I needed a medical device for my mum and was directed to Idumota by a doctor. When I asked the doctor where exactly I was to get the equipment, he said, “when you get to Idumota, just ask.”
At Idumota, I asked a police woman, she pointed south…I trekked among humongous throngs of people in the hot morning sun and after 10 minutes, I asked again, “…keep going…” was their response, after every few minutes of jostling among the teeming crowd at Idumota market; I found them, the community of traders who deal in medical equipment.
Who knew such a market existed?
Who knew there were thousands like me, looking for medical equipment to help their sick and infirm?
Idumota was bustling to the brim!
Idumota is booming with emerging markets; brimming with commerce, busy with people striving to earn a living, from those selling plastic bags to those hurling goods worth billions along narrow streets into shops and warehouses located in that tight space they call market.
There are hordes of traders who seem to sell virtually anything you wish to buy and it seemed the whole of Lagos had emptied itself in Idumota but I knew there was this same energy, same mammoth crowd of traders, buyers at Oshodi, at Iba, at Ladipo, at Yaba, at…every pulse where commerce ticks, where money is exchanged for goods and services…there are a people moving the wheel of buying and selling and they are mostly Igbos!
Upon observing the energy with which the Igbos do business, I know nothing can stand between them and their mission, if, they with one heart and mind, decide to pursue a goal …nothing will stop them…except of course, themselves.
That is why I think many of us are afraid of what some are terming the Igbo movement supposedly led by the Obi-dients.
They are opposing the movement because they think it is purely an ethnic one…I agree it may have that coloration because those who oppose it have daubed it so. I also agree that those who say it is ethnically biased are so ethnically biased, they do not see themselves for what they are but my concern isn’t for the opposition’s biases, it should be given in any Presidential race in Nigeria. We are a people who practice everything, using a constitution which even though it does not expressly support it allows, by virtue of the federal character principle, rotational Presidency. How can we accept federal character and the quota system to accommodate our “less fortunate” citizenry and yet, when it comes to the question of the Igbos, and their agitation for the presidency we bring out the daggers.
This, I suspect can only come from a place of fear.
If we say we operate a federal system; where the different ethnic groups are allowed to rule by rotation, why won’t the Igbos be given a chance, like the Yorubas with Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, like the Hausa/Fulani, with Mohammadu Buhari in 2015, Like the South- South (even though this came by a stroke of Goodluck, with Jonathan in 2010?
Why can’t the other parties field candidates of Igbo extraction to show we are sincere?
Why is it easy to impose federal character and quota systems so long as an Igbo man is not at the helm of affairs?
But here’s the thing, I haven’t come to fight for the Igbos, they can fight their own battles and gallantly too, what I see is a movement challenging the status quo and yes, it is mostly populated by the Igbos but the Labour Party is by no means an Igbo party!
Candidate Peter Obi is not an Igbo candidate if Ibadan bowed to him; if Abuja shut down for him, if Lagos is trembling under his arrival and palpitating at his presence and Jos vibrated for him, who says the party belongs to one ethnic group?
The Obi-dient movement scares us just like the people in the Tower of Babel scared folks in the Bible, because when they decided to speak with one voice, even God knew He had to do something to “scatter” them and prevent them from achieving their goal.
That’s what is happening now, tag the Obi-dient movement an ethnic movement and the rest who are non-Igbos begin to leave in droves.
Obi-dients began congregating on social media, but are now live on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Kano and growing by the day.
I am aware that not every Igbo man supports Peter Obi. For me hearing these Igbos disparage Peter Obi and say they don’t care two pins about him is enough proof that Obi is no ethnic candidate but the growing support is alarming, alarming to his opponents who are quick to remind Obi-dients that he has no structure and no chance.
I saw a report on Yahoo which referred to a poll conducted by Bloomberg as the official campaign to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari kicked off.
Of the 92% of participants who said they’ve decided how to vote, 72% named Obi as their first choice. Of those who are still unsure, 45% said the 61-year-old is their preferred candidate.”
This is one of the reasons why the opposition has taken notice because the electorate has realised, for the first time, that numbers matter; they now understand that their votes might actually count and bring the change the we sorely desire.