Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect.
We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves (U. Thant)
- The general Igbo philosophy of "onye ahala nwanne ya (to be our brothers/sisters keepers) changed after the war and now the mentality is that of "survival of the fittest, or, the end justifies the means". Now, it's the "dog eat dog" world in Igboland as everybody is on his or her own. Ndiigbo had the mindset of "igwee bu ike (together we are stronger)", but, since after the war, the new mantra is "otu onye anasi nnoo (one person that's stronger than many)". It's now "me-against-the-others" instinct rather than "all for one, and one for all" it used to be. After the war, the "mine is yours and yours is mine" attitude Ndiigbo were known for hitherto, was replaced by "mine is mine and yours can be mine also" summed up as sin of greed (covetousness and materialism unheard of before)
- Now, Ndiigbo have virtually accepted 419 as a way of life, in that it's no longer how a person makes money that's important, but, that he or she has it. Anybody who made it, even through dubious means, is hailed as being "wise". Quite different from how it was before. Now, Igboland is the homeland of criminals of all shades: Armed robbery and kidnapping have been rampant over there, more than in any other part of Nigeria. The youths have no respect for the elders and what matters most, now, is wealth. It wasn't so before. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) noted this point when he wrote "For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." Just an instance to buttress this point: We just read, from the Sun Newspapers, how a gang of armed robbers invaded the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba on May 10, 2012. According to the Paper "When they gained access inside the health facility, the robbers posed as pastors from a Pentecostal church before robbing their victims. The robbers had, on the fateful night, raided the labour room and two other departments at the hospital, dispossessing women in the labour room, other patients and staff of the hospital of their personal belongings including cash, handsets and jewellery. The robbers, numbering about five, entered into the teaching hospital through the fence bordering the facility with a hotel located behind the health institution at the Eziukwu Road end. They were said to have made straight for the Central Delivery Unit (CDU), where they forced pregnant women who were inside the labour room and others waiting within the unit to be delivered of their babies, to lie face down on the floor.
- The robbers, as a means of having their way without much ado, deployed deceptive tactics which caught the nurses on night duty and patients with their pants down. As they entered the ward, the criminals pretended to be pastors who had come to help the women in prayers. They were indeed leading the unsuspecting staff and patients in prayers when all of a sudden, they brought out their guns and ordered their victims to lie down. The robbers then proceeded to rob the women of their personal belongings including cash, handsets and jewellery.
- Today, Igbo elders are selling their conscience for money and are no longer saying or standing for the truth. And, Igbo traditional rulers are now errand boys to politicians and have debased the traditional institution for pittance. It wasn't like that before.
- The Igbo political class are amongst the most corrupt and clueless ones in Nigeria. Igboland is the most undeveloped, infrastructural speaking, in Nigeria. There's no love lost between the Igbo politicians as they hate and work against each other. Think about how Governor T.A. Orji of Abia State sacked all Igbo non-indigenes from the state public service. And today, Governor Orji "is at war" with the hardworking Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State. Instead of the south-east governors to work together for the good of the zone, they're busy hating themselves. Only the zone suffers from such interpersonal animosity and disagreements. The presidential ambition of Onyeigbo may be a pipe dream till further notice, if there's no change of attitude by Igbo politicians and people.
- Abroad, the stories are the same: Igbo marriages are the most unstable and divorce rate amongst Ndiigbo in North America and Europe is second to no other Nigerian or African tribe. Numerically, Igbo women are the highest single mothers in Europe and North America vis-à-vis other women from other Nigerian tribes. For every three Nigerians in foreign jails, for financial crimes, two of them must be Ndiigbo. Many of the drug couriers and peddlers in Nigeria and abroad are Ndiigbo. Majority of those on death row or those already hanged in Asian countries or those in jails in the Americas or all over Europe, for drug related offences, are Ndiigbo. Igbo meetings and organizations have been turned into places for insult, fighting, settling personal scores, display of wealth, new car, new clothes etc. If in doubt, ask WIC members! Igbo meetings are breaking up everywhere; even some members have taken Igbo meetings' problems to courts. Suffice it to say that Ndiigbo are finding it hard to organize themselves, and, unity and peace amongst them are becoming far-fetched. Ndiigbo abroad are even worse than those at home; they have imported all the odious traits from the homeland to their foreign abode, and had them (those ugly traits) refined in worse ways. When a corrupt politician visits from the homeland, the foreign based Ndiigbo will be falling over themselves to get his or her complimentary card/connection, making merry with the corrupt politician, without condemning his or her corrupt tendencies. Ndiigbo abroad tend to protect and defend the corrupt politicians from their areas, or their benefactor, but, would condemn similar corrupt politician from another area. Those Ndiigbo, supporting the corrupt politicians, will be the first to bemoan the condition of things in Alaigbo.
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) might have summed up the condition of Ndiigbo today when he wrote that "The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice." On personal levels, Ndiigbo are successful, but, why hasn't that transcended into the political, moral and political emancipation of the ethnic group? Ndiigbo have suffered, and are suffering, and will continue to suffer unless they come together, as one, to help themselves. Sorry to say it; Ndiigbo are greedy, they don't like to build, but, love to reap where they didn't sow. Many Ndiigbo don't want their brothers or sisters to progress more than him or her. During the war, destruction and suffering were unleashed on Ndiigbo and even with the "no victor, no vanquished" slogan after the war, Ndiigbo are not emancipated in today's Nigeria. The Nigerian state will never give Ndiigbo the chance to participate fully in Nigerian politics, unless Ndiigbo get their act together and then convince the other tribes that it's time for Ndiigbo to call the shot, 'cause playtime is over. But will Ndiigbo ever unite with a sense of purpose? They must, or else, they will continue to lose. Because, those on the other side are deceitful! Today, Gowon is twisting the civil war stories to his favour since Ojukwu is no longer there to challenge the distortion of facts.
- "Just as Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 -1896), in little Foxes, wrote that "The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone", many Ndiigbo are crying more than others about Ojukwu's death, because, of what he failed to do. Ojukwu lived a fulfilled life no doubt, and that's why he's being celebrated all over the world. But he failed many of us in one aspect or another. Ojukwu said in Owerri in 2010 "I ask myself on a daily basis whether Ndiigbo fully understand the cause, essence and import of the war, where we defended ourselves to the admiration of the world against a senseless pogrom. I have therefore decided that my full story on that war shall be told this year, by me, in a book, so that future generations and all who like us and even those who do not like us, shall appreciate that Ndiigbo are nation-builders not nation-wreckers, but that the strong Igbo moral sense, handed down to us by our ancestors, will always resent and rebel against injustice, inequity and mindless blood-letting". From the quote, one can deduce that Ojukwu promised to write a book about the war as what's in public domain is only speculation or second hand stories or information. We were hoping to read it all straight from the horse's mouth, but, that will never happen. Ojukwu is gone and is being buried with all the information about the war, so he denied us the authentic facts about the war. Hopefully, the other principal actor during the war, General Yakubu Gowon, will write a book, from his own perspective, before he dies as time is no longer on his side (although there will be no one to ascertain or dispute the accuracy of the facts with the death of Ojukwu).
- Also, Ojukwu failed to groom a successor just as Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges wrote that "As a servant leader the way you serve the vision is by developing people so that they can work on that vision even when you're not around. The ultimate sin of an effective servant leader is what happens when you are not there. That was the power of Jesus' leadership - the leaders He trained, went on to change the world when He was no longer with them in bodily form."
- Jim Loehr wrote that "The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership". Sadly, Ojukwu didn't achieve his ambition of liberating his people from the clutches of the oppressors and murderers during the Biafran war, despite all he sacrificed. Ojukwu said, in 2009 in Rhodes Island, United States, during the Chinua Achebe's lecture, that he will not die until Biafra is liberated; unfortunately death was stronger as he didn't live to see that ambition achieved. The worst is that there's no hope in the horizon for Ndiigbo to be emancipated too soon, there's nobody out there to take over from Ojukwu, he fought and has dropped the gauntlet, but, front and back, there's none to pick it up. Unless there are ethical and moral regeneration in Igboland; unless there are the reinforcement of Igbo value system and the remoulding of Ndiigbo's mindset and attitudes to create a civilized society, their emancipation may be far off. Unless the insatiable love for money by many Ndiigbo is contained, there will be nobody like Ojukwu for now or in the near future. Ojukwu once said: "….the answer is that Biafrans don't feel defeated because the war was more about values held dear than mere territory. But I must warn that in recent times, the Igbo have started a process of losing the war as all those values we held dear are being desecrated. Today money rules, giving rise to vices like kidnapping and ritual killings. These are unBiafran!"
we give you thanks for the devotion and courage
of all those who have offered their lives for Biafra:
for those who laid down their lives for others;
for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body;
for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need.
endured separation from those they love,
labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.
and a united will to honor these men and women
and hold them always in our love and our prayers;
until your world is perfected in peace through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.