The Yoruba community in Awka, the capital of Anambra State, has refuted rumours suggesting animosity between the Igbos and Yorubas, particularly concerning the outcome of the February 25th, 2023 Presidential election that resulted in Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu being elected as President of Nigeria.
The community has urged other tribes and ethnic groups residing in Anambra to disregard these rumours, emphasizing that there is no such hostility between them and their host people, the Igbos, in the state.
There were reports circulating in the state that Yorubas residing there were attacked during the presidential election or accused of not voting for Mr Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate in the 2023 election.
However, Alhaji Ademola Okeleye, the President General of the Yoruba community in Awka, dismissed these rumours during a briefing with journalists in Awka. He labelled those spreading such divisive information as individuals with limited intellectual capacity who have nothing to contribute to their immediate families, communities, or the state and country as a whole.
He issued a warning to individuals or groups fueling tribal or ethnic tensions in Anambra State and Nigeria, cautioning them to desist from such activities or face legal consequences.
According to Alhaji Okeleye, there is no business or political conflict between the Yorubas and Igbos in Anambra State. The Yoruba community has been peacefully coexisting with the Igbos, and its members have not experienced any form of intimidation or harassment.
“I have resided in Anambra State for the past 20 years since relocating from Lagos, and I have never witnessed or experienced an Igbo man fighting a Yoruba man out of hatred,” he stated.
Even during the election, Yoruba people were free to vote for the candidate of their choice. The Yoruba community received support and reassurance from Chief Uzu Okagbue, former Chief of Protocol to the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano. Mr Okagbue visited the Yoruba community and ensured their safety during the high tensions surrounding the presidential election.
Alhaji Okeleye clarified that if anyone is spreading rumours in Anambra State about a crisis between Yorubas and Igbos, it is false.
He also revealed that there are approximately 500,000 Yoruba people living in Anambra State, including civil servants and lecturers at Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Federal Polytechnic Oko, who coexist peacefully with the local population.
The Yoruba community plans to construct a hall and multipurpose centre in Awka, and they will soon initiate a bio-data exercise to register all their members residing in the state, added Alhaji Okeleye.
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