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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Enugu: From Ebeano to Gburugburu

Next Friday, as a new government is inaugurated at the centre, in Abuja, with President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, taking the oath of office as well as oath of allegiance and new governors also being sworn in, Enugu State will, most likely, be the cynosure of all eyes. There is sure going to be excitement, feeling of fulfillment and pride. This will be so not just because a new governor is assuming office. No. It's because a man in whom many an indigene of the state is well pleased is taking over the reins of government.

Right from the time the race for the Lion Building, as the Enugu Government House is called, started, one candidate stood tall among others. He easily emerged as a consensus candidate, even when other states were still planning how to resolve succession controversies. He was unanimously adopted by people from his zone. He was accepted by other zones in the state. He was embraced by the outgoing government in the state. And he was endorsed by the majority of the ordinary people and the elite. With this, it was a matter of time that he would clinch the governorship ticket of the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I am talking about Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, governor-elect of Enugu State.

Yes, in this political dispensation, I have not seen many politicians that are loved by their people, as Ugwuanyi. I have been wondering how a former insurance guru became so popular that he appears to be loved almost by all. Months before the time political parties picked their governorship candidates, Ugwuanyi had emerged as consensus candidate in Enugu. I remember last September/October when his Nsukka people, in a stakeholders meeting, presented him as the preferred choice. In the meeting, in which he emerged, other aspirants attended and when a motion was moved for his adoption as consensus candidate, there was no opposition. It was not surprising, therefore, that when some of the aspirants later decided to reject the consensus arrangement, they could not get the people behind them. Everybody had accepted Ugwuanyi, the man they fondly call Gburugburu.

By the manner of his emergence as candidate and victory at the polls, Ugwuanyi has proved to be a popular candidate in Enugu. The way almost everybody in the state embraced him is unprecedented. And the way almost everybody in the state, the elite and ordinary people, worked for his victory at the polls is remarkable. He appears to have a cult following, which makes him one of the few politicians whose election to the post of governor could actually be said to have the support of the majority.

With charm, likeable personality and warmth, Ugwuanyi looks good as the people's governor. The way ordinary people talk about him shows the kind of impression he has made in them. Seen as a generous, caring and easy-going man, Ugwuanyi, over the years, touched the lives of many, in various ways. He is said to have given financial support to the less-privileged, attended people's weddings, families' burial and other ceremonies, as his own way of identifying with the people. This generosity and camaraderie, built over the years, from the time he worked as chief executive of an insurance company, to his years at the National Assembly, are what set him apart in an election, which turned out to be a walk over.

With the support Ugwuanyi is coming to office, it looks that his will be a popular government. As people hail him Gburugburu, wherever he goes in the state, I remember the years of Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, as governor, from 1999-2007. During the eight years tenure of Nnamani, Ebeano (where we are) became a slogan in Enugu. People hailed Nnamani as Ebeano, to the extent that when anybody said Ebeano, you knew he was talking about Nnamani. Also handsome and charismatic, Nnamani was loved by many. His sign-off phrase, "To God be the glory" became almost an anthem in Enugu and across the country. And his lecture series wowed many, as he coined "dividends of democracy," which is now a cliché to describe government works, so to say, in Nigeria.

Love him or hate him, the Nnamani years in Enugu cannot be wished away. His Ebeano movement did make an impact. Today, most of those who are leaders of the state are his creation. Nnamani came and decided to create new leaders in Enugu. He took young boys, who had no known "surnames" and transformed them to leaders. Those unknown young boys, prior to 1999, are the ones calling the shots in Enugu and for the state. Of course, the elite, who felt that leadership should start and end in their families, did not like the Nnamani audacity. And they did fight back, which was one of the major problems the medical doctor-turned politician had. However, Nnamani did his best and bowed out. Despite the fact that some of those he made abandoned him and actually became his nemesis, nobody will ever forget his contributions in the politics of Enugu.

In Ugwuanyi government, I see the chant of Gburugburu becoming a state anthem. I see a popular governor, who many would identify with. I see a recreation of the Nnamani years, not in terms of the controversies, but in the area of mobilising people. However, the incoming Enugu governor should not be carried away by the seeming support and love by all. My fear is that people usually take advantage of leaders like Ugwuanyi. He should, therefore, learn from Nnamani, who made many people and was later presented as a villain. He should work to meet the people's expectation, shun sycophants and praise-singers, who are mere pretenders.
At a time Igbo are trying to build new leaders, Ugwuanyi needs everybody's prayers and support. He needs everybody in Enugu to succeed and all Igbo to be relevant in the national politics.

Re: 2015 polls: This gratuitous insult of Igbo

We've right to self-existence

What is the hue and noise of Igbo and PDP about? Don't people have the right to self-existence and determination? The tribes that voted for APC, are they better than the Igbo? I think enough is enough of this petty weeping of sentiment. Now, APC has won, what about it? Chinwendu, Enugu. 08176829531

Igbo did as others

Yes, the South-east voted for PDP just the same way the North-west voted for APC, but we were even more rational, as PDP controls three states in the South-east while APC controls almost all the states in the two northern states mentioned above. Who is fooling who?

Nnamdi, Abuja. 08050857546

What made PDP Igbo party?

From your write up, it seems Igbo are now undertakers. Tell us what made PDP Igbo party. Do you want us believe Goodluck Jonathan is an Igbo candidate, as Buhari/Osinbanjo are Hausa/Yoruba candidates? We Igbo have the right to vote our choice but for APC to get only three representatives out of five states makes us look like a people that lack focus. The more you defend it the more some of us get annoyed. Okoroji, 08034053634

Can they do for Igbo what we do for others?

It is only a blind man and a small mind, a man that is always defeated by many challenges that can say such things against the all-conquering Igbo. Can they do for the Igbo what Igbo have done for them? Small minds think that 2015 elections are the end of the world. Igbo are universal.

C. Ok, Owerri, 08033263892

Opposition will bring our best out

Thank you for your article of May 8. You captured it well. Being in the opposition will bring out the best in our people. We prosper more under challenges. 08058149336

Good hand will be used

Let your mind be at rest. APC government is on rescue mission. Whosoever is needed to put this nation on the path of development and progress will be used irrespective of his political affiliation or region. Buhari has a great work to do.

Chief J. J. Ibeka, Lagos, 08182242380

Igbo owe nobody apology

I commend you for your article and I totally concur with your reasoning and conclusion. The Igbo voted for the party and candidate of their choice and, therefore, owe no one any apology for doing so. Neither of the two leading presidential candidates was Igbo, ditto two leading gubernatorial candidates in Lagos State, yet the Igbo people are singled out for attack for voting according to their conscience.

Nnabuike Edechime, Barrister-at-Law, Vice President, Aka Ikenga; 08033201173

Why are Igbo shouting marginalisation?

It will be a privilege to argue the facts with you, with respect to your piece in an impending essay. Suffice to ask what the Igbo "stood firm" for by voting Goodluck Jonathan unlike others who "betrayed him" (according to you)? Just to show a "real man?" Similarly, if as you aver: "It is not only when an Igbo man occupies one of topmost offices that South-easterners would benefit from government at centre," why are Ohanaeze and Ndigbo shouting marginalisation and hell-bent on rotational presidency? Tiko.

Yoruba least qualified to talk of Igbo voting

Yoruba are the least qualified to talk of Igbo voting for the opposition. Until PDP came to their rescue by foisting Olusegun Obasanjo on Nigeria, the Yoruba sheepishly followed Obafemi Awolowo in perpetual opposition. What is the sudden interest in Igbo after their Oba of Lagos display of phobia. I agree with you. The Igbo have nothing to lose at all. They are Nigerians, like any other.

Osas Uwaifo, Benin city. 08180473336

Behold Yoruba heroes

Thank you for defending our voting pattern. It is not a crime to be in the opposition. The Yoruba heroes are Ebenezer Babatope, Bode George, Ayo Fayose, Richard Akinjide, Iyiola Omisore, Ogunewe and Fatusi, among others. Thank you once again.

Dr. Ken Ezugwu. 08096018895

Igbo miscalculated

I do not share your defence of the Igbo voting pattern. The Yoruba stick to an opposition party and use it as a platform to align or negotiate for political position/power sharing deal in an open manner. On the other hand, the Igbo could not forge any formidable front, either in APGA or PDP. What you have was a coalition of personal interest with no articulate agenda to canvas for an Igbo Presidency. They aligned with the dubious self-serving agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan cabal with no clear understanding of power sharing arrangement. The North and South West aren't naïve to politics and so took advantage of this. The Igbo certainly miscalculated and extended their chances by another 16 years. You guys are reading things differently.

A. Abba, Kaduna. 08036465434

Re: APC and the politics of next Senate President

Keep your advice

Why are you crying more than the bereaved? Who are you to now offer APC advice on how to pick Senate President? Nigerian media, NBA, NLC and Nigerians should seriously campaign against jumping from office to National Assembly by our ex-governors and co without first of all giving account of their stewardship and be probed. It is deceitful and wicked to do so! And government at all levels should stop giving appointment to anybody who fails election. All these are manipulation of morality and justice, and above all playing in Nigerians' collective intelligence. Romanus Ndehigwo, Idiroko, Ogun State, 08057123287

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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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