Nigeria and the Igbo, by Ralph Egbu

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Coat_of_arms_of_NigeriaThis is a very important topic. It is about an issue that is at the root of proper development of this nation. If what I have read about other well developed nations is an­ything to go by, two things create the foundation for a strong, united and prosperous nation. These are territorial expression and the peo­ple that make it up. If I can draw an example from America, Italy, Canada and Israel, one thing you will get is that nations that want to do well have a vision of the citi­zenry they want and it doesn’t just happen by chance.

The leadership successively go all out to “create” the kind of nationals they want. I have related on this page a humili­ating story told to me by a Nige­rian economic exile to the United States, who said that for the first three years of his stay, he was be­ing told he was not an American. And what was that based on? He did not speak like them and didn’t share their mannerism. Miss Chidinma Chibueze who helps to type my scripts acknowledged that there is a difference in the at­titude of her relations who went to Britain and America, she said those that went to America speak differently, dress differently and are generally liberal in disposition.

That observation is correct and it didn’t come by accident. It is the product of a deliberate process to be different from their mother na­tion, Britain. I have read that the founding fathers of Italy said, “we have found a nation and the chal­lenge is to create the Italian.”

I have written on this page not once, not twice, that you cannot be accepted as a genuine Jew in the Zionist nation of Israel if you have not passed through prescribed processes including proficiency in Hebrew, their national language.

In these nations they want peo­ple but not at all cost, they let you know what the nation can do for you and what it would mean to be a national of their nation and they follow that with processes that will require you to express your own acceptance to be a citizen of these nations. This partly explains why some of these nations can move in unison in a given direction espe­cially when the issue at stake has consequences for the wellbeing of the nation.

This factor is what is missing in our nation, we know we are not united and if I want to be on the extreme I will say we know we are not one and we have not done any­thing since independence to make ourselves one but yet we pretend we are one nation, one people with one destiny. Every time people live on falsehood many things are bound to give in, resulting in un­pleasant consequences. The heat buffeting our nation currently is as a result of our living a lie for over 56 years, we don’t have a nation and every effort to create one is being thwarted by those who ben­efit from the current misnomer. Unfortunately, we have people and not citizens. The leadership whose responsibility it ought to be to rectify the anomaly rather prefer to cash in on the gap to use it to achieve their narrow political and economic objectives.

I have said it before that every nasty conflict and barbaric acts we see are all part of a gang war de­signed to capture and control the soul of the country and it won’t stop until this nation is blessed with an inspirational leader who will have the ability to do away with the current order and its key participants and introduce ideals which would have the capacity to unite the nation and the people behind one big vision. It is ironic that we want a big Nigeria and some people say this is non-ne­gotiable and yet in small matters like having the freedom to move and live in any part to do business or pursue other legitimate endeav­ours, Nigerian leaders impose constraints on “non-indigenes” some of which can be described as deaths by installment and at the other banal end they teach and instigate citizens whom they have conspired to deny education and right to decent livelihood to act against supposed fellow citi­zens in a manner that is not only barbaric but suggests a deliberate walk into another era of dark ages.

Last week in Kano, a full citi­zen of this nation, wife of a pastor of Deeper Life Bible Church and an Igbo trader, Madam Bridget Agbahime was attacked in her shop in a market and brutally murdered in the presence of her husband. What was her offence? She was protesting the blockage of the front of her shop by a Mus­lim faithful, who turned what was a personal conflict into a case of blasphemy for which a crowd con­sidered it reasonable to be both the judge and executioners.

Every right thinking person with sound conscience should be traumatized by this incident. I am debased to see such a thing happening in the year 2016 and at a time we all thought that we had learnt our lessons from such incidences in the past. More than that I am wondering whether it is a coincidence that every time such dastardly act happens especially in the north the chances must be that the victim(s) must be Igbo. Why must deviants everywhere find the Igbo the easier target of their often-misplaced aggression? Recently a prominent citizen of this nation alerted me to a conspiracy to begin to cut what he termed as the wings of the Igbo. I learnt that part of the strategy is to target the markets and social cultural organizations. I got it on good authority that some states would begin to make it dif­ficult for Igbo to organise elabo­rate annual cultural festivals. As I watch, I see these playing out: fire in Sabon Gari Market in Kano, fire and takeover at Ladipo mar­ket in Lagos, demolition of Os­hodi market, meddlesomeness in Igbo affairs in non-Igbo states and kidnapping of Igbo businessmen in Calabar, Cross River State. Add to these latest onslaughts the fact of no federal presence in the entire Igbo land becomes very glaring for all to see.

The title today is Nigeria and the Igbo. I took it from the knowl­edge that leaders of a nation should go all out to seek out for their citizens and by words and action show them there is some­thing good to gain from the un­ion. But in our case, we mouth a desire but our actions are far from the desire, those who have small advantages talk condescendingly to their less fortunate compatriots. We should be begging and show­ing respect to the South South for the wealth found in their land but that is not what we do; rather we take the wealth, deny them the benefits and at the same time abuse them and call them bloody minorities, some of us even call them drunkards. The Igbo are the most industrious group in this na­tion and have made the greatest contribution to create a nation out of Nigeria, they call everywhere home but what do they get in return? Envy, disdain, rejection, maltreatment and general wick­edness. They say okay, they want to go and those who distorted federalism insist they must stay in the marriage but refuse to state the conditions. I will soon talk on the Biafra issue again but before then it must be clear that if we want a nation we must be ready to work on it. Leaders must train their peo­ple on how to behave. (Source: Daily Sun)Coat_of_arms_of_Nigeria

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