“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it” — Joseph ConradMore.
IGBOS have come to that point in the national life of Nigeria, where they just have to face it. They have to face the realities of these times. No one will develop the South East for them except they face it.
No one will stop crime and kidnapping for them, except they face it. No one will spare their land from Fulani herdsmen, whether they play the politics or not, they just have to face it. No one will terminate the buds of islamisation from growing in Igbo land for them, except they face it. No one will stop the killings at the least provocation in the north except they face it. No one will stop shooting at unarmed Igbo Youths under whatever guise, except they face it.
Some Igbos think they have money, but none of them is on the Forbes list of the richest 100 in the world, and none is on the list of the richest 100 in Africa, they have to face it. And to face these and many more, they must, if they will get the Igbo land they deserve from this Nigeria we live in today.
Igbos have to face the fact that as a people, they got it wrong after the 1996 to 1967 civil war. They have to face the fact that dispersing like the oil bean seed all over Nigeria while neglecting their own region, and blaming all others is not the way to push forward your agenda in the new Nigeria.
None of them will become President without a solid political base at home, and joining other peoples’ base will never help them. The South East has many rich sons who started political parties perhaps just to access the money INEC was dolling out to political parties in those days.
They had no intentions to develop their region politically, and they were not interested in forming any political base in that region. Thus, their political parties died as soon as the free money from Federal government for parties dried up.
These Igbo men wanted quick money without power, and today they keep scheming to join and jostle for positions in main stream political parties that were formed by their colleagues who targeted power and money, and remained faithful to that cause.
The ACN from the South West, teamed up with CPC from the north to produce the APC using renegades from the PDP, to displace the PDP in the 2015 Presidential elections, while selfishness left APGA with only Anambra State in the South East,with some of the founding members and huge beneficiaries of APGA working hard to kill it.
The South East needs to review its foundations and definitions of success, and President MuhammaduBuhari may have been sent to help open their eyes to some critical directions. First, the Fulani herdsmen, and the subsequent Grazing Bill were supposed to open the eyes of Ndigbo, to their internal security arrangement, which they naively never gave any serious thoughts before now.
When in 2011, the idea of developing a data base of persons with criminal tendencies and records in the South East was suggested, they called it profiling of northerners, and killed it. Today, the South East states are grappling and groping in blind efforts to fight and control kidnapping, which has continued to mushroom, without any data base to work or start with. Painfully, while other South East states are developing legislative and cerebral means to stem marauding Fulani herdsmen and stop the Grazing Bill, Imo State appears more interested in a piece of legislation that will empower the Governor to acquire land for ranching and other agricultural purposes etc, with the scary attendant risk of possibily handing such acquired land over for grazing! Second, Buhari’s isolation of Igbos in his government is supposed to also open the Ndigbo’s eyes to regional agriculture.
Igbos have forgotten those things that they depended on for three years to survive the civil war. We had a specie of cassava that we ate raw and boiled and ate like yam which is no longer in existence. Every home had a small poultry farm in Biafra, which we have abandoned for frozen chicken with all the health hazards having to do with their storage as well as the use of accompanying chemicals! We abandoned the long snake tomatoes, which should have been cross-bred for better taste, because it had bulk and volume.
Only a few Igbos remember our local, hardy, sweeter and stronger specie of the cow called Ehi Igbo, which we failed to ranch, and preferred this tasteless Nnama, called cattle, for which they want to own our lands by force! Third, Igbo eyes should now be open to industrialisation of the South East, requiring a special electric power generation plan or strategy. No government, Federal or State, no matter how manipulative should stop Igbos from working out an arrangement for a deep Sea Port with road and rail transportation system and network to serve that zone.
Fourth, the recent WAEC results where the South East came within the top ten in the nation, although Imo state performed poorly due to APC’s faulty education programmes, should tell us that Igbo children are ready to soar, if they can be empowered and encouraged, irrespective of who the President is.
Hoping and trusting that Governor Okorocha will reverse that ugly trend, Igbos should look more inwards, than outwards. And since no known Igbo man owns an oil well, let the conquerors and owners of Nigeria keep their oil money, and let us seek for God’s Agenda for our Land, and work very hard to achieve it by creating a region of bountiful success.
No Igbo person should expose himself to the risk of being shot at by these blood thirsty soldiers, and police officers no matter what. If indeed Buhari has achieved the National Confab Report, so be it. Let Igbos begin to think and act regional, and let it be a pleasant surprise when Nigeria decides to re-integrate them properly.
Udegbe is a lawyer and commentator on national issues