The recently concluded Lagos gubernatorial election has been marred by a disturbing display of ethnic bigotry. It saw candidates and their supporters engage in divisive rhetoric that threatens to tear the state apart.
The main contenders in the election were the incumbent, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party (LP). However, rather than focusing on their respective policies and plans for the state, their supporters resorted to playing the ethnic card.
The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, was quoted as saying that Governor Sanwo-Olu would win the election. He said this despite claiming the fact that Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour had a bright future ahead of him. This statement was widely condemned as being divisive and a clear example of ethnic bigotry.
In addition to this, both parties were accused of using ethnic and religious sentiments to gain votes.
Some supporters of Governor Sanwo-Olu claimed that Rhodes-Vivour was not “Lagosian” enough. They claimed he was only in the race to promote the interests of a particular ethnic group. On the other hand, some of Rhodes-Vivour’s supporters accused Sanwo-Olu of being a “Yoruba puppet” who was only interested in promoting the interests of his own tribe.
This kind of rhetoric is not only unhelpful but also dangerous. Lagos is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicity. Any attempt to divide the people along ethnic or religious lines could lead to violence and unrest. It is therefore important for politicians and their supporters to refrain from using such divisive rhetoric and focus on issues that matter to the people.
It is also worth noting that Lagos is not the only state in Nigeria where ethnic bigotry has reared its ugly head. Across the country, politicians and their supporters have been known to play the ethnic and religious cards to gain votes. This has contributed to the deepening of divisions and tensions among Nigerians.
In conclusion, the prevalence of ethnic bigotry in the Lagos gubernatorial election is a cause for concern. Politicians and their supporters must be reminded that Nigeria is a diverse country. This means that attempts to play the ethnic or religious card have serious consequences. The people of Lagos deserve better than this. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the state remains peaceful and united.