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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nigeria has not treated Igbo fairly -Ugwu-Oju …Launches book on Ojukwu's dad

By Chidi Nnadi, Enugu

Recently, the cream of Igbo entrepreneurs and elite gathered in Enugu for the presentation of a book: "In Quest of Perpetuity," a bio-sketch of the late Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was a foremost African entrepreneur.

The event tagged "Enugu 2015 Ndigbo and Entrepreneurship" anchored by the President of South-East, South-South Professionals, Mr Emeka Ugwu-Oju, was held at the Dome.
Ugwu-Oju took time after the launch to field questions from newsmen on the book presentation, the Igbo nation, the protests by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and governance in Igbo land. Excerpt:

The book presentation
The book was launched in November but then we needed to do a bit more in terms of letting the entire country, especially the Igbo nation, know more about the late Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu because sometimes we don't seem to remember people in the past, but if you don't remember the past, you won't be able to figure your way out in the future.
So, that led to my desire to go beyond the book launch to give some presentations on his life. So, the leaders in various sectors should try and present the book to the general public so that we shall know more about the man.

We wanted to have it in Igbo land, South-East, South-South and Nigeria. But down the line the concept changed a bit. Instead of it being a standalone, we now looked for something that is sustainable which now led to the book presentation, market road competition and the issue of public-private sector interactive session for the development of Ala Igbo.
That became the three modules which we now christened Ndigbo and Entrepreneurship and the first was what we held in Enugu. So, we are looking at annually or biannually for staging this event.

The inaugural event
I will give the inaugural event a pass mark and definitely, we will improve in the subsequent editions. With regards to the book presentation, I will say that the book has just been formally presented to the Igbo nation by no less a personality than the socio-cultural leader of the Igbo nation, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo Igariwey ably supported by the South-East governors and many other Igbo entrepreneurs.
I think the objective has been achieved. The four states, Enugu, Abia, Imo and Ebonyi, the leadership of these states were represented. We thank God that it has happened and we still had a reasonable attendance. The key objectives were achieved with regards to the presentation.

Then there was the interactive session of the public-private sector. We had good representation from the public sector side. And we have certain things that we can run with even if we achieve only one and that is the issue of gas utilization in the South-East. Whether people like it or not, it is a major driver of our development.
And Prof Ezigbo who has done a lot in that area happened to be one of the panelists. The concept we have was how we can utilize our gas becausewe are not getting much development from that.

Most times our problem is the roads or the Federal Government, to do this or that. But there is a whole lot to be gained if all the South-East states come together and buy the essence of this interactive session because at least we now have a road map. It is now left for everybody to come together and say, let's make this road map work.
While waiting for the Federal Government, we can do this on our own. That is a major actionable point with regards to the development of Ala Igbo.

What entrepreneurship is all about
Entrepreneurship is not trading. Entrepreneurship is the ability of an individual to say I want to set up an industry. I want to buy and sell. I want to run a school that will deliver this and that. I don't have to wait for anybody. That is what entrepreneurship is all about.
It is not about trading only. So, when you talk about Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu, he was the person who founded the Nigerian Stock Exchange. That is why it is good for people to know him. Yes, he might have been known as a major transporter. But then, as an entrepreneur, he knew when to diversify, when to look at other opportunities.

That was why he knew that a capitalist economy cannot move without a stock exchange and he co-founded the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He was chairman of the board of most of the leading corporations in Nigeria at that time because he saw the stock trading, owning shares and so on and so forth. So, it is that trait of not accepting failure that drives entrepreneurship and it is known among the Igbo.

That is why we have it in this 2015 edition, being innovative, daring and industrious. So that is part of why we are trying to get people to really know more about the meaning of entrepreneurship and why it should be the major driver of the growth of our people.
You remember when we are talking about gas utilization, for instance, we can't be waiting for the Federal Government to do everything. When that happens, it kills the initiative because everybody is waiting for the Federal Government. But in entrepreneurship, you don't wait for anybody. Do the one you can.

I think I will talk for now as the President of South-East/South-South Professionals. Just like the Imeobi of Ohanaeze will meet, then a more enlarged General Assembly of South-East/South-South Professionals will meet to give a formal view on that. But right now, I can say that what we see going on is an expression of freedom of speech which we totally support because we believe that if there is no freedom of speech, then we don't have a country. So, we are not against anybody saying he wants this or he wants that provided it is done in a manner that doesn't go against the law. In other words I don't think people should be carrying arms or inconveniencing others. 

In UK, you can go to the park and say whatever you want to say provided you are not threatening or speaking against your neighbour. So, I think the agitators are very well within their rights to do that once they don't infringe on other people's freedom. That is why we have a problem about certain reactions we are getting about this Biafra thing. You hear the former leaders of the country saying Biafra, the people who haven't seen war, they want to do this. I don't know what that has to do with people who said they want freedom, equality, justice and development. It is the same thing that the so-called Biafrans are saying that they want. And that is why I am shocked at the way we are addressing this matter. Nigeria is not giving many people freedom, it is not giving them equity nor justice, it is not giving them development and we keep quiet about it.

 What is it that you are looking for in Biafra that you can't get in Nigeria? The same Nigerians say they don't need Biafra because they are saying, this is what we want; this is what we are looking for. The point is that, if we go about it without looking at what these people are saying, is it right or not? And that is engagement and that is dialogue. If you read the letter, the South-East/South-South Professionals wrote to the current president on how we see some of his comments and actions..., there are certain things the Igbo people tend to believe but I am one of those who don't believe in crying about marginalization. I believe you should take your destiny in your own hands and that is how I want a lot of people to be. But having said that, you have to look at the reality, I mean the facts. Have the Nigerian state treated the Igbo fairly? Of course, there are some blames about the development of Igbo land that lies squarely on the shoulders of the Igbo and they should be held responsible for that. So, saying that we lost the war so to say, and certain things are being done. 

That was why even those people would say that the last president, Jonathan, did not build some of the infrastructure that is in Igbo land. But many Igbo feel rightly and psychologically okay, he did a lot because he made Igbo feel that there is no barrier to what they can be. They can be coordinating ministers of the economy and Chief of Army Staff which before then was not so. And the new president, whether by act of commission or omission has reversed all that. That is why during his first six days in office, there was not a single Igbo person that has anything to do with government except if we say that we have Engr. Emordi as Permanent Secretary in the State House who immediately after this has been removed. And we made that point that if you want a true federation, everybody has to have a sense of belonging. And some people will say, leave the president, he can decide to run the country with only his family. 
I said all well and good, but we are a federation. And what makes a federation works is that you have to have that sense of a federation. So factually there have been certain things showing that the Nigerian state has treated the Igbo not the way they should have been treated. When you go to the different sectors, the Igbo have not got what they should have got. It looks like that you are an appendage to the government of this country, and that might also help reinforce the feeling of if they don't want us in Nigeria, let us have our own Biafra where we can have our destiny in our own hands.

Governance in South-East and Igbo leaders not performing
I don't totally buy that view. Yes, they might not have been at their best but I know that somebody like Dr Chris Ngige tried a lot. Then Peter Obi tried too. Even though that some people complained that he is a micro-manager or this or that, but you could see the difference. Anambra State has the best road network in the whole of Southern Nigeria even though the landmark is not that big. I know that Sullivan Chime, at least, in his first term, tried. He did quite a whole lot in terms of moving Enugu State to the next level. So, it could have been much better but you can't just say there was no good governance in Igbo nation since 1999. And you need to think based on their limitations because at the end of the day, governance is about incentive. 

I think one of the best things that have happened to the South-East is the way the elections are done because before, there was no accountability so to say. Then, once they promise you a ticket, you are returned to governance whether you did well or not. But now, any governor that doesn't deliver, goes. So, there is an incentive in not having power at the centre and maybe controlling police and INEC. Hopefully, we are having an independent INEC, then there will be more accountability. Because if you don't have to perform to be re-elected or even to be elected at the first instance, then it becomes like a private property. But I think with what is going on, more power in the hands of the people, they can use their power to work for change and not be looking for handouts.

No comments:


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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