The bulk of this essay was first published in the summer of 2004. However, after reading Mr. E Ejike Anyaduba’s exposition, “Igbo: A People In Search Of A Leader,” (Daily Independent, Thursday May 15, 2008), I thought I revisit a subject that has confounded me for several years. Although Anyaduba’s essay has an historical undertone, his starting point was the failed abduction of a sitting governor, Dr. Chris Ngige. The writer went on to chronicle some of the “anomalous situations” and the “comical nonsensical act” that has come to characterize the Ndiigbo. He went on to take a swipe at the “avalanche of political jobbers who masquerade as Igbo leaders.” Either way one looks at it, Anyaduba is correct, but he did not tell the whole story.
Some observers of the post-1983 Nigerian political scene have come to the conclusion that the Igbo are their own worst enemy. Indeed, one cannot but be perplexed at the miscalculations and self-immolating tendency of the Igbo elite. A once proud people, a once proud nation has allowed itself to be the ball to be dribbled every which way. I wonder: what are the average Igbo farmers, housewives, teachers, traders and miners saying about the disruptive behavior and rascality of their current political leaders. Beginning in the 1930s through the 1970s, the Who-Is-Who of Ndiigbo were men at the top of their class. When they spoke even the heavens listened. The reverse is the case today. The mighty is falling, the light is dimming.
As someone who grew up in all the four regions of the country — and having been a witness to the brilliance of the Igbo Nation — I never knew a day would come when they essentially would give their opponents the tool with which to curtain and weaken their significance in the Nigerian enterprise. It is hard for me to imagine
The Igbo nation had attributes most other Nigerian nationalities can only dream of; and are what most other nations were not. The Igbo made
I begin by summarizing some of the reasons (I have been given) as to why a Nigerian of Igbo lineage have yet to be elected the executive president of Nigeria: (1) that the Igbo seem to be suffering from Germanic Complex; (2) that they easily succumb to the Hausa-Fulan/Yoruba politics of divide-and-conquer; (3) that they are ferociously independent and so do not want to follow the command of a single leader; (4) that the persistent political infightings and betrayal amongst the Igbo elite and centers of power has been a hindrance to their goals; and (5) that the Igbo are content with dominating the economic arena and have therefore given up all hope and struggle for political power.
There are no empirical evidences to support all of the aforementioned reasons; and even most of the anecdotal evidences, as presented to me, are weak. The exception is reason number four: the infighting amongst Igbo elites and between centers of power, plus the psychological issue. This psychological factor has two related components: mistrust of the Igbo by other ethnic groups, and the unspoken determination of the Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani to deprive the Igbo of their rightful place in the Nigerian polity. In other words: the North and the West have a deep-seated mistrust of the Igbo and so are hell bent on restricting, containing, and denying the Igbo their political right. Added to this is their subtle message to other minority groups: the Igbo, as a group, are not to be trusted!
The West doesn’t think much of the North and the North has contempt for the West; yet, both regions have found a way to engage in “political prostitution” to the detriment of the Igbo. This unholy alliance has its root in the 1966/67-1970 Nigerian Conflict. Essentially, the North and the West have not rid themselves of their prejudices and hatred of the Igbo. They have been using their jaundiced perception and misreading of history to thwart the Igbo presidential aspiration. It is this psychological rut, in addition to the infighting and unnecessary wrangling between Igbo power centers that adequately accounts for why the Igbo have been denied the presidency.
It doesn’t help that the Igbo have all these centers of competing powers that seems to be doing
At the individual level, some Hausa-Fulani have great relationship with some Igbo. Same can also be said of Yoruba elites with fruitful relationship with some Igbo. But that is not enough. These friendships and relationships should be extended to the presidential arena. The Igbo have made significant and measurable contribution to every community they have settled in. And
This article is not suggesting that the colluding groups covertly met and agreed to stop an Igbo from become