Ndi-Igbo: Past, present, future–What is your fate?

By KayCee January 9, 2016 19:00

Unremitting Igbo problems in Nigeria perennially dominate the discussion whenever two or more Di­aspora Igbo converse about Nige­rian affairs. That was no different when I had a phone conversation with Chief Sabi Nweke, the 2015 World Igbo Congress Convention Planning Committee Chair on Tuesday morning. He precociously summarized the Igbo dilemma as selfishness, individuality, con­tinuous internal fights, and failed leadership. We agreed that the ab­sence of the forgoing factors, the Igbo problems in Nigeria would cease. In fact, I could hear the in­herent consternation in our voices and tone, which is typical of Igbo discussions regarding their fate in Nigeria.

After our casual discussion on the phone, I went home with mixed emotions about the myriad of Igbo issues. On one hand, I reminisced about the pre-civil war status of the Igbo, including all the cultural variables that formed who we were. It was a scintillating feeling indeed. On the other hand, I became nauseated with not only the ail­ing condition and well-being of the Igbo in Nigeria today, but also with the vivid image of the portentous nature of the survival of the next generation of the Igbo. As I was brooding over some ideas to help allevi­ate the problems, I reflected on my 2004 New Year message to Ndi Igbo in the Diaspora, which is aptly relevant today. Here are the excerpts: We are ushering in the new year with a great deal of optimism that tomorrow will be far more appealing than the present or yesterday.

We are hopeful that a lasting peace would ensue among Ndi- Igbo. At the same time, Nigeria should rid herself of tribalism, nepotism, and corruption because they are inimical to economic growth. I encourage all Nigerians to embrace all the legitimate and prudent reform efforts of the fed­eral government in 2004 [2015]. I beseech all Nigerians to drop their corrupt and venal tendencies and imbibe honesty and accountability in their daily activities so that the Nigerian economy would improve for everyone.

Well, in the mist of ebullient feel­ing that we are entering the New Year, we will be mindful of the fact that 2003 witnessed some undesir­able mélange of problems for and among the Igbo. We witnessed in 2003 series of political miscalcula­tions, deplorable South East roads, political instability in Ala Igbo, dis­unity among the Igbo, corruption, dishonest leadership, alarming level of poverty, increased level of Igbo marginalisation in the hands of federal government, increased level of resentment of the Igbo by other ethnic groups and the list goes on. It has never been more ominous than now the changing attitude Igbo youths have toward education.

The negative impact of this phe­nomenon on the future of the Igbo in the Nigerian body polity should not be overemphasized. It aches my heart that many of the above prob­lems will continue. However, we have to get ourselves to overcome this malaise by changing our value system in the form of moral regen­eration.

Our past leaders, including some of our present leaders, have not only eloquently enunciated our problems, but have contrib­uted a great deal to uplift the Igbo. The following individuals, in no small measure, contributed their own share in the past: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Kingsley Mbadiwe, Dr. Michael I. Okpara, Dr. Nwa­for Orizu, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Ma­jor General Chukwuma Nzeogwu, General Philip Efiong, Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu, and others. Simi­larly, a few Igbo leaders alive have contributed tremendously to uplift­ing the Igbo.

Our position in Nigeria in the pre-civil war era was admirable. Now, this is a different era and the Igbo are suffering all kinds of dis­criminatory actions in the hands of the federal government. The Igbo, as a people, have been consistently and systematically marginalized in Nigeria. It would take a whole book to serialize the marginalization of the Igbo and the consequent eco­nomic, political, and psychological effects on the Igbo. It is now that some people are beginning to re­alize that Igbo marginalization is a structured part of the institutional architecture of the nation called Ni­geria. For instance, as recent as few days ago, Mr. Ishaya Akau, National Chairman of NASC, unilaterally disqualified the three South East candidates for the position of secre­tary of the National Assembly Ser­vice Commission (NASC) in prefer­ence to the two northern candidates. Perhaps, it is pertinent to know that the Danzaki Committee had already recommended the following five candidates for the position: Mrs. S. E. Chijioke, a lawyer by profes­sion, (Abia State), M. J. Yusuf (Kogi State), Prof. W. E. Herbert (Abia State), Mrs. M. V. Mbu (Imo State), a lawyer by profession, and Mr. S. Ibrahim (Niger).

The only reason Mr. Akau had the alacrity to maliciously and dis­criminatorily drop the South East candidates in violation of the Fed­eral Character Principle was that he would not account to anyone and the Igbo are perceived to be dispensable. It appears that this is a pattern already established by Mr. Akau since a complaint was leveled against him in August 2003 by two South East commissioners, Chief Okorafor and Chief Eze Nwenyi, for discriminating against the Igbo in the recruitment process of the National Assembly Service Com­mission (NASC). Compatriots, I brought this incident to show how widespread the Igbo are being mar­ginalized in every facet of Nigerian government and Nigerian economy. This is a salient example of what the Igbo are facing in Nigeria.

It is no longer enough to identify our problems; it is not sufficient to cry for marginalization; it is rather a necessity for all well-meaning Igbo, men and women, boys and girls, young and old, to work dili­gently to reclaim their heritage—to reclaim their past glory and trans­form it into a common denomina­tor of the current era.

However, we must first of all for­mulate a new direction by deriving a constructive and consensus Igbo agenda replete with ideological un­derpinnings. Prior to embarking on this exercise, we must enshrine honesty, trust, unity, integrity, accountability, etc. in our value system. In other words, we must change our attitude and behavior individually to focus on collective interest of the Igbo. It would be a fatal mistake to ignore the urgency of the moment. The Igbo are in danger of being exterminated po­litically and economically in Nige­ria. Are we going to let it happen before our eyes? Or are we going to fight against it within the param­eters of the law? We have to col­lectively work feverishly to assert ourselves and reclaim the things that have been taken away from us. We are now placed in a historic position to do something. With this historic position comes a tremen­dous responsibility of an immense magnitude.

It is both our individual and collective responsibility to ensure that Igbo marginalization ceases henceforth. We must demand that all the vestiges of marginalization be obliterated and all the wrongs redressed. I personally and strong­ly encourage those on the ground to have courage in making public those discriminatory practices against the Igbo so that they can be documented for the world to see.


culled from www.sunnewsonline.com

written by Acho Orabuchi.



By KayCee January 9, 2016 19:00