The Entity Called Nigeria: State or a Stage?
It appears impossible for me to discuss the affairs in Nigeria without the dilemma of discerning whether Nigeria was meant to be a real state or a mismanaged venture. I must be humble here in affirming the limitation of my knowledge. I have tried to study those who play politics, to study those who have lived the Nigerian experience, and tried to observe those who have observed Nigeria deteriorate, yet I could not fathom an idea of the philosophy of Nigerian government. My particular interest has been the state of the security of lives and property in Nigeria. Nigeria as she is called is made up of three major ethnic groups, and other minority groups of which all sections should be equally protected within the federation. I have no intention of giving a historical background of how the English woman’s slip of tongue became the name of a country; neither do I have interest on how great Nigeria should have been if she was managed properly. The reason for this position is that you cannot draw a valid conclusion from a false premise. Thus the name is a mistake and since then everything about her has been a security blunder.
Ndigbo in Nigeria have remained the sacrificial lamb at the altar of Nigeria’s greed, clueless, mediocrity, subjugation, and friends of convenience of the North with other tribes in Nigeria. The sacrifices Ndigbo have made in Nigeria would have been enough to cleanse Nigeria if those sacrifices were intended to be redemptive, but no, the sacrifices were forced on us because we spoke once and the heavens thundered, now they do not want to hear us speak again. This voice that shook the grounds, this power of eloquence, this wisdom that terrifies the wise is what I intend to reactivate once again. Till the time Ndigbo reactivates this voice, not until this voice begins to vibrate again Nigeria will continue to rape our daughters and wives, butcher our sons and fathers, enslave our leaders and elders, and will continue to appoint for us dumb people as our speakers. To this we must say no, and the reason for this collective no is what I am interested in this discourse.
The economy of Ndigbo is spread everywhere in Nigeria and beyond except in Igbo states. Many have wondered and asked why? We have as Ndigbo blamed our own children for being greedy, and boisterous as a reason for this. The fact is we failed to see a premeditated, well organized government’s policy to continue the war against Ndigbo, war that ended in 1970. As Ikemba put it, “the problem Ndigbo have in Nigeria today is that Ndigbo threw away their guns thinking that the war has ended when their enemies are still fighting”, to this Chuba Okadigbo concurred by stating that, all the economic, political, and marginalization of Ndigbo today is a continuation of the war that was said to have ended since 1970. Security is a coin of two sides. The security of lives, and the security of properties. In this enterprise called Nigeria Ndigbo have no guarantee of neither one. The federal government through their repressive policies decided to cut off electricity to all the Igbo cities and towns throughout Igboland. This was meant to discourage industrial and technological developments in Ala Igbo, and it worked. The construction and reconstruction of roads and bridges were stopped to make life a living hell for Ndigbo, and it worked. The Nigeria government maintained a policy of appointing only those who were against the interest of Ndigbo as our ministers, board of directors, and representatives in public offices. This worked and is still working. Today only when our politicians leave offices will they start saying “Igbo kwenu”, only after they have been dumped by their pay masters will they start talking of Igbo marginalization. The impact of this punitive policy has continued to encourage mass intellectual migrations to all parts of the world including the infamous North, and the hypocritical West. Today the Igbos are developing slums, swamps, and hills of Nigerian states except our own States. How many political leaders of Ndigbo have pressed on our elected governors to encourage economic policies, like limited free taxes on all goods produced in our states to induce reinvestment in our homeland? Our governors should take the lead in improving infrastructures, map out lands for development as the western states did, and give to our sons and daughters to develop. This will be our first step to economic security in Nigeria.
The Security of Our Lives
Do we even have the lives anymore to secure? Don’t be in a hurry to say yes. What is the life of a man whose young sons and daughters are being killed every day in broad day light? We are afraid to say our names in the North, afraid to dress as nwa Igbo for fear of being lynched. We are scared to mention the name of our God for fear of being martyred. What life does anyone whose activities are permeated with fear have? Now that the situation has continued to deteriorate what can Ndigbo do to protect themselves? Massive home coming of course. The Igbos do not need Moses now we need the Joshua, the Caleb to lead us to our promise land. If this generation of Ndi Igbo must be relevant to the future, we must reactivate that voice which the Nigerian government hears and listens. We must make a case to all SE governors to come up a development that will encourage our people to invest in our land, and see security as a priority in our land. We must contextualize and concertize our diagnosis of the problems we have in Nigeria.
The solution is not in holding top and strategic government positions because they will always appoint or elect their surrogates as our representatives. It is important that Nigeria listens to us now and come out openly to support Igbo presidency 2015. Create more states in the South East, and start immediately the reconstruction and rehabilitation of all federal roads in the SE. This includes a commencement on building a second Niger bridge immediately. Ndi Igbo have made sacrifices of blood for Nigeria. Ndi Igbo have the foremost nationalists in Nigeria. Among the regional leaders only Igbos affirmed faith in the indivisibility of Nigeria and her potentials to be great. The Yoruba leaders and Northern leaders were despondent and wished for a split of Nigeria. An Igbo son rejected that idea and reaffirmed his faith in One Nigeria. Ndi Igbo undoubtedly deserve to be the president of Nigeria. This unfortunately the only way Nigeria can assure our despondent youths that we are still wanted in Nigeria. Ndi Igbo have paid their dues, with hard work, commitment to the socio-political, and economic development of Nigeria. We have the largest investments in Nigeria outside our own states, and have demonstrated beyond doubts that we can coexist peacefully anywhere in Nigeria. Yes we have run a good race, done our part, and now is the time to appreciate us by allowing an Igbo president 2015. This is one in a life opportunity Nigeria has to make Nigeria work.
-ONYEMA UCHE, a public analyst and commentator, writes from Washington, District of Columbia, in The United States