As the flame of anger continues to burn over the death threat by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu, on Igbos in Lagos if they failed to vote for his preferred governorship candidate Akinwumi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday's governorship election, Igbo groups in Lagos have dragged the Oba to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
In a petition sent to the commission, the Ohaneze-Ndigbo Lagos and Igbo Justice Congress called for its intervention to thwart the threat by Akiolu.
The petition signed by Hon. Innocent Arinze for Ohaneze Ndigbo and Arinze Ugwu for Igbo Justice Congress reads: "The entire Igbo people in Lagos State seek your intervention to forestall the threat by HRM Oba Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos to drown all Ndigbo in Lagos State inside the lagoon if they failed to vote his candidate, Mr Akinwumi Ambode of the APC Lagos.
"Sequel to a widely publicized write-up in almost all the national newspapers on the 6th of April on the aforementioned, we on behalf of the entire Ndigbo resident in Lagos State solicit your intervention to avert a carnage that might follow the Kabiesi's threat as Ndigbo have always been targets of such threats in the past.
"We most courteously solicit your intervention in order to support the spirited and strident peace efforts President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari as enshrined in their noble peace accord
agreement for a peaceful pre and post election periods. On this peaceful and commendable charter of free, fair and peaceful election we all stand.
"We equally add that Oba Akiolu had a day before, issued a text message to the good people of Lagos to resist and attack Ndigbo to stop what he called the 'Take Over' of Lagos State as according to him, Hausas took over Kwara State, the SMS is quite anti-semite and capable of igniting ethnic war in an election period.
"Ndigbo therefore asks all the security agencies to save them from the threat of Oba Akiolu as we are poised to exercise our franchise of voting for the candidate of our choice and defend same."
They called on all Ndigbo in Lagos State to be law abiding, as they are willing to do all within the law to protect their lives and properties including seeking the protection of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The petition was copied to the ICC, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Jonathan, President-elect Buhari, Governor Babatunde Fashola, APC Leader Ahmed Tinubu, the embassies of the US, UK and the European Union.
While the petition is being pushed to other quarters, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha has set up a committee made up of notable traditional rulers in the state to be led by Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri to meet with Oba Akiolu to iron out issues about his threat.
The governor directed the Eze Ohiri Committee to leave for Lagos immediately to meet with the Oba to enable them have one-on-one discussion over the said threat by the traditional ruler, and extract some commitments from him.
Okorocha said although the traditional ruler was reported to have denied the report, it should not be enough to accept that rebuttal without traditional rulers from the South-east meeting with him to discuss the controversy and the way forward, to ensure that the long existing cordial relationship between the Igbos in Lagos and their host the community should remain commendable and enviable.
"The traditional rulers when they get to Lagos and indeed to the Oba, would try to hear from the Oba directly, look at the entire issue and know what to tell the Oba or what to demand from him before travelling back to Owerri," he said.
And in a bid to seek a peaceful resolution of the brewing discord, the traditional ruler of Isuanaoma Community in Aguata Council Area of Anambra State, Igwe Uchenna Okpalaunegbu, has advised the Igbo in Lagos to exercise restraint in the way they handle the alleged controversial hate statement made by the Lagos monarch.
The threat has been widely condemned by many prominent Yoruba leaders and other Nigerians.
But Igwe Okpalanegbu urged Igbos in Lagos to tread with caution and should in their own interest support the APC governorship candidate Akinwumi as any attempt by any party to demonise the APC, Oba Akiolu and APC leader Tinubu could backfire.
On their part, the Council of Ezes Ndigbo in Lagos State yesterday provided details of its meeting with Oba Akiolu on Sunday, disclosing that the monarch simply wanted the Igbo indigenes living in the state to show him love.
The council, therefore, unanimously endorsed Ambode in the April 11 elections while calling all Ndigbo indigenes in the state to vote for him.
The Eze Ndigbo of Lagos, Chief Christian Nwachukwu, who addressed a news conference in FESTAC on behalf of the council, called on all Igbo indigenes to turn out massively to vote for the APC candidate in the state next Saturday.
“The monarch simply wants the Igbos to show their love and it is only by voting for Ambode that we can show that love and have hope. A vote against Ambode is a wasted vote. Let us join hands together and ensure that Ambode wins,” he said.
In the same vein, a notable Lagos-based administrator, Benedine Eloka-Umuoji, yesterday called on Igbo residents and other non indigenes in Lagos to regard Oba's comments as his personal opinion.
Umuoji argued that it would be unfair to visit Akiolu's sin on Ambode, whose party, the APC has since dissociated itself from the monarch's comments.
She stated that her kinsmen should not allow the opinion of the Oba to dissuade them from voting for Ambode.