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    THE CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF A NATION IN SEARCH OF RECOVERY

    NKEIRUKA can be seen as an existentialist philosophy, which proffers that rather than to succumb to the absurdity of life, its drudgery and routinery, it is better to give it a meaning by confronting the challenges inherent in it, the least of which is not despair. That challenge is what will give life its essence, and therefore its meaning. We must transcend our human condition by fully engaging it. We cannot run away from our shadows.

     

    NKEIRUKA: THE CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF A NATION IN SEARCH
    OF RECOVERY

    Madubuike Keynote

    PROTOCOL:Oha Na Eze mma mma nu! Kelel nu! Muo Nu! Rie nu! Ndu miri Ndu azu!

    NKEIRUKA is a theory of hope, a postulation that projects man’s future activities unto the platform of infinite possibilities of good, that the future despite the uncertainties of the present can bring forth happiness and progress. It is a theory that further promotes the ethics of hard work and promises a fruitful reward. It cuts through the dark chimneys of life’s vicissitudes and latches unto the sunrays of a bright future.
    Interestingly, Nkeiruka is an adage that derives from the inscrutable observation of nature by our ancestors. The daily activities of the laborious hen working hard to satisfy the hunger of its chicks gave birth to this aphorism. It is akin to the wisdom drawn from the activities of the workaholic ant and its way of life through which we are advised to work as hard. Our ancient philosophers based their theses and conclusions on these and similar empiric and heuristic activities of nature and animals around them and built their words of wisdom, their philosophy of life, around them. They track issues that are immanent in our lives.
    We all are familiar with the activities of the hen, moving from one heap of compost dung to another, with its chick following behind, searching for food. It does this from dawn to dusk, stopping work only when it is too dark to see. It goes to roost not because it had eaten enough and satisfied, but because it has gotten dark. It will get up the next dawn and continues the same cycle of looking for food with its children. The chicks must have complained about this existential routine, without daily satisfaction, without any end in sight. The decision of the experienced mother, to encourage and reassure her chicks prompted this advice: the future is greater than the present. It is more promising and so you must keep working. It is a parable that applies to human beings as well.

    Still, the theory of the hen looks esoteric and is not without limitations. This includes the danger the hen and its chicks are exposed to, especially from the maverick kite hovering overhead. But after the side kicks, life must continue and so also the everlasting search for fulfilment and self-apprehension. It is also in the same vein, in the search for fulfilment, that prompted the hen to advise its chicks to always look up, skywards, after picking their food, for that which kills the chick comes from above, emphasizing the importance of vigilance at all times.

    NKEIRUKA can be seen as an existentialist philosophy, which proffers that rather than to succumb to the absurdity of life, its drudgery and routinery, it is better to give it a meaning by confronting the challenges inherent in it, the least of which is not despair. That challenge is what will give life its essence, and therefore its meaning. We must transcend our human condition by fully engaging it. We cannot run away from our shadows. This philosophy, as enunciated in the preceding paragraphs is the basis of our topic: NKEIRUKA: THE CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF A NATION IN SEARCH OF RECOVERY.

    It is about Ndigbo, their past, their present and their future. It is not just about knowing where the rain started beating them. It is the fact that the rain is still beating them. Will the rain ever stop beating Ndigbo? This uncertainty can make anybody nervous, even schizophrenic. But the wisdom, the elasticity and timelessness of our adage, keeps hope alive. Our aphorism is consolatory. Its corollary is NKEMJIKA. As we bemoan our lot in life, we must appreciate what we have, knowing the various travails Ndigbo have passed through, and knowing that despite these travails we are not really the worse in Nigeria. NKEMJIKA.
    The fact is that Ndigbo are not satisfied with their present status in Nigeria, given their potentials. Can the wisdom of the hen provide the touchstone and the platform for recovery? In this paper we intend to take a holistic look at Uwandigbo---who we are, what others think about us, what went wrong and why we are where we are presently. We shall also proffer a road map that could lead us onto the path of recovery in order to achieve what we consider to be our manifest destiny. Again, between prospects, challenges and recovery is a wide continuum interspersed with episodes and events which dot the path to the desired goal and which will determine or influence the outcome. We shall analyze these.

    WHAT WENT WRONG?
    There are two main stimuli that have tended to shape the destiny of Ndigbo in the current Nigerian milieu. One is internal, dealing with our character traits; these are ingrained and inborn; the other stimulus is external, the response of Ndigbo to external forces or the environment with which they have come in contact. Ndigbo must understand and then control these stimuli if they must attain the wholesomeness they need to recapture the years the locusts have eaten. The interplay of these stimuli is at the nexus of our present dilemma. And it must be seen as a paradox that what used to be a boon to a people has transformed into a reason for unease, to the extent that our people can no longer trust themselves or speak with one voice as if we are reliving the tragedy enunciated in Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart. The condition of Ndigbo today is one in which they are not at ease at home and barely tolerated abroad. Onyeigbo cannot move around anywhere in Nigeria today without “looking behind him,” that is without being extremely cautious. It is a terrible state to be in, at the horns of dilemma, you might say. It is a sign of decadence when a people can no longer plan together and act coherently. That is what is wrong. They (our foes) and us (Ndigbo) have put a knife on the thread that binds us together and we are no longer at ease. Let us examine some of these traits, that is, the internal driving forces inbuilt in the people called Igbo.

    SOME CHARACTER TRAITS OF NDIGBO:
    There is a scholarship that traces the origin of the noun Ndigbo to the verb Igbo, igbochi meaning to prevent, and by extension mgbochi, that, is prevention or preservation. The first character trait of the Igbo derives from this consideration that is preservation or protection of the self, which accounts for his individualism. We shall come to this later. Other existential model traits include abundance of virtual energy. The Igbo is an energetic person; he is cosmopolitan and urbane and ranks as one of the most accommodative person in the world. He is pacifist with no expansionist interests, but jealously independent, republican, competitive and hardworking; He is thrifty and husbands resources; optimistic and highly religious. He believes in merit and frowns at indolence. There was no beggar in pre-colonial Igboland.

    These traits manifest themselves in all the activities of the Igbo and have fashioned his life-style. They have brought out the best in him as well as the worst in him. They have also defined him in the eyes of his neighbours. They have earned him admiration as well as condemnation and jealousy in some quarters. They have spawned various traditions that have enabled him to confront his life’s challenges over time.

    It would appear from our very brief definition of the word Igbo, which does not only denote the language but the people, that the whole essence of Igbo way of life is the preservation of self and by extension, the defence of Igbo community, its interests and security. It is encapsulated in the Igbo stock expression Onye Aghala Nwanne ya. This was the central dynamics in Igbo upstage in modern Nigerian history. It should call for a conscious reflection and reappraisal in terms of where we are today, of who we are, where we are coming from and of our destination. Are we still faithful to this aphorism?

    The desire for freedom, for independence, for a level playing field, and for recognition, flow from these character traits. To achieve these, the entire traits elaborated above have been deployed to serve him as the occasion demands. They have been his arsenals used to confront both man and nature. For instance, they have been at play during the various migratory movements from place to place. From Ado Na Idu, through Ile-Ife in the present South West region of Nigeria to his present abode in the south East and beyond; from Kemetic Egypt to present locations in the Nri towns of Anambra state and part of the Igala and Idoma areas of present day Nigeria. These movements have been induced by the search for existential fulfilments and for excellence. The story of Igbo migrations and origin should be part of an Igbo deconstructionist phenomenology that should task our intellectual resources and provide plausible answers to the nagging questions of who we are and where we are going. The migratory impulse is still with us. We are still migrating. In the olden days it would have been a wave.

    Indeed, some of our distinguished features or traits have served us well, and have helped to give Ndigbo a worldwide fame; some others have not served us as well. There are those that have been creative; there are others that have been inhibitive and negative; there are also those that have put us on a collision course with our neighbours. These include our so-called aggressiveness and fraternal bonding. They have elicited jealousy and ill will among our neighbours. For instance, as far back as 1948, the Igbo State Union was formed to bring all the Igbo organisations in the country together. It was an amalgam of the various Igbo organisations that had mushroomed across the country since its formation. At the same time an Igbo Day was set up to demonstrate the oneness of Ndigbo, if not their uniqueness, and display their rich culture. Some other groups perceived this as tribalism because Ndigbo tended to work together, protect their kinds and showed ethnic solidarity. It was not surprising that The Igbo State Union was one of those immediately proscribed when the military intervened in the administration of the country.

    It is a paradox that what has been a boon to Ndigbo in their existential condition through millennia has become a reason for unease and squabbles. Anti Igbo feelings in Nigeria began to gain momentum among their neighbours in the early 1950s:

    From about 1953 at the latest, the non-Igbo ethnic groups of Eastern Nigeria had been in a state of revolt against the Igbo leadership of the region, especially after Azikiwe’s failure to consolidate the NCNC’s control of Western Nigeria had led to the sudden demise of Efik-Ibibio leadership of Eastern Nigeria. This revolt manifested itself, first, in the demand of the creation of the Calabar-Ogoja –Rivers (COR) State, which, it was hoped, would free the Ogoja, Efik-Ibibio and Ijo peoples from the stranglehold of the Igbo. The movement of a COR State went hand in hand with an alliance between the leaders of the Action Group Party which had “robbed” Azikiwe of his victory at the polls in Western Nigeria. Then it took the form of armed uprising in the Ijo Delta led by Mr. Isaac Adaka Boro.By the time the civil war broke out in 1967 it was clear the Igbo were standing virtually alone against the rest of Nigeria.

    More than half a century after, the situation has not altered significantly. If anything the position has worsened since after the civil war.

    Yet I do not believe that a mere knowledge of these facts, that we are not liked as an ethnic group, is all that is required to make a change. It should be a point of departure for a new strategic positioning of Ndigbo— of a re-evaluation of what we have been doing so far to change the situation in order to address the relationship described above and acquire political or economic power and to be less a subject of suspicion by their Nigerian neighbours. It calls for what Professor Adiele Afigbo calls “mental desalinization” of the Igbo mind.

    I have just said a few minutes ago that Ndigbo are not satisfied with their present status in Nigeria, and by extension in the world. Ana esi Na ulo ama nma were puwa na-ama. When the base is weak the centre cannot hold. There is another Igbo saying that o anaghi adi nma onye rikata na-efere, oriwe nala nkiti. It is not easy to begin eating from the floor once you have started eating from the plate. Ndigbo started eating early from the plate and have not quite adjusted to the present dish they are being served, that is their less than enviable status presently.

    So what exactly is it that Ndigbo have lost? It is simply put: POWER. And what is power? According to Roget’s Thesaurus power means influence, superiority, authority, vantage ground, grip, and hold. These are just some of the images of power. It also means control; anything that makes one to have control over the minds of other people is power. That presently is what is lacking in our clime, and the cause of our agony.

    The elements of power include effective leadership, economic prowess, political skills and dominance, ability to persuade; it means coercion by whatever means, including military means. Power, therefore, does not mean absence of force, even in a democracy. Indeed, force, is the dominant ingredient of power. These are the things we lost and which we must recover. It will lead to the recovery of others. That’s the enormity of the challenge before us .It is left for this assembly, in the final analysis, to determine the necessary strategies for the timeous appreciation and resolution of this monumental loss.

    AN IGBO GOLDEN AGE:
    The golden age of Ndigbo in Nigeria can be set between 1935 and 1965, a short span of thirty odd years when Ndigbo more than held their own in Nigeria. They held sway in several domains, even if they were not in effective control of all of them when the colonial masters were the effective power holders. The power of knowledge and the power of industry made this “control” and sphere of influence possible. Ndigbo have been out of this “control” for over forty years now. Can it be recovered? The answer is truly blowing in the wind.

    By 1879 the Yoruba had produced their first graduate in the person of Sapara Williams, after whom the Right Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe named the Law Faculty of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In contrast, the first Igbo graduate, Dr S. Onwu did not emerge until about 1934.But by the 1960s Ndigbo were at par or almost so with the Yoruba. The competitive spirit of Ndigbo had led our fathers and leaders to invest massively in the field of education when the missionaries eventually came from Yoruba land into Igbo land between 1840 and 1857.At this initial period the competition was between Igbos. This was fuelled by the desire to excel in that domain. The promise of social recognition and ascendancy through education was a factor of encouragement. Education and the ability to speak well the English language conferred a special status on the graduate. It was a beneficent competition, devoid of sterile strife and rancour.

    Ndigbo also excelled in the literary scene where they were among the leading lights. As far back as 1933 Omenuko, a novel written by Pita Nwanna won the first all –Africa literary contest in indigenous languages organised by the International Institute of African languages and Culture.This is inspite of the fact that by 1875 Bishop Ajayi Crowther and the Church Missionary Society had adopted a standard orthography for the Yoruba language .It was not until 1961 that a complete Igbo orthography was produced by the Mazi S.E. Onwu Committee. Igbos have not relented in their domination of this scene even though our efforts have not been crowned with the much taunted and coveted Nobel prize, perhaps for purely political reasons .We have, however, won many other equally high literary jewels internationally, possibly more than any other single ethnic group in the country, if not in Africa.

    In the murky waters of national politics the indefatigable the Rt. Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe left no one in doubt of his political skills and savoir-faire with which he rallied his country men and women together to confront the iniquities of colonialism and to finally achieve independence.

    Ndigbo led in the civil service and had a good representation in the military, with the late General Umunnakwe Thompson Aguiyi Ironsi at the command post of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Many had gone to Sand Hurst and Indian military academies for training and occupied strategic positions in the military. Little wonder they were accused of fomenting the aborted coup d’état that toppled the regime of President Nnamdi Azikiwe and Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in 1966.It was also through the non-compliance of some of the Igbo soldiers with instructions that the coup was botched before General Aguiyi Ironsi intervened and stopped the coup d’état.

    It was not the first time General Aguiyi-Ironsi would quench dissent and display bravery. In 1966 he had led a contingent of Nigerian soldiers to the Congo on a peacekeeping operation where he negotiated the release of an Australian medical personnel and Nigerian troops who had been ambushed by the Katangese rebels. For his efforts, he was awarded the first class Ritta Kreuz medal. He had also single handedly disbanded an angry mob in Leopoldville. Despite these achievements internationally, those he had commanded and bravely led in the field of war butchered him like a chicken.

    But most important in this account of Igbo dominance in Nigeria was the burgeoning of a vibrant and highly motivated virile populace under the aegis of the octopus-like and gargantuan Igbo State Union. Under it, the Igbo ethnic nationality was strong, organised, united, and spoke with one voice. It maintained offices in all the major towns in the country, had a full staff of dedicated, loyal and fiercely proud officers who were also well remunerated. The Igbo State Union was an amalgam of all Igbo speaking communities in and outside Igbo land. It was inaugurated in Aba in 1948 and replaced the then Ibo Federal Union, which was an association of Ibo unions in townships all over the country. The new union was much more political, much more homogenous with a wider focus than the Federated Union. Among its functions was to settle quarrels or rifts among Igbo people and ensure that they lived harmoniously with their neighbours.

    The Igbo Union also extended its tentacles to the Cameroons and Gold Coast (now Ghana) to organise Ndigbo and keep them in touch with their homeland. Its activities gave a sense of identity which Ndigbo had never had, perhaps since after their migration from Ado-na-Idu, the acclaimed original homeland of the Igbo people .The empire of Ado-na-Idu predates the coming of the Yoruba, and was made up of different ethnic clans most of which were identified as Igbo or non-Yoruba. It was the attempt of the Yoruba to usurp power in Ife that led the Igbo of Ado and the other clans to migrate further East. (See Note 1).
    By preaching good neighbourliness and settling rifts among the people, the Igbo State Union prepared the ground for the emergence of Igbo business tycoons. The union recognized the entrepreneurial spirit of Ndigbo and prepared the enabling ground, for trade and commerce to thrive. Business tycoons like Okonkwo Kano, Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu of Nnewi, Chief Ihekwoba of Nkwerre, Chief Akwiwu who was the first mayor of Port Harcourt, Chief Abaecheta of Mbieri, and latter Chief Nnanna Kalu of Abiriba led a park of young Igbo capitalists who provided much needed funds for Igbo political and academic communities and promoted the nurturing and flowering of Igbo political activism in the period under review.

    The Igbo spirit of enterprise, hard work and thrift, coupled with relative peace and social harmony at home, good political administration by committed Igbo political leaders, was rewarded by a booming economy in the fifties and especially in the early sixties before the war. The network of roads in the Eastern Region of Nigeria was reputed to be the best in West Africa, and according to a research conducted by a premier university in the United States of America, the economy of Eastern Nigeria was rated as the fastest growing in the world, ahead of Malaysia, South Korea, China and Taiwan.

    THE DECLINE: EFFECTS OF EXTERNAL FORCES
    We did say earlier that one of the character traits of Ndigbo is their pacificism. Ado-na-Idu was quite a peaceful empire with its capital in Ife before the Yoruba arrived .It was when the latter started to “yorubanise” the empire of Ado na Idu that the latter, led by the Igbo clan decided to migrate further eastwards to avoid war with the Yoruba. Pacificism is still part of Igbo culture for which retaliation under great provocation is usually the last resort. As worldwide travellers Ndigbo have always been guided by the wisdom veiled in the expression oje mba enwe iro, that is, the traveller who avoids enmity or confrontation. They prefer the umbrella of Ako Na Uche and Ofo Na Ogu (Note 2).

    Examples of this peaceful disposition can be deduced from the reactions of Ndigbo following the various killings of Ndigbo between 1953 in Kano and 1966 in parts of Northern Nigeria. Rather than mobilize and fight the perpetrators of these heinous crimes Ndigbo preferred to appeal for peace. The recent killings this year in Jos of some 43 Igbo traders did not provoke retaliation from Ndigbo. Rather Ndigbo through Ohaneze appealed to both the Federal government of Nigeria, the Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, as well as the traditional ruler of Jos to allow peace and the rule of law to prevail. The 1967 war was inevitable because the only option apart from fighting back was to be slaughtered like fowls. Ndigbo like to prevent rather than to provoke, which is consistent with the etymology of their name—Igbo chi—to prevent or protect.

    The aftermath of that unevenly matched war is the loss of power in almost all domains, and some forty years after the war, we are still to find our bearing, tottering on the brink of despair. This is not because Ndigbo have lost their original character traits of hard work and industry, but mainly because of man-made obstacles, the desire of rulers of Nigeria not to see the rise of another prosperous Igbo homeland and the general incompetence of present Igbo leadership and players in the political field. That is also to say that our prostrate position is partly self-inflicted. O si anyi na-agburu. It is in our blood.

    A combination of internal and external factors therefore, account for the decline in Igbo land and its slow recovery. The internal stimulus include the Igbo man’s propensity to self destruct, manifesting in asymmetric relationship among Ndigbo, especially the political elite and the absence of an enlightened leadership that can rise above the challenges of self adulation and aggrandisement. The other, which is external, is located in several and manifold anti Igbo policies by the Federal Government. The most telling are:
    • The abolition of the former regions, which translated to unlimited, powers to the Federal government and diluted the federal structure of Nigeria.
    • The introduction of the state structure during and after the war, which removed the oil producing areas from Igbo control.
    • The indigenisation policies of 1977 immediately following the end of the war when Ndigbo had no money and therefore could not effectively participate in the project. (Note 3).

    As I observed in my book Politics, Leadership and Development in Nigeria , the war exposed also the contradictions in Biafra; including power handling and management in Igbo land in general.

    Firstly, our minority neighbours used the opportunity offered by the war to betray the political and economic aspirations of Ndigbo under the aegis of Biafra. It is the belief of many Easterners that without their collaboration of the non-Igbo groups in the region with the federal army, the outcome of the war would have been significantly different. Secondly, the Igbo usually united against external aggression developed internal feuds, which weakened the resolve to prosecute the war single-mindedly. Those who masterminded the foiled January 1966 coup, like Majors Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Chukwuma Nzeogwu were said to have disagreed with Ojukwu on the prosecution of the war. Major Philip Alale was in the habit of countering orders issued by Brigadier Effiong.Brigadier Banjo, Lieutenant Colonel Ifeajuna and Major Alale had their own sinister schemes. The Rt. Hon. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe after misgivings with the war effort defected to the Federal side after securing recognition from some African countries and Haiti for Biafra. This factor of asymmetrical relationship among our leaders at various command positions is still at play, especially in the political arena. Thirdly, the programme of rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation following the end of the war was observed in the breach. The breach of the reconciliation programme as agreed with the federal authorities is the main cause of the slow recovery of Ndigbo and Alaigbo.Our psychological and political response to the intended and side effects of the war has not been strategic enough to stem the tide of our downward slide.

    EXAMPLES OF GENUINE POST WAR INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES:
    It was clear from the way the Nigerian government prosecuted the so called civil war, that it believed Biafra was an enemy that needed no mercy. It was better wiped out from the face of the earth. This accounts for the half-hearted attempt at reconciliation with Ndigbo. Many eyewitness accounts give credence to this observation.

    In his book The Brutality of Nations, Dan Jacobs demonstrates how several governments colluded with the Nigerian government to starve out Biafra, by allowing out some two million people, mostly children, to die of hunger in 1968. The mass killings of Ndigbo in the North, especially in Kano was a pointer to the kind of war the federal military government with a Northern head of state had in mind for Ndigbo:

    “The journalist did not want to exaggerate the slaughter, he told the Canadian M.Ps, but it was general, as was the destruction of property: Ibo shops and Ibo hotels were ransacked and looted while blocks of non-Ibo businesses were carefully left untouched. In the city of Kano alone the number killed in a weekend exceeded a thousand, most people felt it was possibly double that. Either way, it was a lot of people. No one will ever know how many thousands were slaughtered that fortnight in the North, or how many hundreds of thousands fled home to the East.” He concluded that “whatever the number, these events speak for themselves; and it should be remembered that they seem to have bitterly convinced many Ibos—I was not told this by Biafran officials, but have spoken to hundreds of Ibos myself in the last few years—that the Northerners are bent on wiping them out”. 

    As we consider the anti Igbo policies by the Nigerian governments and how to transcend them we must at the same time not downplay the foreign contents of such policies. The Nigerian Government alone did not fight the war against Ndigbo. There were commitments and advice from foreign governments, especially the British Government .If we understand some of the principles of international politics and the interests of nations, we may begin to understand our present dilemma and the international dimensions of it. (Note 4). Their advice, like their lunch, is never free.

    “Senior civil servants, who had personal stake in preserving the federal government, urged Gowon to hold the country together. The British high commissioner and the U.S. ambassador intervened, pressing Gowon not to allow the North to secede, warning that there would be no further British or American aid if the federation broke up.”

    Gowon himself had opted for secession when he declared on coming to power that the basis for Nigerian unity did not exit. A few weeks later he charged an ad hoc constitutional conference, which he convened in 1966 to consider a constitution with a weak centre or a confederation.

    It is to say that in our recovery process we must not take a short term or narrow view of these events and their resolutions. The retooling strategy must be comprehensive. What Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu observed over forty years ago may still be relevant today:
    “According to Ojukwu, the British advised Gowon that the interests of the Northerners lay in a strong Federal Nigeria that those who controlled the North could dominate. If they continued to do so, then the British would continue to play a primary role in Nigeria. For Britain, and for the British civil servants who continued to work in the Northern Region, the Ibos had always been a troublesome element in the federation, a people with democratic traditions who were not easily controlled. Many British were as glad to see them out of a central position in the federation as were those who had driven them back to their homeland and those who now held civil service and other jobs they had left.”

    In his book, Nigeria and Biafra: My Story, General Philip Efiong captured the role of the British in fomenting, planning and the general execution of the May 29,1966 anti Igbo riots during which over 300,000 Igbos were killed:
    ‘What was pertinent was that before this date, the then British Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Francis Cumming Bruce, had undertaken a tour of the North and spoken to some of the emirs and certain officials of the Administration…Furthermore, there was strong reason to believe in a British-backed plan in preparation of a northern reprisal action.

    Is the British fear of Igbo political resurgence in Nigeria over? Can anything be done about it or can we ignore that “fear” and pretend it does not matter? In our effort to recapture the years the locust has eaten, the fear of the British may be the beginning of wisdom. This is true for Ndigbo as for all true nationalists who desire the true independence of Nigeria and all those who want it to move ahead. Ndibeke na-anokpo anyi ahu.

    The various anti-Igbo policies are therefore in concert with the interests of some foreign potentates who had helped Nigeria to wage the war against Ndigbo.It hand may look like Esau’s, but the voice is definitely suspect. The interest is beyond economics. It is political, even though we are supposed to be sovereign. We can no longer continue to ignore the alleged existence of a “conspiracy theory” against Ndigbo. It requires a deeper investigation, analysis and confrontation because modern politics is built around the theory of conspiracies.

    THE BIAFRAN WAR AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
    It is also from this perspective that we must begin to understand the comments of some political analysts, who have relied on the outcome of the American civil war, fought between 1861 and 1865 to justify the politics of exclusion of Ndigbo from the main stream of Nigerian political structure, and the denial of the Presidency to the South East. They argue that it took several decades before the Southern part of the United States of America could produce a president for the country, and that the south was condemned to over a century of economic stagnation and underdevelopment following the war.

    There are many reasons why this line of argument cannot stand. Firstly, the America of the 19th century is not the Nigeria of the 20th 0r 21st century. Secondly, America has never experienced a military dictatorship, and, although a pluralistic society, ethnicity has never assumed the ugly dimension it has in Nigeria. Thirdly, presidential democracy has thrived in the United States of America for over two hundred years with consolidated democratic ideals and an electoral system that is based on the respect of the rule of law.

    The assumed economic slide of the Southern states of America resulted from the destruction of the institution of slavery, which was the backbone of the Southern economy. It was not the result of any deliberate, programmed punitive measures against the Southern confederacy by a triumphant, unforgiving Federal establishment.

    Again, the two civil wars produced two different results and left two unidentical legacies. The American civil war led to the permanent unity of the country and put paid to the issue of slavery. It freed over three million slaves and conferred full citizenship rights to African Americans through the American constitution .It also resolved the constitutional misunderstandings with regards to legal rights, secession and federal supremacy, which resolutions led to a truly unified country.

    The Nigerian civil war, on its part, led to the creation of a powerful central government with tremendous financial resources, a highly bloated bureaucracy which promoted official corruption. That government abolished the former well established regional governments and replaced them with smaller and weaker State governments with hardly enough resources to finance meaningful social programmes. Other war legacies in Nigeria include
    • The pauperization of the “defeated” Eastern Region through a grudge-driven privatization policy immediately after the war when the Igbos were economically prostrate and degenerate;
    • The emergence of a powerful restless military elite which thrived on the art of overthrowing both elected civilian and military governments at the slightest opportunity;
    • An era of frivolous spending without project consolidation; the absence of any sort of affirmative actions in the war thorn zones of the East and the South East in particular, despite the official policy of no “Victor’ No Vanquished” adopted at the cessation of hostilities.

    In a situation where one or two sections of the country seemed prepared to always control the instruments of power through the Central government and its agencies, the desire for a truly liberal democratic space for groups to realize their manifest destiny would continue to stoke the fires of ethnic nationalism. The government’s response to these anomalies has been half-baked, and a refusal to tackle the constitutional issues that would bring respite to a divided country.
    Summarily put, whereas the American civil war resolved the two main issues that led to the America civil war, namely, the issues of slavery and cotton export tax; the two main reasons why the civil war was fought in Nigeria, namely, constitutional reforms leading to true federalism and a weaker centre, and the protection of life and property of all Nigerians, especially those of Ndigbo, are yet to be resolved.

    The end of the American civil war set the stage for the flourishing of the modern American economy and the birth of a new climate of intellectualism, with emphasis on organization and professionalism. The war also gave birth to a national hero, Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, who stood up to the “aristocratic slave power” of the South.

    In the case of Nigeria, after the brief period of economic buoyancy based on the oil boom of the 70s, the national economy went into a deep, prolonged slumber from which it is yet to fully awake.

    The comparison with America falls flat in the face of political and socio-economic realities. Nigeria and its allies should look for better reasons for denying Ndigbo their legitimate demands for corporate and inalienable rights, demands that derive from the principles of equity and social justice. We should also not compare incomparables. Rather, we should learn from the Americans the art of nation building as well as how to manage plural societies for national development. Godwin A. Onyegbula, former Biafran ambassador captured the situation when he wrote as follows:
    History is a movement; and the uninitiated often take a short-term view of it. True, the Biafrans are back in Nigeria, relatively secure; but the grave issues that elicited its birth are still with us in the Nigerian polity. Unless and until these have been seriously addressed, the jury remains hung.
    The jury remains indeed hung, as the Nigerian power elite remains united in denying Ndigbo the Presidency in the foreseeable future.
    Forgiveness, reconciliation and rehabilitation are basically a Judaeo-Christian tradition. In a poly-religious condition, with different religious persuasions fighting for dominance, it is not always easy to achieve consensus. Could this explain why the Federal Government of Nigeria has not been able to fulfil the post war declaration of ‘No Victor, No vanquished ‘ policy?
    There is an undenied rumour that one of our leaders had boasted that the Igbos would not attain the presidency until after fifty years from the end of the war. For me the presidency of Nigeria should perhaps not be the most important objective for Ndigbo even though it is their political right. A level playing field is a sine qua non for our recovery. We need an environment in which people are treated with the same rights and equals, and not a regime of buyers with different purchasing powers. A revenge principle as a state policy is deleterious to national development. (See Note 5).
    Yet the revenge syndrome is anti-Christian, and a good number of our leaders have been Christians. Forty years down the line, after the war, the Igbos are constantly reminded of the war, not just by the scars which are there for all to see, but by a new kind of war being waged against them through, for instance, deliberate discrimination and sometimes outright neglect in the recruitment into public offices at all cadres. The fact that Igbos are not vengeful may be taken as an indication of total pacification; it is, however, only a posture of political realism They are, by nature, not a violent breed. The Igbos cannot be pacified through acts of deliberate injustice and discrimination, and intimidation. The only kind of physical violence from our parts these days is that perpetrated by Ndiigbo against themselves as we can see in the upsurge in kidnapping and other self-inflicted pains in the South East.

    THE MARSHALL PLAN OR THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
    The Marshall Plan was an after war recovery programme set up after the second world war to help “freed people” of the world, by the American President Harry Truman. Its target was Europe but its vision embraced what was ideologically referred to as the then Free World. No such lifeline was extended to “Biafra” or the former Eastern Region after the war. Rather a concerted effort by the interested powers united to stop even the Red Cross from flying needed relief to the ‘Kwashiorkor’ stricken Biafrans. An orchestrated diplomatic propaganda was deployed by these powers, including the United Nations and its agencies to stop relief to suffering Biafrans.
    The Marshall Plan started in 1947 went beyond food supply. It included raw materials, machines and advisers. Affected European countries produced the Recovery Plan. The United States of America funded it. The result was that within a short span of time the economies of the benefiting countries—Great Britain, Western Germany, Italy and Netherlands bounced back. We need a Marshall plan of sorts in Igboland.
    JAPAN POST WAR ECONOMIC RECOVERY:
    Just like Germany, Japanese post war economy was in shambles, characterised by high inflation, unemployment and deficits in other sectors. Like Germany, its recovery was propelled by outside intervention, especially from the United States of America. With full sovereignty restored to Japan, its government put in place measures that galvanised the growth of the economy, including a good dose of protectionism and partnership with the private sector. Its greatest asset, however, was a focused administration and leadership, headed by Prime Minister Hayato Ikedia, whose economic and development policies saw a rapid growth of the economy between 1955 and 1961. He invested heavily in Japanese infrastructure, encouraging the private sector to spend by lowering the interest rate and adopting an economic model that was mixed. All these were carefully blended with the Japanese oriental tradition, a philosophy grounded in a synthesis of neo-Confucianism and western cultural developmental praxis. Indigenous Japanese thoughts of honour and loyalty blended with the ideals of Confucianism, which entered Japan in the 16th century. Buddhism, which had also entered Japan, laid emphasis on discipline. It got its development model from the West.
    Thus the Japanese development miracle was a synthesis of various development traditions based on honour, loyalty, discipline and hard work. Japanese leaders never assimilated foreign ideas wholesale. It adapted them through a selection process, which did not loose sight of their own indigenous elements and worldview. Is there anything that Ndigbo can learn from the Japanese in this regard?
    Just like that of Ndigbo, the traditional Japanese culture was animistic to the extent that natural objects had spiritual presence. These formed a sort of spiritual continuum. For instance, a special tree, waterfalls, mountains, could be scenes or manifestations of these spiritual presences. Notwithstanding, Japanese culture has undergone a lot of metamorphosis, assimilating many influences from a variety of foreign ideas such as Confucianism, Buddhism and western culture. Today, Japan is no 3 in terms of the number of millionaires it has produced, superseded only by the United States of America and Great Britain. It is the world’s second largest economy, only recently overtaken by China.
    The South East of Nigeria, no doubt, would benefit from such a super structure, infrastructural and economic recovery programme as described above. It is through such a programme that, not only Western Germany, but also Japan emerged as the economic giants of the 20th and 21st centuries. There was nothing similar to these two examples of economic recovery or development plan for Ndigbo. This was an area that was rated in the 1960s as one of the fastest developing economies in the African sub-region. There has been no direct foreign intervention to help with the recovery effort; neither did the Nigerian leadership welcome the efforts of missionaries with humanitarian intervention motives. Christian missions were treated as suspects and their schools, which had done much to educate many Easterners, were taken away by the central government in order to slow down the educational advancement of Ndigbo. It was also to slow down the economic recovery of the East that the indigenisation programme was hastily put in place when Ndigbo could not participate because of their general insolvency at that time (The money they had in the bank was grossly undervalued and the Biafran currency was not recognized by the Central Bank of Nigeria).
    Forty years after, Nigerians remain as united as they were over the prosecution of the civil war as they are today over the non-integration of Ndigbo into the mainstream of Nigerian economy. There are many sensitive positions that Onyeigbo has not held, especially in the intelligence cadre. It is only recently that an Igbo was allowed to occupy the post of Chief of Army Staff, since the end of the civil war. I am not sure an Igbo man has occupied the sensitive post of the Chief Judge of the federation since the end of the war!
    True, the Nigerian example reflects the breaches experienced historically with many post war reconciliation programmes, especially in internecine wars where passions run high. History also teaches that return to pre-war status is difficult if not impossible in cases such as ours. But the two examples of Japan and Germany are adequate to demonstrate that we need not always follow the path of protracted vengeance. Nigeria can ill afford this path as we have a lot of catching up to do as a nation.
    For Ndigbo, the war remains the greatest test of their survival stamina. It must continue to bring out the best in them, because, as our people say, there is no rest in the race to survive: oso ndu anaghi agwu ike. We must therefore creatively survive the Peace as we survived the war.
    What then are the Creative Survival Recipes?
    Before we can effectively pronounce on this, we must do an examination of ourselves and evaluate those internal impulses that have tended to keep us down, especially since after the war. Any life not examined is not worth living. It may be that a moderation of the passions that drive us to excesses is the lever that will drive us to wholesome recovery.
    Igbo Individualism:
    A lot has been said about this in the attempt to locate the reason or reasons of the Igbo man’s unflattering status in the political ladder of Nigeria today. In our context individualism goes beyond the ordinary definition of the word as “ the moral worth of the individual”(whttp://en.wikipedia.org/willi/individualism) to embrace its negative form. It is the egotistic focus on oneself, without consideration for others or for the group interest. It is a tendency to disregard mass opinion or welfare. It is at this level that it could become truly a negative trait because a person exhibiting this trait has not attained the level of individuation, which is a process of mental or psychological integration of the development of the total person. Many people foisted on the Igbo since after the war exhibit crass individualism and opportunism and are contributory to our present status in the mud hole. Individualism within this context is the opposite of conformity—which is a group phenomenon that allows a group to function well and smoothly. It is an excessive self-indulgence to the detriment of others.
    Yet individualism of the Igbo variety could have a valent function when assessing some group projects not associated with political office seeking or holding. With this in mind, it would be wrong to perceive Ndigbo as one selfish lot that would always prevent the progress of his kinsmen. The apprenticeship system that holds sway among Igbo traders and businessmen belie this impression. It is always a matter of pride to produce a band of successful businessmen, craftsmen and professionals in varied trades, who, after a successful tutelage under their mentors are helped by their masters to set up their own businesses. As I observed in my book:

    “There are very few successful Igbo businessmen who are not the product of this age-long tradition among the Igbo. The practice is so successful that certain parts of towns and villages in Igbo land have come to be associated with specific trades, crafts, or lines of business leading to a commercial monopoly………After a successful tutelage the trainee is helped financially by his master to start his own business.
    Secondly, the very many communal projects that dot the landscapes of Igbo villages and towns result from a spirit of selflessness and self-denial in favour of the realization of group interests. Where governments have failed to provide industries, schools, potable water, electricity, hospitals, and other social amenities, Igbo communities have tasked themselves financially and physically to establish these amenities. The Imo airport, near Owerri, is one good example of such self-help project to which Imo and Abia indigenes contributed in building. I doubt if a parallel can be found anywhere in Nigeria.”
    This is not to say that there have not been serious deviations, especially since the end of the civil war from this tradition, which has given the Igbos a bad name and damaged their reputation as their brother’s keepers. This deviation is playing itself out in the political arena where “the conquerors “ insist on choosing our leaders for us, through internal colonial machinations, inducements, intimidations and other forms of free- choice denials. The fact remains that there is an excessive self-indulgence on the part of our post war political elite in particular, and their collaborators in Nigeria today to the detriment of the larger Igbo society.
    The Pull Him Down syndrome
    Non-conformity to group interest has bred the pull him down syndrome, what some see as a self-destruct impulse, in post war Igbo engagements. It is most evident among Igbo political leaders from the South East. A recent example played itself out in the Nigerian Senate at the return of civilian rule in Nigeria where almost all the Igbo senators wanted to occupy the much coveted seat of the Senate, Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber. At the final count Ndigbo produced five senate presidents, each from the five states of the South East zone, through intrigues and conspiracies in which fellow Igbos played prominent roles. It was like a macabre script authored by Igbo haters, and played out by our “distinguished’ senators to the delight and amusement of our detractors. A similar scenario is playing itself out vis-à-vis the chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zoned by the Party to the South East. At the last count two of our sons have been forced to resign from that elevated position, for reasons, which are not remotely, connected with the pull him Down syndrome. The position is yet to be filled to the detriment of Ndigbo.
    These asymmetric relationships among our political gladiators convey the erroneous impression of a divided house, and that the Igbos cannot be trusted with important high profile positions. We find a similar situation in our universities, where ascension to the office of the Vice Chancellor, for example, and promotion from one teaching grade to another, is like a titanic battle, where anything that leads to victory is right. Unfortunately a people who self-destruct, are supervising the liquidation of their own nation.

    Republicanism, Igbo Enwe Eze and the Cult of Personality.
    These terms, concepts and theories have at various times or circumstances come to be applied to the attitude or perception of Ndigbo.They are cognates of individualism, liberty, self-reliance, freedom to do as one likes with regards to social phenomenon. That they are invariably used to describe Ndiigbo and their character traits is not surprising for they are correlative attributes issuing from the same behaviour pattern and concept.
    Republicanism and Igbo Enwe Eze are values that define Ndigbo. They all point to the low esteem Ndigbo have for royalty and all its trappings, and conversely their esteem for a system of governance that has nothing to do with a king or a queen. They point to a preference for status attained through personal achievements rather than by ascription.
    Yet as far back as the 800 AD a king was known to have been in existence in some parts of Igbo land, following an emigration from Egypt. The history of Nri goes back to the land of the pharaohs. But the king who emerged following this emigration never, strictly speaking, ruled because he did not have the usual kingdom attributed to kings. He probably reigned. He had no empires, because the Igbos are not empire builders. He lived in peace with those he met and did not exercise any secular authority among them. Where he came from he was a chief priest, an adviser to the Sun King. If it is true that he introduced the idea of kingship among his people, he must have been doing something quite strange to Ndigbo, for as Chinua Achebe told us in Things Fall Apart:
    “ They asked who the king of the village was, but the villagers told them that there was no king. ‘We have men of high title and the chief priests and the elder,’”
    The Igbo society of the time was characterised by a highly functional democratic and republican ethos in which governance was by consensus after consultations by elders. Governance was centred on the principle of free choice and the notion of the equality of all citizens.
    The concept of Igbo Enwe Eze is pan Igbo as it applies to almost every part of Igbo land. The known exception is the Nri dynasty. Ritual spiritualists who attended to communal deities as priests were called Eze and the word or term is used as a prefix to the name of the deity. Thus we have Eze-Ani, which means the Chief priest of Ani. Ani was the god of fertility and occupied a premier position in the pantheon of Igbo gods. In the same manner Eze-ji is the Chief priest of yam. Yam was the king of all crops, the large cultivation of which partly defines manliness and confers respect, prestige and high social status in the community. Igbo kingship is not a political title. Eze was primordially associated with the worship of gods. The Eze acted as interpreters of events, decipherers or diviners, and wielded considerable powers. These powers were moral or spiritual, not political. In some cases the name of the priest serves as a prefix to the name of the god he serves. A typical example is Udeanyim. Anyim, the god of river is the deity, and Ude, the personal name of the priest.
    It may be safe to say that there are two kinds of kingship in traditional Igbo communities; one derived through association or contacts with contiguous non-Igbo communities which had kings in Northern and riverside Igbo areas, and as such was not autochthonous. The other is associated with the cult of deities, especially Ani (the earth-goddess) the most important deity that underpinned the value system in traditional Igbo society. Kingship as we know it today is therefore an ascribed, imported function or status. It is not based on achievement.
    In a society that lays emphasis on achievement rather than on ascribed status there is bound to be little or no respect for such an institution with time. That explains the attitude of Ndigbo to the institution and the root of the notion of Igbo Enwe Eze in Igbo society. The introduction of warrant chiefs in 1916 by the colonial government and the traditional edict of 1978 have not changed the attitude of the Igbos fundamentally.
    Another important factor in this regard is the Igbo concept of Chi—a fragment of Chukwu (The great God) or Chineke (God the creator) believed to reside in every Igbo man—that determines his success or failure in life. This ontological awareness or belief is aptly used by Chinua Achebe to typify the life of the protagonist of his novel, Things Fall Apart:
    But the Igbo have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes very strongly; so his chi agreed. And not only his chi but his clan too, because it judged a man by the work of his hand .
    As in fiction, so in reality. The Igbo, who are known for their religious activism and fervour, believe in the concept of a Supreme God (Chukwu) who through a fragment of Himself in individual lives, Chi or personal god, helps those who help themselves. That is also the basis of a belief disposition that promotes the idea of kingship in every Igbo man and royalty in every Igbo blood. In a conflict situation the average Igbo man will ask you if you are his god (I bu chim?), or if you are the one that gives him food (O bu gi n a-enye m nri?). And since it is only God who can guarantee these provisions, any other source pales in significance.
    The statement :Igbo Enwe Eze, can therefore be regarded as a reference to the disposition of the Igbo towards the notion of kingship. In the contemporary context in which it is used, the inference may be seen as pejorative. In Igboland there is a noticeable absence of the regard, respect and the apparent high esteem in which other traditional rulers, the Sultans, the Obas, and the Emirs, enjoy where they reign. The ancestors of these suzerains were gladiators and land grabbers who through the force of arms imposed their will on others. No such thing happened in the history of Ndigbo.
    Traditional Igbo communities were, as we have earlier said, essentially pacificists and did not raise any large armies of occupation for imposing themselves upon their neighbours. They did find basis, however, for common action, as they preferred to work rather in loose confederations. This is reflected in the Igbo spirit of egalitarianism and his attitude to governance. Even now, Ndigbo are in the vanguard of the clamour for a political rearrangement that favours devolution of power from the central government to the various zones of the country, something very similar to the aborted arrangement agreed in Aburi, Ghana, between Nigeria and Biafra, on January 4,1967. The renege on that far-reaching agreement aborted the peaceful resolution of the conflict and led to its escalation. Elsewhere, I have argued that the present predicament of Ndigbo is not necessarily a function of Igbo-Enwe-Eze, since it has not been established that other parts of Nigeria are more developed than Igbo land because they have kings or that monarchical or feudal societies fare better than republican ones.
    The non-existence of a strong kingship tradition is not necessarily a handicap. It is a fact well known all over the world that the Igbos are among the most industrious, skilful and enterprising groups in the world. We have already pointed to their successes in education, politics, business and industry. When we made these enviable strides we had no kings. It is therefore improper to locate present Igbo predicament on the nebulous concept of Kingship, whose introduction distorted our mode of governance.
    We indeed need to take a second look at edict Number 22 of 1978,which created and sustains what we have now as Chiefs or Ndieze in Igbo land. The creation did not follow the traditions or norms of the people and its intention is to further suppress the “democratic village republic’ of our people. The decree is a military imposition and goes back to the attempt by the colonial government to create a centralized political system in Igbo land, by the introduction of warrant chiefs in 1916.It is through the warrant chief lineage that some of the recent Igbo traditional rulers (Ndi Eze) emerged to continue British maladministration.
    Attempts at our full recovery must take cognizance of this aberration and the fact that there was no political mechanism that functioned centrally in Igboland.Administration and authority in pre-colonial Igbo land was highly diffused and part of our problem today stems from the fact that there is an imperfect assimilation of one system by the other, and there is an imperfect synthesis between two systems whose administrative procedures are totally at variance.
    The Republican nature of Ndigbo need also not make them leaderless or rudderless. In our recent past men of achievement and substance earned the respect of all, including their peers. But they did not dictate to their societies because of their achievements. The Ojukwus, Ihekwobas, Nnanna Kalus and other net worth Igbo patriots did not seek elective positions because of their wealth or inspite of it. They, instead, worked within the council of elders as represented by the well-organised, efficient and dynamic Igbo Union and functioned within well-defined areas of operations. That is what we need. That is the change Ndigbo need, not the change by godfathers who use their wealth to seek political relevance.
    We need to re-enact that kind of mind set and disposition and suppress the minds that are self-serving. Those who ruled Igbo land then and by extension Nigeria were well educated and enlightened. They were focused and knew what Igbo interest was…Zik, Mbadiwe, Ojike, Nwafor Orizu, Alvan Ikokwu, Amanze Njoku, Kalu Ezera, Akanu Ibiam, Michael Okpara, to name but a few. This list does not include any trader. But what have we today? They are people who see politics as another form of business enterprise or trade in order to increase their personal wealth. They are the ones controlling the command posts in Igbo land today and influencing those who represent us at all levels of governance.
    AUTHORITY AND PUBLIC SERVICE IN IGBOLAND TODAY
    WHAT we experience today in most parts of the South Eastern states is akin to internal colonisation. The difference between British colonialism and the present administration is that most of those in power in Igbo land are Ndigbo and are black. They are our kith and kin. They are those who have kidnapped our values and made nonsense of them; they are those who are making it impossible for many of our children to go to schools; they are those who witness the closure of our universities for five to six months or even up to a year, because they claim they have no money to pay, while their counterparts in other states are introducing free primary education in their domains; they are those who supervise the death of Igbo language while “blowing grammar” at their fruitless “exco-meetings’ and in other public events; those who make it impossible to know whether our children are still Ndigbo or cultural mongrels and outcasts; they are those accused of sponsoring armed robberies in high places and kidnapping of political opponents; they are those ,who through acts of omission or commission, supervise the “commercial death of Aba,, Onitsha and Nnewi, the commercial nerve centres of Igbo land, the erstwhile burgeoning Taiwan of West Africa. They are those who pocket money meant for contract execution in Igbo land.
    That in a nutshell is a summation of the type of representation and governance we have today in Igbo land. It is a reversal of the well-known democratic concept that power comes from the people. It is a negation of our cherished ethos of representative democracy. It has been replaced by the belief and practice that the representative of the people need not be the person of their choice.
    Indeed where elections are replaced by selections by the so called powers that be, the people’s franchise have been removed and those so “selected” cannot be accountable to the people. The proliferation of god-fatherism with its negative consequences, the re-introduction of “warrant chiefs’ through the backdoor and the balkanization of chiefdoms into tiny constituencies of autonomous communities under new chiefs or “Ezes” who are mere surrogates of those who appointed them, are all calculated strategies to destabilize the old republicanist governance structure of Igbo land. The colonial government initiated the destruction. It is being completed by our neo-colonialists masquerading as leaders. The result is a mongrel state whose internal dynamics lack inherent moral responsibility, where the leadership is feared rather than respected. The implications are many and include
    • Unprecedented corruption in the system
    • Amassment of quick wealth by a few
    • Degradation of our cultural values
    • Impoverishment of the people
    • Hero worshipping and boot licking
    • Leadership imposition from within and from without
    • Monopolisation of Power.
    • Etc
    These challenges and other miscarriages of power are relics of the colonial administration, from which we thought we had weaned ourselves but which an insensitive and alienated political elite has unashamedly appropriated to serve purely selfish interests. Our neo-colonial leaders have erected for themselves institutions that serve their personal interests and the individual is the hapless victim. Those who benefit from it will not allow the system to change willingly.
    The immediate consequences, among others, are
    • Youth unemployment
    • Inefficient education system
    • Valorisation of illiteracy, in some places
    • Lack of respect for elders
    • Lack of planning
    • Inadequate parental care
    • Massive migration to urban centres
    • Criminality of all sorts
    • Inability to think out of the box and be original and creative.
    Today a good number of our youths are involved in street trading in Lagos, Abuja and Kano. Others are touting, stealing, drug trafficking, kidnapping which has metamorphosed into a lucrative vocation, prostitution, dubious okada ridings and other such menial engagements and criminality. The challenges are many. It is a combination of poverty, alienation and isolation that has led to the buccaneering behaviour of this character type elaborated above, for whom others exist for exploitation. He is the product of our disjointed society. He kills, cheats, kidnaps without any feeling for his victims. The intensity of criminality is in direct proportion to the feeling of alienation from the government and the community at large.
    The irony is that those who refuse to be part of the nefarious system of governance delineated above are regarded as “fools” by the society at large. Some statements or aphorisms which appear to be undisputable truths, taken from the stock expressions of the people reflect the impact of this new found political theology on the psyche of the people:”Onye ria iroko ya kpatacha nku dum ochoro, nihi na anaghi ari iroko mgbe nile”: If you climb the iroko tree, you must get all the woods you need, because it is not easy to climb the iroko twice. The second statement echoes the same opportunistic mentality.’O bu onye ji igu ka eghu na eso’.”The goat follows the person with palm leaves”. These two aphorisms among others, seems to define the nascent political culture of our people. You will not escape blame if you fail to put this sub- culture into effect when holding public office in Nigeria. You must get your own “share” of what is euphemistically referred to as “the national cake” part of which you are expected to pass on to your political supporters. Such is the level of degradation and cynicism, which characterise the system! It also explains the “do or die” mentality of the political elite. How can anyone argue with insanity! (Note 6).
    In an environment where excessive power is concentrated in the hands of a few people, a majority of the people reduced to a beggarly position, unemployed and poor, hero-worshipping becomes inevitable. Indeed the order of the day is sycophancy. The political debauchery is epitomized by the craze for high-sounding appellations and nomenclatures of the governing elite. The hunger-ridden, brow beaten followers over-reach themselves in acquiescence. Those in the command position have the word “executive” attached to their names, even when this is not in the constitution. Part 11, Section 176(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria simply sates “There shall be for each State of the Federation a Governor”. But this provision is not enough. The governors must be “executive’ governors, the senators are “distinguished”, even when many of them do not show up in the chambers; all the members of the state and House of Representatives are honourable, if not Right honourable. The local government chairmen are not exempted from this bloated nomenclature syndrome. They are “executive chairmen”, even when some of them are occupying the seat as “transition chairmen” because they are not elected. The traditional rulers have graduated from “Royal Highnesses to Royal Majesties”, without ever shooting a rifle. Their autonomous communities suddenly transform themselves to “Ancient Kingdoms”, even when most of them are less than ten years old! It is all part of the burgeoning cult of personality based on the beggarly position the leaders have reduced the people.
    Still, our legislators, despite the deplorable work ethics of many of them, allocate to themselves jumbo salaries and perquisites of office, which nobody has been able to successfully challenge because they are the lawmakers and must approve our budgets. Yet labour has been involved on a protracted negotiation to have the federal and state governments agree on a minimum wage of less than $150 a month for a worker.
    Some of the governors name public buildings and edifices after themselves, their wives or their girl friends, buildings that are erected with the taxpayers’ money. Some have even been known to change state universities into the names of their godfathers or after themselves in a vainglorious search for immortality! Such is the travesty in governance in our states that we can hardly talk of government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is indeed a different kind of democracy, from that defined by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg speech. It has been turned into a sham, a myth in which the collective interests of the people have been usurped by few persons or by a clique that have continuously manipulated itself into power. It is clearly the dictatorship of a well-organized minority that has perfected the act of perpetuating itself in public office. All these have made governance very expensive. The overhead cost has become unbearable, leaving a wide chasm between capital expenditure and emoluments.
    The astronomical cost of governance in the country, the huge pay approved by our legislators for themselves, and the public outcry against this, is the subject of a recent editorial by a national newspaper:
    “It costs Nigerian taxpayers at least N290 million naira annually to maintain each federal lawmaker in a country where 80 per cent of the population earn less than N1, 000 a day. A monthly salary of a senator is reportedly more than the annual salaries of 48 university professors combined and about nine times the salary and about nine times the salary of a United States Congress man. This is simply scandalous. We may be killing democracy subtly just to satisfy the fancies of political office holders.”
    THE IGBO INTELLIGENTIA AND THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
    It is my persuasion that for a political system to be complete and relevant it must not only create roles, it must also define them. Strictly speaking, the Nigerian political system has not defined roles for its intellectual class, leaving it in the periphery of national development. For the system to change the intellectual elite must be ready to change and transform itself from its non-political role player status to a viable political agent of change.
    Politics is an all-comers affair without any well-defined recruitment structure. A good political party should have a recruitment programme that should assign roles to its intellectual class to man its think tank. Where there is a vacuum the intellectual class should step in and fill that gap, knowing that, as I said, it is an all-comers affair. Unless the present social structure and mechanism in place in Igbo land is changed through some sustained enlightened pressure we are in for a more difficult period.
    I have implied earlier that part of the success story of pre-war Igbo land was the dominance of the intellectual class in the political and governance structure of Eastern Region. The intellectual class drove the administration of Professor Eyo Ita, the then leader of Government Business in the then Eastern Region The same applied to the Nnamdi Azikiwe cabinet that sacked it, when the latter was forced to come back from Lagos to take over the administration of Eastern Region.
    Igbo political recovery is too much a task to be left in the hands of politicians alone. Our intellectual elite must be fully involved. It should have a voice in decision-making and policy formulations. It must share a consciousness of belonging to a group that has special needs and aspirations. It must also strive to rise to the highest rank available in the party. Above all, it must have a vested interest in changing the present status quo and help to redistribute power to cover all the matrix of governance available and foster a system where no small cabal can hold power at the expense of the majority. A sensitive and progressive Igbo elite can retake the state and move it to the highest level of glory and dramatic results.
    If we are as brilliant as we claim to be this is the time to show it. It is all about personal and group initiative and opportunity. The war brought out our ingenuity. We are in a different kind of war today. The Western part of Nigeria is pursuing its own agenda despite the fact that it is part of mainstream Nigeria. Its policy of “the West for the West” is being pursued with vigour through its nascent political front-- the recently re- baptised Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) .Its goal is that the Party that should rule Nigeria should have its political base in Yoruba land.
    Ndigbo should have their own strategies, including nurturing a political party with an ethnic root. We should revisit the pre-war economic model of the early fifties and sixties that made Eastern Nigeria one of the fastest growing economies in the world then. Important also is how to partner politically with other parts of Nigeria in order to achieve an indigenous economic regime resulting from some autonomy and freedom to Nigeria’s component parts.
    The Federal Government has not stopped the development of agriculture, the planting and harvesting of palm products; the development of Independent Power Plants. We should commission studies on the economic and political philosophies of The Right Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara and Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, PhD, and find out why their regimes succeeded. It is not only the Yoruba that have ‘a sage”, who possibly owes this dubious distinction to the Yoruba media. Zik was a living legend, but today nobody acknowledges his towering legacy to Nigeria and Igbo land. One would sometimes think that the Sardauana of Sokoto was the Governor General of Nigeria and not Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha. Pardon the digression.
    Post-German economic recovery shows a close relationship between the academic community and the political class. The post war situation in Igbo land is similar to that of Germany of 1945,portraiture of economic, physical and psychological devastation. There was a shared historical imperative on all sides to change the situation. While the academic community rose to the occasion in Western Germany, churning out policies of reform and mapping out economic models, most of our intellectuals have chosen to be arm=chair critics of government policies or have adopted the attitude of “si-don-look”.
    In Germany two schools of thought emerged—the Ordoliberalism school of thought and the Keynesian school. They only differed on the issue of the extent of Government involvement in the economic life of the people. In our case, there is nothing to present to the government. We seem rather to prefer a zero theory of developmental economics in which nothing is specific or sacrosanct. In the particular case of Southeast Nigeria there is no acceptable co-ordinate approach. Some development agencies exist only in name. Ours is a situation in which the governments come with no particular economic agenda modelled on no theory or principle. Yet we have brilliant scholars all over the place, with brilliant ideas of what to do, to improve the lot of our people. I challenge the Igbo Studies Association to pick up the gauntlet and provide the leadership. Indeed we can find the resource materials here, men who do not only have the knowledge but are also creative and imaginative.
    Why were things different when the three leaders mentioned above were in the saddle in Igboland? Mbakwe’s success story was a post-war phenomenon, abruptly terminated by Buhari’s military coup in December 1983. Can our scholars provide a continuity process through public debates framed purely within economic performances of our leaders? Through this we can redefine and redirect our economic community by initiating dialogues between the academics and policy makers and implementers, as was the case in Germany, where academic movements metamorphosed into economic policies.
    It would seem Igbo academia is afflicted with a certain degree of intellectual paralysis as far as this type of social function is concerned. We should foster intellectual activism in developmental economic investigations and formulations. We should also add to our economic event history those engagements that would liberate it from its present paralysis. We should come out with a pragmatic model that removes the restrictions of state power, which stifles competition in our economic activities. These ideas, no doubt, need more amplification than I can contemplate here. What I have attempted here is the articulation of a general framework of a new economic direction for Ndigbo.We need an Igbo House or Academy to elaborate a wholesome agenda.
    As of now there is no integrated economic development plan or effort in the South East. Each state pursues its own agenda within the framework of the National development Plan, a plan that is bogged by implementation inertia. We should have a vision responding to something like what we have in the emergent Middle East and Asian economic city states like Shanghai, Dubai, and Singapore, despite the fact that we are not as developed. We can study these models and see how we can adapt them to our own situation.
    Certain factors seem to favour the harnessing of the opportunities that abound in the southeast region and the south- south zone. The Asaba airport lies at a location that is ideal and as a point of convergence between the South East and South-South, which should facilitate economic corporation .The airport, may eventually become the true bridge across the Niger. Traders from the South East, especially Nnewi and Onitsha, should take advantage of the closeness of the airport when operational, to bring their business nearer home, avoiding the hostile environment that the Murtala Mohammed airport represents. Asaba is only a few miles from Onitsha. We should also encourage the development of the Warri and Koko ports which are not very far from Onitsha, while putting political pressure on the Federal government to fulfil its promise to build a second bridge across the River Niger. Inn his campaign tour to Anambra State on the 24th of February 24, 2011,President Jonathan gave a firm promise that he would preside over the completion of this vital bridge, if he comes to power. This is a promise we cannot take lightly and we must do everything to ensure that he wins all our votes on April 9th, 2011.
    THE MOVEMENT FOR THE ACTUALIZATION OF THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF BIAFRA (MASSOB).
    This organisation needs to review its goals, which summarized, is to achieve the political independence of Ndigbo outside the Nigerian territory through non-violent means. Massob seems to be lacking fresh ideas on how to achieve what appears to be a tall order in the present environment. It is also suffering from factionalization, which has assumed the status of an undeletable virus in Igbo life.
    Igbos themselves seem to be divided on the relevance of MASSOB. There is a school of thought that thinks that the organisation has outlived its usefulness. It should close shop. There are those that believe that the organisation should remain as a militant youth organisation that can be called upon anytime to provide internal protection for Ndigbo, given the existence in other zones of similar militant groups. This group believes that it should drop the word, “sovereign” from its name, arguing that it would continue to attract reprisals from the Nigerian government, which is determined to guarantee its territorial integrity.
    There are still those who believe that Massob may yet achieve political autonomy for Ndigbo in view of what is happening in the Soviet Union and other parts of the world, where a number of ethnic nationalities have gained political autonomy. They argue that the secession of Biafra came at the wrong time, only six years after hard won independence, when Africans and the generality of the world avoided the word “secession “like a plague. The scenario is different today, they argue. The recent referendum in Sudan, which favours the separation of the South of the country from the North seem to lend some credence to this way of thinking.
    It is my view, however, that Massob should remain a pressure group, functioning like the Oduduwa Peoples Congress (OPC) or the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, (MEND) with its goal as the promotion, protection, and preservation of Igbo interests in Nigeria. To do this it may have to drop the word “sovereign” and adopt result-enhancing strategies, including promoting internal disciplinary measures as well as ensuring perceived decorum and integrity among its members. It should be relevant in maintaining local peace and order and refrain from activities that violate individual freedoms and other civil liberties. Above all, it must develop clarity of thought and vision.
    OHANEZE NDIGBO
    Ohaneze (the people and their leaders) has had a chequered history since its inception in 1976, less than a decade after the war. Two eminent Igbo sons Dr Akanu Ibiam and Chief Jerome Udoji were the President-General and Secretary General respectively at inception. After its shaky start (shaky because of its alleged political bias in favour of a nascent political party), Ohaneze slipped into various forms of crises. It has managed however, to remain a rallying force for Ndigbo. The debate whether it should be a socio-cultural outfit or whether it should provide necessary political direction for Ndigbo remains, for me, purely academic and an unnecessary distraction. Ohaneze should continue to be at the vanguard in charting courses that impel the rapid progress of our people, in the cultivation of progressive initiatives and ideas, in articulating, disseminating and promoting Igbo interests at all levels.
    The political class, which incidentally dominates Ohaneze, should work closely with the organization in the effort to promote these interests. Our recovery effort must be constitutive and inclusive, bringing together mutually re-enforcing connections and means relevant to our objectives. Ohaneze cannot but be integrative in its approach and perform this role like other major ethno-based groups in the Nigerian federation.
    RECOVERY PROSPECTS AND THE IGBO LANGUAGE
    The serious development of Ala Igbo must impel the use of the Igbo language and culture as a strategic tool. Since we live in a multi lingual country, such a language development process must also accommodate the English language, gradually making it less dominant in our life. To begin to do this, we need to develop a mechanism which will make for communication compliance in Igbo at all levels, so that we can restore it as a language of power among our people. Indeed we need a language policy that will make it mandatory for Ndigbo to conduct all their activities- their town hall as well as their village meetings, including the teaching of all school subjects, Mathematics Physics, and Biology in Igbo.
    The diglossic picture, which shows the dominance of one language—the English language—, must be replaced with a different model in which the Igbo language will no longer play a second fiddle. Special Igbo Studies Schools in and outside Igbo land will be built in this regard. We have to focus more on development linguistics rather than on dependency linguistics. Beneficiaries of the development process can effectively be reached in their own language, and development can also be achieved faster through mass participation. This mass participation in order to recover from language loss and the cultural subjugation of a people is the domain of Linguism.
    LINGUISM AND THE IGBO LANGUAGE
    There is a tendency to always take language for granted; because it is something we are familiar with from childhood in an unreflecting manner. I want to appeal to this house to look at the Igbo language afresh as we discuss some linguistic concepts for elucidation. This will enable us to free our minds from misconceptions and prejudices about the Igbo language and the need to see it as the most existential tool available to us.
    There is an identity assertion concept called Linguism.It develops into a movement when the identity of a language or an ethnic group is threatened. It is a concept that enables the recapturing of the value base of a language, its myths and symbols. There is no better time to do this for the Igbo language than now and make it part of our renascent movement.
    There are elements of our indigenous civilization that the English language is trying to block or extirpate. To the extent that it succeeds or fails to do this, to that extent shall our development efforts succeed or fail. All branches of Igbo culture, its arts, sciences, philosophy of life, were developing naturally before the English language became our lingua franca and interrupted this natural and organic growth. The call is to stop that trend and assert the uniqueness of our language and us.
    Ethnic assertion and separateness are a constant reminder of the multicultural nature of a country that has not yet developpped a national symbol. In this context ethnic languages like Yoruba, and Hausa are fully identifiable as instruments of ethnic promotion and validation. These two Nigerian languages in particular are used in radios and televisions to promote their culture. Newspapers are also published in these languages to further consolidate language identity. The Igbos are yet to rise up to the occasion by engaging fully in a similar language and ethnic ecumenism. We need to further develop the Igbo language to drive our development effort and make this a populist engagement, which involves everybody, especially the masses.
    I share the view espoused by scholars like Ferdinand de Saussure that language is a system of signs, which captures reality in a specific way. Because each language is culture specific, it is also different from others. Our language predisposes us to how we understand and perceive the world around us. Thus the relationship between the Igbo language and Ndiigbo is organic and inseparable. Igbo is the spirit of our culture. No other language can capture that spirit as well.
    Linguism therefore, is a mechanism for the development and preservation of our language as the spirit of our culture, a mechanism to restore its vitality and force. Linguism will not only lead to the strengthening of ethnic nationalism; it will also conduce to a true federation of ethnic nationalities. For Ndigbo our language should be a focal point for ethnic identification, an instrument for political and economic mobilization, and a framework through which input could be made into national development. Regarding language power and development I had asserted as follows in a paper I presented at a Seminar in Nsukka in 1977:
    “The immediate import of Igbo language degeneracy is to drop it as an instrument of social development and engineering. This has the possibility of stifling the Igbo genius for enterprise and development, since culture is a major component of development……………
    Language is a symbol of power. It is also a purveyor of values in a culture. The death of the Igbo language will represent the final triumph of imperialism over our civilization and culture and the final abdication of our effort to be free. Without freedom there cannot be true social, economic and political development. This is not measured only in terms of physical capital and economic growth, but also in terms of the mental, emotional and spiritual satisfaction of the individual. Igbo language extinction will also represent a major loss of power in Nigeria and the Igbo will no longer be taken as a serious player in Nigeria.”
    I expressed a similar sentiment in a paper I presented here last year when I opined as follows:
    “Igbo language renaissance must precede socio-political rebirth. Until Igbo language begins to reign in all our activities, our road to socio-cultural awakening will remain a pipe dream, our social and political structures, which started their demise with the slave trade and colonization, worsened by the ravages of the civil war and the continued systemic political and economic marginalization by the Nigerian state, will continue to be anaemic.”

    RECOVERY, BALANCE OF POWER AND STATE CREATION

    Power is a hotly contested commodity in nation building. Its sharing, through the platform of zoning, states and local governments, is a political mechanism that attempts to regulate its fair distribution among power constituents and share holders. This is to establish stability and ensure social justice and equity in a plural society. Through this process, many believe, the concentration of power in the hands of a few would be contained and its distribution to all the stakeholders assured.
    Power manifests itself in different styles, but in our context, it does so especially through the allocation of the spoils of office, that is, the distribution of posts and positions. Equity and social justice are vitiated when distribution of power among zones is not equally reflected. The advantages that zoning confers must be equal at all levels. One of the ways to ensure this is to maintain parity in the number of states in each constituent zone of the republic. Not to do so is an act tantamount to dispossession; it is an absence of rights, which imputes a serious defect in our political culture.
    In this section of our address we intend to show why additional states should be created in the South East of Nigeria, based on the principles of equity and social justice, which should drive the process of nation building in Nigeria. Since they are the basis of resource allocation and power sharing, states should be equal in number in all the zones of the Federation. Just as states and local governments are listed in the constitution, zones should also be listed in the constitution. Until this is done all other arrangements aimed at power sharing is deceptive and constitutionally flawed.
    Nigeria is a country of about 150 million people, of which Ndigbo account for about 4o million, if properly counted. It is divided into 36 states, with Abuja as the Federal capital. Five of this number is in the South East zone. The states are further divided into 774 Local Governments. Out of these only 95 Local governments are in the South East zone. Comparatively 186 are in the North West zone alone.
    Before and after Nigeria became independent in 1960 it was a federation of three regions, made up of the Eastern region, the Western region and the Northern region. There had also been provinces in the colonial era. Two of the provinces were merged from the Western region to form the Mid-West region in 1963.
    In 1967, because of the war, and as a strategy to contain the East, the regions were subdivided into 12 states with a military decree, leaving only the Mid-West intact. Ndiigbo were clamped into one State, called East Central State. The allocation of 2 states to the so called minorities in The then Eastern Region gave the erroneous impression that they were of the same size or population with the Igbos, who were clamped in one state. When in 1987, Akwa Ibom State was further created out of Cross River State, the marginalization principle as part of a process of further containing with Ndigbo became more glaring. At that same period the Igbos in the Rivers State and in Delta were clamoring for Port Harcourt State and Anioma State respectively. But the military junta of the time preferred to further subdivide the old Eastern Region for reasons which all of us should know.
    The 1967 exercise created the illusion of a balance between the North and the South. There were 6 states in the North and 6 States in the South. But it did not reflect the numerical strength of the East, ethnically marginalizing the Igbo who, by this new arrangement had just about 1.2% of the states so created. The Yoruba had two states, or 16.6% and the Hausa Fulani, inhabiting what is loosely called the core North, that is Kano, North Western and part of North Eastern States, had 25% of the states created.
    In 1976, after the war, seven new states were created during which Anambra and Imo states emerged. That brought the total number of states in the country to 19, with two of them only in the core Igbo area of Nigeria. By the same exercise the Western state, was subdivided into Ogun, Ondo and Oyo, with Lagos left intact. Mid-West was renamed Bendel. In the North, Benue-Plateau was subdivided into Benue and Plateau states, North Central became Kaduna and Niger States, Sokoto and Bauchi were carved out of North Western States, while Borno and Gongola emerged from North Eastern state. Kano and Kwara were left intact. The obvious beneficiaries of this exercise were the North and of course the West. The benefits, as we shall show later are not just in terms of the superior number of states but also in the advantage of privileges as consolidated by the various provisions in the Nigerian Constitution.
    In 1987 Akwa Ibom and Cross River States were created, followed in 1991 by nine other states, bringing the total number of states to 30.The same year Abuja became the official Federal capital Territory with all the paraphernalia and status of a state. Two states created by this exercise in the South East were Abia and Enugu States. At the same time Osun was created from Oyo, Delta and Edo from Bendel;
    Jigawa, Kogi, Katsina, Kebbi, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba from the North. The last state creation was by General Abacha, which brought the total number of States in Nigeria to 36 .In this last exercise Ebonyi state was the only state created from the South East, out of several other legitimate demands. At the same time Bayelsa was created from Rivers State; Ekiti came from Ondo State while Nasarawa, Zamfara and Gombe states were added from the North. The state structure today has created a Federation of States in which the North has nineteen states, excluding the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and the South eighteen states. The missing link is the one state which all right thinking Nigerians believe should come from the East.
    Nigeria is a country of nationalities and not yet a nation based on consensus. The bill that came with independence was full of incongruities; deceptions and misconceptions .The result is the present state of disillusion and misgivings. Balancing for survival within Nigeria is imperative because certain sections of the country enjoy a preponderance of power, which it uses to intimidate, cajole and sometimes bribe other sections in order to remain at the command post. Thus the affairs of this country have been in the hands of the North for 38 out of the 50 years of our so-called independence. To maintain peace and ensure certain equilibrium we must accept the principle that what is good for the goose is good for the gander and move ahead to balance the federation.
    There is no gain saying the fact that states and local governments have become the focal point of political administration in the country and the basis for power and financial distribution as well. The more states you have in a zone the more your power of bargaining and persuasion and the more access to the Federation account. The state principle has become the instrument for the redistribution of the wealth of the country. It is also a facilitator if not the accelerator, for rapid social and economic development. New states need new headquarters, new local government administrations, new development centers, new revenue bases, new strategies for the mobilization of the masses for economic awareness and political activism.
    THE BALANCE OF POWER CONCEPT AND STATE CREATION
    State creation is a product of the political dynamics in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria. Like the federal character principle, the zoning arrangement concept among some political parties, it is perceived as a stabilizing factor in a crisis prone country like Nigeria. Today, it is at the nexus of political and fiscal allocations. It is a balancing act between the perceived domineering groups and the others not so powerful. States have thus continued to define the power relationships and equations in the country since they came into existence.
    WHAT IS BALANCE OF POWER AND WHAT POWER ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
    We are talking of the power (not just the right) to have access and enjoy all the opportunities as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Until the power structure is equitably modified we shall continue to find it difficult to have access to all the provisions of the Constitution. Additional states in Igbo land is the beginning of the remedial processes that must be embarked upon in order for true access to ensue to all the opportunities enshrined in a true federal constitution.
    Balance of power, therefore, is the objective re-arrangement of the Nigerian state in order to guarantee a widespread satisfaction through the equitable distribution of power so that no one section or sections of the country can hold the other segments to ransom. As a policy guideline, it must recognize and put in place structures that will stop certain actors from seeking to benefit from an over-balanced federation. That arrangement must be guaranteed by the constitution.
    Those who may think that the balance of power concept is a mere theory not applicable to Nigeria may be mistaken. I say this because I have heard some otherwise well educated members of the Igbo elite posit that the demand for additional states in Igbo land is a waste of time. Those who also think that the problem with Nigeria is simply ethnic, religious, nepotism and corruption of the mind are not facing the reality. These destabilizing syndromes are part of the symptoms of the structural imbalance in the system, of which inequality in state partition and local government creations are important reflexes.
    The Nigerian project is not a consensus, and may never be. It is a project originating from social Darwinism, a theory of the survival of the fittest. It inter alia led to the colonial policies of England and other European countries. It is based ab initio, on the concept of inequality of the human races, not just on mercantilism and the latter-day philosophy of nation building or mission civilisatrice. British colonialism was indeed, based on a divide and rule principle that exacerbated the differences in the country along ethnic, religious and class lines. Nigeria is a by-product of this debased theory and practice. It is a huge postcolonial market in which some part of the country is still holding forth for their colonial masters. The former and the latter were both empire builders who found a common interest in having a large estate called Nigeria, with each respecting the other’s sphere of influence and interest, as they want to remain the major stake holders. In this kind of relationship our freedom is diminished as the ruling section sees devolution of power as a path to extinction and as self-destructive. No wonder they tend to see everything in cataclysmitic proportions, raising a war chant of a collective nervous breakdown at every demand for equity. This has produced an anxiety neurosis in certain parts of the country and if unchecked, may lead us to a state of permanent insecurity. It is this state of permanent insecurity that has given rise to apocalyptic pronouncements in some quarters about the future of Nigeria. Every society harbors its builders as well as its destroyers just as every civilization carries the genes of self-destruction. Nigeria is no exception.
    But we have refused to learn from history. Until the Soviet Union buckled under internal agitations for liberty and freedom many people thought the internal struggles were simply as a result of class rivalry, which as they pronounced had nothing to do with ethnic aspirations and their contest for power. The phenomenon repeated itself in Yugoslavia and Chechoslovakia. Despite Karl Marx and Marxism the Soviet Union failed to create a classless society.
    The struggles in England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries originated from demands for an arrangement of the power dynamics that will drive internal democracy and freedom and harmonious relationship with contiguous states or communities. The relative peace in that part of the world is a result of the recognition of the fact that all multi cultural societies need adequate safety nets for the underserved among them. Need we forget what is happening in the Middle Eastern countries? It is contemporary history whose full import is still unfolding.
    For Ndigbo to become part of the Nigerian power industry they must insist on the equalization of states and opportunities in the six political zones of the country, and that if no other state is created, one must be created for Ndigbo in the South East. They must also be ready to fight for it. There is no doubt that an additional Igbo state will change the character of power in Nigeria .The same will be true if power rotation is included in our constitution and applied for a brief period as a stabilizing feature. The problem with rotation, however, is that until it comes your way you may remain marginalized, and there is no guarantee that your fortunes will automatically improve as a result of this. In the case of the South East, because they have remained out of the power equation since 1970, the Igbo have developed enough resilience and resourcefulness to see them through the vagaries of Nigerian roguish politics. If this is allowed to continue Ndigbo may remain indifferent to serious political engagements, in which case they may develop a new paradigm for self apprehension, survival and development. Still, that will be no justification for the denials, which they have been subjected to since the war days and after.
    JUSTIFICATIONS FOR AN ADDITIONAL IGBO STATE
    1. EQUITY: This is a situation where no one has an undue advantage over another. The South East is disadvantaged in the number of states and local governments it has presently.
    2. Integrity and Stability of the Nigerian State:
    To promote and ensure stability and mutual security in the country problems associated with state imbalance must be addressed .An additional state in the South East will help ensure the integrity of the nation state.
    3. National Pride: To promote and ensure national pride every Nigerian citizen must be given a sense of belonging as an equal partner in the Nigerian enterprise. He must be in a position to believe in the Nigerian dream, that he can enjoy all his rights as a citizen of this country and aspire to its highest office irrespective of where he comes from. An additional state in the South East is one sure way of guaranteeing this.
    4. Self Preservation: An additional State in the South East will help those from there to further secure their safety in the spirit of self preservation. This is consistent with political realism in the world of today. Groups of equal zones can act as a buffer against dominance by a domineering group for group and self-preservation. Another state in the South East also is a recipe for its self-assurance, a tonic for self-confidence and regeneration and a further proof that the war is indeed over.
    There are other beneficial accruals from having additional states in the Southeast Zone. Allocation of political positions and access to civil service offices are based on state representation and permutations. These include appointments into (a) Federal Government ministries, parastatals and agencies ;(b) the legislative branch where representation or seat allocation is the function of the number of local governments in the states; (c) the Judicial Branch where representation in the Supreme Court is also done following the number of States in a zone. The same applies to the Civil Service Commission. Today, for instance, out of the 13 Justices in the Judicial branch there is only one Associate Justice from the South East who retired some two months ago. He is yet to be replaced.
    The National Assembly is a bicameral legislature and is supposed to guarantee equal representation of states irrespective of size in the Senate, and proportional representation based on population in the House. The implication is that the more states you have the more Senators, more representatives and more bargaining power. Flowing from these is more influence. Needless to say, our representation in the National Assembly does not reflect our population nor is it equitable.
    FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BODIES:
    The Constitution in section 153 lists these bodies. There are 13 of them, including INEC, THE POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION, THE CODE OF CONDUCT BUREAU, THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL, THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION, THE NIGERIAN POLICE COUNCIL, THE REVENUE MOBILISATION ALLOCATION AND FISCAL COMMISSION, ETC. Appointments into these bodies do reflect the federal character but many state functionaries are unaware of their existence. Yet they are very important in the administration of the polity. Additional states will give us more access and representations in these i3 bodies. It may dilute the advantages being enjoyed by certain parts of the country but its overall benefit for the entire country will be unquantifiable and therefore worth the exercise.
    A balanced federation is the key to Nigeria’s development. The creation of additional states, especially the one state agreed by all the representatives from the country in at least two different nationally and legally constituted for a (The 1994-95 Constitutional Conference and the Political Reform Conference of 2006) for the South East, is a necessary condition for this development to fructify.
    THE IDEA OF AN IGBO POLITICAL PARTY.
    Democracy does not exclude ethnic politics or group interests and alliances from its large compass. They are indeed part of its arsenal. That is why it could be loosely defined as government of the people by the people and for the people. It is a big umbrella that is supposed to take care of everybody and every interest. Thugs and mad men can be stakeholders. Violence, money and men of influence play their part. The aim is to achieve power, influence and the spoils of office for the stakes holders.
    Ethnic politics has always worked in Nigeria and still does. It also works in the Western world, and we shall demonstrate this with two examples from Canada and Belgium.
    Ndigbo can play the ethnic card and form their own Party, like the Yoruba have done with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the North with the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), among others. But such a party must have a clearly defined agenda and manifest objective, which must be keyed to Igbo survival in Nigeria.
    There are some sixty political parties in Nigeria, but none is formed exclusively to champion Igbo interest. It is appropriate to do so now. Obviously not all Igbos will be members of the Party, whose objective is to control all Igbo states in the first instance, and reach out to other areas of compatible interests for cooperation. This is what is happening in the South West region of Nigeria, where the Action Congress of Nigeria has almost successfully taken over most of the States previously controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in order to prosecute pro-Yoruba agenda, which it intends to make a pan Nigerian agenda as its influence expands. There is no such ideological attraction to the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) which presently controls Anambra state and which has retained power because of the intra-party squabbles in the Peoples Democratic Party in the state. Most of the states controlled by the ANPP are in the North and it is the main opposition party in the National Assembly.
    The situation in the multi-ethnic PDP does not favor rapid Igbo recovery effort. Because of the composition of both the National Executive Committee (NEC) and its Board of Trustees, that is the controlling organs of the party, Igbo interests can never take the front burner. We are out numbered because of the inequality in state allocation and by our proclivity to pursue narrow personal gains in the political arena, which is being exploited by our enemies and by other hidden vested interests.
    The PDP constitution does not have any provision for caucuses, yet it admits the meetings of some few powerful individuals to take important decisions for the Party. Thus the structural and institutional marginalization of Ndigbo in the polity is ab initio a major handicap in pursuing a rehabilitation agenda through the Party. The PDP has been in power for the past ten years and there is hardly any serious federal presence in the South East. In this regard I had written as follows:
    “Institutional or structural marginalization cannot be easily contained without political power. It is my considered opinion that Ndigbo should form a political party in which they are in control. Such a party will not only control Igbo states, but can also control states, or parts thereof, where the residents or indigenes share the same visions with, or have had similar experiences as Ndigbo. My considerable travels within this country and my interactions with persons from ethnic groups outside the Igbo, convince me that if moves are made in this direction, Ndigbo could go into alliance with these divergent groups for mutual and rewarding political gains. I submit that the present beggarly status of Ndigbo in the Nigerian state is a function of our political weakness, and the formation of a powerful, all embracing Igbo party is one of the sure ways to redress the situation.”
    An Igbo Party that has a clear, even if a limited objective, can provide a veritable platform for political influence and economic salience for Ndigbo.It worked in the first Republic when the Rt. Honorable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe used the platform of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC) to wield a regional power and enjoy a central influence. It also worked in the West of Nigeria, when Chief Obafemi Awolowo used the Action Group (AG) to hold the NCNC and the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) in check. It did work equally in the North where the NPC behaved like a colossus dominating not only the Northern Region but also the Central government.
    Ethno-linguistic parties also worked in the second Republic with the Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominating in the East and Plateau state, the West and the North respectively. Both the NPP and the NPN also made in roads into states that were outside their primary zones of influence, except that the NPN had always had a strong foothold in the Delta area of Nigeria, that is the present Bayelsa and Rivers States.
    An Igbo party may not be the panacea for all our political and economic ills, but it could be a fitting response to the shame and ridicule in which other parts of Nigeria has held us for long, especially since after the demise of the Second Republic. If Ndigbo can achieve political harmony, they can also achieve social and economic harmony. For oppression, alienation and social exclusion over a long period of time have a way of engendering in- fighting and intra-group disharmony, what psychologists call misdirected aggression-- fighting themselves instead of the oppressor. This also is a syndrome of oppression.
    The Belgium and Canadian Examples:
    Belgium is a federation like Nigeria with a multi party political system. But unlike Nigeria, none of its many parties has a chance of forming a government alone. The parties are formed along ethno linguistic lines—Germanic, French and Dutch. No party operates alone at the national level in Brussels. There must be a coalition to be able to form a government and to govern. This ensures that every group is represented. Belgium also has its own separatist community, the Dutch speaking Flanders, represented by the Vlaams Blok Party.
    There are two political parties in French speaking Canada, formed along ethno-linguist lines. They are the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois. Both campaign locally within the Quebec province of Canada for independence from Canada. The Parti Quebecois in particular has been doing this since 1968 and has not given up as it continues to fuel French Canadian nationalism. The Party is not deterred by the fact that some of its French Canadians, including Pierre Eliot Trudeau and Jean Chretien have been Canada’s Prime Ministers. They were members of the center Party, the Liberal Party that has been currently dominating Canada’s national politics.
    Can Nigeria imitate these great democracies, which despite internal opposition, strive to hold the country together, by appointing members from an opposition constituency to run the affairs of the country, as is the case in Canada? Canada, however, has a confederal constitution that took effect from the British North American Act of 1867. That Act reduced considerably the powers of the Federal government, while increasing correspondingly those of its provinces.
    There are also lessons for Ndigbo from these two examples. Having an Igbo political Party will not prevent Ndigbo from “sharing the national cake”, which is how Nigerians perceive national governance and which is the main reason why many Igbos want to remain in the party that controls the sharing of this national “booty”, even when they are uncomfortable within it. Our constitution provides for representation of all the states in governance through the Federal character Principle. Chapter two of the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 14 (3) states:
    “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity; and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that the there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in the Government or in any of its agencies”.
    Despite this laudable provision, there are people for whom the idea of Igbo presidency, for example, is an anathema, because they think they would loose their privileges and their capacity to dominate. They are those behind some of our constitutional breaches.
    Despite these constitutional breaches Ndigbo must continue to fight for their rights. It is our duty to so do. The price for freedom, they say, is eternal vigilance. We must retool our strategies, if we must survive Nigeria.Ndigbo do not lack knowledge. We probably lack imagination and creativeness. We need both to get out of our predicament.
    TOWN UNIONS:
    Town Unions are community –based local agencies that drive the engines of development at that level. They play complimentary roles to state and local governments and occupy special place in Igboland.They are part of the political and economic units that administer the people without undue government interference.
    A Town Union is an association of village assemblies or autonomous communities that have voluntarily come together for the social welfare of the town. The village assemblies are at the root of Igbo political system that practice direct democracy. It is a meeting where any adult who has anything to say on a relevant subject can do so.
    Traditional rulers are government appointed. They do not preside over town union meetings or dictate to them. It is indeed through Town Unions that traditional rulers (NdiEze or Chiefs) gain relevance, inspite of government recognition. It is important to underscore the fact that Town unions were in existence before the advent of traditional rulers and autonomous communities. Town unions played special roles after the civil war in Igbo land. They were at the head of the rehabilitation efforts. They built schools, hospitals; civic centers for meetings and recreation activities, embarked on electricity projects and other social amenities to the rural populace, without waiting for the government. Some projects attracted what was known as “matching grants’ from the government as a measure of encouragement.
    Town Unions are the most effective intervention agencies for social development and local administration. They have mechanism for generating funds and do account to the people, at their annual meetings. They also know how to sanction deviants and those who do not conform to acceptable mode of behavior. Their officers move from town to town to identify with their own living outside their homeland, finding out how they are, cementing group identity, raising funds for projects, and solving collective and individual problems. They also regulate the activities of age grades and masquerade societies, where these exist.
    It is my opinion that if Town Unions are allowed to look after the affairs of the local governments in Igbo land, a grassroots representative administrative structure would have been truly consummated and government’s efforts to reach them would be more realistic. Fiscal accountability would be easier, and moral discipline would be facilitated. Corruption would abet, individualism would be curbed and group interests would be promoted and enhanced. It is in this democratic milieu that a rebirth of values would ensue, social harmony promoted and genuine progress in Igbo land would commence. Because of the composition and structure of Town unions, development is usually bottom-up, moving from the grassroots to the centre, avoiding the pitfalls of the trickle down approach, which is patronizing and alienating.
    CHRISTIANITY, NATION BUILDING AND THE IGBO NATION
    Any visitor to Igbo land today will not fail to observe the proliferation of assorted kinds of religious houses and movements in our landscape. Every available shanty is taken over by these organizations. They need not be more than five in number when they start. They go by such fanciful names like Royal Prince Gospel Ministry; Circle of Kings International Centre; Jesus Divine Ministries; Love of God Bible Ministry; Jesus Family Redeemed Assembly, New Life Evangelical Ministry; Christ’s Solution Ministry; Gospel Crusaders Ministry; There are also apocalyptic names like Last Days Messengers, Kingdom Expressway Ministries, Mountain and Fire, Pillar of Fire Bible Ministry, Et cetera. Their members shout at the top of their voices in their worship houses, such that people miles away could hear them. They are a very noisy bunch that has no regard for the tranquility of the area where they operate. They must believe the louder their wailings the stronger their appeal to God for intervention. I found three of them sharing one building in Faulks Road Aba. At the Transfiguration Road, Works Layout, Owerri, I saw two of them occupying two different rooms in the same building. On that street alone there were more than seven different ministries!
    The number of pastors and those who call themselves,” men of God” has also increased in geometrical proportion. Following in tow is the increase in the number of prayer houses, as if the altar of God in traditional churches is no longer sufficient for offering prayers. If all these pastors, prayer houses and their followers are seriously engaged in spreading the gospel to the end of the earth as directed by Jesus Christ in the Acts of the Apostles there would be no reason to complain. But many have turned the house of God into money minting homes, and “miracle centers”, where imaginary healings are advertised as taking place. The South African Government reportedly banned recently one of such high profile “miracle” healing organizations from Nigeria from operating in South Africa, bringing to a stop their messianic complex.
    In Nigeria, and especially in Igbo land we are completely sucked in by this new religion. It started with the phenomenon of ‘the holy water”, some where in the South East, in the 1980s where a holy aquatic market developed and business was done every Friday. Plastic container manufacturers made brisk business and smiled to their banks thereafter. A drop of “holy water” was associated with all sorts of powers. All you need to do is drink it, drop it on your car, splash it on your door, and you are healed, protected from ills or safe from your enemies. That ritual is no longer in vogue as it was in the late eighties and nineties. It is dying or has died a natural death.
    The more successful among them have metamorphosed into “prosperity “organizations” where the new theology is based on the notion that “the God I serve is Not Poor’. Agreed but Jesus Christ rode to glory on the top of a donkey when he had horses at his command. These new leaders wear trendy suits, curl their hairs, ride expensive cars and airplanes, and conduct their services on televisions and radios, and expensive suites in hotels. They draw crowds, mainly young impressionable minds, captured by the prosperity mantra. The girls among them dress as if they are on a fashion parade. The pastors also turn themselves as matchmakers. At traditional marriages they dictate the type of drinks that must be served, not the traditional palm wine but their brand of soft drinks or what Americans call pop or soda. Those so captured no longer worship together with their parents, who are still following the “old and narrow path.” They are described as “conservative” and “old fashioned’. Yet the Bible has remained as old as when it was first written. The laws therein are the same.
    In the rural areas these mushroom organizations become platforms used to trample upon our traditions, to condemn our values and to replace them with untested ones drawn from undigested Scriptures. Many of the evangelizers deliberately refuse to speak the Igbo language. For them Igbo is not a language of evangelism. English is. Yet in their sermons conducted by Igbo pastors, they engage other Igbos to translate what they are saying into Igbo. During naming ceremonies, they chose English names; they frown at people who take part in traditional dances, and dismiss our culture as “the tradition of men”. The point again is that if all these prayer houses were truly working, our problems would have attenuated. Here is another post war phenomenon, a syndrome of a decaying society and kidnapped values; of poverty, unemployment and hunger, and another instance of the misapplication of our mercantile instinct. A metaphor of a failing state. We must make haste to champion the liberation of Igbo land from the trauma of evangelical mercantilism and ungodliness. These gods cannot be our shepherds.
    The true body of Christ can do a lot to salvage the situation in which we are in Igbo land. There are many examples to show how social changes were brought about through Christian influence in the past. Slavery was abolished through the interventions and campaigns of Christians the world over. This is despite the fact that many practicing Christians all over the world had elaborated a program of defense in favor of slavery because of economic reasons. The so-called “bloody code” changed in England because of the activities of Christians. There was a time when only Christians of the Anglican denomination were the ones who could go to universities or to parliament in England, but the annoying and unjust practice changed through the stiff opposition mounted by other denominations. Here in Nigeria, the activities of Mary Slessor led to the abolition of the practice of killing of twins.
    True, these are no longer the days of the Old Testament when men of God saw visions and dreamt dreams and were contented to warn kings and monarchs of impending dooms or dangers. Many men of power in Nigeria today do not listen. Yet it is the duty of Christians to broaden the public debate by being pro-active in the fight against social injustices, corruption, poverty, marginalization, and other social ills that frustrate our recovery effort. They should be like John Wesley, and make the whole world their pulpit.
    The Christian population in Nigeria is about 65 million, with the greatest number coming from Eastern Nigeria. It is surprising that this strength is not translated into political influence. Yet the Bible says in Proverbs Chapter 14 verse 34 that “righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach.” In Mathew Chapter 5,verses 13 to 16 we are told that we are the “salt “and “light “of the nation.
    “You are the light of the Earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness how can it be made salty again? You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
    There cannot be a greater challenge to action. Through Christian activism, prayers and evangelization, our situation can change, a new leadership that is truly God-fearing can emerge, a new Igbo nation born. For as it is written in the Holy Bible, in Proverbs Chapter 29,verse 2:”When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn”.
    The Bible is not saying anything new. The change we need depends on us and on how we apply our God-given talents and resources to achieve it. This has been the essence of the message of this text. God has not forgotten us. Rather we sometimes behave like a people without God. Christianity must address immediately the growing menace of a counter culture in its midst. Our best years are in the future. NKEIRUKA.
    THE CONCEPT OF CHI AND EXISTENTIALST TRAITS IN IGBO LIFE
    Those of us who are anti-clerical may be wondering what God has got to do with it all. For such persons the Igbo ontology is large enough to admit their disposition, but not entirely. The early part of this work dealt with Igbo individualism, which when properly analyzed proceeds partly from the idea that the individual is the architect of his own fortune. This view is supported by the Igbo adage “Onye kwe chi ya ekwe”. If you say yes, your God will say yes”.
    There is an existentialist philosophy that promotes this ideal of life where man is seen as a Prometheus with unlimited freedom to do, as he likes. It does not admit of the existence of a superior force. Having dismissed God, the hero of this type of philosophy promotes the idea of nihilism. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and a group of scholars who held this view of man promoted this thought system in the early part of the last century. Others, like Kierkegaard disagreed and had a touch of humanism in their theory. They postulated the idea that there is a superior force that imposes his will on the affairs of men. Others like Sartre and Camus believe that it is man that gives meaning to his existence, his being, through the choices he makes and through the actions he takes.
    Ontologically, the Igbo worldview encompasses fragments of these brands of thoughts. But it differs because it does not only recognize the existence of a higher force; it accepts that a fragment of this force resides in every man. While this fragment, known as “Chi” does not control the individual action directly, it does so indirectly since Chi, a personal God, can support or refuse to support the individual’s action .Man is a free agent but limited by a rational acceptance of a restraining force which helps to determine, without seeming to do so, how he conducts his life and which also helps to keep the individual in tow, because he is part of a large society of other beings. The hero of this theorem is the individual who is at peace with his Chi, works hard and achieves high social mobility while being fully integrated into the society. But he becomes a tragic hero when he steps out of the inviolate social matrix regulated by dos and don’ts of his society, in other words by their norms. He should respect the principle of ofo Na ogu and the use of Ako Na Uche .By these we refer to the old Igbo principle of justice and truth and the application of common sense in dealing with others.
    Okonkwo Unoka in Things Fall Apart, a tragic novel by Chinua Achebe is the prototype of this existential hero. Sisyphus, in The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, represents the embodiment of existentialism a la Camus. Individualism and the fear of being thought weak were the existential traits that wrecked the life of Achebe’s hero. Albert Camus heroes are ‘strangers’, prototypes to prove that life is absurd, and meaningless. It is for the individual to give a “meaning”, an essence, to life. The only thing that matters is EXISTENCE, that is “life’ itself, and nothing else. Albert Camus heroes cling to life at all costs, since that is all that counts .One of his demonstrative novels is appropriately called The Stranger.
    There is a link between all these theorems despite their seeming divergences. Achebe is by no means an existentialist philosopher, yet his first novel Things Fall Apart bears the marks of an existentialist novel. Novelists deal with life and the human condition. The subject of existential philosophy is the human condition. The novelist and the philosopher are all agreed that life is not a bed of roses figuratively speaking, that the human condition is essentially tragic. They differ, however, on its resolution, on how to find the essence of life. Is it a tale full of sounds and fury, signifying nothing, as lamented by one of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes or is there more to it?
    For the nihilist as I have said, there is no God; man is a Prometheus, for whom all is permitted. He lives a life of absolute freedom through which he must define himself. For the Christian, life is not the absence of suffering or difficulties, but a total submission to the will of God, the Creator of the universe. Kierkegaard adopts the Christian solution. Camus seeks resolution and essence through action. His protagonist, Sisyphus rolls up a stone to the top of a mountain and watches it roll down. He must roll the stone back to the top and perform the ordeal ad infinitum. In this he finds the essence of life, accepting its absurdity as the defining ingredient of the human condition. Camus implies that Sisyphus is happy in living out the absurdity of existence.
    The traditional Igbo man is an embodiment of these contradictions and synthesis. The nihilists among them are busy supervising the liquidation of our cherished traditions in the manner of Prometheus. Some have resigned themselves to the Camusian philosophy of clinging to life, because it is an abomination to take ones life. The kiekegaardians accept the human conditions in the hope that there will be an intervention from the Creator of the universe.
    For the average Igbo, caught between tradition and modernity, life remains a cycle, the observations of rituals in a spiritual continuum of seven life times, which will lead to perfection and a reunion with the Creator of the universe. That is the essence of uwam uwa asa, when there would be no more ontological problems for the individual, who has performed the seven cycles of life and death. and reunites with his Maker.
    This philosophy encapsulates the Igbo man’s existential angst and its resolution through cycles of life, death and resurrection. Ilo uwa, coming again, or coming back, is at the centre of this cycle, and in a way defines Igbo religion through the cult of ancestors, intermediaries between the living and the Creator. A man’s soul can reincarnate in as many persons as possible. Seven is the mythical number in which perfection is achieved, and the person finally restored with his Maker.
    I am not unaware that there are deeper philosophical difficulties pertaining to the explanation of Uwam Uwa Asa in the English language. Suffice it to say that it carries with it an objective meaning that is beyond physical reality. It has a place in a system of relationships that deal with a particular worldview and the place of man within that purview. In Igbo tradition it fits into the general search of the nature of the world and how it relates to their social organization.
    It may be apposite to interpret our present state of anomie in Igbo life not only from the perspectives of modern philosophies but also from the pristine philosophy of Uwam uwa asa, our collective seven life cycles, which involves spiritual and material death and resurrection. It is a process that will lead to perfection in the final analysis. While we navigate through the uncertain contours of this ontological praxis we must not lose sight of our Chi, the fragment and emanation of the Creator of the universe, Chineke. It is the rational application of this knowledge that will lead to the emergence of a strong Igbo nation. In other words, the way forward will require the combination of a new philosophical synthesis to drive a renascent Ndigbo after harnessing the new and old realities in Igbo land.
    OUR AREAS OF STRENGTH: These are areas where Ndigbo can excel any time, anywhere, if there is a level playing field. These areas must be highlighted and built upon. They include
    1. Meritocracy: The Webster dictionary defines this as a government by, or educational and/social –status advancement of, the most intelligent or talented members of a society.
    2. Sports Power: The performance of Ndigbo in the areas of sports has been outstanding. Sports are no longer pursued for their entertainment or pleasure giving values. They are now big industries, which cannot only generate employment for the youth, but also bring in a lot of cash. Our performance in the sports industry has been second to none since the pre-independence era.
    • Football: You cannot mention three outstanding players in the history of Nigerian football without one or two of them being Onyigbo.They will include legends like Dan Anyiam, Albert Onyeanwuna, the master dribbler;Onyali, Onyeador of the Port Harcourt Red devils; the Igwe brothers of the same Club. Among this first generation Igbo Nigerian players is first international goalkeeper, Ibiam.There is the delightful ball juggler Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Golden boy Egbuonu of the Nigerian academicals. And not to be forgotten is the first Nigerian football martyr, Okwaraji, who died in the field, playing for Nigeria in one of his international outings. There are several others.

    The 1966 Nigerian team that won the Olympic medal was over 80 percent Igbo. The 2010 Female football Team that won the last African Edition of African Women Championship were over 75% Igbo. President Jonathan acknowledged this openly when Ohaneze paid him a courtesy call shortly after the event. Our club side, the Enyimba Club of Aba is the only club side from Nigeria that has won the elusive CAF (Confederation Africaine de Football) championship trophy in quick succession.

    • Track And Field Events:Igboland has produced many outstanding athletes in this category. They include Emmanuel Ifeajuna of the aborted 1966 January coup d’état, Violet Odogwu, Chidi Imo, Emmanuel Egbunike, Ohuruogu, a British athlete of Igbo origin, Mary Onyali, Chioma Ajunwa, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist, to mention but a few.
    • Boxing: Dick Ihetu Tiger and Obisia Nwankpa reigned supreme in their boxing categories at one time or the other. We also had a high-ranking heavyweight pugilist in the Isuochi born Ibeawuchi, whose career was cut short by sex scandals in the USA. There is also one Emmanuel Nwodo in the heavy weight category. There are numerous other talented athletes waiting to be discovered. A well articulated sports program by a visionary government in Igboland would yield numerous dividends to Ndigbo.It is a viable economic proposition with a diplomatic by-product that would enhance the image of Ndigbo in our dealings with others. Our sportsmen and women could be our best image-makers and ambassadors.

    3.The Burgeoning Nolly wood Industry: A lot has already been said about this. This new industry should be coordinated properly before others take the lead from us. We have many world-class actors who are making waves in this category of entertainment. They should be encouraged to also produce Igbo films with subtexts in English and French languages for the Anglophone and francophone communities of the world. We should produce films that tell our stories in our own language. We seem to have forgotten in a hurry the fury and rage, which followed the opening by DSTV, (The South African owned, Digital Services Television outfit in Nigeria) of two channels devoted to the airing of Yoruba and Hausa language films and none for Igbo. This was only last year. Igbo actors and producers should work together, for the benefit of Ndigbo and Nigeria.

    4.We have commercial power and instinct. We should be able to move from the retail trade to the manufacturing sector with high capacity utilization. Aba, Onitsha and Nnewi are saturated with small-scale industries. Government should provide well-planned industrial areas in these towns, fortified with security outfits, uninterrupted power and water supplies. Like Japan, we should combine western economic models with out traditional labor ethics that are built on hard work, pragmatism and group interest. We must, however, first secure harmony and peace at home. Social harmony is a prerequisite to industrial and economic harmony.

    5.We have a strong Diaspora resource base. The Igbo Studies Association with a view of identifying talents, resources and locating where they are based should undertake a profile survey of Ndigbo professionals across the globe. These professionals should come together to see how through synergy, they can synchronize a collective course of remedial action for Ala Igbo.

    MOVING AHEAD OR THE DYNAMICS OF HISTORY
    Ndigbo probably need to make a transition backwards in order to move ahead, like the he-goat that moves backwards in order to gather more energy and target well. We must also always keep our challenges before us. As the hen told his chicks, each time it perks its food, it looks up to the sky, because it is from there that death strikes. Besides, the odor that oozes constantly from okapi is from within it. We should start our forward move through self-cleansing .As I said earlier, a life that is not examined from time to time is not worth living. Moving forward and looking backwards is also not a sign of fear. That is the wisdom of our ancestors.
    The past of Ndigbo looks rosier than the present, not in a romantic way but in a real and demonstrable way. In the pre-war era, Ndigbo were politically, economically on top of the Nigerian developmental ladder. We were respected and grudgingly admired, even when we were not liked. We helped and loved fellow Igbos and showed ourselves the road to prosperity. We did not only organize; we synchronized. The sky seemed the limit until a fratricidal war was thrust upon us. It was a war of survival. We fought gallantly but we lost. Yet we cannot live in the past. We have not found what it takes to survive the “peace” in Nigeria. Recrimination, rancor and mutual distrust are in the increase and cannot move us forward either. It is funny because what Ndigbo fight over most of the time, appears to be the crumbs left over from the table of vengeful Nigeria. If we had enough of the share, may be the self-hate and the pull him Down syndrome, would abate.
    Post war Igbo land is a distraught landscape; it seems to be destined to nowhere. We are behind our major competitors in all sectors, and even those who were miles behind us are overtaking us. Many of our countrymen treat us with scorn and laugh at our so-called intelligence; they appropriate what belongs to us with impunity. They treat our complaints with scorn and contempt. To worsen the scenario we help or join our enemies to pull Ndigbo down. After the success showed early during the short-lived tenure of Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe, PhD, during the short lived Second Republic the decline has been rapid and seems unstoppable.
    I have in the course of these analyses suggested and recommended initial remedial courses to be pursued by our people, what I call ‘recovery recipes’ or strategies. They derive from knowledge of the two main reasons of our present dilemma: external induced causes and internal induced ones. One is systemic, emanating from state induced policies that are patently anti-Igbo; the other is self-inflicted, emanating from the perceived character traits of Ndigbo, especially our ultra individualism and near extinct of our traditional governance organic structure.
    The externally induced causes relate to the Nigerian state and their allies who have sworn to cut Ndigbo to size. This desire has led to policies that have consigned Ndigbo to the status of second-class citizenry. Therefore, in trying to find a resolution to our political predicament we must review the “conspiracy theory” against Ndigbo and see how it can be scuttled. We must take nothing for granted in our struggle for emancipation. We should also fight for a review of the Nigerian constitution to have a true federal constitution with zones of equal states as the federating units, and to make the central government less powerful.
    I have also analyzed other factors that flow from our bavioural pattern and character traits and suggested remedial courses. We showed how we could turn these traits into gains. We also suggested the formation of a value-based, well-structured Igbo political party to, among other things, seek political power, administer Igbo land and go into alliance with similar ethno-based parties to control the center on the basis of equality, justice and fairness. We also advocated the use of Town Unions as an integrative force and administrative agency in the rural communities.
    In all these a lot of tact, sacrifice, strategic reasoning or what Professor Joe Irukwu called “Ako Na Uche”, in his book would be needed from us.
    If this is done we can stop writing this poetry of a despairing culture and a disappearing, disparaged people. Ndigbo can redefine their future. Many more things connect us beyond our common name.
    We must also acknowledge that despite its incentive role, ultra individualism is counter- productive. We must drop the idea that personal profit motive is all that counts and that established norms and social values no longer matter.
    There is no doubt that there is a basic difference between the pre-war Igbo and the post-war Igbo. The pre-war Igbo is Onye Igbo; the post war Igbo is Onye Ibo. Both carry in them the gene of individualism, but one knew how to put it to the service of the people, the other has refused to do so. The side or unintended effects of this refusal have been inimical to the overall welfare of Ndigbo and the general perception of our people. We have to reverse the direction both by suasion, appeals and prescription where possible. It is wrong to think that individualism is defined only by self-interest rather than by a value system that relies on a well-defined behavioral ethics that include the welfare of others. I have illustrated this with the apprenticeship system and the numerous self-help projects that dot Igbo land. On the meta- linguistic plane the principle of self-help is captured by such aphorisms as Igwe bu ike, Onye aghala nwanne ya, etc.
    In all these recovery recipes premium is placed on industry, creativity and group interest. Our forbears never endorsed cupidity and greed. Our informal educational and socialization system emphasize value-oriented formation in its curriculum. The society expects the individual to show judgment and intelligence. In economic matters as well as in other considerations, the “opusara ikpeghe ole” syndrome should no longer guide us. This syndrome again is a post war phenomenon in which every thing we do is measured in terms of its financial worth. We should rather be guided by other values like public morality and social responsibility. Not to do so is to display poor judgment and understanding of why we are part of a larger community of human beings.
    Ndigbo are quite a boastful breed. Outsiders have accused us of arrogance and pride. These have put us in trouble in Nigeria on at least two occasions. We have been told of how some of our fathers boasted openly in Yoruba land, indeed, at one of their premier clubs in Lagos, that it was a matter of time, before the Igbos would overtake the Yoruba and rule Nigeria. That diplomatic ethnic group went home with a feeling of hurt, convened a meeting and decided that the Igbo boast would never be allowed to materialize. By that time the population of Ndigbo at the University of Ibadan for instance, was quite high, nearly the same number as that of the host community. Ndigbo were the heads of the two premier universities in Yoruba land. The acclaimed landowners gave the boast a spin and went to work to stop its realization. The rest is history.
    The story was also told of the apparent ” jubilation” of Ndigbo in Northern Nigeria following the 1966 coup and the grotesque display of the pictures of some of the casualties in public places. Our enemies in the North accused Ndigbo of these excesses and added it to their list of grievances while they planned their revenge. The rest is also history (Note 7). These stories might have been exaggerated, but we need to learn from them. Success breeds envy; jealousy is a sentiment that is irrational. Boastfulness is a sin and pride precedes failure. These are truisms, which do not brook contradiction. Our skin goat bag of Ako Na Uche, should be with us at all times and guide us from over reactions. Wisdom is like a bag, everyone carries his own. Inside that bag is Ako Na Uche of different hues and degrees. Let us shun boastfulness, loudness and pride. They can lead to destruction.
    Can Ndigbo retire into creative silence for a while? Can we learn from China and, may be India? They too, had to retire into their creative chambers, apparently “ignoring” the world, and doing their own things, as the Americans would say. Can we do something unique and make ourselves indispensable? Can we master the Igbo language, work hard and invest locally? President Good luck Jonathan, implied as much, when he asked Igbo professionals to come home, organize and use their expertise to develop our land. He said this while addressing an Igbo Unity Forum in Lagos on the 26th of February 2011.

    Summary/Recommendations
    1. Ndigbo must continue to work without ceasing for a level playing field, for an environment built on justice, equity and rule of law in Nigeria.
    2. Ndigbo played a nationalist politics against pervasive British interests in the fight for Nigerian independence. The colonialists deliberately underplayed Igbo ingenuity in all spheres in order to give a higher patina of respectability to our competitors in Nigeria. Their policies were anti-Igbo.
    3. We must develop strategies to fend off such unwholesome external interferences from our body politics and build integrity into processes that promote our ethnic fidelity and national solidarity. In this way we can begin to attenuate the dramatization of what others hypocritically elevate to a hype and character type. Persons and groups whose backyards are not better than ours have no moral right to strut about us in derision.
    4. Ndigbo should fully investigate the “conspiracy theory” against them, and other Nigerians especially in view of the alleged confession of a former British colonial official, Harold Smith, an Oxford graduate who revealed why and how Britain gave power to the Northern part of Nigeria “at all cost”. The Internet reference is http://haroldsmithmemorialworldpress.com besides; we must study the mindset of our enemies if we must confront them effectively. We should also learn from the Kalera example in India. Kalera is one of India’s foremost centers of technology. Diaspora Indians returned home with skills earned in America and Europe to work for American Companies who needed their skills in India. India “dumped’ Coca Cola in favor of home made Limca, which found its way to Nigeria in the1980s and 1990s.They produced Indian-made cars based on the peoples’ need.

    5. Ndigbo should insist on a programme that is similar to the Marshal Plan, because the programme of rehabilitation promised at the end of hostilities in 1970 died on arrival. It was stillborn. In this respect some well-meaning individuals, including Ohaneze, have called for reparation of sorts for the atrocities of the war, with regards to the starvation of Igbo children in Biafra. (See http://zangodare.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/biafra/).
    6. Ndigbo are encouraged to build a developmental model like the Japanese did after the War. Theirs was a synthesis of Oriental tradition and western capitalist entrepreneurship. Such a model should take into cognizance our traditional work ethics. In doing this we should revisit the pre –war economic model that made Eastern Nigeria one of the fastest growing economies in Africa in the 1950s and 60s.
    7. Igbo Enwe Eze is not necessarily a negative concept. Imposition of kingship structure where originally there was none is a misapplication of administrative structures, which could lead to a whole lot of abuse as it did in Igbo land. We had priestly kings who served ethnic gods; not secular kings who ruled their empires. We should re-introduce the Onye kwuru uche ya system or our erstwhile democratic village republic as part of our administrative structure and repositioning.
    8. We should canvass the idea that Town Unions be the basis for local government administration in Igbo land and institute a constitutional amendment to incarnate the change in the constitution of the Federal Republic.
    9. Education played an important role in the Igbo upstage in modern Nigeria. We must continue to uphold the virtues of education and appropriate its transformative virtues at all levels. Our governments have to come in and fund our universities for new technologies. We need to refit our education system from the elementary level to the tertiary levels. We should also send our best students to the best universities in the world as we did in the sixties. 40 per cent of all the PhDs in the USA last year went to foreigners. Yet America has 19 out of the twenty best universities in the world. We should be part of the 40 percent. The future, our future, is, without a doubt, knowledge-based. We should be reminded that it was the Igbo State Union that founded the Igbo National High School, Aba in 1960.Ohanaeze Ndigbo should follow that worthy path and set up an Igbo National University in Igbo land.
    10. Our South East governments must move away from its present consumption appetite to embrace investment programs. They must upgrade our infrastructure, borrowing a leaf from the Marshall Plan. They could augment their investible funds through an appropriate tax payment regime and commence the immediate rehabilitation of the defunct African Continental Bank, the Nkalagu Cement factory, the Golden Guinea Breweries, the Aba Glass factory, The Avutu Poultry; The Umuahia Ceramic Industry, the multi million Ada palm and other industries which have been appropriated by past administrators or vandalized by their lieutenants. These will create jobs and stimulate our economy, while directing our youths away from crimes.

    11. Ohaneze should set up a well-defined system of social responsibility in which the wealthy and the affluent in the society will be assigned specific roles in Igbo land as in the past. Enforcement of functions will be through social rites administered through town unions. It should also be empowered to act as an ombudsman to settle quarrels between Ndigbo and prescribe necessary sanctions just as the defunct Igbo State union did. It was the Igbo State Union that, inter alia, settled the dispute between Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr. Ozumba Mbadiwe in 1958 during the tenure of Senator Z.C. Obi who lived between 1896-1993.

    12. Some present and future Igbo leaders need to be psychologically examined before they are allowed to engage in public administration. Onyeigbo should be clearly differentiated and separated from Onyeibo. The latter is an alienated Onye Igbo who no longer respects our values and traditions. He may be born before or after the war. One of the distinctive features of Onyeigbo is the ability to speak the Igbo language fluently and identification with core Igbo values and traditions. He is passionate about Igbo interests and prefers group Igbo interests to his narrow personal interest. Onyeibo is also known as Azuigbo because he can betray Igbo interests.

    13. Ndigbo should set up a mechanism for ensuring that elections are no longer rigged in the flagrant manner in which it is done today in states in the South East so that we can elect credible persons into office, and make them accountable to us. Unless the present political and social structure that throws up unpatriotic Igbo leaders is changed, we are condemned to more difficult years ahead.

    14. The role of the intellectual elite has been defined in sections of this lecture. He must share a consciousness of belonging to a group that has special needs and aspirations. And be interested and involved in changing the present status quo. We should set up an Igbo House as a matter of urgency.

    15. For those who persist in activities that promote individual interest only let me remind them of this saying by Albert Pine:” What we do for ourselves dies with us. But what we do for others and indeed humanity remains and is immortal”. We should practice individualism responsibly—by aligning personal interests with group interests.

    16. For Ndigbo to become part of the power industry they must insist on the equality of the number of states in each of the six geo-political zones of the country. There is no doubt that an additional Igbo state will change the character of power in Nigeria. Besides, power should devolve from the centre to the zones in a manner to ensure a confederal arrangement or a reasonable autonomy for the federating zones.

    17. Ndigbo should have an ethnic based political Party to champion Igbo interests.

    18. Town Unions should be empowered for grassroots participation in governance at the grassroots level.

    19. We should put in place poverty reduction agencies in Igbo land, especially in the urban centers. Hunger in the rural areas and rural-urban migration tendencies can be reduced through massive farming in the rural centers.

    20. Ndigbo should talk less and do more. They must make the Igbo language the language of culture and development, emphasizing the need for social harmony at home in order to accelerate economic development.

    Mr. Chairman, I want to submit that if these recommendations are implemented, Igbo land will be completely transformed, and many of us attending this conference, especially those of us living abroad will have no reason to remain here a minute longer. NKEIRUKA is a sticker for the future, a wake-up call for Ndigbo to rise above the present challenges, which confront them. As pastor Hugh White observed:” Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power”.
    This encapsulates the import of our discussion today. Did the hen say anything different? Of course not. Our best years are ahead of us. We can still make it.
    FINAL REMARKS: THE FUTURE WE DESIRE
    In this presentation, I have attempted to do an evaluative and prescriptive analyses of the less than flattering status of Ndigbo in contemporary Nigeria, subjecting it under the optimistic prism of NKEIRUKA, the future is greater than the Past. We have shown that a number of social institutions and policy formulations determine the rate of development of a people and are also contributory to its recovery process when necessary. The institutions include the government, the judiciary, the legislature, the political party, non-governmental organizations, including ethnic formations and town unions. A People’s value system and socially acceptable behaviors also influence development and recovery processes. The desired outcome is the function of an integrative process, which compels the wholesome application of all the tits and bits listed above as they relate to these institutions and factors.
    I am not unmindful of some skeptics among us who no longer believe in the possibility of another Igbo catch up in Nigeria. Let me give them these few examples of people who started late in life but became stars later. They include Winston Churchill who failed the sixth grade but who rose to lead England; Leo Tolstoy who did not complete secondary School but is one of the world’s greatest novelists; Albert Einstein, who did not speak until he was four and could not read until he was seven years old. Walter Elias Disney (Walt Disney) was fired from school because they taught he was not smart. These men did not only make history; they shaped its course. As Henry Kissinger observed:” Every great achievement is a dream before it becomes reality”. Singapore is an example of a third world country that moved into the first world within a span of thirty-five years. Germany moved from the rubbles of war devastation to rapid economic and industrial recovery within fifteen years.
    Igbo recovery possibilities are immense. An omniscient ombudsman is probably needed to ensure implementation activism. By the time Nigeria joins the league of developed nations of the world and after, Igboland would not be left behind. Indeed, it would be a classic example of growth and transformation. The following scenario would stun you:

    1. You will be seduced by a sweeping landscape of beauty and serenity, a picturesque portrayal of modern functional infrastructural provisions in the South East: well-drained roads without pot holes; electric poles with bulbs that send forth bright lights at night; taps that yield potable water at all times, night and day; freedom of movement in the day and in the night without fear of armed and unarmed robbers and kidnappers.
    2. You will be greeted by a mosaic of architectural marvels of modern buildings in the cities and countryside that send the mind reeling with joy because of their number and spectacular beauty and the fact that there are no longer slums and shanties around and about.
    3. You will see smart looking young boys and girls eager to enter well kept buses that convey them daily to and from schools that have expanded classrooms with adequate provisions for teachers and pupils alike in an environment that conduce to teaching and learning.
    4. You will notice equally improvements in our universities and other tertiary institutions. The laboratories are modern and well equipped; the libraries are well stuck with books and research materials; the teachers are well paid and there is fund for research. The link between the town and the gown has radically improved; manufacturers are investing in the universities and the latter are turning out graduates who are recruited even before they graduate. The Closure of universities is no longer contemplated and the academic year is sacrosanct. Universities in the East are ranked among the best in the world.
    5. As you can imagine, unemployment has drastically reduced, street trading with sundry urban related crimes abated and the ghost of corruption exorcised. Our judges deliver justice not judgments. They base their decisions on the rule of law and the fear of God, not on the fear of men of influence and external factors like inducements and gratifications. The police force and security agencies are well trained and munitioned.
    6. The Nigerian political system has been reviewed after a tumultuous debate. The new constitution incarnated a novel political arrangement that gave relative autonomy to the zones, which all now have equal number of states, approved resource control, and equal access to the presidency, allaying the fear of political marginalization.
    7. A new political party that addresses the interests of Ndigbo has been inaugurated with aplomb in the South Eastern states and beyond, including the Diaspora and have been working with other interest groups to control the Federal legislature and government.
    8. There is a better relationship between the people and their leaders. The latter have become accountable to the electorate and some have been disciplined for anti- social behaviors that are detrimental to Igbo interest.
    9. An Igbo House/Academy has been functioning; it is non-partisan and independent and is setting agenda for the development of Igbo land. The intellectual elite is fully involved. There are committees brainstorming on all aspects of Igbo life. They are churning out materials in Igbo language.
    People have been watching Igbo films written in the Igbo language with English sub texts.
    10. Ohaneze has finally set up an Igbo State University, with the main campus in Aba. The emphasis is on mathematics and most of the subjects are taught in Igbo language. Besides, tremendous progress has been made in the study of the stratosphere in the Igbo language.
    11. To be sure, Aba, Nnewi and Onitsha are bustling with activities as West African citizens under the new Ecowas protocol invade our commercial mega polis for Nigerian made goods. Commercial and business agreements with foreigners are written in Igbo.
    12. The multi million Alaoji Power Plant in Ugwunagbo Local Government of Abia State area has since gone into operation, generating power uninterruptedly to our manufacturers. The old factories having been rehabilitated are working in full capacities, absorbing our unemployed. New industries are blossoming.
    13. The Second Niger Bridge has been completed and the triangular rapid transit train between Enugu, Onitsha, and Aba, with a link at Owerri is providing services to our teeming population. It is a project initiated and completed by the governments of the South Eastern States.
    14. Our hospitals are no longer working in fits and starts. The out of stock syndrome has been consigned to the backwaters of history. Our politicians no longer travel abroad for treatment. Infant mortality rate has significantly dropped, and the life expectancy of the average Easterner is well over seventy years.
    15. There is no longer brain drain. Indeed, our braniacs and intellectuals are coming back from their self-imposed exiles in droves.
    16. Made in Nigerian vehicles, produced in Nnewi, are the preferred vehicles of transportation across and within the country.
    17. There is massive improvement of the rural areas because of emphasis on agriculture. Consequently, the rural-urban migration syndrome has reduced and pressure on urban infrastructure relaxed.
    18. Ndigbo are holding forth in all sectors of the economy and are providing leadership in Sports and technology. They are once again, their brothers’ keepers as they have realized the wisdom in the adage Igwe bu ike: unity is strength.
    19. Literature in Igbo language, Arts and Culture flourish. Ndigbo of the middle of the 21st century perceive their predecessors who did not speak and write Igbo as lacking in vision and unpatriotic.
    20. Other ethnic groups, still envious of Ndigbo, but secretly admiring them, have come to accept their upward mobility as a gift they cannot take away. They have therefore decided to emulate them, be their friends, and tap their industry and skills for the overall development of Nigeria. Intra religious feuds have scaled down and the killings of Ndigbo have consequently ceased. Ndigbo are once again justifiably respected, not only in Nigeria but also all over the world.

    Mr. Chairman, please, help me to thank the audience for their attention and for listening. NKEIRUKA. NKEMJIKA.


    NOTES
    1.There is a belief that Igbo pacificism derives from the generally held notion that life is sacred and that it is wrong to spill the blood of a fellow human being unless under extremely unavoidable circumstance. Igbos do not engage in a war of blame. Shedding of the blood of a kinsman was regarded as an offence against the Earth Deity. War was engaged upon only when it could be justified. Slave trade and colonialism, however, modified this traditional belief.
    2. Ofo Na Ogu:
    Two instruments that deal with appropriate neighbourly relationship and social interactions in traditional Igbo communities. Ofo is a sacred symbol of justice and authority. Ogu is an appeal to the conscience. It is based on the recognition that every human being is capable of doing what is right. He is also capable of choosing to do the wrong or the evil. Ogu is sometimes represented physically by a piece of palm frond. Ofo Na Ogu is a principle of Igbo social justice.
    Ako Na Uche stands for prudence and its application in order to secure desired result or results.
    3.I have deliberately left from the list the notoriously jaundiced reference to Ndigbo as chronic lovers of money, as a result of which they can easily abandon group project for personal gains. The fact is that Ndigbo do not love money any more or less than other ethnic groups in Nigeria. According to Max Weber: The impulse to acquire, the pursuit of gain, of money, of the greatest amount of money, has in itself nothing to do with capitalism. The impulse exists, and has existed among waiters, physicians, coachmen, artists, prostitutes, dishonest officials, soldiers, nobles, leaders, gamblers and beggars. One may say it has been common to all sorts and conditions of men at all time and in all countries of the earth, wherever the objective possibility of it is or has been given (The Protestant Ethics and The Spirit of Capitalism, p.xxxi). For a fuller fuller treatment of the money motif as a character trait of the Igbo, please see my book. Politics, Leadership and Development in Nigeria, chapter 20.
    4.Please read “Power, Principle and Pragmatism in International Politics”, being text of a Paper delivered at the 1998 Pre-Convocation Lecture of the Imo State University, Owerri, and Imo State. In the text Obiozor observed, inter alia, as follows ”hence in the study of international politics, one must understand that he/she is engaged in the study if the articulated and discernible interests of the actors which are in a constant conflict”. P.7
    5.I refer readers to a remarkable article ‘The metamorphosis of 20 pounds” written by one Peter Onyedika Anosike and published in the Daily Sun of Friday, November 5, 2010 page 20. In that article the author highlighted the achievements of Ndigbo since after the war through self-help. He also wrote about the seeming concern/surprise of some members of the Nigerian establishment regarding this development. According to the author “the questions on their minds seem to be “why didn’t the Igbo nation stay down when they were defeated in the war? Why did they rise up so soon as if nothing happened to them and even have the audacity to compete with us? But that is the Igbo spirit which nobody can take away from them “, the author emphasized. On the quest for the presidency he says: “I sincerely believe that the Igbo are talking of occupying the office of the president of this country simply for psychological reasons. I am saying this because without being in the office, they have done better than those that have been ruling and would even do more if they should come together and have a single vision which I know would later become a Nigerian vision and other parts of the country would be begging to key (sic) into it”. This is your typical Igbo person; confident, cocky, never retreating, and boastful, some of the attributes why others resent us. I have also explained the consequences of this type of behaviour in other sections of this article. Please read the entire article.

    6.See also the sobering call from our own Professor Apollos Okwuchi Nwauwa on the urgent need to salvage Igbo land from its sorry state. Internet reference for Nwauwa is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Title of the memo is “ A Sobering Open Letter To My People”. It calls for serious reflection and action.
    7.See also Philip Efiong’s account of the war in his book: Nigeria and Biafra: My story. On page 76, under the sub head The Gathering Storm, he wrote: “I received a number of intelligence reports about the arrogant and sometimes abusive attitude of Igbos in the North and the suppressed anger of many Northerners, including our Northern army officers”.

     

    REFERENCE BOOKS
    1. CHINUA ACHEBE, Things Fall Apart (London, Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria PLc, 2005)
    2. PHILIP EFIONG, Nigeria and Biafra: My Story (Princeton, New Jersey, Sungai Books, 2004)
    3. B.O.N.ELUWA, Ado-na-Idu: History of Igbo Origin (Owerri, De-Bonelsons Global Company Ltd, 2008)
    4. TOYIN FALOLA, (ed), Myth History and Society: The Collected Works of Adiele Afigbo (Trenton, New Jersey, African World Press Inc., 2006)
    5. J.O.IRUKWU, Nation Building and Ethnic Organizations: The Case of Ohanaeze In Nigeria (Ibadan, Spectrum Books, 2007)
    6. DAN JACOBS, The Brutality of Nations (New York, Paragon House Publishers, 1987)
    7. PAUL JOHNSON, Enemies of Society (New York, Murray Printing Company, 1977)
    8. IHECHUKWU MADUBUIKE, Literature, Culture and Development: The African Experience (Roots Books and Journals Limited, 2007)
    9. -----------------------------------, Die Oh Death (Or the Musings of a split Conscience (Lagos, Apex Publishers Limited, 2010)
    10. CHIDI T. MADUKA, “Taming the Beast In the Body Politic: Culture, Nationhood, and the Imperative of Order in Nigeria”, Public Lecture Series, University of Port Harcourt, August 19,2010, (Port Harcourt, University of Port Harcourt Press, 2010),
    11. ARTHUR NWANKWO, The Igbo Leadership And The Future of Nigeria (Enugu, Fourth Dimension Publishers, 1985)
    12. GEORGE A. OBIOZOR, “Power, principle and pragmatism in international politics”, Pre-Convocation Lecture, Imo State University, Owerri, March 6, 1998 (Lagos, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, 1998)

    13. GODWIN A. ONYEGBULA, The Nigerian-Biafran Bureaucrat (Ibadan, Spectrum Books, 2005)
    14. CHIBUEZE PRINCE ORIE, Charles C.Nnolim: Radar to African Literatures, Biographica Intellectuelle (Port Harcourt, University of Port Harcourt Press, 20100
    15. ELLIOT RICHARDSON, The Creative Balance (New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976)
    16. RALPH UWECHUE, Reflections On the Nigerian Civil War: Facing the Future (London, O.I.T.H. International Publishers Ltd, 1969)
    17. LEE KUAN YEW, From Third World to First (The Singapore Story, 1965-2000)

     

     

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