By Odumodu Gbulagu
It has always been the Igbos.
The British didn’t deem it fit to give power to the Igbos because they consider us uppity, and cannot be controlled. Also, because of the leading role Zik played for the Nigerian independence and for African liberation, the Igbo people have not been in the good book of the British government. The colonialists perceived us as “The ambitious and clever Igbo people ” just because they preferred as their successors those that would continue to depend on them and those they would easily manipulate, a stooge of colonial power. The Hausa/Fulani see the Igbos as threat and a people who can’t be allowed a breathing space, while others see us as proud people.
We have been unfortunate in our relationship with other people in Nigeria. We have been misunderstood, misrepresented and mismanaged. Our energy and enterprise were misunderstood over ambition. our will to venture out and turn adversity to advantage misrepresented as attempts at domination.
Bitterness against the Igbos is based on sheer resentment of our commercial success. The Igbos were despised and envied for their achievements and acquisitiveness. Our gifts of hard work, inventiveness and dedication have been purposely mismanaged and not taken advantage of by Nigeria.
Since we have been regarded as too pushy, too industrious and too wander lust to be afforded equal treatment, isn’t it better they allow us to go peacefully?
Nigeria is actually not the only place the Igbos are found in their numbers. There is a popular maxim that says: wherever you don’t see the Igbos, it means that there is no life there.
What we have always asked for is EQUAL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE. A level playing ground for all of us.
An Igbo kid will need a 250 cutoff mark to gain admission into unity schools, while Hausa/Fulani kid of the same age or even older will only need 20 for same admission in the same school.(Agbakoba has just won the FG on uniform cut off mark for the students, irrespective of state and gender. Let’s see if it will be implemented)
The whole South Eastern states were given 42 slots in the recent DSS recruitment, while Katsina alone got 51. The outrage has died down and it’s long forgotten.
Our ingenuity becomes a source of envy for them. They are afraid of us because we see opportunities everywhere.
Everything that caused the civil war is in our midst today. The war was avoidable, if only Gowon didn’t jettison the Aburi accord.
They thought the only way to prevent us from ever coming back and to stall our expansion was to kill us all. We realized that the only one who does not know the meaning of life will chose to live a slavish life, but men of wisdom will always sacrifice their lives in pursuit of FREEDOM.
It was survival of the fittest, instincts kicked in and we survived.
We rose from the Ashes just like Phoenix!
We withstood the assault of Nigeria for 3 long years with nothing other than our stout hearts and bare hands.
Millions of people died in a calculated genocide,yet we survived!
Built and maintained airports under heavy bombardment .
Showed ingenuity during the war by manufacturing bombs, rockets and other weapons.
Turned scraps of metal into vehicles.
Maintained all the vehicles used in the war at the absence of accessories.
We freely refined our oils and current Nigeria has been unable to maintain a working refinery.
When they saw our resilience, they resorted to using hunger as a legitimate tool of war.
It was even discovered that Kwashiorkor was not as a result of just malnutrition
Yet we survived it and even survived kwashiorkor.
From 20 pounds to billionaires!
From abandoned properties to landlords all over the country!
No ethnic nationality in Nigeria can withstand what Igbos withstood, recover so fast and still compete favorably with others.
Odumodu Gbulagu can be reached at [email protected]