Ndigbo Need Nigeria As Nigeria Needs Them |- By Izuoma Ibe


The people of the South Eastern Nigeria, Ndigbo are well twined with Nigeria despite the marginal rule which has placed them on a third rate in the country in considerable developmental indices. Their unfettered pan-nigerianism can be traced to history and opinion both of which are of great essence and when not considered, many misdeedS will be done which may likely wobble the wheel of progress or re-ignite the woes of the past.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo

Their inclination toward Biafra got to its height with the Civil War of 1967 which saw the defeat of the Biafran side by the Nigeria federal military government. With the defeat of the Biafran side, her leader – Odumegwu Ojukwu- wholly embraced Nigeria sheating his sword and contesting the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2007. Today, Igbo political-elites have strongly taken the routes of Nnamdi Azikiwe who ad-vented for one Nigeria right from the morning of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

There is no better way to explain the fact that Biafra is not a priority to Ndigbo than the silence paid to the struggle by Igbo representatives at different levels of government. Ndigbo willingly voted in representatives who are saddled with the responsibility of speaking on their behalf at the federal level.

In matters of this magnitude, if it is a priority for Ndigbo, they would have spoken up as did by the people of the South South in their agitations for resource control which until date they are still fighting for.

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But they are all bent on ensuring the sustaining of the indivisibility of Nigeria. Much as it is unrealistic on whose side the Igbo representatives lie as they are neither building a strong force to bring power to their side as their Yoruba and northern counterparts contests, it is imperative to note that their ill-representation of the people have fuel the embers of marginalization in the east.

It is unfair that no form of development is seen in the east and no visible effort is made by eastern senators and members of the assembly to attract such. Even if they are not in support of the Biafran agitation, they should agitate and make Nigeria a top priority.

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Hausa and Yoruba are not the problem of Ndigbo; the unfederalist structure of Nigeria should be held for that reason. If the Hausa and Yoruba have supported the continued unfederalist structure, have they done so alone? Haven’t ndigbo supported them?

The South South once cried of marginalization, how have they fared having ruled the country for six years? Are they not still crying? If the Igbo have the magical wand to turn things around for the country, why can’t they unite for the presidency? Isn’t it cowardice that the Igbo nation can not build a force to wrest power from other nations but demands power to be handed to them?

The Yoruba lost just a presidential candidate, Moshood Abiola who was assumed winner in the 1993 presidential and was compensated with Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 as president.

The emergence of Obasanjo was not through an agitation for secession, it was not also given on a platter of kindness but concerted efforts on negotiation by the Yoruba. Even when the green light was seen, they effort-fully ensured their sons emerged flagbearers on the two major political parties of PDP and ANPP making it impossible for the seat to elude them as either parties were to win the seat.

How about the North, they had their son die while serving as president; they didn’t fold their hands crying to leave Nigeria even when they were denied of the seat by Jonathan who wouldn’t return the seat to the North having completed the reign of his ticket with the northern candidate in 2011. The north reinforced, contested and lost the election in 2015.

They never lost hope but mustered much more courage with a hand-shake with the Yoruba to wrest power from the south. Igbo have lost much more in Nigeria more than any other nation in Nigeria.

They have no reason to leave; they are the ones who should be agitating for recompense. They died in their millions during the Civil War and also lost their own son, General Aguyi Ironsi who was the Nigeria Federal Military president for a period of six months.

They should unite for the presidency of Nigeria and not the actualisation of the defunct state of Biafra which today has the support of the young people . It is appreciable to note herein that Ndigbo may have good reasons to agitate for their own country out of Nigeria going by their neglect and pauperized status in Nigeria but they would right those misdeeds by ensuring that they rule the country as the North and West have done and have placed things in favor of their people.

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The saying that they are a people who are more embraced to Nigeria than Hausa and Yoruba; no other nation shows her love and believe in Nigeria than Ndigbo cannot be over emphasized as they are the most travelled within Nigeria.

In almost all non Igbo states in Nigeria, Ndigbo are most populated. A contestable statistics has it that there are few states in Nigeria where Igbo have come to be of greater population than the indigenes of the states.

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It would be a big loss to Igbo nation should any harm happen across Nigeria states, especially Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, in fact everywhere including the FCT, Abuja.

They drive the economy, population and have formed families in these places unlike other nations who seldom such in Igbo land. A better way to address the problem of Ndigbo is their addressing their internal differences and anti-people leadership orientations.

Much as it is not a syndrome peculiar to the people of the east but the people of the east are tuned to self than the people who elected them; they are tuned to truncating the ambition of their brothers in support of other tribes. If the Hausa and Yoruba have presided over Nigeria more than any other region in the country, Igbo has given them much support to achieving this.

Who will doubt the fact that if Igbo would strongly unite and negotiate rightly, that they would not get the presidency of Nigeria? The Federal Government on its own part should see to some of the hindrances which have been presented by the Igbo nation. Ensuring that equality reigns in all facets of the country should be her priority.

Igbo being a nation among others should be considered a place in appointment into appointive positions instead of an appointment based on religious and tribal affinity.

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The agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has not evolved because all have been smooth; it has come because there is a problem somewhere – a problem that can be addressed by a call of dialogue devoid of sectionalism by the federal government of Nigeria.

Taking a high hand will not solve the problem but will fuel it to a magnitude which both parties will live to regret as such will remain a problem for the yet to come generations.

The Federal Government should call for a dialogue with Ndigbo so they can have a sense of belonging in country where they are due citizens. Nevertheless, Ndigbo must as a matter of urgency begin to prepare themselves to preside over Nigeria in no distant time; they must begin to build themselves as a people with oneness of purpose.

It would not be wrong to call for a total overhaul of the apex Igbo group, Ohaneze Ndigbo. Ohaneze has done more harm than good to Ndigbo. Ohaneze has never supported a presidential candidate of Igbo extraction.

Ndigbo had two formidable presidential candidates in 2007 in the persons of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu and Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu but Ohaneze without doubt sabotaged such goal by placing political parties ahead of Igbo affair.

Ndigbo need the presidency to balance the anomalies of leadership in the country. They have not ruled Nigeria but that does not mean that they should leave the country.

They should rather continue to work out measures towards that because the presidency is a politically elective position, it is not appointive; they must begin to put their houses in other, form mega groups to digest other ethnic groups to project their agenda.

Crying foul will not help but due political negotiation will do a lot a good as Ndigbo need Nigeria as Nigeria need them.

Izuoma Ibe writes from Abia State via izuomaibe@ gmail.com
Op-Ed contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Abacityblog


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