The Igbo community in Lagos State on Thursday conferred a chieftaincy title on Jimi Agbaje, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as a mark of solidarity for the April 11 governorship election.
An elated Agbaje promised that the state would be a home for all tribes, where no one would be discriminated against.
Explaining the rationale behind the title, a communiqué issued stated: “The bestowment of Ezi Nwanne Nidigbo (Beloved brother of Ndigbo) in recognition of his readiness to partner the Igbo nation on assumption of office.
“Ndigbo will be part of the incoming administration of Jimi Agbaje in Lagos State. Ndigbo will work assiduously to accomplish a landslide victory for both Mr. President and Pharm. Jimi Agbaje.”
Conferring the title of “Ezi Nwanne Ndigbo 1” in his palace in Surulere area of Lagos was Eze Cyril Anomneze, who dressed the politician with the insignia of office, including the titular staff, beads and robe.
Anomneze described Agbaje as a true friend of the Igbo people,
Present at the occasion were several titular heads, including the President-General of Igbo Associations in Lagos, Ebere Ubani.
Saying that the Igbo people saw Agbaje as their standard bearer in the Lagos governorship race, Anomneze prayed for the PDP governorship candidate.
In the communiqué, Ndigbo said they had thrown their support behind Agbaje, and that Igbo indigenes had been advised to collect their PVCs and remain in Lagos to vote for Agbaje.
“Considering the proximity of the April 11 governorship election to the Easter celebration, Ndigbo in Lagos State are advised not to travel out of Lagos State for the occasion to enable us optimise our electoral franchise for Pharm. Olujimi Joseph Agbaje.”
At a subsequent interactive programme organised by the paramount rulers of Ndigbo in Lagos at the National Stadium, Agbaje said the masses of school-leaving youth failing the West African School Certificate Examination meant that the army of touts in the state would continue to swell and constitute a nuisance to the society.
Blaming politicians who used young men as political thugs during elections, Agbaje warned that the use of young men as political thugs could boomerang and result in another Boko Haram menace.
He said the PDP regime would prioritise the provision of employment opportunities for the young school leavers and graduates.
He also blamed the state for the spate of building collapses, saying it could be traced to the delay in issuing building permits.
According to him, when builders faced an herculean and expensive time in processing building permits, they would take to short-cut measures that result in falling buildings.
The impression that the Lagos-sponsored KAI Brigade was an acronym for Kick Against Igbo and not the Kick Against Indiscipline, as its operations appeared structured against Igbo people, he said the policies of the state were equally structured against all citizens.
He said: “It is all due to the impunity that this government continues to exhibit. If you seize my Okada you have killed me. Then you now take my Okada and I see you crush it, then you tell me you enjoy me suffering. That is the kind of arrogance and impunity we see in Lagos, which is exhibited against traders, businesses and other people.”
According to Agbaje, it was the same attitude that informed the imposition by the state of a “Baba Oloja” (Market Father) on the Igbo-dominated Ladipo Auto Spare Parts Market, a step he described as undemocratic.
He told the gathering that things would change: “Rest assured that Lagos will not be the same after May 29.”
Agbaje, in a chat with newsmen, challenged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to assure Nigerians that the agency was ready to conduct the elections.