" ITREALMS: Chinedu Lagos: Connecting the dots – ITREALMS

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Chinedu Lagos: Connecting the dots – ITREALMS

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Despite threats to lives and properties in Lagos during the 2023 general elections, ITREALMS' REMMY NWEKE highlights the missing links worthy of leveraging by peace-loving Nigerians, arguing that we are deeply connected than could be imagined.

Chinedu Lagos: Connecting the dots – ITREALMS
How Tayo connected the dots:

Just before the commencement of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the apex regulator of banks in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) began another phase of its cashless policy and introduction of the redesigned new Naira note.




That weekend, I had a few things to fix in one of the vehicles, and the best bet was a reference at the popular Ladipo Spareparts Market in Mushin. The reference was a young man named Tayo, who specialises in using scanner to detect certain faults and fixing same.

Courtesy of Iya POS:
After Tayo finished, efforts to pay him via the USSD could not work out as my bank kept returning with an error message that the transaction could not be processed. I switched to the mobile application of the bank, aka 'mobile app' basically for online banking and was told the transaction could not be completed that I should contact my bank.


Relying on using the various wallets to sort out any transaction with obvious scarcity of cash, I inquired about any Point of Sale (POS) agent around the park, as I collected Tayo’s bank details of which he promptly pointed at one POS outlet. So, both of us approached the shop. The operator, Iya Kola who had stepped out to give POS service to some folks in a nearby 'refined' restaurant known as Iya Amala for their assorted Nigerian local dishes.

 

USSD is the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data introduced as the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) protocol that is used to send text messages and could also be used to make mobile transfers.


On the other hand, POS is Point-of-Sale handy device that affords a customer to execute given payment for goods or services and where sales taxes, bills may be paid through.


On inquiry, I was told that Iya Amala, now a landlady in a Lagos suburb, has grown her business, that she has been cooking for both Yoruba and Igbo clients as well as other ethnic groups in the market for over five years. So, Iya Kola managed to know why her attention was being called, just a stone throw from her shop by her son, and there, we were, standing to be attended to.

Few minutes later, she joined us and the transaction was done. And because I would not like to just pay for parking space of N1000 for a day, I inquired where to get a good mechanic to change my car oil since I was inside the market and could easily locate kind of motor oil for servicing. A young man in his late 40s was called. "Doctor, doctor" were the shouts that followed.


So-called Iya Chukwudi with MC Oluomo - Chinedu Lagos: Connecting the dots – ITREALMS

Informed that he was a ‘Motor Doctor,’ while his real name was Adekunle, I was relaxed to ask for his mobile number and by putting a call across, was directed to a nearby workshop to meet him.



The MotorDoctor:
At that workshop, he had about three apprentices, also known as ‘boys’ learning motor engine repair trade (motor mechanic) under his supervision. Beside him is one baba whose specialty is on welding and another known as Muyiwa aka Kekere who does panel beating jobs for any accident vehicles, and yet another, Mr. Kehinde, who specialises on car upholstery, with his boys very busy. By Mr. Kehinde's side of the workshop was a painter, Oga Shola.

One unique thing about this workshop is that almost everything one needs to fix could simply be fixed and all artisans there are 90 per cent Yorubas. Guess what, most of the cars under one repair or another is owned by an Igbo. In front of the compound used as mechanic workshop, there are some five shops that faced the mainroad. Out of these shops, Ndigbo occupies four while the fifth one was occupied by an Yoruba woman, Iya Bilikis, selling motor oil and some car fancies. Others at the shops were selling various kinds of vehicle parts; from BMW engines to Japanese and American motor parts as well as a shop selling new tyres of numerous brands. Beside them, is a vulcanizer.

For me, it looks like a one-stop shop, but then, I must prioritise my needs and why that particular car was brought there. So, I approached MotorDoctor, who informed me that my car will take some 5 litres of oil and I can pick same in front from Iya Bilikis' shop. So, I headed to the outside gate, located the shop where motor oil was displayed in front. There, I met a young girl who was at her mother’s shop to assist because it was weekend and asked if they had my brand of motor oil, she responded in affirmation and stood up to fetch same.

The young girl was later identified as Bilikis herself. She told me that what they had was four litres of the brand I wanted. She inquired if I would not mind buying what she had, four litres and picking one litre from a nearby shop and I said where? She pointed about 150 metres from her shop and I said no problems. For her frankness, I bought the motoroil from her and oil filter. I attempted to transfer again using USSD, this time, it worked and the agreed amount was transferred to her mother’s account as provided after we calculated what I had picked.

Thereafter, Bilikis gave me a direction to where to pick the remaining one litre of oil, advising I should ask for Baba Nosa. And on getting there, Baba Nosa attended to me cheerfully but efforts to pay him cashlessly proved difficult. Hence, we marched to nearby Iya Kola shop  since there was no POS agent closer to his shop. It was during that our little walk that I was told that Nosa is a Benin name in South-South Nigeria and means ‘This child belongs to God.’

I collected the motoroil remaining one litre and went to the Bilikis shop to pick the rest of the purchases before heading to meet MotorDoctor, whom I learnt was from Ogun State and in fact resides there but had to commute daily to his Lagos workshop to attend to customers. On return, I observed that his boys had taken down the old oil from the car which was shown to me and I approved of it to be moved away. Within a short period, the service was completed. I was asked to give them little cash to buy at least a litre of fuel to clean up the engine, of which I responded that I had very little cash that he should sort it and add up to his workmanship and he promptly dealt with; leaving the car engine as if I was returning from a car wash. Of course, MotorDoctor was appreciated aside his workmanship already agreed before work commenced.
"Tell them that 'Chukwu's mom, please, if you don't want to vote for us, sit down at home!" - @ITREALMS
How Chinedu connected Yoruba and Hausa:
However, the now condemned oil was sold at paltry to an Hausa youngman known as Aboki, which means 'friend' who deals solely on what was described as ‘condemned iron.’ He said they use it to soften harden iron knots before smashing same and weighing it for sale as well as alumnium parts which they move up the northern part of the country.

In all these, you can see how the Chinedu from the south east who resides now in Lagos has connected others and that is how connected Nigeria has become.

This narrative has become imperative because of threats of attacks on Ndigbo, especially markets purportedly dominated by Ndigbo of South East and relatives of Chinedu, whose pre-occupation is trading both in import and export.

We'll be watching because we have begged you and you said you have heard! - @ITREALMS

Just a few days after the presidential election, the Akere spareparts market in Olodi-Apapa was gutted by fire by unknown persons, in what some miscreants claimed was in retaliation of Labour Party (LP) Presidential election purportedly won in Lagos during that exercise and in order to humiliate Ndigbo whose stock is trading, ahead of the governorship election and was eventually fixed for March 18, 2023.


Mr. Governor forgot Chinedu his party man:
Noticeable was that despite the threats on social media and eventually carried out during the Saturday, March 18 elections, it was only on Friday afternoon that the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu issued a press statement condemning the threats and asking everyone resident in Lagos to come out and vote. Definitely not meant to achieve any purpose and Sanwo-Olu must have forgotten the connection of 'Chinedu Lagos' in galvanising his kinsmen for Mr. Governor.

Attacks on non-indigenous Lagosians:
As at the time of filing this report, there were reports of attacks on non-indigenes of Yoruba land by party thugs belonging to the All Progressive Congress (APC) who were openly threatening those Igbos who will come out to vote. For instance at Eyogun Street, Mafoluku-Oshodi in Lagos, off International Airport Road, party thugs were moving about threatening people while Police vans where on the next street watching them pass in two mini-buses known as Korepe, displaying pump action gun.

"Our Yorubas if you get there early, Yorubas should vote first!" - @ITREALMS

Ayo Ebenebe:
Before I forget, it came to mind that a few years back, there was need for renovation in a Lagos apartment; building materials were sourced and bought at Mushin market, then came a Tiler, Tunde, whose handwork was very neat that some months later, there was need for tiling of an entire duplex in the south-eastern town of Awba-Ofemili, near Awka. 


Tunde was promptly invited via phone call, contract negotiated and he simply traveled to Awba-Ofemili in Awka-North Local Government Area of Anambra, where he spent about one week on the job within his boys. He equally met Ayo, the Plumber who worked and supervised the digging of well by the Hausas, and relevant plumbing installations.

As we speak, Ayo from South West state has not left Anambra, as he traverses from Amansea to Ebenebe, down to Ugbenu, Ugbene and Awba-Ofemili and in fact the entire Awka North and occasionally goes home. As at the last time, we chatted, he was considering getting married to an Igbo young lady. Ayo in that part of the world is now known as ‘Ayo Ebenebe’ because that has been his abode and where he eventually settled as a plumber that knows his onion. Did anyone see any Chinedu Lagos connection in Ayo Ebenebe?

Understanding threats on Ndigbo:
Invariably a lady from Niger Delta but resides in Lagos, did not understand the meaning of the current Igbo threats in Lagos and misread it to mean precisely Ndigbo and went to vote in a Lagos suburb. She reported in a viral video that a party agent had wanted to strangulate her and a lady by the side urging him on until she was able to rescue herself from their grips and ran for her life, with Police officer standing near by and doing nothing.

IPOND - Chinedu Lagos: Connecting the dots – ITREALMS

In response to the obvious threats and intimidations during the just concluded Lagos gubernatorial election, the Indigenous People of Niger Delta (IPND) declared that the level of associated harassment on the lives of Ndigbo in Lagos is a declaration of war against their people, warning Yoruba warmongers that their peaceful nature and hospitality should not be taken for cowardice.



Peaceful nature taken for cowardice:
IPND President-General, Tiemo Pumokumo gave this caution and defined the Ndigbo in the context of the attacks and threats to depict non-indigenes of both South-East and South South among citizens from other parts of the country outside Yoruba land. Lamenting that "We have watched with sadness the governorship and house of assembly election in Lagos that followed same process with the Presidential and National Assembly elections as they were used by some political elements from Yoruba tribe as declaration of war against our people and fellow citizens."

Also, IPND described as barbaric the act by some political elements from Yoruba tribe, and called on the government of Nigeria and the international communities, to intervene before it is too late, insisting that Igbo in Yoruba does not just mean Igbo people from South East Nigeria, but everyone from South South and South East geopolitical zones. "The attacks of people in the Lagos elections is not just against Igbo people but everyone from the South South and South East. Most Yorubas, especially the uneducated thugs that were used to execute the attacks do not know the difference between Igbo, Urhobo, Ijaw, Ibibio, Erik, Bini, Isan, etc. As long as you are not Yoruba speaking and you are from Southern Nigeria, then you are considered to be an Igbo," he declared.

Also important, IPND president said is that apart from the international oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, those with the highest number of oil blocks are Yorubas. Pointing out that to state that the work force in the oil and gas industry operating in the Niger Delta has Yorubas as the largest population. Pumokumo emphasized that elections is used to demonstrate free will of citizens and residence of a community or state for those who they want to govern them in free, fair, credible and peaceful manner. Therefore, insisting that election is not war and "... Our peaceful nature and hospitality should not be taken for cowardice.”

Election and festival of digital threats:
Just on Sunday, a day after the governor election, another round of threats emerged on the social media that major markets where Ndigbo play strongly or have many shops have been targeted for another attack, including the Alaba International Market, Trade Fair Complex, Idumota, Computer Village to mention but a few.

The plan according to the viral audio was to come with a tanker of fuel in the wee hours of the night to splash fuel on such markets and torch it, while killing any security guards or movable objects on sight at such markets or plazas, just like what was allegedly executed at Akere spare parts market at Olodi-Apapa, a few days before the governorship election in Lagos.

Noteworthy is that bulk of these threats were now being carried out through the social media, even as supposed Oro festival around Lagos and were hurriedly put together, saw on social media, some incitations specifically mentioning Ndigbo, aside that of MC Oluomo on Ndigbo over the just concluded election, which ended up in a madman belly. Funny enough the political elites used it to make several claims, with some alleging Ndigbo wants to take over Lagos and one wonders as in what sense? If this claim was about suspected immigrants specific moves to take over Lagos, details still lacking beyond political claims. Although Oluomo later recanted his threats saying they were jokes for his friends, including one obscure Iya Chukwudi, those threats were dully carried out as evidence on pre and post March 18 in Lagos. Yet, Police in Lagos, feigned ignorant and went about arresting people who insisted on defending their votes after casting, to ensure they were uploaded on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) portal, in some parts of Lagos. So, who is fooling who?

Ndigbo and fear of God:
Although there seem to be a soccur from the former Minister of Works, Senator Kingsley Adeseye Ogunlewe of a royal family of Igbogbo in Lagos State, who said recently in an interview at Arise Tv that he schooled and lived with some Ndigbo in his axis of Lagos, while growing up. 

  

He also cautioned those instigating violence and threatening Ndigbo particularly to take a caution step back, because this was a set of ethnic group that held the Federal Troupe for over three years. He insisted that they should not be pushed to the wall. According to him, that Ndigbo are still tolerating all manner of provocative threats, was because they have some fear of God in them, otherwise Lagos should have been boiling since. He further called for restraints among the Yorubas.

Submission:
The truth is that what one saw and witnessed in trying to fix a small car has shown that Nigeria and Nigerians have become knitly connected and any attempt to humiliate one would definitely affect another, considering the number of artisans on the line of duty to be negatively affected should any party thug set up any market or plaza in any part of Lagos. 

 

Let the thugs also bear in mind that it will not only affect Ndigbo but his kit and kin, either directly or indirectly.

For the supposed elites fanning the embers of ethnic bigotry, intimidation, and threats in a supposed cosmopolitan Lagos, may be, its high time to redefine what is ‘cosmopolitan city.’ Although, according to the Meriam Webster dictionary, cosmopolitan includes “people from many different background with greater cultural diversity and composes of persons, constituents or elements from all or many parts of the world.” 


And anyone having above definition in mind at all times, will not only make those seeking political destruction of any kind under any colour of guises, to retreat.

For literary purposes, ‘Chinedu’ is the short name for ‘ChukwuNaEdu’ which means that ‘God leads’ and if this tarries, it suffices that God is leading whosoever bears that name and Lagos cannot be deduced from such acclamation, and the connection thereof, will be unprecedented.


As you can see every Lagosian has become 'Chinedu Lagos,' one way or the other.

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