• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Who is an Igbo?

Dying Igbo culture, tradition worries Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ebonyi

Nigeria is at a standstill today because Nigerians found a competent and capable Igbo man to become their president after over fifty years of political leadership crisis. If you want to understand who an Igbo man is; just bear in mind that the Nigerian civil war – 1967_1970, was fought between the nation of Nigeria and the Igbos. At the moment, Nigeria is boiling; there is uncertainty, there is disappointment, there is failure, loss of hope and a great expectation from the Judiciary as an independent arm of government.

History has never had it so, whether politically, socially, revolutionarily, economically, financially, religiously and otherwise. The Igbos dwell on the southeastern part of Nigeria geographically but numerically; they are everywhere. And it has always been a counsel that any part of the world where you did not find an Igbo man, run for your dear life. It is on record that most ground breaking steps in the history of Nigeria was taking by an Igbo man.

In the pre-colonial era, the British found it hard to conquer and rule in the Igbo territory because of his self-sufficient and self-reliant mindset. In the entire country of Nigeria, every other tribe is often threatened by the rivalry of an Igbo man. It does seem that immediately after the Biafran war, the political structure and king makers in Nigeria went into a secret oath that an Igbo man will never rule Nigeria again.

In our quest to unravel who an Igbo man is; it is pertinent to answer some questions. Firstly, is an Igbo man a Nigerian? Is Igbo phobia real or imagined? In Nigeria political history especially from 1999 to date, Ndigbo were relegated completely. They were turned to political beggars.

Political decisions were being made without any input from awon Igbo. The Igbos had no control of any major political party. The clause in the 1999 Constitution about getting 25% of votes in the FCT before being declared a winner of a presidential election might have been made to prevent an Igbo man from crossing the Rubicon.

Ordinarily, it would be very difficult for an Igbo man to win in the FCT without any alliance with the North. Conversely, in every political circle today, the only discussion is how to handle Peter Obi and his growing political movement. The attempt to arrest him failed but the Federal Government is seeking every means to chain him even through a doctored audio recorded phone call.

The Igbo man is not a man of circumstance. Rather he is a man of destiny sent by God to fulfil specific purpose for him. An Igbo man has an identity. It is what helps him not to compromise the call of God upon his life. He is a bridge to the destinies of men. He is a light in the midst of darkness. He shines forth as light by doing exploits. There are so many things said about the Igbos which could be factual but not true.

Immediately after the Nigerian civil war, every Igbo name became a threat in the Federal civil service and different institutions. Actually, the Igbos were displaced from such offices due to the war. Coming back after the war, not any was received back into the offices. This was why many joined their brothers elsewhere to learn a trade. And soon, a lot of them became traders.

If you have visited different parts of Nigeria to see landed properties owned by Igbo men; you will confirm that they are truly blessed. In some places in Nigeria, the Igbo man spends over 5 million naira to reclaim a land from swampy areas before setting structures on the said land. Many years ago, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was invited to Lagos to commission a trade fair market built by Igbo men. Ojukwu saw the gigantic investments and began to weep.

There is a hardly a family in Igboland that did not lose a person or more during the defunct Biafran war. It is such an agonizing memory and torment to remember or even recall. But very sad indeed to see that the Igbos are still being oppressed, marginalized, 60 years after in a 21st century Nigeria.

Read also: We are all Igbo

Everyday we hear that markets built by Igbos in other parts of the country are either burnt down, razed or closed up by opponents (enemies wielding official power). The Igbo man cannot afford to be careless in these last days. Behind all such hatred for Igbos – especially against their source of livelihood – is a great enemy.

When you hear the name Igbo; the next thing that comes to mind is endless possibilities. That is what an Igbo man can turn into. When the Yorubas introduced different secret societies, it was the entrance of Igbo men that made such secret societies popular.

The legendary High Life musician, late Chief Osita Osadebe had a song title in which he sang that every country in the world experiences a turning point in their history. Why would that of Nigeria be different? Despite being shriveled to a corner in Nigeria, the Igbo man radiates joy and peace wherever he is found. Christianity flourishes in Nigeria today majorly because of how the Igbos adopted and embraced Christianity.

The world in which we live is characterized by crises, troubles, and problems that affect everybody. It becomes worse when in the midst of our sorrows, we have no comforter to speak comfortably unto us. An Igbo man is driven by a high sense of vision. Not the vision to rule Nigeria.

Yet vision is behind all his pursuit in life. Our differences abound in from different languages, tribe, and geographical locations but we are bound by the God of love. Tongues may differ, languages and culture may not be the same but we are united under one Nigeria. There is unity in diversity.

So many Igbos consider exodus from Nigeria as the only solution to their marginalization. Lawyers and senior advocates have lost confidence in Nigerian courts. If the foundations be destroyed; what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3). A New Nigeria is Possible! It is a matter of time.