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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Throwing lavish party for the dead

Twitter @okeyndibe
~The SUN Nigeria. Tuesday, December 6, 2016.
I have said this before: One of the hardest tasks is to predict how Nigerians would react in any given situation. We are a perplexing bunch, able to defy the most skilled pontificator.

Imagine, then, my constant frustration. As one who has written for years on Nigerian affairs, I am often asked-both by audiences in Nigeria and abroad-to pronounce on the likely turn of events in my country of birth.

Often, in a mood of humility, I give the only response that makes sense. I confess that I don't know. I tell the inquirer that Nigeria is a puzzle, a phenomenon whose behavior no human can anticipate or predict with high confidence. Sometimes, when I speak in this vein, I provoke laughter in the audience. Those listening to me appear to think I'm joking, and if not speaking in jest, that I am a man who has cultivated great modesty.

They seem to believe that my plea constitutes evidence of an expert deliberately posturing as an ignoramus. At any rate, they regard me as one who is possessed of insights he would not-for whatever reason-share.

Of course, it's not always that I hearken to the inner voice of wisdom. Sometimes pride kicks in, and I succumb to its temptation. I seek to leave the audience with the impression that I know what I don't know. Fueled by a particular sense of vanity, I venture forth with a categorical statement on how a particular matter would play out in Nigeria. I go to town. I weigh in; I play prognosticator; I make declarations.

In effect, I put on the mask of an expert (a being who, according to a joke my father-in-law relished telling, is somebody who can mislead you with confidence). When seized by that urge to play an expert, I wont to tell an audience that, given a set of circumstances, this or that was bound to happen in Nigeria.

Audiences like that version of me better. People don't enthusiastically leave their homes to go and listen to a person who vacillates or hedges. Often, audiences relish the sense that they are in the presence of an all-knowing savant. They crave direct answers, not equivocation. They treasure certitude in a speaker, not a habit of waffling.

That's why, even though I know better, I sometimes take the incautious step of predicting Nigeria. I'm tempted to do so because I reckon that the expert pose delights the audience, whether it be a lone interviewer or a gathering at a university or library. Tell us how the saga of the missing Chibok girls will end, they ask. How will Nigeria's current economic crisis affect Nigerians' response to political corruption? I hear the questions; I know that the honest answer is, I can't tell. Yet, sometimes, I don't feel strong enough to offer that honest, but disappointing, response. So: I go ahead and fudge an answer. The words come across as coherent, the answer compelling, even though I know it's little more than perfumed nonsense.

• I do it, that is, pronounce on the enigma called Nigeria, because a part of me wants to believe that Nigeria should be knowable and predictable to a certain degree. And whenever I declaim confidently on Nigeria, I delight my audience. I can read their approval in their facial expression, a sense of satisfaction. I can tell when an audience marvels at my brilliance, grateful for what they take-mistake-for my expertise. And because I can see it so clearly, I experience a shattering sensation of guilt after each occasion of playing the expert.

I might as well confess again: Nigeria confounds me. And one reason this is so is that, in numerous situations, Nigerians appear to act in ways best described (since I wish to avoid using the word illogical) as counter-intuitive. I'd offer two quick examples.

Despite all the petro dollars that have passed through Nigeria, most Nigerians live in excruciating poverty. The monthly minimum wage is N18,000, a sum that is now less than $50. That's the entirety of what some workers are paid-to cover rent, food, clothing, their children's school supplies, transportation. Even worse, there are millions of workers who get paid much less than that paltry minimum. You'd think, then, that

Nigerians would be outraged when their politicians loot millions (sometimes billions) of dollars. Instead, many of the destitute Nigerians rush to venerate thieving politicians, especially if the thieftains happen to be from the same ethnicity, local government area, or faith. They translate and inflate the politicians' most pedestrian actions (e.g. the payment of salaries or the building of roads) into staggering accomplishment. "Governor So-so and So is doing well; he pays salaries," you'd hear it said. Forget that the said governor may be hauling away hundreds of millions each month.

A few weeks ago, a major Nigerian pastor whose mega-church owns a university, warned critics of the university's fee hike to hush up. In a statement, the pastor said God was involved in fixing the fees. "The school fees has God's approval and is in accordance with the quality of facilities provided," claimed the churchman. He then warned that those who persisted as critics risked divine ire, including being afflicted with halitosis.

You'd think that church members and other Christians would be ashamed by the pastor's ludicrous claim. The portrait painted of God here is so farcical and absurd. Picture God asking Saint Peter to fetch the file for a university. Then, after hard thinking, God did not decree free education; did not decide on a reduction of fees in view of Nigeria's harsh economic climate. Rather, God said, let's do the most sensible and divine thing: a dramatic increase in school fees!

During my recent visit to Nigeria, I was catching up with a few friends when the subject of funerals came up. These friends took turns telling me that spending obscene sums on funerals had become the latest craze in parts of Nigeria, especially in Igboland. I heard that bereaved families now compete on pulling off the most expensive funerals-complete with live music performances, wild animal exhibits, and waltzing pallbearers.

How could this be happening in a time of such debilitating economic difficulty, I asked?

"O kitaa ka eji ama onye bu onye," one of my friends explained (a loose translation:

"This is when you know who is who). It did not make sense to me. I asked numerous questions, but there was no answer. As VS Naipaul might have put it, the situation is what it is.

The situation is that men and women, ostensibly sane, have decided that throwing the most lavish parties for the dead should be the new mode of bragging. Regardless of the festering economic crisis in the country, regardless of the hordes of unemployed youngsters in the country, regardless of the thinning hope and burgeoning despair in the and-some people have figured that the most sensible thing to do is stage contests for the most gaudy, expensive and spectacular funeral.

How does one even begin to unpack this bizarre development? If there's an expert somewhere who can make sense of this ghastly phenomenon, a sage who understands what this all means, I'm right here, waiting: do please give me a call.

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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