The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria's Lagos state demanded Tuesday the immediate suspension of a monarch who threatened a local ethnic group with death if they failed to vote for a particular governorship candidate in the elections scheduled for Saturday. Oba of Lagos Rilwan Akiolu must remain punished until after this weekend's vote for trying to intimidate the Igbos in order to ensure free, fair and credible polls, the PDP said, according to the Daily Post in Nigeria.
“The positions of the PDP are coming on the heels of the now viral threat issued by the Oba of Lagos to Igbos that they must vote for the APC Governorship Candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, or be drowned in Lagos waters,” Taofik Gani, the publicity secretary of the PDP in Lagos, said in a statement Tuesday.
Gani also accused Akiolu of acting on behalf of Lagos Gov. Babatunde Fashola, a member of the APC. “The governor is thus a conspirator in this threat to life and must also be held accountable for any violence in these elections. We have been vindicated about the desperation of the APC to retain Lagos state at all cost, including the All Progressives Congress’ plan not to concede its imminent defeat on April 11,” Gani said in the statement, according to the Daily Post.
During a meeting at his palace on Sunday, Akiola told Igbo leaders the ethnic group in Lagos must vote for Amobde or risk death in a lagoon in the southwest. The oba, or king, of Lagos holds no political power over the state but is seen as a counselor or patron by Nigerian politicians who seek support from Lagos residents. “On Saturday, if anyone of you, I swear in the name of God, goes against my wish that Ambode will be the next governor of Lagos state, the person is going to die inside this water,” Akiolu said, according to the Sun News in Nigeria. “If you do what I want, Lagos will continue to be prosperous for you. If you go against my wish, you will perish in the water.”
The PDP urged the Igbos, a non-indigenous ethnic group that predominates much of southeast Nigeria, to denounce the threat by voting Saturday for the PDP’s governorship candidate, Jim Agbaje. “Our response to the Oba of Lagos is that he cannot play God and he can never be God,” the PDP of Lagos said, according to Vanguard news. “We therefore call on all Nigerians in Lagos state; all Igbos, Hausas, Yorubas and people of other tribes; all northerners and southerners; all Christians and Muslims to turn against this unpatriotic stance, by coming out en masse to vote for the PDP candidate, Mr. Jimi Agbaje on Saturday,” Gani said in the statement Tuesday.
Although president-elect Muhammadu Buhari of the APC won Lagos state with a narrow lead, President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP enjoyed lopsided victories in the southeast states of Imo, Anambra, Enagu, Ebonyi and Abia. The Igbo ethnic group was seen as largely responsible for the PDP’s victory in these areas on March 28 and 29.