One Nigeria Without the Igbo

With the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly and the election of its principal officers, the leadership of Nigeria’s central government has now totally excluded the Igbo of southeast Nigeria. The heads of all security agencies, the lower and higher courts, the legislature, the presidency, the juicy federal agencies, and the commanding heights of the economy have been thoroughly “cleansed” of the Igbo.

It appears this major part of the country whose people championed the cause of independence from the British and who have been driving commercial activities in the country have been pushed out of Nigeria once again. When something similar happened in the past, Ndigbo were left with no other option than to declare a separate state called Biafra. The unity that existed among Ndigbo of the 1960s has obviously evaporated, however.

Though all the forecasts of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), have finally come to pass, we do not advise that Ndigbo should declare their independence once more. This time calls for introspection: why have they often fared so badly within the Nigerian state since after the civil war? Why have Ndigbo been reduced to an insignificant minority in the country of which they once constituted a majority? Is it because many of them got killed through the war of 1967—70? Why are they hated in a country they have laboured harder than any other to build?

The trouble with Ndigbo has been their failure to love one another. They can hardly act like one; it is every man for himself. Selfishness could destroy a people! And that is why, whenever there is a position reserved for them, a hundred contestants emerge. Everyone claims to be better than anyone else – there is no spirit of compromise. If a Nigerian from the north, for instance, desired to punish an Igbo, they would use another Igbo to do the job. The majority of people from every other tribe protect the interests of their people first before thinking of Nigeria; Ndigbo are different: the majority see themselves as Nigerians first and do everything to hide their tribal identity. That is why they have more properties outside Igbo land than in the five states they have been boxed into through an unfair federal structure.

President Muhammadu Buhari has made Igbo marginalisation clearer. Right from his first inauguration in 2015, he has disrespected the “Federal Character Principle” enshrined in the fraudulent Nigerian constitution with impunity. Nobody has challenged his ethnic bigotry except in subdued voices and innocuous commentaries in the media. Thus unrestrained, Buhari seems set to perform his last act as president of Nigeria. 

If the Igbo truly constituted a problem for Nigeria, it might be necessary to watch non-Igbo Nigerians go on with “one Nigeria”.  It would be nice to see what progress could be made without the Igbo. But the state of the country in the last four years does not give any hope that Nigeria could make appreciable progress without the most hardworking, talented and competent people at the driving seat. The country has never been this divided in its 105-year history. Whither “One Nigeria” even without the Igbo?

For the Igbo, our advice is this: they should lick their wounds quietly. What is deducible from recent happenings in the political sphere is that Ndigbo are not good politicians. They should no longer expect to get anything tangible from the “federal” authorities or from political activities in Abuja. Their inputs in decisions on things like security and justice in the nation are not expected anymore. Even in meetings of the National Council of State, there won’t be an Igbo voice.

Forced by the necessity of building up their enclave, they should now resort to private capital, their entrepreneurs and their scientists in different parts of the world. They should hold their governors to account, and ensure that the necessary infrastructure needed to make Igbo land conducive for investments is put in place. Already, the nation’s economy is down – buffeted by foreign debts and terrorism, it will continue to be in recession for a long time to come. With the Igbo’s exclusion in the management of Nigerian institutions, the outcome is fairly predictable.

The Igbo have no culture of begging; it is now time to disregard the monthly federal allocations from Abuja and work for the benefits of Ndigbo in their homeland. Nigeria is a fraud. Those who invested in housing and other landed properties outside Igbo land should now begin to rethink their business strategy. An “ultimatum” to leave (similar to the ones given by organised urchins in 2014 and 2017) should be expected anytime, for there is no doubt that Ndigbo’s ingenuity and industry are a source of envy. But a people rejected should not reject themselves. Ndigbo, think home!

With: The Oracle Today

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