Igbo Unity : A Hopeless Conundrum

By KayCee July 2, 2014 22:24

I saw this article online and thought i should share with my fellow Ndi Igbo.

Igbo Unity tends to be an elu­sive concept to some because to achieve it, hard work and time in conjunction with other factors must be expended. Interest­ingly, very many people would not want to make personal sacrifices re­quired to address the issue. Rather, they would be on the sidelines to criticize and point fingers at people toiling selflessly for a better tomor­row.It is my humble opinion that Igbo unity is both necessary and sufficient conditions for any mean­ingful economic and political en­hancement of Ndi Igbo anywhere. Achieving unity among Ndi Igbo both in the Diaspora and in Nige­ria seems to be a difficult task. This is primarily because we have not looked deep enough to address fac­tors necessary for achieving unity.

All along we have been looking at unity in isolation. We often talk about lack of Igbo unity in many quarters as an impediment to the economic and political success of Ndi Igbo in general in the Nigerian socio-political context and also in the Diaspora. People could not en­ter into a business partnership for long before bitter disagreement ex­acerbated by greed would rend what was once con­ceived as a viable venture. It has been recognized that lack of unity among our people, coupled with high degree of selfishness of Ndi Igbo, is a peren­nial problem. When there are disagreements among people, we frequently fo­cus on the bye products of the problem. Most often, we tend to shy away from the crux of the problem or even lack the temerity to dealing with the root causes of such bitter dis­agreements among Ndi Igbo for fear of offending any party. A case in point was the law suit that nearly crippled World Igbo Congress because of leadership tussle. The quagmire lasted for about three years and some Igbo leaders refused to call a spade a spade for lack of guts. The World Igbo Congress election is coming up in September 2014 in Houston, Texas and we hope that the organization will not be plagued by the jinx of the past.

In any case, normal differences of opinion or leadership styles should be valued. Great many ideas ema­nate from constructive dialogue and debate. However, it is vital that we change our attitudes so that we would work together to ensure the presence of trust, honesty, account­ability, transparency, unselfishness, commitment, and vision is among us. It is paramount that the forgoing virtues, as well as leadership with conscience and an intense focus on the group’s overarching goal flour­ish among the Igbo race.

My Prescription It is imperative that we have an open mind and forgive one another. However, if you have been untruthful or dis­honest to a fellow Igbo, it is your responsibility to go to that indi­vidual or individuals, explain the circumstance(s) with remorse, and ask for forgiveness. It is manly to do that. By doing so you have cre­ated a line of communication filled with a reason for building trust. Trust, as you know, is an ingredi­ent for unity. Some of us may have cheated our brothers or sisters in some dealings thereby creating enmity. It is incumbent upon us to go back to our brothers or sisters to ask for forgiveness and possi­bly pay restitution. Accounting and taking responsibility for our actions is a noble thing to do. Ac­countability and honesty produce trust. It is important that we rees­tablish trust so that we will be able to create a conducive environment where Ndi Igbo can work together to accomplish meaningful collec­tive goals. It is not going to be easy, but we must be committed to do just that. Leadership is of great importance in this area. Leaders with vision are proactive. They are prone to prevent and manage crisis well. They are trustworthy, honest, and accountable. Unselfish leaders do not thrive on crisis; they prevent it if it involves making a personal sacrifice, they will do so for peace.

Let me devote this paragraph to talk about honesty in a different way. We may conclude that hon­esty is one of the factors that help build trust. As a result, if we want to build trust among Ndi Igbo, we must not only be honest to others, but also to ourselves. Our public and private pronouncements must be consistent with our actions. When we make promises or pledg­es, we should fulfill them. We will endeavor to mean what we say and say what we mean. When prom­ises are made and circumstances change, we should be able to ac­commodate that is when it is com­municated appropriately. Honesty helps us build trust. In achieving unity, TRUST must be present.

Leadership struggle should not have a negative connotation. The struggle or contest must be in­grained in competing ideas and issues and not marred with fraudu­lent activities. We should work together after a contest or an elec­tion to harness and implement the prevailing ideas. No one should be left behind. It is the responsibility of the leader to create an enabling environment where harmony will flourish in the face of constructive dialogue. We should bear in mind that Igbo affinity should transcend geographic location. It should not matter where one comes from, as long as one possesses the skills to lead us it is incumbent upon us to support the person. We should fo­cus on ideas and issues and not on personality. We should respect the leadership and be good followers. We can only have one flag bearer at a time. That does not mean that opposition or contrary opinion is unhealthy for Ndi Igbo. Militancy should never be an approach of choice to demonstrate opposition. If we have the interest of a group at heart, we will not carry actions that would destabilize the group. Con­structive criticism must be allowed at all times. However, members of a group must ensure the veracity of their utterances. In the same token our leaders must know that they are not representing their individual in­terests, but that of the community. There should be a consequence for them should they fail to repre­sent the interest of their respective constituencies. They have to be ac­countable!

While it is important to have the unity of purpose, it is the respon­sibility of a leader to articulate the vision and goals for the group. The vision must be clearly communicat­ed to the members of the group. It is the responsibility of everyone to focus on the collective interest, the common goal of the group. We may be successful as individuals, but as a group, as a race, we may not be successful in today’s socio-political context. We will be successful as a group if we do not let our individual interest to override our collective interest. It takes every member of the group to work together to ac­complish the goal. That is unity! Persons in a group will not be com­mitted to the common goal if they do not trust each other. In the same token, they will not trust each other if the leadership lacks responsibil­ity and vision.

Commitment is an influential factor for accomplishing goals and objectives of a group. Members of a group must make some personal sacrifices in order to accomplish the common goal of the group. Remember that one will find it dif­ficult to commit to group if he/she does not trust members. It is per­tinent also to distinguish between lack of commitment to a group caused by selfish interest and that caused by the absence of trust and accountability. Making time out of our limited time is what quality leadership is made of.

Personally, I encourage each in­dividual, every Igbo person, to have a self-reflection on his/her activities and separate those activities that may impede progress toward Igbo unity.

Culled from Sunnewsonline.com, written by Acho Orabuchi




By KayCee July 2, 2014 22:24