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Friday, 03 February 2012 16:24

The travails of Ndi-Igbo


The travails of Ndi-Igbo of  South East of Nigeria

DEFINITELY, a bad time has its advantages. That is when things appear to be at their dead end, and all roads seem blocked. It is the period when necessity becomes the mother of invention and when we get fired by our inner recesses. Options for overcoming a seemingly overwhelming situation appear limited, so we begin  struggle with ourselves for the best survivalist tactic and technique.


I cannot immediately recollect when genuine Igbo leaders came together with a single and unified spirit as was unequivocally demonstrated last Saturday. Not even during major elections such as the last presidential poll had the real leaders of one of the hardworking and ingenious tribes in the country converge to truly address the fact that the destiny of their people was in their own hand. I recall that in the past, when the apex-Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo deliberately tried to railroad the people into one partisan position, the people had asserted themselves and tried to exhibit some discernible degree of independent-mindedness. So, the meeting of those leaders in Enugu last Saturday was indicative that the Igbo had realised the dilemma the country had found itself as a result of complacency by all stakeholders in the Nigerian project.


Victor Umeh (left), Ralph Uwazurike; Mrs. Uche Ekwunfe and Gov Peter Obi at the funeral service

Be that as it  may, I know the death of mercurial Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, had been exploited by many who seek relevance in the politics of Igboland, with reactions to his sudden demise, ranging from the sublime to the humdrum. A few individuals holding public offices, either at governmental or party levels had been dropping the name of the former Biafran leader to gain political advantages. A couple of less fancied groups have equally been desperate in rising on the crest of Ojukwu, even after his death, to gain visibility. However, it was cheering that the genuine leaders of Igboland came out last Saturday to assert themselves in the face of what they see as ethnic persecution, or if you like decimation.


The communique issued at the end of the South-East leaders’ meeting said little, peradventure, for strategic reasons. Nonetheless, their message was poignant, clear and direct as to where they were heading for. That the time had come to rescue their kinsmen from the jaws of the Boko Haram, which has become more dreaded than the infamous devil all creeds seek to save mankind from.


Rally against Igbo killings by Boko Haram


Since most of the discussions were held behind closed doors, other Nigerians are waiting to see what other pragmatic steps the leaders that would follow, either now or after another meeting they have scheduled for this week. However, the sustenance of the current tempo of the emerging unity will be dependent on the ability of the genuine leaders to checkmate the few hawks in their midst. Such self-styled categories of leaders had done more harm than good to the Igbo race. They have proved, for decades, to be moles, just as you have other establishment of individuals in the political zones, placing their individual interests above the collective wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people.  It is the activities of this category of people among the political, economic and ruling class that have brought the country to a parlous condition.


Most of them are principally responsible for the precarious state of the Igbos, because of their tendency to place their interest above that of the race in national politics. Since the meeting was held behind closed-doors, details of their discussions will only take some time before getting to the public domain.

Happily, there are many progressive-minded statesmen like the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Dr. Emeka Anyaoku, a former Chief General of Staff [CGS], Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, revered Professor Joe Irukwu, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Major General Ike Nwachukwu and the first civilian governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Senator Ben Obi and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, and new breeds like the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihediora in the new derive for consensus in Igboland. Their experience and capacity to manage and deal with very difficult situations are not in doubt, but they must be ready to contend with those forces that have continued to try to create the impression that the Igbo political class is unreliable, compromising and merchantable and go by the words of Duke Ellington, that a problem is a chance for you to do your best?


The challenge confronting the country now is about the corporate existence of the country. The flame of disunity rages in the nooks and crannies of the land. All sections of  the country are losing in monumental ways to the crises triggered by the general insecurity, hence the search for an enduring solution demands utmost undisguised seriousness from consummate, intelligent and suave and forthright leaders.


That was why some of us were miffed that the seriousness epitomised by the display of tact and diplomacy demonstrated by the genuine Igbo leaders was almost obfuscated by the parallel event put together by Mr Ralph Uwazurike, apparently to further orchestrate his rabid quest to arrogate to himself the Igbo leadership.


Nonetheless, one of the challenges the Igbo face is usually the inability of the majority to see the close-knit relationship between commerce and politics. They have always played the Ostrich during major battles to give politics a human face so that commerce and other forms of  businesses can thrive in the land. I hope the Enugu parley will be the beginning of the necessary orientation of the people in that regard, as the meeting came on the heels of a warning by the South-East caucus in the National Assembly that it could seek protection from the United Nations [UN] if the Nigerian government proved incapable of curtailing the killings of Ndigbo resident in the North. The implication of this warning is that the caucus was beginning to lose faith in the Nigerian federation, because the Igbos were becoming endangered species in the country.


I do not think any right-thinking Nigerian would be happy that the country has found itself in a threatening, turbulent time, the second time in less than two decades. The annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election had triggered a gyration towards national disintegration. Except for a few, many Igbo leaders, who naturally should have stood on the side of justice, rule of law and democracy, had elected to become unabashed establishment persons and deployed propaganda to feed their people with utter falsehoods and blatant lies.

Igbo Clergy at funeral in Enugu

Of course, a few hired writers provided back-up in the media. All of them ended up heightening tension and fear in the country. Ironically, a few of them are direct beneficiaries of the existing democratic experiment. Sadly too, many Igbos lost their lives while trying to run to the East, following the tension created by their kinsmen in the propagandist machinery of the military government, since lies are always easier to believe.


The Yorubas have something to learn from the new initiative by the Ndigbo to forge unity and clairvoyance, by shoving aside political division. Nothing stops the Yorubas from borrowing a leaf from the Igbos, who have leaned on Albert Einstein’s saying that, “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” But can it be said that the Igbo leaders have seen the wisdom in Taylor Benson’s statement that, it is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see light?

Oderemi, 08023501874 (SMS only)








Tuesday, 31 January 2012 14:51

Igbo Elders Calls for Evacuation from North

Nigeria’s Igbo Tribal Elders Call for Evacuation Due to Violence


Nigeria’s Igbo tribes are staging a mass evacuation of women and children from the north due to violence blamed on the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.


Nigeria’s eastern Igbo leaders are calling for tribal families living in the north to immediately return home so avoid being killed or injured.

Igbo Governors

At a series of meetings this weekend in Enugu State, tribal elders asked women and children living in the north to travel south to minimize their risk, while the men stay to look after their businesses.


The Igbo community is setting up shelters in the southeast to house the evacuees returning from the north.


Igbo leaders expressed their concern and anger at the spate of killings by the Boko Haram sect and the government’s inability to neutralize the group.


This follows the latest deadly blow from Boko Haram, which staged a series of coordinated attacks, mostly on police stations and government buildings, in the northern city of Kano on January 20th that killed nearly 200 people.  A separate Christmas day bombing of a church near Abuja killed more than 30.  The attacks have sparked fears of a religious war in Nigeria.


Uche Okafor - a trader from the east - agrees with the decision by some Igbo leaders.  “The elders are calling on our fellow brothers - the women and children should come home, and let the men stand and defend their own properties.  Let the women come home to preserve the families.  To preserve the community; if not they will lose everything.  This is necessary because the Igbo nations have suffered a lot and we should not have to suffer like this,” he said.


But not everyone agrees.  Some state governors, politicians and others in the southeast have criticized the evacuation call as unnecessary.


Read the rest:


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