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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Who becomes new Igbo leader?

There is no better time to ask the above question than now considering the new dimension Nigeria's political life has assumed and the new challenges facing the Igbo ethnic nationalities.

Sadly, since the demise of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, it has not been easy for Igbo to recognise another leader to give them direction and motivate them to continue to trudge along regardless of the mounting challenges facing them.
The periods before, during and after Nigeria's independence witnessed a plethora of leaders for the various ethnic groups in Nigeria.
In truth, there is no ethnic group that can muster sufficient clout in any nation to assert itself, especially in a heterogeneous society as ours, without a visionary and courageous leader.

From time immemorial, choosing a leader has always posed a problem to Igbo, to the extent that it is widely believed that it would be difficult for them to accept to be under anybody's leadership. The axiom Igbo enwe eze (literally meaning Igbo have no king) took its root from this reasoning. The closest Igbo came to having an anointed leader was when the Great Zik of Africa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, returned from Pennsylvania, United States of America, in 1934, to join the independence struggle.

Contrary to the expectations of Igbo that Zik would emerge and operate as a parochial and clannish leader, he instead took a Pan-African posture. His reasoning, actions and utterances were skewed toward achieving the ultimate goal of uniting the whole of Africa and building bridges across tribes, religions and states. His fame spanned every length and breadth of the world. There is hardly any part of the globe that does not recognise the role this great son of Nigeria played in the integration of Africa into the international sphere and space. Even his death has not diminished his stature or status globally.

No wonder his life has remained a case study in many tertiary institutions across the world. At Pennsylvania University, where he lectured for many years, he towers like a colossus, even in death.

Indeed, the tenure of Zik as President, instead of particularly advancing the interests of Igbo furthered the overall interest and sovereignty of the Nigerian nation, which he loved with immeasurable passion. Even in the build-up to the pogrom of 1966 – that led to the massacre of Igbo – Zik maintained a non-partisan and neutral position. He rather strove after the unity and peace of Nigeria. This position attracted to him scorn from some of his people.

Though he was highly rated and respected among Igbo, this did not make him a truly Igbo leader. So, Igbo continued their search for a real leader that would meet their aspirations as a people and promote their interests in a complex nation as Nigeria.

Curiously, at this critical time, other tribes such as Yoruba and Hausa had had instituted leaderships led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo (former Premier of Western Nigeria) and Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto and former Premier of Northern Nigeria) respectively. The culture of political suaveness and dexterity they stood for is still dominant in their respective regions till this day. Probably, this accounts for the advantage both regions have had over other regions, especially the South East geopolitical Zone that has found it gruelling to find its feet in Nigeria's political space. As expected, some critics of Igbo origin have constantly blamed this on Zik's over-compromising politics.

Yoruba place in Nigeria's socio-political development has been quite pivotal, placing them at a strategic position for survival. While other tribes are running helter-skelter, seeking solution to their endemic marginalization, Yoruba will be celebrating the 107th anniversary of the birth of their life leader, Chief Awolowo! That is the beauty of the leadership thrust of the famed late Yoruba leader.

Nevertheless, the real test for Igbo unity and identity came when they were faced with annihilation in the mid-60s. They desperately wanted a leader to take them out of the land of 'Egypt' into the 'Promise Land'. They looked toward the east, west, north and south for a Messiah, but none came. Fearing that his people might be wiped out of the face of the earth Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was moved to take up the leadership gauntlet to fight for the emancipation of his people from internal colonialism and neo-imperialism.

The desire to lead Igbo was a personal critical choice made entirely by Ojukwu himself. He was neither goaded nor coerced. He assessed himself very critically and felt he fitted into the picture of an emerging Igbo leader. His interest in the leadership of Igbo was not for personal gains, but it was borne out of exigency. What would a graduate of History from the prestigious Oxford University, United Kingdom, and son of a multibillionaire businessman be doing with the leadership of a people thought to be inexorably complex?

In any case, the attitude of Ojukwu to the Igbo Project was one totally opposed to self-aggrandisement and self-glorification. He was unwaveringly committed to the freedom of his people and the carving out of an identity for which they would be recognised and respected. It was in strict pursuit of this agenda that he led them to a 30-month civil war of liberation from annihilation. The choice to go to war was the only option available to him at the time. It took a man of Ojukwu's clout and courage to lead a complex and ambivalent race as Igbo to war, without any opposition. Those opposed to war, in whatever guise, did that surreptitiously as they lacked the boldness to withstand the unison of Igbo to defend themselves.

It could, therefore, be said that Ojukwu defied the age-long attitude of Igbo not to subject themselves to the leadership of one man. Again, the war has torn to shreds the thinking that Igbo are difficult to lead.

What however distinguished Ojukwu and reduced opposition to his leadership was his intellectualism, simplicity, sincerity of purpose, the popularity and wealth of his father, courage, vision and military background. Ojukwu was many things rolled into one, yet he was unassuming and urbane. Even though the war was a very difficult one to prosecute, Ojukwu still managed to keep his nation afloat, despite the sophistication of the enemy's weaponry and allies.

It is not arguable that only a few tribes could face the adversities Igbo faced during the war and still live to tell the story.

Contrary to the views in some quarters, it was not a stupid thing for Igbo to have gone to war. This is why up till today Igbo are united in the approval and support they gave Ojukwu during the war. This position has been vindicated by the national burial accorded Ojukwu by the Federal Government, and the utterances by some prominent Nigerians on the death of the Ikemba. For instance, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite said bluntly during the day of honour for Ojukwu organized in Lagos as one of the events lined up for the burial, that Ojuwku did not secede, rather that it was circumstances that compelled him to do so. Circumstances beyond his control definitely. Who would be in Ojukwu's shoes and fold his hands while his people were being massacred? Some top personalities have confirmed they would do the same thing if they found themselves in a similar situation.

All that happened during and after Ojukwu's death and burial underscored one point: that Ojukwu was great in life and death. The whole animosity against him for taking Igbo to war had been thrown to the dogs, because of the outpouring of grief from even unusual quarters since his death.

The greatness of Ojukwu in death was succinctly captured by former President Goodluck Jonathan at Nnewi on the day Ojukwu's remains were being interred. Overwhelmed by the large turn-out of people the President confessed that he had never witnessed the kind of burial accorded Ojukwu. The President was absolutely right. I made the same point in my piece at the time, in which I stated that the only burial that could come close to Ojukwu's was Zik's. Even at that, Zik's funeral was not as elaborate and celebratory as Ojuwku's. Ojukwu's doubled as a funeral and celebration of life.

The question now is: "Who then does the cap fit?" "Who is fit and proper to succeed Ojukwu as the leader of Igbo?" This question has become imperative now that there is a wide vacuum created by the exit of Ojukwu. Another question that should be answered as well is: "Why was nobody groomed as a natural successor to Ojukwu?" Yoruba, for instance, had the same problem after the death of Chief Awolowo in 1987. But the difference between Zik and Awo is that, while Yoruba see Awo as their leader unto death and after death Igbo have almost forgotten everything about Zik. The desolate state of Zik's Mausoleum (his final resting place) in Onitsha is a pointer to how much reverence Igbo have for him!

I find it inexplicable that the mausoleum would remain in its present state when there are numerous billionaires in Igboland. Why have we not come together to get the place completed instead of waiting for the Federal Government to do so?

After the death of Awo, Chief Abraham Adesanya emerged as the acclaimed leader of Yoruba. His tenure was characterised by crises among key Yoruba cultural and political organisations, making it difficult for him to wield as much influence as Awo. Nonetheless, after Adesanya's death and up till now, Yoruba are yet to formally nominate a successor. But since nature abhors a vacuum, a leader in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has stepped in. The exploits of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which he led and the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he leads tell the whole story. The clean sweep, except in Ondo State, of elective positions by the ACN in the 2011 elections shows that the party had its hegemony in the west. What of the unexpected performance of APC in the 2015 general election where the party won the Presidency and several state governments?
It is the political sagacity of Tinubu that made all that possible. Who then can say Yoruba have no leader?

Is the same picture obtainable in the South East where Ojukwu trod like a colossus? Despite Ojukwu's fabled fame, he could not do much to unite Igbo politically. I must confess that I was surprised at the tumultuous reception accorded Ojuwku wherever his body was taken to. If Igbo had shown him the same solidarity politically, probably Igbo would have been better off. In 2007 elections - of the four states up for grabs - APGA (led by Ojuwku won only one state - Imo) while PDP won the other three. Generally considered, while PDP controlled three states (Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi), APGA controlled two States (Anambra and Imo). Later Rochas Okorocha dumped APGA and defected to APC. Who knows what would have happened in 2015 if the Ikemba had been alive?

The truth of the matter is that Igbo are not united in the pursuit of their common good. Politically they have not fared better. This is what has worked against their constant effort to re-launch themselves into the political mainstream. Those who divide Igbo do so capitalising on their political naivety. It is generally believed that it will be difficult for Igbo to build a united front to achieve their political goals.

What this translates to is that whoever will be chosen to lead Igbo after Ojukwu must have both political and economic clout to be able to address the emerging challenges in our political life. It may be difficult - almost impossible - to get another Ojukwu, at least not in this era, but it is possible to get somebody who will give Igbo a new character and identity, if the search for a successor is diligently done.

There is no question that successor-materials abound everywhere in Igboland, but no machinery has been put in place to achieve it. As usual, agents of darkness will work against this as well. This is why Igbo should rise at this critical time and take their destiny in their own hands. It will amount to sheer illusion if they think somebody else will do it for them. They should build on the solidarity and goodwill gained from Ojukwu's exploits to launch into prominence.

What Igbo do not need at this time is unnecessary animosity and hatred. There is an urgent need for them to come together and marshal out plans on how to attract more amenities to Igboland, build a solid political base, and safeguard themselves from intimidation and annihilation wherever they may reside.

I felt very bad when Igbo were killed by Boko Haram in the north. As peaceful and forward looking people they did not retaliate. As much as Igbo are peaceful and law-abiding their rights and personality cannot be trampled upon.

The time has come for Igbo youth, elders, men and women to stand and be counted in the effort to choose a courageous, credible and confident leader to succeed Ojukwu. Delay, they say, is dangerous. 2019 is by the corner, and there is a compelling need to ensure that the stage is set on time. The mistakes of the past should be consigned to the bowels of history. All aggrieved persons should bury their hatchet and work for the peace, unity and progress of Igboland.

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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