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Saturday, June 27, 2015
Ndi-Igbo: Past, present, future–What is your fate?
After our casual discussion on the phone, I went home with mixed emotions about the myriad of Igbo issues. On one hand, I reminisced about the pre-civil war status of the Igbo, including all the cultural variables that formed who we were. It was a scintillating feeling indeed. On the other hand, I became nauseated with not only the ailing condition and well-being of the Igbo in Nigeria today, but also with the vivid image of the portentous nature of the survival of the next generation of the Igbo. As I was brooding over some ideas to help alleviate the problems, I reflected on my 2004 New Year message to Ndi Igbo in the Diaspora, which is aptly relevant today. Here are the excerpts: We are ushering in the new year with a great deal of optimism that tomorrow will be far more appealing than the present or yesterday.
We are hopeful that a lasting peace would ensue among Ndi- Igbo. At the same time, Nigeria should rid herself of tribalism, nepotism, and corruption because they are inimical to economic growth. I encourage all Nigerians to embrace all the legitimate and prudent reform efforts of the federal government in 2004 . I beseech all Nigerians to drop their corrupt and venal tendencies and imbibe honesty and accountability in their daily activities so that the Nigerian economy would improve for everyone.
Well, in the mist of ebullient feeling that we are entering the New Year, we will be mindful of the fact that 2003 witnessed some undesirable mélange of problems for and among the Igbo. We witnessed in 2003 series of political miscalculations, deplorable South East roads, political instability in Ala Igbo, disunity among the Igbo, corruption, dishonest leadership, alarming level of poverty, increased level of Igbo marginalisation in the hands of federal government, increased level of resentment of the Igbo by other ethnic groups and the list goes on. It has never been more ominous than now the changing attitude Igbo youths have toward education.
The negative impact of this phenomenon on the future of the Igbo in the Nigerian body polity should not be overemphasized. It aches my heart that many of the above problems will continue. However, we have to get ourselves to overcome this malaise by changing our value system in the form of moral regeneration.
Our past leaders, including some of our present leaders, have not only eloquently enunciated our problems, but have contributed a great deal to uplift the Igbo. The following individuals, in no small measure, contributed their own share in the past: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Kingsley Mbadiwe, Dr. Michael I. Okpara, Dr. Nwafor Orizu, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Major General Chukwuma Nzeogwu, General Philip Efiong, Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu, and others. Similarly, a few Igbo leaders alive have contributed tremendously to uplifting the Igbo.
Our position in Nigeria in the pre-civil war era was admirable. Now, this is a different era and the Igbo are suffering all kinds of discriminatory actions in the hands of the federal government. The Igbo, as a people, have been consistently and systematically marginalized in Nigeria. It would take a whole book to serialize the marginalization of the Igbo and the consequent economic, political, and psychological effects on the Igbo. It is now that some people are beginning to realize that Igbo marginalization is a structured part of the institutional architecture of the nation called Nigeria. For instance, as recent as few days ago, Mr. Ishaya Akau, National Chairman of NASC, unilaterally disqualified the three South East candidates for the position of secretary of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) in preference to the two northern candidates. Perhaps, it is pertinent to know that the Danzaki Committee had already recommended the following five candidates for the position: Mrs. S. E. Chijioke, a lawyer by profession, (Abia State), M. J. Yusuf (Kogi State), Prof. W. E. Herbert (Abia State), Mrs. M. V. Mbu (Imo State), a lawyer by profession, and Mr. S. Ibrahim (Niger).
The only reason Mr. Akau had the alacrity to maliciously and discriminatorily drop the South East candidates in violation of the Federal Character Principle was that he would not account to anyone and the Igbo are perceived to be dispensable. It appears that this is a pattern already established by Mr. Akau since a complaint was leveled against him in August 2003 by two South East commissioners, Chief Okorafor and Chief Eze Nwenyi, for discriminating against the Igbo in the recruitment process of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC). Compatriots, I brought this incident to show how widespread the Igbo are being marginalized in every facet of Nigerian government and Nigerian economy. This is a salient example of what the Igbo are facing in Nigeria.
It is no longer enough to identify our problems; it is not sufficient to cry for marginalization; it is rather a necessity for all well-meaning Igbo, men and women, boys and girls, young and old, to work diligently to reclaim their heritage-to reclaim their past glory and transform it into a common denominator of the current era.
However, we must first of all formulate a new direction by deriving a constructive and consensus Igbo agenda replete with ideological underpinnings. Prior to embarking on this exercise, we must enshrine honesty, trust, unity, integrity, accountability, etc. in our value system. In other words, we must change our attitude and behavior individually to focus on collective interest of the Igbo. It would be a fatal mistake to ignore the urgency of the moment. The Igbo are in danger of being exterminated politically and economically in Nigeria. Are we going to let it happen before our eyes? Or are we going to fight against it within the parameters of the law? We have to collectively work feverishly to assert ourselves and reclaim the things that have been taken away from us. We are now placed in a historic position to do something. With this historic position comes a tremendous responsibility of an immense magnitude.
It is both our individual and collective responsibility to ensure that Igbo marginalization ceases henceforth. We must demand that all the vestiges of marginalization be obliterated and all the wrongs redressed. I personally and strongly encourage those on the ground to have courage in making public those discriminatory practices against the Igbo so that they can be documented for the world to see.
THE IGBO RANT
BIBLICAL TRADITIONS OF NDI IGBO BEFORE THE MISSIONARIES CAME TO AFRICA* IGBO 101.
THE IGBO TRIBE AND ITS FEAR OF EXTINCTION
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.
RT. HON. DR. NNAMDI AZIKIWE TO DR. CHUBA OKADIGBO (1981)
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