By Dr. Sunny Oby Maduka (DSM).
A few years ago, a few young military officers staged a coup, and the entire blame was heaped on the Igbos. The result was the annihilation of over 3 million Igbos, the confiscation of Igbos properties and the availing of £20 stipend as startups for Igbos in 1970.
We didn’t complain, even though the theme of the end of the war was; NO VICTOR NO VANQUISH.
Igbos were promised to be rehabilitated, reconstructed and reconciled with other nationalities. We didn’t protest, rather, we picked up the broken pieces of the war disaster, and started building our lives again.
Igbos waited for the federal government establishments to be built in Igbo land, and for many years, we were neglected.
The second Niger Bridge that started 40 years ago became a mockery of infrastructural development in Igbo land when compared with other zones with FGN blueprints for railway network, industrial hubs, superhighways, seaports and petrochemical sites. It was a clear-cut strategic policy of FGN to make Igbo land an area of hopelessness.
Igbos started to migrate to other parts of the country so as to survive, and yet, we became the hunted. We never fought our host communities, rather, we tried to help build up their economies, and with the resilient attitudes to benefit from our sweat.
The Nigeria/Biafra war ended over 50 years ago, but the truth is that Igbos are still being fought against by Nigeria from every angle.
If we talk, we are told that we are making a public nuisance. If we shout, we are told that we are loud-mouthed. If we cry, we are told to keep quiet or relocate to Igbo land. If we acquire properties, we are told that we are very greedy and very much ingratitude. Wherever you see an Igbo person, he’s either told that he is not part of Nigeria or he has a limit to the leadership of Nigeria. We are now becoming more inclined to be part of ‘USU’ (BAT) specie, where we are not seen as Nigerians neither are we part of Biafra.
25th February 2023, Nigeria presidential election, Igbos were openly denied their voting rights in many parts of Nigeria. Even at that, every Nigerian that voted Labour Party is assumed to be an Igbo. APC’s deformed regime has forgotten that many Nigerians are angry with its obnoxious policies, and with such melancholy, Nigerian youths demonstrated their anger on the ballot boxes that were later stolen by INEC officials.
Many Igbos were harassed and some beaten with dangerous weapons in Lagos and Rivers particularly, and till date, no one has been arrested or prosecuted.
Today, the hatred has been heightened by open verbal attacks and intimidations of Igbos in Lagos, and we are hiding in our houses as slaves. Most of us may not go out to vote for the gubernatorial election in Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Kogi and other states on the 18th of March because violence against the Igbos has started with the fire incident in Akere spare parts market on 8th of March, mainly dominated by Igbo traders.
The irony of Asiwaju losing Lagos State should have vindicated the Igbos, as many other nationalities in Lagos voted massively for Labour Party’s presidential candidate – Peter Obi. But it has been degraded to Igbos shrewd tactics to take over Lagos – a Yoruba ancestral land. A delusion that can only be asserted by hatred. How many Igbos (although they are entitled to as Nigerians) are vying for the Governorship position of Lagos State?
I have lived in Lagos for more than forty years, and despite that I gave birth to my children in Lagos, we are still being treated as citizens of Igbo extraction.
This is the agony of being an Igbo person in the present configuration of Nigeria.
Historically and with a calculated policy initiative of FGN that never cares about Igbo land development, migration becomes the norm of the Igbos to survive in Nigeria. Yes, Igbos are known migrants, who pride on doing their businesses with every diligence. They’re enterprising and lived on a life of, ‘ONYE AGHALA NWANNE YA.’ They celebrate competence, character, integrity and hard work. They’re abhorrence to laziness, and hence, they introduced the best marketing strategy in APPRENTICESHIP. A concept that eliminates envy and competition amongst themselves. A concept that builds wealth in a confluencing system. A concept where everyone stands for one another. A concept that has become a global marketing strategy, and now, being studied in most of IVY universities. We are traders, that’s our vocation and we understand the terrains of how to navigate towards making money. Despite all odd policies of FGN against the Igbos, they strive to make money. In all these anti-Igbo federal government policies, Igbos never complained or argued. The issue is, who can we complain to? In most federal establishments, military and other offshoots, we have been reduced to the worse numerical strength. Who shall we complain to?
Politically, when MKO ridiculed all the Igbos with a haughty remark that he can do without the Igbos, Igbos still voted for him. We didn’t complain and we didn’t argue. When MKO’s election was annulled in 1993, Igbos stood up with the Yorubas to fight the injustice. When NADECO hoisted its declarations, many Igbos were signatories. No one accused the Igbos of being arrogant or tribalists. We fought the injustice together because we believed that an injury to one is an injury to all.
When in 1999, the 4th Republic was declared, OBJ contested with Dr. Ekwueme. When OBJ was declared as PDP flag bearer, Igbos supported and voted for OBJ despite winning our own son of the soil. While OBJ lost most parts of Yoruba land, Igbos gave him 85% of votes. We weren’t arrogant or tribalists.
We didn’t see Yorubas as our enemies, but our own relations in the same lower Niger region. We were all one, and Igbos were not told that they are arrogant or tribalists.
Igbos voted massively for OBJ and this time, increased the margin to 95% in OBJ’S second term, even though he contested with Ojukwu, who happens to be an Igbo man under APGA. Igbos didn’t look at tribe, but they still voted for OBJ. Yet, we were not told that we were arrogant or tribalists.
At the end of OBJ’s tenure, late Musa Yar’dua came. It was at the same period that Owelle Rochas Okorocha was contesting. Owelle was an Igbo man, but we voted for Yar’Adua overwhelmingly not considering the fact that he ran against Rochas Okorocha – an Igbo man. Igbos were not informed that they were arrogant and tribalists. We still lay our allegiance to Nigeria project, but unfortunately, Yorubas and core North never appreciated our sacrifices.
When Yar’Adua died, GEJ started being shaky, Igbos trooped out, and with one accord, ensured that GEJ was not thrown out by certain Northern cabals from becoming the Nigerian president. Despite all the intrigues of the North and few Yorubas, Igbos stood up for GEJ. GEJ happens to come from Ijaw, where ASIRI, who had sworn to hate the Igbos came from, and even at that, we voted for him when he contested against PMB. We didn’t look at tribe neither were Igbos arrogant or tribalists.
When in 2015 PMB came back to contest against GEJ, Igbos rejected PMB.
The truth was that Igbos are a discerning set of people, and will rather go hungry than supporting someone who has nothing to offer Nigeria. It doesn’t matter if the person is ‘NWA DI ALA.’ Igbos saw PMB as a bad fruit and deliberately chosen not to vote for him both in his first and second term. Our choice of not voting PMB stripped us off our citizenship rights that created an arithmetic formula of 97% against 5%, and today, Igbos are not represented in the military high command of Nigeria and many other sensitive positions. It didn’t end there, the volcano of hatred erupted against the Igbos, and today, we dare not ask of any right in Nigeria.
Irrespective of a deliberate humiliation against the Igbos, we are still minding our business. We have decided to focus on our buying and selling ingenuity, but at any instance of security breaches, Igbo businesses are target for destructions. The hatred is beyond verbalisation, but even at that, Igbos have asked the federal government of Nigeria to allow them to go but it has been construed to mean treason. How can you keep what you hate?
It’s even more disheartening when an elder that I respect so much, Tanko Yakasi, could publicly discredit Igbos as a people who are isolationists. We are talking about injustice and nepotistic politics in Nigeria, and Tanko has nothing else to describe the Igbos but as loners. I took time to genuinely explore how much Igbos have sacrificed for the unity of Nigeria, and yet, an elderly statesman, who ought to speak the truth is ridiculing a race because Igbos for once decided to support and vote for their own son.
All these while that Igbos were voting other tribesmen, we weren’t isolating ourselves from Nigeria. The height of hypocrisy. Igbos are becoming a tribe that will be spanked and only to be told, ‘YOU’RE STUPID.’
Erroneously, the Hausa/Fulanis and Yorubas believed that they own the country, and Igbos are their slaves. To this end, and in decades, believed that Igbos cannot venture into politics. It’s assumed that the Igbos don’t know politics. That’s why the accurate zoning formula of APC and PDP, that ought to be justified by allowing the Igbos to produce the 2023 president ended with the two superpowers (Yorubas and North) to make the Igbos nonexistent.
Luckily for the Igbos, this time around, they found one of their sons as a reputable person to vie for the post of the president. PETER OBI became the symbol of unity and Igbos looked up to Yorubas to help them in achieving this feat. It wasn’t possible because someone’s ambition must override the mutual respect for Igbos inclusion.
Equally as expected, the saboteurs in Igbo land collaborated with other tribes to speak against Peter Obi. People like Uzor, Uzodinma, Rochas, Soludo, Eze, Amaechi, Wike and many others reminded me of why Biafra was defeated after getting close to Ore, in Ondo State. A story that I am still working on, where SABOTEURS derailed the timely liberation of the entire SE, SS and some part of MIDDLE BELT from the clutches of Nigeria oppressive regimes and policies.
Despite the betrayal of Peter Obi by Igbos Efulefus, Igbos showcased the best of politics system that destroyed impositions, tribal and religious sentiments. The much wrong impression that Igbos will not support their own ended up being the best outcome in all the Igbo land. Many have started insinuating that all the SE states gave PETER OBI massive votes, and my answer was, why shouldn’t we? We have been neglected as nothing, and to the extent that most Governors started taunting the Igbos as if they won’t vote for their own beloved son. Igbos are not novice to politics, and have been the pillars of most of the political parties in Nigeria. Igbos have paid their dues and have voted PDP right from this present political dispensation, and what did they get – Humiliations.
I must appreciate all sons and daughters of Igbo extraction, and for once, I am proud to be an Igbo man. This is not about tribal politics, but the truth about a country that has humiliated a race as if we can’t fight for our freedom and rights as one indivisible people.
Win or lose, we have shown our brothers and sisters from other ethnic nationalities that we are not novice in politics. I must not fail to appreciate all the goodwill Nigerians who understood the ugly plights of the Igbos, and justified their unbiased support to ensuring that a son of the Igbo becomes the Nigeria president. How can I forget OHANEZE, PANDEF, AFENIFERE, MIDDLE BELT, NIGER DELTA, THE RESILIENT NIGERIAN YOUTHS, and other patriotic Nigerians, who truly understand the place of justice, fairness and equity in Nigeria’s historical perspective. You’re the true heroes of 2023 presidential election. I’m proud of you, and indeed, a NEW NIGERIA IS POSSIBLE. We must repeat the feat on the 18th of March, and that way, the ugly tap roots of all the vampires in Nigeria politics will be gradually uprooted forever.
Wike has informed all the Igbos that he has nothing to do with the Igbos, and one day, history will list those who betrayed their own brothers and sisters because of money and power.
The agonies of Igbo politics are that we are criminals, greedy, arrogant, tribalists and cannot be trusted, and I asked, what have any Nigerian entrusted in the hands of the Igbos and it turned out to be distrusted?
Just a little taste of PETER OBI, and the trajectories of Nigeria politics have changed. That’s why you don’t allow an Igbo man to encroach on certain aspects of business or politics issue, and I bet you, he will change the narrative.
Don’t touch the lion’s tail, whether dead or alive, and now that we have come out to play politics as it ought be played, Nigerians are not only crying and shaking, but the structures of criminality and godfatherism are crumbling very fast. Never again will Nigeria politics be a hijack of criminals, drug barons and terrorists, and the simple truth is that IGBOS have decided to play politics in its full regalia.
I am seeing a new Nigeria where no ethnic nationality (major or minor) should be treated as dustbin pickers; and where no Nigerian, irrespective of ethnic or religious belief should be considered as an infidel or second-class citizen.
Nigeria is going through the most traumatic experience ever confronted her presidential election and general living standards, and if the truth be told, we should not be talking about a flawed election, but start rounding up all the criminals who have aided in branding Nigeria as an anti-democratic country.
“A thief is a thief, and in African parlance, a thief who has no shame has painted his relatives as a family of thieves.” – DSM.
In conclusion, if we allow thieves, armed robbers, bandits, terrorists, kidnappers, fraudsters, drug barons and criminals to lead this country, we have inadvertently informed the world of the kind of family members we are from. There’s no hysterical justification why Peter Obi should be rigged out of his mandate because he is an Igbo man. Igbos deserve a national warm embrace, but where we’re taunted as a race without Nigeria citizenship rights, we should be allowed to go our separate ways. After all, some European and African countries have less than two million population numerical strength and they are living in peace amongst themselves.
Let us not forget the scripture that says, ‘Verily Verily I say unto you, he that rejoiceth over an evil deed, surely shall have a taste of the same abomination in his affairs among men. For with what measure you met out to men, the same shall be meted out to you.’
The Agony of being Igbo has smeared all Nigerians, and today, no one will escape the greasy effects of wicked policies against the Igbos and other minority nationalities. It’s glaring, and if we didn’t correct this criminal politics and braven ideology of politics of exclusion, we will keep recycling these hardened criminals that we refer as our leaders. The epithet of the YOUTHS aspiring to be tomorrow’s leaders will NEVER happen. It’s not a curse but a sad reality that must be exterminated urgently if the future still exists this year for Nigeria.