Pan-Igbo group worries over Igbo/Yoruba relationship
It warned that the trend could trigger much more unsavory developments for the country if not checked.
The group specifically expressed concern that the increasing spate of hate messages and actions has taken over the once cordial and fruitful relationship between Ndigbo and the Yoruba.
“We note that the cordial relationship between the two great races has been greatly soured by the process leading to and the outcome of the last general election,” the group said in a statement yesterday.
The statement was signed by Onyekachi Ubani and Peter Claver Opara.
The Igbo Conscience blamed the degenerating relationship between Ndigbo and the Yoruba on the negative politics that attended the electioneering campaigns in the build up to the March 28 and April 11 elections.
According to the group, the developments that are tragically spiraling into a dangerous exchange of hate messages have now gone to the extent of some Yoruba groups mobilising anti-Igbo protests in Lagos.
The statement reads: “Equally, we note the concern of these Yoruba groups to the continued picketing of a Yoruba, Dr. Ayo Ariyo in Dallas, United States, by some Igbo over some comments he allegedly made for which he had been reported to have made sufficient clarification and show of remorse.
“We condemn both actions and we see these as very dangerous and warn that no one, either Igbo or Yoruba will gain from a degeneration of this situation.
“The Igbo Conscience will not want to join issues with any group in this needless altercation but we want to warn both the Igbo and Yoruba groups furthering the ends of hate, division, anarchy, hatred and acrimony that we will gain more from sustaining and indeed, building the age-long cordial relationship that has sustained and nurtured our collective goals and interests as well as those of the larger Nigerian nation for several decades.
“We want to appeal to both Igbo and Yoruba to give heed to reason and end this disturbing needless warfare that will not benefit any one at the end of the day.
“The Igbo Conscience wants to state that we are not and will not agree to the destruction of the cordial relationship that had seen Igbo and Yoruba recording the highest level of inter-tribal marriages in Nigerian history. If this is not a solid instance of common bonding that automatically broke down the barriers of hate and rancor, we wonder what else will.
“We believe that soon, both ethnic nationalities will be overwhelmed by a hybrid of culture that does not tolerate the petty quarrels and unfounded tantrums that are gradually taking over the relationship between both nationalities.
“We want to state that we will not pander to any issue that will hurt the mutual understanding and good relationship Ndigbo have enjoyed with their Yoruba hosts either in Lagos or any other Southwest State by either making hollow demands that have no real practical value or igniting a hate tendency as a reaction to such demand.
“We want to state emphatically that we share common bond of unity and understanding with the Yoruba, either in Lagos or any other South Western state or even any other tribe in Nigeria.
“The Igbo Conscience wants to put it on record that in the process leading to the election, one of our affiliate groups, the Association for the Defence of Igbo interests in Lagos (ADIL) came out strongly to disavow the hate politics in Lagos that brought about this worsening situation and affirm the willingness of progressive Igbo to work with Yoruba in Lagos for a common political goal of advancing progressive politics in Lagos. We remain committed to that goal, which does not support the rancor marking the relationship between Igbo and Yoruba today.
“The Igbo Conscience therefore calls for a cessation of hostilities in the degenerating war of attrition between Igbo and Yoruba, either in Lagos, Dallas or any other state in and outside Nigeria.
“The Igbo Conscience will, in conjunction with equally concerned Yoruba professionals and leaders, work to mend the frosty relationship between Igbo and Yoruba as well as other Nigerians.