By Patrick Doyle.
The descent to crass tribalism and promotion of ethnic jingoism in the run-up to the governorship elections in Lagos State is bewildering. The Lagos I was born and have lived in for all 60+ years of my life doesn’t resemble the caricature these demented clowns are painting. The term “Eko Ile” which proud Lagosians fondly call the city loosely, translates into English as “Lagos Is Home” This is precisely what Lagos has been for well over 150 years to all who sojourn in it.
Lagos welcomed rescued slaves from all over Nigeria and beyond who were brought here in the immediate aftermath of the abolition of slavery and has since then been a haven of peace and comfort for all who come.
By association, I have come to understand the true nature of the aboriginal Lagosian they are accommodating, compassionate, and good-natured. I can’t help thinking that the motley crew of rascals promoting tribal hate in Lagos now are “hinterland natives” who have infiltrated Lagos from neighbouring states. and they lack the cosmopolitan sophistication of true Lagosians.
A prime example of a true aboriginal Lagosian is Babajide Sanwo-Olu. I first met him nearly 20 years ago when he served as a young commissioner in Lagos State. He struck me as a well brought up typical Yoruba young man who had imbibed the “Omoluabi” ethos. He gave me his complimentary card after appearing as a guest on the current affairs TV show I was producing at Silverbird TV, it never occurred to me that I would ever have any reason to call him at the time. From that time, I probably met him a total of about 4 times at various official functions, the bulk of which took place in the last 4 years with him as governor and I as compere.
So you can imagine my consternation when at a moment of despair as president of the St. Finbarrs College Old Boys Association, I had the onerous responsibility of saving the life of a legendary old boy of Finbarrs, Henry Nwosu who’s health was gravely challenged. I came across the old complimentary card Sanwo-Olu gave some 20 years previously, and out of a whim I sent an SMS requesting assistance on Henry’s behalf and less than 5 hours later, a positive response came and today Henry is hale and hearty courtesy of this totally detribalized man.
Neither Henry nor myself are Yoruba, I am Itsekiri, and Henry is Igbo, but the one thing we have in common apart from being Finbarrians is that we were both “Surulere Boys”. The bond of “Surulere Boys” transcends tribe and religion.
We are bound together by the accommodating spirit that pervades every nook and cranny of Lagos.
I believe this is what inspired Babajide to rally to the rescue of an “Igbo Lagosian” at the request of a “Waffi Lagosian” with such speed and alacrity. This is the Lagos I know and have come to love; this is the Lagos I urge us to vote for come the 11th of March.
This is the Lagos that a 2nd term for Babajide Sanwo-Olu will guarantee. I rest my case.