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Friday, February 14, 2014

Why Nnewi model can transform Nigeria

Written by Azuka Onwuka
Follow on Twitter @BrandAzuka

Any time Nigeria is compared to a smaller country like Ghana, some great logicians would retort that "Ghana is just as big as Lagos State," as if the more populated a country is, the more underdeveloped and disorganised it should be. When such "Aristotles" are reminded that, except for Pakistan, the other five countries that are more populated than Nigeria - including China and India that are individually almost 10 times larger than Nigeria - are ahead of Nigeria in all development indices, such people keep quiet or look for other feeble excuses. Therefore, it will not be surprising to see such people scoff at any comparison between Nigeria and Nnewi: "a mere town in Anambra State of Nigeria." But it is incontrovertible that attitude is far more critical to success than size.

Nigeria has perennially been "work-in-progress," with its democracy always "nascent." We are always changing our systems and policies, deceiving ourselves that they are the cause of our problem, like the typical poor workman that always blames his tools but never himself. Although Nnewi has some things in common with Nigeria, comparatively, it has evolved a system that works for it, a system which gives it peace, stability, growth and development: luxuries which have eluded Nigeria for over 50 years.

Just like Nigerians, Nnewi people are proud people; some would say "arrogant". There are some reasons for that. Like Nigeria, Nnewi is bigger and richer than all its neighbours. The town has produced many prominent figures. Among them is the first President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, described as the richest Nigerian of his time: a man who lent Nigeria his Rolls Royce and personal driver for the use of Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Nigeria in 1956. There is also his Oxford University-trained son, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the first military governor of Eastern Nigeria, the leader of the defunct Republic of Biafra, and a folk hero among the Igbo. Then, there is Dr. Nwafor Orizu, Nigeria's third Senate President and three-month Acting President in the First Republic, as well as Dame Virgy Etiaba, Nigeria's first female governor of a state. There are also many business moguls and industrialists like Chief Augustine Ilodibe, founder of Ekene Dili Chukwu Transport, and Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Motors, whose company manufactures motor vehicles in Nnewi. In all modesty, it is doubtful if there is another town in Nigeria that has more millionaires than Nnewi town.

However, unlike Nigeria, Nnewi is not rich because of any natural resources. There is no proof that Nnewi people are physically stronger, more intelligent, more prayerful, or more righteous than others. There is no evidence that God loves the town more than other towns. However, it is obvious that Nnewi indigenes made their town what it is by imbibing certain principles.

Like Nigeria's ethnic groups, "the four arms of Nnewi" cherish their individual identity: Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewi-ichi. But unlike Nigerians, every Nnewi son or daughter sees himself or herself first as an Nnewi indigene before laying claim to his or her part of the town. These four arms compete among themselves, quarrel, disagree and resist any attempt by any part of the town to dominate others. Yet, in all the internal rivalry, there has never been any record of bloodshed between two communities in the last 100 years of modern history.

The four arms of Nnewi are not equal in terms of land size and population. They are bigger in the descending order of Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewi-ichi. In the late 1980s, three of the arms of Nnewi protested against marginalisation and domination. Subsequently, each arm boycotted the events the town did together. For 10 years, the unity of the town was threatened but there was no bloodshed.

That crisis led the town to adopt the rotation of all political and socio-cultural posts in the town among the four arms. So, if Otolo provided the chairman of the local government area, Uruagu would provide the deputy chairman; Umudim would provide the secretary and Nnewi-ichi would provide the member of House of Assembly. Positions that involved other towns and local government areas – like national legislative positions, governorship, and Presidency – were excluded from this arrangement. No arm of the town is deemed too intelligent to always provide the leaders of the town. To ensure that other parts of the town do not wait forever for their turn, each person is allowed only one term in office. Whatever magic one wants to perform in office, one has to perform it within the three or four years of one's tenure.

But the only offices that are not open for contest are the traditional ones. Each of the four arms has a traditional head called the Obi. Since Otolo is the first arm, the Obi of Otolo is also the Igwe of Nnewi: he leads rather than rules. Within the four arms, there are also villages, and within the villages, there are umunna or big families. Each level has an obi as its traditional head. The position of every obi is hereditary by primogeniture. In the event that an obi dies without a son, his oldest brother takes over. This tradition has existed since time immemorial. Nobody schemes to become an obi or the Igwe. If the first son is guilty of bloodshed or some other taboos, he will not inherit his father's throne. Because the throne is not open for contest, it has helped to ensure peace in the town for generations.

Most importantly, there is a great passion among the Nnewi people to develop their town and make it secure. After the Nigerian Civil War, the Igbo lost much of their investment in almost all parts of Nigeria. Nnewi businessmen decided to found a motor and motorcycle spare parts market in their town: the Nkwo Nnewi/Agbo-Edo Market. They nurtured it and it grew to attract people from different parts of the country and beyond. That was the same spirit that made Chukwuma to situate Innoson Motors automobile plant in Nnewi even though other bigger cities would have been more attractive for such a big venture. The owners of transport companies like Ekene Dili Chukwu, Izuchukwu, EEkesons, and Orizu Motors also ensured that they have major terminuses in Nnewi. Consequently, it is easy to access the town from all parts of Nigeria.

That is the aku-luo-uno philosophy: If you have money, intelligence, or physical strength, bring it home. No matter how influential an Nnewi man is, if his impact is not felt at home, he is regarded as a nobody. The people do not wait for government to develop their town for them. Through individual and communal efforts, schools, libraries, hospitals (including the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital), scholarships, churches, pipeborne water, electricity, and roads are provided.

In addition, one thing that helps to drive development in Nnewi is the intense but healthy rivalry that exists among the four arms of Nnewi. For example, if one arm starts a scholarship scheme for its indigenes, or paves a road, the other arms immediately want to beat that record. And whenever someone from an arm of the town is holding an elective post, other people from the other communities watch to see what impact he will make in the town. If he does not perform well, his people are continually ridiculed.
Unlike the Nigerian, the Nnewi person thinks of what he can do for his community rather than what his community can do for him. Unlike the Nigerian, the Nnewi man never ridicules his town before non-indigenes. Unlike the Nigerian, the Nnewi person is very proud of his Nnewi-ness: he proclaims his identity unapologetically wherever he is and defends his homeland always.

Undoubtedly, Nnewi is by far smaller than Nigeria, but it has evolved a system that has made it excel. Occasionally, it stumbles, but it does not fall. If Nigerians were to imbibe the Nnewi spirit by putting the nation first always, seeking peace, creating the spirit of healthy rivalry among the ethnic groups, pursuing industrialisation, and perpetually thinking of ways to make the nation great, Nigeria would be the envy of other nations.

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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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