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Friday, September 25, 2020


 By Mazi Omife I. Omife,  Mbuze Mbaukwu

When Zik, the spirit man, left Onitsha province, Awka District, to Umuahia and appointed Dr. M. I. Okpara as the premier and late Dr.  Akanu Ibiam as the Govenor of Eastern Region of Nigeria, people did not have much qualms about Ibiam. After all, they said, the post of a Governor was a ceremonial one.

 In the case of Okpara, some people were skeptical about his eligibility for the position of premier which was an executive position. In the first place,  people did not know much about him like Dr. J. O. J. Okezie and others associated with  known Zikists and die hard supporters of the great Zik of Africa.

 Secondly, people said he was too fat, which they assumed had something to do with dullness, timidity and lack of leadership charisma, believing that the politics of those days called for a very agile, brave and vibrant person who had the gut to play the hot tribal Nigerian politics of the time and look at other politicians from other regions in the eye without blinking or shying away whenever the situation called for it, which qualities they thought Okpara did not possess, judging by his physical appearance.

 All this while, M. I. Okpara kept his calm and this calmness seemed to give credence to what people were thinking. Could this man carry the cross left behind by the great Zik?

 However, in a short while, the same people began to see the true M. I. Okpara in action as a man of courage, charisma, leadership acumen, patriotism and a leader with full Igbo blood running in his veins.

 Once when late Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo came to the East for political campaign, the Aba boys threw stones at him and his entourage. The story was everywhere. The Western  press was furious in condemning the action. Even the Federal Government of Alhaji Tafewa Balewa condemned it vehemently.

 Before then, an event had been fixed at Ibadan where M. I. Okpara was billed to present a paper and the event was in a month’s time. The then premier of Western region, Sir Akintola, in reaction to the Aba incident, publicly warned Okpara not to set his foot in Ibadan. But M. I. Okpara would not yield to that threat.

 At a stage, the NCNC leaders led a delegation to M. I. Okpara to persuade him not to go to Ibadan. But the Premier insisted. The Yoruba Press which dominated the media space shouted with sensational headlines like, “The end of Nigeria is in sight!”, “Blood will flow in Ibadan” and such screaming  headlines. Even the Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafewa Balewa at a stage pleaded with Zik to go and talk to his boy.

 Zik heeded the Prime Minister’s advice and met Okpara in a one hour closed-door meeting. After the meeting, Zik went back and assured the Prime Minister that M. I. Okpara had agreed to shelve his proposed trip to Ibadan. Everybody was happy and the Yoruba Press showered praises on Okpara for suspending the tour to Ibadan.

 To everyone’s shock and surprise, two days later, M. I. Okpara addressed a press conference at the Enugu Lion building where he insisted on going to Ibadan. There was confusion and apprehension. Awolowo was blowing hot. Akintola was blaring hot. A foreign newspaper published a news report headline, “It’s all over for Nigeria.

 At that time, the police was under the control of the regions. It was within this period that M. I. Okpara created the mobile police and gave them iron caps. Other regions were to follow his initiative later.

 The D-day arrived. M. I. Okpara and his entourage entered Ibadan exactly at the time he had announced. He went straight to the Government House but the premier was not around to receive him. He dropped a message in the visitors’ book.

 The funny thing was that immediately on hearing the noise of Okpara’s entourage, the police men guarding the road all ran into the bush.

 At the end of the visit and M. I. Okpara returned to Enugu, the same western Press began to eulogize him for his courage and referred to him as M. I. Power. That was how Okpara got that nickname.

 Very forceful and outspoken, Dr. Okpara was uncompromising on vital national issues which in 1963 led to a severe strain in relations between his party and the ruling Northern Peoples' with which the NCNC formed the country's first post-independence government. Okpara as the Nigeria’s youngest Premier, protested against the 1962-63 census, challenging the accuracy of the figures which he insisted was manipulated in favour of the North.

 Today, how many of our Igbo governors can boast of this type of courage and audacity to call the bluff of their counterparts in the North and West and even the Federal government when they cross beyond reasonable bounds or when the rights of Igbos are at stake. None, sadly.

 During this time, all the local roads in the Eastern region, even pathways, were well maintained by the local council ‘lebra’ (labourers) introduced by the white men. They were paid daily at the rate one penny per day while the head lebra received two pence daily. Their duty was to ensure all season maintenance of all the local roads that linked various communities.

 Along the line, Green Mbadiwe and his brother F. O. Mbadiwe got a contract engagement at the Nigerian Railways Corporation for the rail road project from the East to the Kaduna and pH. In the course of the job, they made a public advert for causal labourers.

 In those days, the railway corporation was one the highly coveted places to get employment because of the high pay, just like the Central bank. This had a ripple effect on the PWD casual work force which experienced a mass exodus of its casual workers to the railways.

 As a counter strategy to stem the exodus, M. I. Okpara administration approved a wage increase for PWD casual workers, from the previous one penny to three pence daily pay for each labourer and nine pence for head labourers. The new wage increase was widely publicized both in the media using the popular slogan that went viral:

 “Lebra toro toro a day

Onye isi nayi nayi a day”,

 The wage increase achieved its purpose with instant effect as all the casual labourers that  left PWD for railways rushed back to enjoy the new wage bonanza. Talk of administrative ingenuity.

 Meanwhile, at the Railways, Mr F. O. Mbadiwe, the owner of the popular Dayspring Hotels Enugu and father of a former National Assembly member Hon Edie Mbadiwe was known for his stickler for standard and efficiency and labourers who proved unable to work strictly according to Federal government job standard were relieved of their duties after several corrections failed. 

 As a core and comic politician, M. I. Okpara saw opportunity in the railways staff layoffs to taunt his political opponents by politically reading the routine out of context in yet another slogan:

“Olu Mbadiwe

Olu akwu ugwo”,

 meaning, Mbadiwe’s job, job without pay. Till today, the phrase, “Olu Mbadiwe” has become a popular usage in Igbo land to refer to people working  without pay. That was M. I. Okpara for you.

 Although M. I. Okpara proved himself to be a no nonsense politician that was ready to do battle with his political opponents at any battlefield of their choice, he was also the best you could find in politics without bitterness policy as could be seen in his political campaigns which were marked by lots of comic and jocose innuendos.

 A story is told of how M. I. Okpara went on a campaign to Orlu and Okigwe areas from where many prominent members of the opposition party hailed from, including K. O. Mbadiwe. He decided to adopt this comic approach to charge his opponents of neglecting their people in the area of development.

 There was this popular music that was reigning at the time. M. I. Okpara changed the vocals of the music to send his campaign message across.

 “Obodo nine emepesigo

Ofodu Okigwe na Orlu

Ndi an’anakpo Okigwe amaghi akwukwo

Obasi doo…”

 This went viral and has remained familiar to this day. Talking of charisma.  What an ingenious way to effectively pass on a political campaign message without name calling or castigation of political opponents. A good lesson to Igbo politicians of nowadays.

 Above all, during his tenure, M. I. Okpara demonstrated full scale patriotism in Igbo affairs as captured in his unrelenting support for the Igbo Union at all levels, from the parent union to regional and town levels.

 His administration not only made constant huge financial donation to the apex Igbo Union under the national leadership of late Chief Z. C. Obi, he was also at the neck of his Ministers all the time, encouraging them to attend Igbo Union meetings and urging their financial support for Igbo Union at both national level and in  their respective home divisions.

 M. I. Okpara’s staunch support for Igbo Union contributed immensely to making the union the most formidable tribal union in Nigeria at the time and the mouth piece of Igbos at home and the Diaspora whose word was final and incontrovertible by any other Igbo group anywhere in the world. Not today were most of the Igbo governors are attacking Ohaneze as if Ohaneze is the cause of their non performance.

 For M. I. Okpara, everything about Ndigbo matters. There was this story of a power contest between the legendary Killwe Nwachukwu and Old Mohammed, a northerner at a night event organized  in Zaria in which Old Mohammed was declared winner in a verdict Igbos in Zaria challenged as manipulated by the organizers, using tribal influence.

 Not  satisfied, the Chairman of Igbo Union in Zaria, Leonard Ihesie took the challenge to Okpara about the unfair humiliation of an Igbo brother, Killwe, and their proposal for Killwe to challenge Old Mohammed in a second leg of the contest, this time outside Zaria, in Kaduna to be precise.

 Without waiting for them to finish their story, M. I. immediately provided the needed fund for the repeat contest. He also gave them money to mobilize and convey as many Igbos as possible from Zaria and environ  to Kaduna to cheer Killwe to victory.

 This time, the contest was held in broad day light at the Square in Central Karu ,Kaduna. Killwe not only won the contest without giving one chance to Old Mohammed but also beat two other northern challengers. Talk of patriotism.

 Today, we have a different and contrary scenario where it takes a century of writing letters for an ordinary citizen to see any of the Igbo governors and where Igbo governors, with the exception of Enugu and Anambra States, look the other way when it comes to financial support to Ohaneze, including the chairman of South East governors’ forum, who, on the contrary, has consistently shown public disdain and aggressiveness towards Ohaneze and its leadership by his frequent outburst in the media against the Igbo union.

 Among M. I. Okpara’s sterling leadership qualities was a combination of economic vision, industry and sense of public welfare as epitomized in his legendary agrarian and industrialization programme, unprecedented and replicated in the annals of Igbo governance.

 Notwithstanding the economic attraction posed by the then thriving Coal Corporation with national headquarters in Enugu, M. I. Okpara pursued a home grown economic blueprint via agriculture and industry.

 Dr. Okpara did not only talk of agriculture, he put flesh and blood into it with relentless interest and aggressive policies which culminated into a rapid social, economic and industrial transformation.

 These efforts still and will remain a monumental tribute to him and many generations to come, as despite callous neglect and abandonment by successive regimes evidence of his achievements still abound.

 One last line about M. I. Okpara as Igbo leader. He never owned a house of his own while he was in government. When the Nigerian Civil War ended, he went into exile in Ireland. Before his return from exile in 1979, his close associates and beneficiaries took up a collection to build him a house in his village, Umuegwu.

 It is most unfortunate that successive Igbo governors of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, and Enugu States have yet to build upon the selfless leadership and accomplishments of Dr. Okpara. God bless his soul and give him the peace of the grave.

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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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