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Tuesday, June 11, 2013


By Michael Nnebe

In the early nineties I met an Igbo man that lived and worked in the city of Jos. He had married less than a year before and recently lost his new bride after a brief illness. The man cried uncontrollably and I felt pity for him, but when I asked why he had been so inconsolable, the man carefully dried his tears and quietly narrated his problem to those of us around him. "It has taken me nearly twenty years of working at P & T to save enough money to go home and pay the dowry and the cost of wine-carrying for this girl...I'm now over forty years old and don't know how I can begin all over again...I just don't have the luxury of time to start saving all over again..." With those few words from the new widower I got the message. Apparently the man was not crying because of his wife's death though I presume he must have loved her, his pain was far deeper than that loss. He had invested heavily on this young girl after many years of savings, and had not been given the opportunity to enjoy his investment, and now could not think of how to raise that kind of funds for another investment. The poor man as I recalled was from Imo state and back then, the high cost of dowry and wine-carrying was limited to Imo State and a handful of other enclaves. Not anymore, ask any young Igbo man wishing to marry today and they will tell you how terrified they are just from thinking about these prohibitive costs in any part of Igboland.

It seems to me that different parts of Igboland are now competing to outdo each other in the unimaginable LIST of things that must be bought and paid for by the hapless male prospect. And these LISTS are growing by the day. In every village now, or more precisely in every umunna, there are men who specialize in refining these LISTS to make them longer and more expensive, often indoctrinating things they suddenly discovered are being done in Arondiziogu, or Umunede. And I wonder, what does the marriage tradition of Mbaitolu has to do with that of Obeleagu Umana. Our old men at home have become so greedy and their actions are making life miserable for our young men. I have no qualms for a young man that has it and wishes to splash the money for the sake of the love of his life, but it is quite a different ball game for countless Igbo young men who have now been priced out of the marriage market in Igboland. A lawyer friend of mine recently married from Edo State after he had introduced a young Igbo girl to me as his fiancée a few months before. I was surprised and later asked him if things did not work out with the other girl. He looked me in the eye and told me that the girl's family must have been insane considering the long LIST they gave to him. "I decided to go to Edo because things are much cheaper there," he added. For the record, I do not have any problem whatsoever with inter-tribal or even inter-racial marriages, but it is alarming to know that several Igbo men are now fleeing their own kind just because they are no longer affordable. How awful, I thought, if this can happen to a lawyer (A serious, practising attorney and not just any charge and bail lawyer) I hate to think of what will be the fate of any low-level civil servant or petty trader wishing to marry in Igboland today. The average Igbo man is now marrying later and later in life because of the time it takes them to save all the money required to pay for these things. And the sad part of all this nonsense is that often, after the wine-carrying is done, the male victim is left in debt, huge debts before even the white wedding is contemplated. No wonder many smart ones are now combining the wine-carrying with the church wedding the same day just to save money.

In a few months it will be 25 years since I got married. All I did was send five thousand Naira to my dad, and that was more than sufficient for the dowry, wine-carrying, and all the other traditional rites they performed lavishly on our behalf with some money left. That was 1988 and I was still living in London at the time. Last month I was hanging out at a club in Lagos with my son who was visiting from the US. Imagine if my dream of early-marriage was significantly delayed because of lack of money, I might still be changing diapers today. Things have now changed completely even when adjusted for inflation. The average cost of dowry and wine-carrying in Igbo land today runs well over a million Naira on the cheap. If you are a big boy and trying to represent, then you may be talking upwards of five million Naira. One thing is clear to me; these long LISTS and high costs of wine-carrying is not sustainable and can only damage the psychic of our young men wishing to do what is natural for all men of age anywhere in the world. The worst thing you can do to any young man is to make him feel financially inadequate. I'm not talking about not being able to afford luxuries and fantasies, but something as basic and naturally expected as marriage when he is of age. Our wine-carrying in Igboland has indeed become big the detriment of our young men, and the young women too, who are often left unmarried because of those exorbitant cost on their head.

In most towns and villages in Igboland today, people's lives are mostly occupied by events such as wine-carrying and funerals. But it appears to me that for every wine-carrying ceremony, there are probably a dozen or more funerals. No wonder those who profit in the big business of funerals are now driving the flashiest of cars. One of my tenants at Awka has all the templates ready to go. "It is easy to make a poster," he tells me, "All you need to do is upload the photo and fill in the rest of the information." His poster comes with two headings, GLORIOUS EXIT, which is reserved for those few who are lucky to die old, and PAINFUL DEPARTURE, for just about everyone else. I lost my dad in 1999, he was a couple of months shy of 80 when he died. Given his advanced age, and the fact that God has blessed me, I decided to throw a big party to celebrate his good life. All the big name musicians, all the cows, all the food, all the Champaign, all the cognac, all the dignitaries, hotel rooms, etc, etc, cost me less than 3 million Naira. Unfortunately, I lost my senior brother just over two years ago at the young age of 57. Given that he died prematurely and left behind a widow and five young children, I thought wisely that this does not call for a celebration. But it's easier said than done. I bought 100 ashoby for my dad's burial, but now everybody told me that 100 ashoby cannot even make a dent among the cousins and nephews and nieces and every extended family members from Opi Nsuka to Amaigbo. I protested, but of course, I didn't want my sister-in-law to think that I don't care for her husband, or for my mother to think that I'm burying her first son so cheaply. Bottom line, I wanted to do this on the cheap, but by the time it was over I had exceeded my limit of 3 million Naira. Thank God I did not have to borrow money but I drank garri for several months afterwards.

My first encounter was the church. After I had paid the 34,000 naira back dues for my late brother and his family, I asked the church for a date, and that was when my problem started. The cannon, now finding out that I had just recently returned from the US, decided to go for the kill. He came up with all sorts of stories and excuses imaginable, all designed to extort more money from me. I'm talking hundreds of thousands of Naira. Well, like the Americans, I called his bluff, went and rented a pastor from a small church down the road and he brought his entire congregation, along with the band to bury my brother. At the funeral the young man of God preached until everybody was under the anointing. Akuko! He unashamedly advertised his church and all the miracles possible there and when finished, buried my brother. The village requirements apart, (which is out of this world) what worries me most is what the Anglican and the Catholic Churches in Igboland are requesting before they bury one of their own flocks. It is sad to think of this. The church is supposed to be your place to seek comfort when bereaved, but deer not come for comfort or expediency if you don't have a bucket full of cash. And God forbid if the church knows or think that there is someone in that compound with a little bit of money, then only God can save you from their stranglehold. I suppose that if many people should call their bluff as I did they won't have the audacity to keep milking the bereaved family unnecessarily.

And here is the one that made me cry just three days ago and ultimately made this article necessary. I attended a funeral of a relative, a woman that died at the age of 72. We took her body from the mortuary and stopped briefly at her father's compound for a final rite by her family before onward procession to her husband's house at a nearby town where she was scheduled to be buried. But upon arrival at her father's house, her kinsmen seized the coffin. They had apparently demanded all sorts of fees and levies and whatnots from the deceased woman's children, all in excess of 125,000 naira. The children had brought some of the money in advance, about 25,000 and agreed to pay the rest whenever they can afford it. If someone else had told me this story I would not have believed it, but I was there, and it all happened before my very own eyes. The kinsmen or umunna refused to release the corpse for the onward final journey to her husband's home. They will not relent on their demand without full payment. After more than an hour of haggling between the deceased children and the umunna, an argument ensued and the umunna brought out their shovels and threatened to bury the woman there. This was unimaginable to me, and I felt I had seen enough, so I entered my car and drove back to Enugu. I've always been critical about those who leave their loved ones in the mortuary for six months or even a year or two before they can do the burial. Now I can understand fully. Burial is not a small thing in Igboland. Most have to sell landed properties or get into serious debts, just to give their loved ones a befitting burial. I'm not talking about a lavish burial, just a simple befitting burial. That, I believe, is sad indeed. 

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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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