State MAMSER director from 1987-1989 before I was transferred to Enugu and from Enugu transferred back to Imo. By 1993 during Abacha regime I served out my term and returned to my office.
You are reputed as an author. From the period you lost your sight how many books have you written?
As at now I have done twelve books.
How many books in all have you written?
I have done 22 books.
Nigerian youths protested recently against what they called police brutality in our country. How would you explain the implications of such protest actions in relation to governance issues?
In the 90’s before the first Buhari rule as a military junta, a journalist came to interview me and he asked me why I was sitting so quiet. I told him that I saw military intervention coming. And behold by December 31, 1983 they struck.
That was a warning sign but revolution will be difficult to manage in Nigeria because of the size of the nation and the ethnic configuration. For revolution to occur successfully we need a cohesive command and the anger would be so much that nobody will listen to anybody. I believe this would have taught our political leaders a lesson because they were jittery. Some of them started going into hiding. Youth unemployment is a dangerous element. It has to be managed. How does somebody struggle to get a degree, 5 years after he can’t get a job? That is why many of them were going into different types of crime. If our leaders learn lesson there
will be no revolution otherwise in the
shortest long run there will be one.
By then I may not be here and by that time
it would be better managed.
Then Chigbukwu Okenze of IBC (Imo Broadcasting Corporation) started calling me an Oracle. I had always known that there would be a revolutionary outburst but I was sure that the management would be difficult because of the size of our country.
So I was not surprised at what happened. I was only surprised that it didn’t zoom into a revolution. But I also wrote about it to say that this EndSARS protest would not result in a revolution. This is
because there are certain elements germane to a revolution. I regret sincerely the loss of Souls especially the shooting at Lekki Tollgate. Why was I sure that there will be a revolution?
Are you maintaining that one day after the youths protest that Nigeria is going o experience a revolution?
Yes if the political leatders do not take precaution. That was a warning sign but revolution will be difficult to manage in Nigeria because of the size of the nation and the ethnic configuration. For revolution to occur successfully we need a cohesive command and the
anger would be so much that nobody will listen to anybody. I believe this would have taught our political leaders a lesson because they were jittery. Some of them started going into hiding. Youth unemployment is a dangerous element. It has to be managed.
How does somebody struggle to get a degree, 5 years after he can’t get a job? That is why many of them were going into different types of crime. If our leaders learn lesson there will be no revolution otherwise in the shortest long run there will be one. By then I may not be here and by that time it would be better managed.
Looking at Imo State where there is so much complaints over governance issues and the stakeholders like traditional institution, the church and labour etc are keeping quiet without directing the governor, why do you think it is so?
There are so many reasons but let me pick one. Some are saying that why would they care since they did not elect the current governor. That he did not come there via their vote and so it did not concern them. But they are wrong.
This is because he is already the governor, whichever way he comes; he is the number one citizen of the state. People should care; they should get in touch with him and make suggestions for positive progress. If we say that we don’t care we are the losers.
With regards to his capability, given the background of his emergence I think he is trying. Initially he was confused but I think that they have begun to gather their acts together. Initially, it was a trial and error thing. We should support him that is my own rational thinking.
The recent Supreme Court ruling seems to upturn a popular Igbo culture which
denies women right to inherit their fathers estate. Do you not foresee a conflict between the law and culture of a people and what is your take on that?
Our culture is embedded in traditional fundamentalism. By that I mean over the centuries we have been people who cherish tradition and culture so what the Supreme Court did was to drag a sword between our culture and the legal system.
For me I think that our females who did very well to uphold the economic status of their people should be given some rights. I believe in it. Taking myself for example, that I am living today is the grace of the Almighty God through the instrumentality of my daughter.
I don’t think that there is anything wrong in rewarding my daughter for all she did for me. I don’t have assets but if I have she should get a share. That ruling by the Supreme Court may be obeyed but acceptance will be difficult.
The IPOB killings did not attract any reaction from the South East governors. Why do you think they do shy away in fighting for their brothers in the spirit of “Onye aghala nwanne ya”
Ordinarily once the president of Ohanaeze speaks he speaks for all of us. He condemned it, isn’t it? These governors are being cautious and careful.
Should there not have been a commission of inquiry on this matter?
I think it is in the process. They are working on it. I support that they should like what happened at Lekki Toll gate. It is a very bad incident. How could you turn your gun on unarmed protesters and they had the Nigerian flag.
As a strong advocate of the Igbo culture for which you even wrote a book, you are a product of polygamy, a popular Igbo culture that is fading away because of the influence of Christianity. Are there no values we can draw from it to sustain it?
I want to tell you this. The British did a lot of harm to our culture. I am one of the many Igbos who confront the church. Couple of years ago I revived a 1917 cultural festival. It is called “Iwa Akwa” (admitting young men into manhood).
Everybody, my Bishop, my clergy, kinsmen, they opposed me but I meant to revive it and I did. But some of the elderly women thanked me because I brought development. Some of the youths came home if it was their turn to wear the cloths they come back to
build the place where they will stay. Christianity did a lot of harm to our culture. I must tell you this as a Christian and a Knight of the Anglican Church, Christianity is a culture, a culture of the white man. That is why I don’t answer the Christian name Lawrence.
None of my children have Igbo names. White man does not have right to change my name. Polygamy has been phased out but there are some people who still cherish that concept.
But for me whether it is good or bad the question is marrying more than one wife, does it solve or create more problems? To some it creates more problems.
Someone told me that if you marry one wife he starts problem, you marry two to checkmate her and before they conspire against you, you marry a third one. (Laughter here from both parties).
Yea, over all what do you think we should do to recover our values which we have lost so much? Our language is almost gone, people despise everything traditional raising fear that we may lose all before the next ten years.
I don’t believe that Igbo culture will go into extinction not to talk of Igbo language. No no no. But in a situation where it is not being passed on to future generations, the young people keep multiplying and shunning the culture to the extent many young parents shun their roots do you still think same way?
Yes, especially those we took to the United States. and other overseas country.
Well, it all depends on the father. Like myself when I was in America each time I came home I bought Igbo books.
The day I celebrated my 81st birthday my second daughter read the gospel in Igbo and the two Bishops were there and were astonished and they said it was the attitude of the father.
They have all remained in America since birth but I grew my children to speak Igbo. I am proud to say they all speak Igbo. Do you know the people responsible for the diminishing capacity of Igbo language? They are the women.
In what ways Sir do they do it?
They would be proud to hear their children speak English instead of teaching them Igbo. Although I don’t have empirical evidence but it is certainly the truth.
Thank you so much