- Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu asserts the historical contribution of Igbo forebears in shaping Lagos, countering controversial claims about Lagos’ foundation
- Highlighting the Igbo community’s role during Lagos’ capital era, Iwuanyanwu praises their transformative contributions to the region’s development
Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, passionately declared the historical prominence of Igbo forebears as the “pioneers” and “heroes” instrumental in shaping modern Lagos State.
This statement came as a response to Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, who sparked controversy by claiming the foundation of Lagos State by Binis. Iwuanyanwu, however, shed light on the vital role played by the Igbo community in making various parts of the state inhabitable.
During the era when Lagos assumed the federal capital territory (FCT) role, Iwuanyanwu highlighted the Igbo community’s unwavering commitment to investing in the region’s development. He emphasized, “Igbos have long been an integral part of this nation. When Lagos became the federal capital, the challenge was immense across all regions.”
The Igbo forebears, many of whom have since passed away, rose to the occasion, investing in transforming swampy lands into thriving communities. They erected businesses, homes, and schools, significantly contributing to the development of Lagos. Iwuanyanwu praised these pioneers as the unsung heroes responsible for shaping the robust Lagos we know today.
Notably, he acknowledged the deep respect and strong relationships cultivated between the Igbo and Yoruba communities in Lagos. Describing Igbos as significant stakeholders, Iwuanyanwu painted a picture of a cohesive Nigeria where both communities played crucial roles in the corporate body.
Despite this praise, Iwuanyanwu made it clear that defending any Igbo individuals who violate Lagos construction laws would be challenging for Ohanaeze. While he admitted not having all the facts about the ongoing demolition exercise, he stressed the importance of abiding by the land acquisition laws.
He stated, “On the demolition of Igbo houses, I lack complete information, but the government suggests that some structures violated road and drainage guidelines. We must obey the laws of the land. Obtain land legally, seek government approval, and rest assured Ohanaeze will stand by you. However, building on drainage lines or roads without proper approval makes it difficult for any support.”
In essence, Iwuanyanwu’s message underscores the Igbo community’s historical significance in Lagos’s development while emphasizing the importance of legal adherence to maintain a harmonious coexistence.