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Friday, April 20, 2012

The Igbo and Nigeria's political arrangement

by Sabella Abidde - Punch Nigeria.
In August 2004, I penned a little noticeable essay entitled, "The Nigerian presidency and the Igbo nation," for an online medium. The question I attempted to answer was this: "How did a people this intelligent, this savvy, and this contributive and participatory got shut out of the presidency?" In other words, why have we not had a Nigerian president of Igbo ancestry?
The Igbo of my growing up years (in Nigeria), had "attributes most other Nigerian ethnic groups could only dream of; and were what most other groups were not. The Igbo made and make Nigeria better. Any wonder then that the Igbo can do without Nigeria; but Nigeria and her myriad nationalities cannot do without the Igbo? Take the Igbo out of the Nigerian equation, and Nigeria will be a wobbling giant gasping for air!" In the eight years since I penned that essay, my observation and opinion of the Igbo have not changed. And neither has the general attitude towards the Igbo changed.
Now, as it was the case then, I have not stopped thinking about the NdiIgbo and what it would take for Nigeria to finally realise that the time for a Nigerian of Igbo extraction to be the president of Nigeria has come. This should happen now. And by now I mean when the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan comes to an end. An Igbo rightfully deserves to be the next president of Nigeria. Under the Peoples Democratic Party, political arrangements could be worked out so the presidency is zoned to the South-East.
The North has governed Nigeria for about 38 years; and the West has been in charge for about 10 years. Whether Jonathan leaves or stays past 2015, the time for the Igbo is at hand. But of course, this thinking is predicated on the assumption that the PDP's dominance at the federal level would not fade any time, soon. But what if it does, or is beaten at the centre? Well then, all bets are off. For this reason, therefore, the Igbo must rethink their political mathematics. For instance, the infighting and power struggles must stop - and they should also stop succumbing to the Hausa-Yoruba strategy of divide-and-conquer.

One of the factors that may make an "Igbo President" difficult is this unanswered question: "Is Biafra alive...or dead?" The May 30, 1967 justified bid is still fresh in the minds of many. Every now and then, we are reminded of Biafra. The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra - the main body that champions the Biafra movement - has a Shadow Government and a Government in Exile. More than 80 per cent of my friends and acquaintances, who are Igbo, seem not to have given up on Biafra. Prof. E. C. Ejiogu, a political sociologist and the author of The Roots of Political Instability in Nigeria, for instance, hopes for and works towards the actualisation of a sovereign Biafra State.

Essentially, therefore, many Igbo seem not to have a sense of belonging towards the Nigerian manor. Many are not interested in the Nigerian experiment. They want out and they want out now! How do you reconcile these two aspirations? And so, one must ask: What do the Igbo want? Biafra or the Nigerian presidency? But of course, this line of questioning is not pertinent and applicable to the Igbo alone. We know, for instance, that not all Yoruba and Hausa are sold on the idea of one indivisible Nigeria. Even a section of the Ijaw ethnic group is exploring secession opportunities. But for the ascendancy of Jonathan to the Nigerian presidency, a sovereign Ijaw nation would most likely be at the top of their agenda, today. Many Ijaw have not given up on this realisable dream.
Let's take leave of the secession debate and return to the imperative and immediacy of the Igbo presidential ambition. We do this because, whether to divide Nigeria or to restructure it, is not a debate the government or the elite are ready for. Everyone knows that the country is loosening at the seam, and that it is gradually fragmenting; yet, not many are willing to take, or even suggest bold and radical remedies. But let me say this: the day Nigeria collapses, the Igbo would be readier than most.
Some well-known governors of Igbo ancestry include Peter Obi; Chris Nwabueze Ngige; Chinwoke Mbadinuju; Emmanuel Nnamdi Uba; Rochas Anayo Okorocha; Ikedi Ohakim; Achike Udenwa; Theodore Ahamefule Orji; Orji Uzor Kalu; Martin Elechi; Sam Ominyi Egwu; Sullivan Iheanacho Chime; and Chimaroke Nnamani. But of course, who do you pick from this group? The Igbo may want to look elsewhere for a truly worthy, capable and representative son or daughter. The problem with the current Igbo leadership and political pool is that it is very thin. Ironically, this is also true of the leadership and political pool of other ethnic groups.
The Yoruba leadership crisis began within a decade of the death of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Many who professed to be his disciples turned out to be vagabonds and political prostitutes. Sadly, many still roam the region claiming to be Awoists. The leadership crisis in Igboland goes farther than that: you look towards two historical events. The first was a watershed era in the history of NdiIgbo, when colonial Britain introduced the Warrant Chiefs system. This aberration, many have contended, significantly altered the Igbo culture and its leadership, political and governing structure.
The second event was the Nigeria-Biafra War. In many respects, the war was genocidal: wiping out, or exiling thousands of Igbo. The residual effects of that war can still be felt in many corners of the Southeastern region. These two events, Prof. Ejiogu contends, have contributed to the dearth of first rate leadership in Igboland: Many who, ordinarily shouldn't be in the corridors of power, now sit on the throne. But whether in 2015, or 2019, the Igbo are likely to put forth their best. Nigeria's very best! 

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I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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