Since the aftermath of the Nigerian-Biafra civil war of May 30, 1967 to January 15, 1970, several Ndigbos believe that certain policies had been constituted by other ethnicities to ensure that Ndigbos remain marginalized, undeveloped and disadvantaged to the level of second class citizens. It is thus assumed that the Igbo society would never be allowed to return to its pre-civil war values of justice, respect, integrity, wealth and excellence. Indisputably, it is a fact that a great deal of Ndigbos lost millions of lives, money and properties during the bloody Nigerian-Biafra civil war. It has been estimated that 3 million Igbos died during the civil war primarily due to hunger and diseases. It is safe and sound to state that after the Nigerian-Biafra civil war, there was a deliberate and calculated attempt to displace most Igbos from their government jobs because they had been occupied by mostly Yoruba’s and Hausa-Fulani’s, which led to a feeling of injustice, prejudice, unfairness and inequality. This distinct act was seen by Ndigbos as a desperate effort to crack-down on the Igbo middle class, leaving them with little or no money to survive. Bank accounts, real estate and properties owned by Ndigbos were ceased by the federal government of Nigeria. It is understandable and comprehensible for Ndigbos to harbor some level of sentiments, resentment and disaffection. According to an American proverb, “Time heals all wounds unless you pick at them”.
In spite of all the post-civil war adversity of the Ndigbos, a reasonable proportion of Ndigbos have managed to forgive and move ahead. Today, Igbo-land has wealthy billionaires that have made great impact in their communities and others that have done nothing for their people. Virtually in every profession, there are successful Igbo professionals. i.e. medical, law, engineering, business, sciences, information technology and politics, etc. But there is a large proportion of Ndigbos that have refused to let the past remain in the past. They continue to dwell and exploit the anti-Igbo conspiracy theory as an excuse for their shortcomings in life. The truth of the matter is that Ndigbos so-called leaders have succeeded in marginalizing themselves because of their refusal to accept responsibility for their shortcomings. Igbos leaders find it easier to pass the blame to other ethnicities whenever they fall short. Today, Igbos are more disunited and disintegrated than ever because we have failed to come under one umbrella due to egocentricity, self-centeredness, self-indulgence, selfishness and greediness. The Igbos Destroying Igbos Syndrome (IDIS) has eaten deep into the hearts and minds of the so-called Igbo leaders. Some of these so-called Igbo leaders are fond of howling out “marginalization” but when they are given the opportunity to perform and serve the people, they perform disappointingly, unsatisfactorily and terribly. These Igbo leaders are more interested in acquiring wealth for themselves and their family members than serving their people.
A case in study is that of Professor Maurice Iwu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), an Igbo man, who was given the opportunity to uplift and uphold the electoral process in Nigeria but he deliberately compromised his position and office in the advancement and to serve those who are willing to mortgage the future of Nigeria, which ironically included Ndigbos as well as others. In history, Professor Maurice Iwu will be remembered and ascribed as one of the worst INEC Chairman since the establishment of that institution because he fraudulently and deceitfully conducted the worst massively rigged election in Nigerian history.
A second case in study is that of the power struggle between the courts accepted National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh and Chief Chekwas Okorie, it pioneer National Chairman, both Igbo men. Specifically, it is mind-bogging to understand or deduct why Chief Chekwas Okorie would refuse to stand-down and respect the wishes of its party members when he was expelled from APGA. He took away from the people, time, energy and resources that would have been put in place by the party to sponsor candidates that are interested in representing the people. Millions of Naira was spend on this power struggle until the Abuja Federal High Court determined the case for Ndigbos. This is a political party that off-the-record claim to stand for the interest of Ndigbos but they couldn’t settle their differences internally because of ego and greed. Due to this power struggle, APGA performance during the last legislative elections of 2007 was less inspiring, less stimulating and disappointing. The so-called Igbo leaders allowed things to fall out of control in APGA and some Igbo leaders joined the brawl and escalated the crisis.
A third case in study is that of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the pan socio-political organization umbrella of Ndigbos has been described as a failed entity that has been associated with scandals, corruption and continuous power struggle. For over 6 years, Ohaneze had been frayed into two factions with Professor Irukwu and Dr. Dozie Ikedife, both Igbo men. The South-East governors, traditional rulers and prominent Igbos have helped fuel the crisis by taking sides and providing recognition to their own faction. These are Ndigbos against Ndigbos not the “outsiders” against the Igbos. Ohaneze Ndigbo has failed to advocate for the common interest of Ndigbos. Ohaneze leadership is more interested in pursuing their personal interest, i.e. embezzling funds, seeking political appointments and securing contracts. The unending crisis and leadership tussle in Ohaneze has been counter-productive, fruitless, unrewarding and it has in no way-no form advanced the Igbo people. However, it is expected that the newly elected executives of Ohaneze would learn from the mistakes of the past and seek a better path in the resolution of their differences.
A fourth case in study is that of the World Igbo Congress (WIC), a U.S. based organization that has managed for 10 years to attract so-called Igbo leaders from far and near to attend their annual convention or better-put annual jamboree. In a more general outlook, it is consequently outrageous for WIC to adopt such a name because there is nothing “World” about the World Igbo Congress. Some of these so-called Igbo leaders attend this annual jamboree to merely afford them the opportunity to travel down to America for their personal shopping and to entertain their young girlfriends. Some government officials also utilize the opportunity to dump stolen funds into foreign bank accounts. There are some attendees that go as far as in borrowing money to attend this jamboree. There are many problems confronting the Igbos and it is unpatriotic, ridiculous, selfish, careless and insensitive for groups of Ndigbos to jump into an airplane to attend and sleep in an expensive five-star hotel for the single act of attending a fruitless jamboree, where nothing concrete is ever achieved, except for generating thousands of funds for few individuals. Such funds used for this endeavor could be channeled to establish more schools, good roads, establish scholarship schemes, and provide clean water and job creation for Ndigbos in Igbo-land. If the organizers of the World Igbo Congress (WIC) are genuine about helping Ndigbos. Then they should host the so-called annual convention in prominent Igbo-land towns and cities such as Aba, Aguleri, Aboh, Abiriba, Oguta, Awka, Igwe Ocha, Abba, Owerri, Orlu, Nnewi, Enugu, Onitsha, Abakaliki, Afikpo, Okigwe, Umuahia, Asaba, Ohafia, Okija, Arochukwu and Igbuzo amongst others. This strategy would attract businesses for fellow Ndigbos and the immediate impact of convention would be felt in Igbo-land. Or the name “World Igbo Congress- (WIC)” should be changed to “United States Igbo Congress- (USIC)”.
It is understandable why Chief Ralph Uwazurike led separatist group, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) might think that they are fighting for the Igbos. But in actuality, they are fighting against the Igbos because there are no basics for the creation of such a separatist group at the moment. The truth remains that Ndigbos are the greatest enemies of Ndigbos. Igbo leaders have to gaze inward and accept responsibility for the backwardness of Igbo-land. Preceding the Nigerian-Biafra civil war, Igbo-land had the finest schools and public health infrastructures. Today, the schools and medical institutions are so decrepit that the young Igbo people opt-out of going to school to learn a trade and the ill are dying in their large records because they cannot afford good healthcare or it is not obtainable. The situation is so grey that 85 percent of highly educated Igbos live and work outside of Igbo-land, leaving the socio-political and economic environment to mediocre.
The South-East governors and other elected officials have the option and opportunity to impact, uplift and develop their respective constituency. Let them start by creating more jobs via repairing roads, sinking more boreholes in the communities and providing affordable medical services. The federal allocation of funds going to the South-Eastern states is the same going to the Western and Northern states. Therefore, there is no reason why Ndigbos cannot utilize the same funds to develop their respective states. Ndigbos in broad-spectrum must learn to hold their leaders accountable and answerable for their actions. The time for howling and passing ethnic blames are over and gone with the air. Only Ndigbos can restore, reconstruct, restructure, reestablish, rebuild and redevelop Igbo-land. ND’IGBO LET US MOVE ON.