- 47 years or so after the large scale, well planned and excecuted massacres of the largely Igbo population in Northern Nigeria, there is a growing tension that this is not about to stop.
- We fought a war to protect our people and to save our sanity, but that too, judging from what has been happening of late in the country is simply a time slowing action. For i envisage an all out open assault on Ndigbo and our interest in the not too distant future.
- The freedom we sought, the understanding we hoped for and the co habitation in a peaceful manner is farfetched and lost.
- The increased attack on Igbo persons, interests and aspirations continues; Igbo Killing has become a rite of passage for Northern fanatic youths seeking to cut their terrorist teeth. The papers largely dont report most of it and the gruesomeness of most of it leaves one with a shudder.
- We fought so hard, against the colonial masters for a political country where our aspirations and hopes could find an outlet, but in so doing, we failed in securing a political space for our talents, ambitions and knowledge to be expressed.
- Long before Independence, there were over 800,000 Igbo souls living accross the present 3 Northern Regions. They were Doctors, Teachers, traders, Artisans and service providers across all shades of human endeavour. The community lived and blended well with their neighbours and landlords, until the evil wind of politically instigated pogrom started.
- There was no political or social will to stop it, no visible government intervention and no collective Igbo communal effort to protect our own, lives were lost, properties were lost and a whole generation of wanderers were born, dissected from the North where they were born, unaccepted in the East of their ancestry and confused by the politics of exclusion that became our lot.
- The Institutional deprivation and organized manipulative drive to forstall any growth of Ndigbo was outlined everywhere you look at. This led to the first internal displacement, loss of investment and institutional pogrom in Black Africa which has systematically continued into this day and time.
- The unity of Ndigbo was tested. Our resolve was stretched to its limit and as we observe today, we have hardly emerged from that onslaught. The death of our collctive effort became apparent.
- In days leading up to the war, we had ammased “unprotected” wealth and fame all across the nation. We had endeared even if with unfounded fear and trepidation, an understanding with locals and natives which helped us become both responsible and accepted across the lenght and breath of this country. This has come undone in the past 47 years.
- Anti-Igbo sentiments were born long before the war; sustained by the common lethargic fear of others borne out of their warped understanding of tribal and ethnic interests that defined our nation long before it became a country. This sentiment has grown, acquired a life of its own and become the defining motive for all policies made in this country post 1970.
- I live under no illusion of what is going on here. No matter what we consider as gainful strides in regaining our lost position, there can be no love lost, no trust rebuilt or accomodative agreements reached between Ndigbo and the rest of the country. We have failed and continue to fail at the policy level when we make laws, plan our actions and inactions based on a false belife that others are more open and receptive towards us.
- Our leaders, if ever there are any, live a haunted life of delusion. They cut individual deals, oiling their respective pockets and failing to understand that these are “greek gifts” meant to simply keep us from reacting. The war generation, which begat the talk shop generation are still largely in Charge in Igboland, hence the dearth of any radical visionary plan to emancipate us.
- Ndigbo are not loved, cherished or accepted anywhere. I know that and kind of like it. But the flip side of this is that we are neither feared or respected anymore. The Ijaws, Efiks, Ibibios, Ikwerres and Kalabaris are simply putting it to our faces that we are not what we used to be. In their private circles, they discuss us as so and make no effort in hiding their disgust towards us. The North and the West is long documented but largely forgotten by us.
- Anti Igbo spirits are evident everywhere. Killings of Ndigbo eveywhere. Loss of importance in the political equation of the country. The rise of anti Igbo sentiments in social and media circles are all too obvious. i am not sure this is undersood as such amongst us.
- What is to be done? we speak ignorantly of a Nigeria that would never become. A country that has defined itself through the prism of exclusion which is made more apparent by the gullibility of Ndigbo at the leadership level.
- I have no understanding why Danjuma, Obasanjo, Gowon, Aminu Kano, Awo, Mark and other perpertrators of the genocidic attack on Ndigbo have suddenly become our “Trusted” friends. We have forgotten so soon.
- There are no efforts made to keep the tragic period of our history visible and present. We lost over 3 million souls, they are unsung, unspoken, not studied and never mentioned in our rag tag history of ourselves. We are making a terrible mistake by pretending we’ve been reabsorbed into the scheme of things.
- For all our ass licking efforts, we are no where near the corridors of power. We have no power. We have no fall back place or a spokesperson or group of spokesperson strong or influential enough to help us. Our values are corrupted and the children we raise today are already condenmened to play second fiddle in this country.
- The rise in this next wave of antiIgbo craze is properly defined by the nature of the ever growing Boko Haram scourge. We may not be the primary target (This is debatable), but we are the secondary consequence of the madness. The growth of this threat and its cumulative effects on us and our intersts can be seen in the slow, undocumented mass migration of Ndigbo from the North into other parts of Nigeria, West Africa and elsewhere.
- Our Igbo Heratland is ridden with poverty and institutional decay for which we have no common vision or blueprint to tackle or face. Pockets of individual state policies are only but personal pronouncements geared at massaging the egos of the respective Governors of the States. There is no intergrated vision, no private sector interest, no foreing direct investment, no group political will to challange us to action. Solo efforts are dead on arrival, for they lack the funds, depth and personels to push the status quo to action.
- We cannot continue to pretend that all is well. The not too distant “Oso Abiola” in lagos is a wake up call which for all its worth was never discussed, still isnt been discussed and hardly any fall back plan been put in place by us. Since then we continue to senselessly invest everywhere in the South west and push for rights and issues which hardly cut with our host communities or showcase some organized sense of vision amongst us.
- More so, The senseless killings in the North and the massacres which have all been well documented in Gombe, Adamawa, Kano and Jigawa in the past year has largely been a subject of deep discussion reflection and strategic planning by any level of Igbo group, intelligentia or government. Beside sultry, useless and hardly unnoticed press statements we have nothing much to offer. Cheap rhetorics were all that was heard in and from Umuahia, Awka, Abakiliki, Enugu and Owerri. What a shame!
- This brings me to the sad, annoying and soon to happen again abandoned property saga. It happened, it affected several Igbo families including mine, we raved about it, talked about it, shouted about it and at the end did or had done nothing about it. It hasnt been talked about amongst us at the policy level, we havent planned for the next one and our irresponsibility and lethargic insanity is what would undo us. One Igbo Politician once told me “If they start picking up mad men in the streets, how long before they start picking up the sane ones, which includes us all”. There is sadly, a loss of confidence amongst us.
- I have heard over and over again, from those who should know, that nothing would happen to Nigeria, and that Ndigbo and their future lies in Nigeria. This is a truism that is fraught with blind enslaving sentimentality devoid of hope. Ndigbo as long as this country continues with its present structure (Which i belive it would), will never BECOME! Our hope of redemption lies in realising that we cannot be emancipated by the present cock sucking idiots that are brainless and barely have any idea what it takes to run a sucessful family or buisness.
- The weakness of our Institutions is visible and points out clearly what faces us as a people. I am sure none of the meetings of our politicians or groups ever stoops to ask what would happen if there is a mass return or influx of our homeless, unemployed people all over the country.
- I do not beleive there would be a National Conference, Sovereing or otherwise. I do not see GEJ reordering the century old diffrences that has divided and deluded this country. I do not belive that the present buzz around the National Conference will amount to anything for Ndigbo and Nigeria other than a smokecreen covering a more latent disemberment of our status. The collective will to force the hand of this country and the attending revolutionary dose of madness required is totally absent amongst us. We have fallen prey to all manners of conferences convened to achieve nothing and hardly adds any value to us thereafter.
- What if? This is the key scenario building questions that our new policy makers, leaders and social reengenering enterprenuers should be asking themselves. Anti Igbo sentiment, Plans and actions are real and growing, we are hardly prepared to contain it, stall it, fight back or stop it.
- What If Ndigbo? What if?
Ireke A. Kalu-Onuma
November 7th 2013