Lagos as a friendly and good host, not only for Ndigbo but also for other ethnic groups,” the Eze Ndigbo, said.
He further noted that 21 years after the creation of Lagos, the state government in its wisdom, in October 1998, acknowledged publicly the outstanding contributions of the Igbo community in the state in making it the centre of excellence; the state adjudged Igbo residents in the state as the foremost contributors to the economy and the development of the state.