• Friday, February 23, 2024
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Biafra failed because Ojukwu didn’t understand the dynamics of the world’s struggle – Nwala

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Uzodinma Nwala, a professor, is the first graduate of philosophy in Nigeria. He is touted to be the father of African Philosophy and currently the Leader of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF). It is on record that Nwala, pioneered the formation of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and played a huge role in what is today known as the modern Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which he served, as Executive National Secretary. Nwala retired from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 2007, after 37 years of service, as a lecturer/researcher. In this interview with GODFREY OFURUM, he spoke on so many national issues, especially on the Igbo nation and the way forward. Excerpts:

What was growing up like for you and your early education?

It has a lot of stories behind it. I resisted being a priest on different occasions. I never went to the secondary school. I went to Teachers Training College, Olokoro, Umuahia, where I did my grade three. From there I went to Government Teacher Training College (TTC), Uyo for Higher Elementary, but left after just four months, because by that time, I had scored six papers in GCE, which was enough to enter the University. In early 1961, I prepared for GCE O’level on my own without tuition. By January 1962, I had passed six papers, including English and Mathematics. Then in January 1963, I passed three papers in A ‘Level, before I proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). I was admitted to study Economics in Nsukka, but I ended up changing to study Philosophy. It was a long story in my life, as I ended up becoming the only graduate in a department with only one part-time lecturer. That was how I managed to graduate from Nsukka and became the first graduate of philosophy from any Nigerian University.

What was your university experience, as a student of Philosophy, a new course?

Yes, Nsukka was the first to start teaching Philosophy here in Nigeria. They admitted nine of us in the first set, the second year another set and then the coup and the civil war caught up with us at the end of my study. When Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, took over and asked non-Easterners to leave, all our teachers in that department were foreigners. When they left, there was no teacher to teach us and we were asked to change to other courses. Some of my colleagues switched over to political science, economics and other courses, but I refused to change my course. I insisted that I must complete my course in Philosophy, because I’ve spent years, no matter how they want to do it. The issue was debated and luckily, I had the support of some great nationalists, like Emmanuel Obiechina and others. So, they went to the Senate and spoke on my behalf and said that this boy is the only evidence we have that we started Philosophy before any other University around us. They said my case is genuine and that I need to graduate, as scheduled.

They said that even if they must send me abroad that I must graduate. They wrote to the University of Michigan, United States of America and fortunately, the Michigan head of department then, was our head of department, who left Nsukka back to Michigan. The man replied and said that they should not worry that he knew me and by their own reckoning, I was already a graduate and that they would give me lectures.

By that time, Catholic Chaplain then, Rev. E. J. McMahon, said that he studied Philosophy of Mathematics, Philosophy of Law and Philosophy of History and said that he could take me on those courses, which were my final year courses. So, the University hired him, as a part-time lecturer for me, the only full-time student left in the department.

That was how I managed to graduate. There were other obstacles I had, but I came out successful. At some point, I was poisoned and I had to stay in a hospital in Port Harcourt and the part-time lecturer was coming there to teach me. In one of our discussions when I was planning my project, he said to me, Tim, you’re fond of relating our discussions in philosophy to your African experience, you’re fond of giving examples on African culture and so on, why don’t you pick a topic, like the thought patterns of the Igbos, as your research topic? I quickly grabbed it and began my research. In fact, I submitted my project handwritten, because I couldn’t type it. Then, I returned to Nsukka in a month or two before graduation and did every other necessary thing and graduated. We were caught up by the civil war.

What was UNN like for your generation?

One great thing Nsukka did for our generation was to make us great African Nationalists. The environment of Nsukka was a sign of Nationalism. It was around the Zik of Africa. Everywhere, even our hostels had symbols of Nationalism. There was Eni-Njoku Hostel, Okpara Hostel, Akpabio Hostel, Akintola Hostel, Awolowo Hostel, Balewa Hostel, Nkruma Hostel, Eyo-Ittah, Ahmadu Bello Hostel and more of their likes. So, there was that smell of Nationalism all over the University. I was an Activist at the University. I was in the Students Union Government. I was also Chairman of Awolowo Hall (Hostel). My academic success made me a household name in the University. They talked about the guy, who didn’t go to secondary school, but passed his papers within one year and made his A ‘Level papers and came to the University, to become a graduate.

When the war started, we all became great Nationalists. Of course, I graduated in early 1967. By the 5th or 6th of that month, news came that they had started an attack and that was the day of our graduation ceremony. They assembled us at the Margrate Ekpo Hall and gave us mass graduation and everybody left Nsukka that evening. Before the war started, we had taken two exams into Eastern Nigeria Civil Service. Those exams involved graduates from all Nigerian Universities, including those from abroad. In the end, Nsukka had the first ten positions. I was the first in that exam and then when the war started, they called those of us, who passed to Enugu, when Uche Chukwumerije, a former minister and former senator, was the then director of Information. They interviewed us and recruited us into the Propaganda Directorate. I and one other person started that Directorate.

What was your war experience like and what came out of it?

One thing that came out of the war was my own worry after we lost. I kept asking myself, why did we lose the war? I kept contemplating on this because we all were great Christians then and we believed that we were fighting a just cause. We believed that we were being maltreated, by Nigeria and the World and that the God of the just was with us. And the question kept coming, why did we lose the war? That answer came to me when I left for Michigan for my Ph.D.

So, what was the answer you got about why Biafra lost the war?

When I got to New York, I can’t explain how things happened in my life, I found accommodation in International House in New York. There, I came in contact with so many internationalists. Before you know it, I became an active member of the International Students Movement to the United Nations (ISMUN) and I was later made the Chief Representative of ISMUN. Our office was at 345 UN Plaza. It didn’t take time I was elected Chairman of the United Nations Youth Caucus. Before you knew it, I had taken part in the First International Women’s Year Conference in Mexico in 1975. Then, I became close to Ambassador Salim Ahmed Salim, the Tanzanian Representative to the UN. I was equally close then to Ambassador Ouattara, AU representative and I also got involved in the South African Movement. In all these experiences, the assignment I gave myself was to find out why Biafra failed.

My observation at the end was that Biafra failed, because Ojukwu didn’t understand the dynamics of the world’s struggle. Generally, our people didn’t understand it. Biafra failed for the same reason Kwameh Nkrumah failed. It was for the same reason that Muammar Gaddafi failed and it was for the same reason that Saddam Hussein equally failed. It was for the same reason a good number of them failed and are still failing. But who and who understood it and succeeded? Of course, Nelson Mandela did understand it and succeeded. Fidel Castro succeeded as well. Mandela for instance, understood the dynamics of the world. He knew that the World was divided into two; the East and the West. You either belong here or there. If your enemies belong to one Bloc, you move to the other. However, if the two of you belong to one Bloc, the forces that control the Bloc, will try to reconcile the both of you and if they can’t, they’ll choose the one that’s more important to them and bring you in to suppress you. By then, the top communists around then were Igbos and when the Soviet Union indicated interest in supporting Biafra, Ojukwu said no, that he was not a communist.

He’s a democrat, who believes in the free world. To avoid leaving anybody in doubt, have you taken a good look at Biafra’s slogan then, it was “To Save Biafra for the Free World is a Task that Must be Done.” The message was to tell America, Britain and France that we’re part of you and we’re not part of these Communists.

Gowon and co equally adopted theirs as “To Save Nigeria for the Free World.” Now, which one is more important to the West considering their experiences with us and our people? They know us well. They know we are not the kind of people that will fit well into their Neocolonialism plans. That was how Biafra failed.

For Mandela, he realised the system. He went to China and went to Russia. What’s the basis of the friendship between Vladimir Putin and South Africa today? It started in that era of their history. It is hard to talk about South Africa’s struggle against apartheid without mentioning the role of the Soviet Union. Remember that Putin was the foreign intelligence officer of the Committee for State Security (CSS) known as Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti (KGB). He was among those, who had the opportunity to help train the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the paramilitary wing of the African National Congress (ANC) of Mandela. That’s why you see South Africa is a member of the new group with the following countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). Out of the two Blocs, Mandela knew who was his friend and friend of his people.

In Cuba, Fidel Castro was not a Communist when he overthrew Fulgencio Batista. When America tried to swallow him up, he had to run to the USSR, where Nikita Khrushchev was the leader and the rest is history. It’s politics. All those who refused to have permanent friends either with the West or the East always end up badly when they run into trouble. All those who didn’t make a choice end up bad. Even today, anybody from this part, who depends on the West for his survival is making a mistake, because they know us better. Don’t forget that the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby was a financial executive in the petroleum industry for the French corporation, Elf Aquitaine, which is now Total. With such a background and the role he played in the oil industry in Nigeria and Africa, is it not wiser that one is supposed to know better who should be his friends and choose wisely? There’s no need for anybody to even think of antagonising the West, but we should choose our friends wisely.

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What was your war experience like?

Before I go into that, I remember one tough war experience here in my home town, where I would have been killed. What saved me was my friend from Asaba, who was recruited into the Nigerian Army and was with me at TTC. Everybody had run away and I told my people no, that we only needed to hide in a nearby plantation. However, after that, we encountered the soldiers and they said they must evacuate all of us to Ngor-Okpala area because they had the fear that the Biafran troops may stage a counterattack. However, after sending the first group out to the marketplaces. The soldiers came and said they were looking for Nwala. There were many male Nwalas around, but everybody knew who they were looking for, because almost all our relations that ran from the other side were here then. My mother started crying seriously. They were afraid that I’d be killed. The woman carried me 12 months on her belly and people were mocking her that she wasn’t pregnant until I was born. She breastfed me for three years until women would beat me to leave her alone. So, we were close. So, I told her not to cry and that nothing would happen to me. I told her that God did not bring us this far to take us back.

I went with the soldiers and one man, Captain Jibowu was seated like a Monarch. He was the Commander. Before I could get close, my classmate in TTC, Nwaogwuegbe called my name and introduced me to the captain, who didn’t look friendly. The captain took him one side and they whispered. He came back and asked me, why didn’t you run away? I replied, when Enugu fell, Aba fell, Port Harcourt fell, Onitsha fell and Owerri fell, I knew we had lost the war. I decided that I am going to stay here in my village with whoever is running this place. I didn’t intend to commit suicide, because there’ll still be another day. He asked if I was assuring him that I didn’t stay back to continue fighting? I said no that I knew the war was over. He discussed with the captain and came back to ask about my home and that was how the soldiers took me back to my house to the shock of everybody around. When my family saw me coming back laughing with my friend and the commander, they were shocked. After that, they took me out. The commander signed and gave my family a pass that no soldier should molest my family, as he had ordered us to stay. A few days later, the war ended I returned home.

What role did you play in the formation of NYSC and national integration?

After the war, there was an announcement for us to come to Enugu. I had to trek to Umuahia with my friend, Professor Okorie and entered a 911 lorry, through the old road to Enugu. We got to Enugu at 2.00am. We went to the Rehabilitation Commission and I called the Commissioner, Graham and said that we are together, let’s go to the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) to see how we can help to retrieve things over there.

He agreed and permitted us. When I got there, there was this friend of mine called Emeka Okpala, he had not graduated then. Together, we all took a list of things and came back to report. But as people were coming back from the countryside to Enugu, I could see dejection. It was as if the world had come to an end. Nobody knows what to do.

So, I called some of my friends then who had graduated and I said, look we are responsible even as students or graduates during the war of telling our people that Nigeria was evil and that we don’t belong there, now that we’ve lost the war and we’re back to Nigeria, we owe them a duty to help them survive the hostile environment.

So, we agreed and began to give our people a talk. Any person that came from the countryside to Enugu, Graham will tell them to come and join us. Before you know it, they gave us Enugu Campus as a base. That was how we formed the East Central State Youth Volunteer Services Corps (YVSC). We were paid with food. From there, we started giving talks to our people so they wouldn’t get lost and to show them that there was still hope. We had an orientation and before you know it, the thing was formalised and I was made the Chairman of the group.

It became a large group. That time we had a large orientation to cover the entire 34 divisions of the East Central State. Our duty was to follow the three Rs (Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation) that Gowon has introduced. It became a big programme, but we got to a point where I had to ask myself, how do we handle the third arm of the programme, which is Reconciliation? A thought came to me that the war, or political struggle was mainly an affair of the elders and that many youths didn’t even understand what caused the rift.

Therefore, to get reconciliation right, our duty will be to begin to give youths from different parts of the country a new orientation that will enable them to live together and forget the past. Then we decided that we were going to send a delegation to Yoruba land and the North. We went around the country with me as a leader of the delegation, which included one Ukwuije and Dr Ukpabi, who used to be Dean of Students, Affairs UNN. We prepared a memo to tell Gowon and others what we had done with the third arm of his programme and asked him to embrace the Programme we’ve started.

Our suggestion was that they should use the long vacation period to send students from one part of the country to another part to blend. We worked on a programme that should engage them in something serious during their stay. That was how we sent the information to Gowon. The aim was to enhance National Integration. My delegation arrived in Lagos on the eve of the first Independence anniversary in 1970. We were received in Lagos and the next day we stayed at a hotel.

We decided to deliver the Memo through Aminu Kano, who was then one of the Federal Commissioners in Gowon’s regime. When we got there, Aminu Kano was not around, because it was the eve of the Independence anniversary, so we delivered the memo, through one Habib, who was a senior in the office to deliver to Aminu Kano for onward transmission to General Gowon. Remember the trip was sponsored by the Rehabilitation Commission of the Ukpabi Asika’s Government. So, later Gowon replied and sent £75,000 to Asika’s Government in appreciation for the programme. By then, the programme had become popular and I was being interviewed by the BBC and others at that time. It was being beamed all over the place. I remember that period when Ghana announced that during the long vacation, they’d also send their children across their own nation to the countryside to copy what was happening here. It became a forerunner of an attempt to link the countryside and the university over there. Gowon later set up a committee to study the memo. That committee met in 1972 and later Gowon accepted their recommendations.

Now, the difference between the committee’s recommendation and what we suggested was that we suggested a long vacation period, while the committee recommended one year of youth service after graduation. It caused a whole lot of anger from students, who believed that they had more important places to be, like getting gainfully employed, because graduates were soughted after then. Any family that had a graduate had arrived then. Students demonstrated all over and rejected it seeing that one year as a waste of time. Eventually, Gowon’s Government suppressed the whole thing and got the programme they called the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) rolling.

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What’s your journey towards academics and the birth of African Philosophy?

My interest in academics came back when UNN published an announcement for the employment of lecturers in African Studies and Humanities. It is a long story. I applied for both and the first interview I did was on Humanities and when I came back for the other, I was told that I had already been taken for Humanities. I started as an Assistant Lecturer on Humanities in General Studies (GS). The then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Herbert Kodilinye wasn’t so fond of General Studies. He said instead of it becoming a unit of its own, the lecturers should go to their various departments and teach from there. Philosophy was my area and where do I go, because by then, philosophy was no longer there. They suggested I move to religion. I wrote and told them what I studied and that religion is the last place I want to be.

So, I was drafted to African studies. There I became busy with my research on the thought patterns of the Igbos. It is a long story. Later Kodilinye began to have an interest in philosophy and some of us were asked to draw out a programme for the re-establishment of the philosophy department. There was already the debate that Africa had no philosophy. I drew up two programmes and submitted them. The two programmes I drafted were African Philosophy-1 and African Philosophical-2. When it was published, inquiries came from everywhere. From the UK and America, demanding our discussion content in African Philosophy. The argument was huge and I replied to all the letters and told them all they wanted to hear. Most gurus in the field of Philosophy in Africa said that there’s nothing like African Philosophy. The debate continued and by then, my book on Igbo Philosophy was ready and I had then signed a contract with NOK Publishers, which was then a division of Doubleday Publishers, New York, where Chibuzor Ude, who later became Abdulazeez Ude, a young editor was working for its publication. So, when NOK broke off from Doubleday, it ran into difficulties that prevented the immediate publication of Ignorance Philosophy, when the manuscript was delivered in September 1973.

Then when Maurice Nkwocha, of Literamed acquired the manuscript, it was later published in 1985. I was going everywhere defending African Philosophy wherever I go, in any part of the world. In many universities of the world, I was giving lectures on African Philosophy and that earned me the name of the “Father of African Philosophy.” Back then, I and Chinua Achebe met in African Studies when he was a Senior Research Fellow, while I was a Junior Research Fellow. We became very close. We went a long way. By 1990, those debating against the existence of African Philosophy had exhausted themselves and finally came to accept that indeed, there is African Philosophy.

What was your relationship with Chinua Achebe and what was the link between it and ADF?

The first time I and Chinua met we had bound in the school system as lecturers. But we got very close when he published his book, “There Was a Country”. That should be around October 2012, some months before his death, the book was being bastardised all over the place and been attacked by some group of people, because of what he wrote about the role of a person close to them in his account in that book.

He called me and said that I and my colleagues should try and give some thought and attention to that publication so that people will not mess up what he had in mind. Before then, there was a fiftieth anniversary of “Things Fall Apart” in 2008 and it was being celebrated in the whole world, but in Nigeria, nothing was happening. It was only the University of Ibadan that organised a seminar on “Things Fall Apart”. So, I called my friends and said to them, we owe a duty to this anniversary. I said to them that the debate and the anniversary of “Things Fall Apart” is a book written by our own brother, secondly, it’s a book that discussed the most critical part of our cultural history. I said that we must join in the debate. That was how we agreed to hold a Conference on Things Fall Apart and worked out the details.

I took it to Ohanaeze, which was then led by Dr Dozie Ikedife and they gave their approval. We had the first working session in Awka, where Peter Obi hosted it and worked out a programme called “First Festival on Igbo Civilization.” We had the first programme in Asaba, where the Igbo clergy, were there. We had a conference on Arts and Exhibition on Igbo Civilization for Nollywood People in Enugu, which Sullivan Chime hosted. We handled it that way, because after we worked out the programme and took it to Ohanaeze; Ohanaeze looked at it, because we had a budget of about N400 million, the president of Ohanaeze, Ikedife was bothered about how to get the funding. I told him to just approve it and we’ll make suggestions on how to fund it. We proposed a conference in Asaba, Enugu, and Owerri. In Abia, we had two programmes, one in Government College and the second in Aba, was meant to host an international women conference on Igbo Civilization.

Port Harcourt was meant to host the political conference, Abakiliki was meant to host a conference on Traditional Rulers. We had Asaba, Enugu and Aba, but we didn’t have enough support from Port Harcourt and Abakiliki and we had the main conference in Owerri, which was the one Achebe came and gave Ahiajoku Lecture, which was some years later after he published “There Was a Country.”

So, when the book came out, he asked us to look into the book to ensure that what he had in mind was not distorted. I took up the challenge, although I told him I hadn’t read the book then and later, I was sent two copies and after reading, I told him what I got from the book. I called him the name we usually call him, which is “Ugonabu”. I said, Ugonabu, this is what I understood you to be saying. I made it clear to him that he wasn’t saying something new from what he had been saying or different from the Ahiajoku Lecture he titled “Nneka”. I used Okonkwo’s situation in his mother’s place after banishment and the safety he experienced there to explain to him that the message he’s sending is simple “If our people are not wanted outside, we should come back to our motherland and feel at home.” We did our best on that and we explained things easily. After that, I went with my wife to one of Achebe’s Colloquiums and went for dinner after that. He called me and encouraged me to keep working hard for our people. He told me to remain a light and I promised never to disappoint him. From that day, anybody, who invited him to any programme, he’ll call me to represent him. One night, his son called me that he was in the hospital and that he said he should tell me. Early in the morning, I was called that Ugonabu was dead and that I should inform Ohanaeze, the Federal Government and Peter Obi, who was the Governor of Anambra State then. That was how I became the Chairman of his burial committee. After the whole thing, we went back to the Conference and all other things involved and we got out the International Colloquium on the Igbo Question in Nigeria.

Then in 2014, I sat down and said to myself that we had to set up an organisation of Igbo Intellectuals. By then, the Jewish example was staring us in the face. The only difference between us and the Jews was that we were still in our ancestral homes, unlike the Jews, who didn’t have a home during their ordeals. And for us, if we don’t take time, we’ll become a varnishing nation. We needed to borrow a leaf from the Jews and the intellectuals had to lead it. That was how we got Igbo Intellectuals to form the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF). That’s how it was born in 2014.

What direction is the ADF taking Ndigbo?

We are at a point of reform and returning ADF to the people. We had a point when we accepted all kinds of characters into ADF. It became like what happened during the socialist movement in Nigeria. At a point around 1984-1985, I was invited to Russia. They wanted to make me the arrowhead of the communist movement in Nigeria, because they were disappointed with some group of people, who they thought could have done better. By then, when I got there, I discovered that the Communist Movement was crumbling and the whole issue centred on what’s capitalist property and what’s socialist property. The misconception among the post-Lenin communists in Russia and post-Moa Communists in China. If you go back to Karl Marx, who articulated the fundamentals, “capitalist property allows you to exploit another.” For the Soviet Union, Capitalist property means big-time wealth. Socialist property is a collective wealth. In China, Communist property was cottage property. Anything big is capitalist property. That’s why by that time, China did not know how to run big hotels or big engineering firms, because they dismissed them as capitalist property. It continued until the Cultural Revolution, when they asked America to teach them how to run big companies. This was the confusion some of us had, which is why we must reform ADF. But we are at a point, where that transformation of ADF to make it a popular people-oriented movement has become imperative. However, we wanted to do the first thing first, which is to anchor it on a well-defined, properly understood global setting of the struggle, which you know that such a level of reflection is a highly intellectual reflection.

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We are now at the point where ADF must become the property of the people. We’ve been experiencing some form of struggle that shows the problems we have in ADF. We brought a whole lot in and anybody with an Igbo agenda was brought in without us taking time to select well. We thought we were building them well, but we need to get to the point where theories and practicals meet. We’ve learnt from mistakes of many other movements and we are positioning ADF to where it should be. We needed to groom people. ADF has shown me some fundamental floors in our land, but we need to sanitise it. It’s a battle we should put behind us in the next one month. We need our younger ones to be part of this moment of recogitation of the way forward.

In terms of leadership, where and when did the Igbos get it wrong?

First of all, let’s look at the Igbo political leadership in the time of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Ndigbo by our culture, we respected charismatic people in our midst. We accepted people, who are highly gifted as leaders amongst us. However, that gift can only be useful, if you apply it for the good of all. It’s not meant for you and your family alone. That is why our people usually say, ‘Onye nwanneya no na ala eze anagi aga oku mmuo’ (he whose relation is well to do doesn’t suffer). We are people, who asked before engaging in something. We are people who ask questions about our children, even as they are born. We monitor people’s activities from childhood to know the direction to follow. We give orientation to our children and position them from the beginning. We got it wrong when Western Social Values infiltrated ours and everything was gone. In the days of Azikiwe, even though he had the necessary Charisma, he was still dedicated to our Traditional Values. For example, there was a time when Zik reshuffled his cabinet and removed Michael Okpara from the cabinet. He sent the list to Jerry Okoro of the Outlook to publish. The information got to Z.C.Obi and other corporate Igbo leaders and they quickly rose and said no, that such a decision was never in the Igbo interest.

Quickly they first of all went to Jerry and told him that they were aware of what he currently has in his possession and pleaded with him to hold on until they see Zik. That was how they moved to Zik’s house to talk to him and pleaded with him to reconsider as such decisions can bring disaffection from the Umuahia to the Arochukwu axis down to the Calabar area, which will not be good. Zik thanked them but told them how Okpara had been challenging him. They assured him they would speak to Okpara and they equally did and told Okpara how to follow the system properly.

They told him that even if he disagrees with what Zik thinks or says, he should not make it an open confrontation. They advised him to always talk about it internally. That was how Michael Okpara’s political career was saved by leaders who were not really in power but were the guides and advisers to those in power. The Igbo society is a society run with consensus, not one man’s opinion. We got it wrong when we started allowing Neocolonialism into our system and the white people and our competitors raising leaders in our land. We need to get back to what leaders really mean, because you can’t lead people you don’t understand.

In terms of business, are the Igbos getting it right?

We’ have been getting things right, especially our apprenticeship system that worked well. A leader/master will train young people until they are mature. However, there’s one thing we refuse to learn in our economic pursuit and I beg our people to quickly move away from that mistake of the past. We refused to learn how to build corporate businesses that go beyond sole proprietorship. We refused to develop into Limited Liability Companies. We have watched how our people, who worked so hard to build bigger companies in the past ended, because they failed to understand the difference between sole proprietorship, which puts their personal assets at risk with zero liability protection and legally separate business entities different from the owner in Limited Liability Companies. Our failure to follow these systems has cost us a whole lot and we must learn it. Companies owned by some of our brothers that made money earlier if they were properly separated and managed well, you would have seen a different Igbo nation today.