FROM THE ARCHIVES
Much has been said already, much has been discussed so far, and many Igbo writers have written extensively and enough about a guideline, a principle, a constitution or as the case has been, a charter for the Igbo nation wherever they may be on the face of this planet called Earth. I do not want to write about this, and I don't think I would blame you if you do not want to know about it. Since time I cannot even remember, I have been attending all sorts of Igbo-related meetings, gatherings, picnics, naming ceremonies, weddings, society of friends jamborees, churches and launches; and still counting. For reality check, do not assume in any way that I am trying to make a big deal out of this. The fact is, it is becoming boring and tiresome even though the subject matter is not going away anytime soon. Probably it may not go away, we would be talking about it in having it done, in our generation and beyond. Does this really sound like I have begun this essay by complaining? Maybe, or maybe not.
For over thirty-two years since the last shot was fired to end Yakubu Gowon's-led genocidal campaign against the Igbo nation, Igbos have never been the same again. One would assume the effects of the numerous pogroms and civil war disoriented them, had them fall apart, and made them abandon their responsibilities in sharing a common bond toward building a "nation state." Of course the pogrom and civil war was a "shocking realization" and "never again" as some would say; and notwithstanding, it is shameful, painful, amazing and mind-boggling that the crop of new Igbo leaders since the post-civil war era would be part and parcel of a mechanism that would destroy the Igbo nation in its entirety.
At war end, Igbos started all over again with a clean slate, on the imagination it was going to be a matter of time to rise above the limitations imposed on them, rise like a phoenix, which they did, and to share the same nationhood their forefathers began. But the irony as the shocking waves continued to take its toll can be traced from the systematic plan designed by their enemies, which worked well, and they never thought about it because they never saw it coming, and the rest is now history.
But how can we, who have suffered and grieved on the ominous consequences of the pogrom, and after all these years realizing our enemies are still undermining our existence and our right to self-determination, be confident and comfortable to continue having a relationship with a people akin to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany? How can we say the bicyclist Ojo Maduekwe and his bunch of confused Igbos who feed from the crumbs of Aso Rock caliphates are representing the Igbos and their interest? And what is it one would say our leaders of thought have achieved all these years regarding the much talked about charter and a "nation state?" Would it be dedicated and patriotic Igbos no longer exists?
It is no secret that long before Nigeria's independence, the Obafemi Awolowo-led Yoruba nation, so-called Egbe Omo Oduduwa, descendants of Oduduwa, and the Ahmadu Bello-led Islamic Jihadic North had felt threatened and had believed Igbos with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe's "leadership" have taken it upon themselves to be the "master race" of Nigeria. The truth to this whole lot of brouhaha is: Igbos who inspired that believe were patriotic, dedicated and organized; they were Igbos whose goals were building bridges; they were Igbos who believed in collectivism which of course leads to utopia, they were Igbos who thrived through honesty, good morals and hard work; they were Igbos whose phenomenon was based on a healthy, political and cultural order; and in that capacity, they were the founders of the Igbo nation as the "master race." Got it descendants of Oduduwa?
Reflection to Awolowo's statement I have quite oft-quoted speaks for itself:
"It was clear from the general political and journalistic maneuvres of Dr. Azikiwe over the years that his great objective was to set himself up as a dictator...and to make the Igbo nation the master race."
Even though Awo's thinking was wrong, today that said belief is totally shambled and the whole idea about Igbo nation building has become hopeless. It is becoming a sickening joke.
The question here now is, now that we seem to be in a hurry and running helter skelter to produce a working document for the Igbo nation--home and the Diaspora--and now that our neighbors and other ethnic minorities appears to have produced their own charter intact and well prepared in the event a conference of ethnic nationalities holds, never mind the Aburi Accord and other failed conferences that had been held in the past, why is it taking Igbos the eleventh hour to start rallying on a supposed spectacular document meant to guide our generation and beyond? Let's in this case assume a national conference holds and all the ethnic groups sends in their delegates with their charter intact and ready to go, to present their cases on how better we could govern ourselves based on custom and tradition; demography and resources from which the resolutions would be reached. Now would Nd'Igbo send in their delegates (Only God Knows where they will be coming from) with Ohaneze communiqué whose bout with Olusegun Obasanjo's administration often emerge battered and permanently disfigured, both physically and mentally, that is if they emerge at all; or World Igbo Congress paperwork; Enyimba constitution; Ekwe Nche prospectus or borrow Francis Elekwachi's single-handedly written proposals for Pan-Igbo Constituent Assembly in Diaspora (PICAD) allegedly to be presented as Igbo charter?
Just like I have pointed out in many instances, Igbo charter "is" and should not be a one-man project or a committee of friends gathering initiatives. Ironically, of thousands of Igbo organizations at home and abroad with more thousands likely to pop up, it is abundantly and embarrassingly clear Igbo charter, day-by-day, is looking more like a mirage. Obi Nwakama, who had joined in this heated debate and pressed with the issue that opposing viewpoints seemed to have undermined and frustrated the efforts of the group behind the document because the critics had declined to be part of signing a "document of surrender" asked, "What is to be done?" Nwakama's question has left us with one of two choices: Move on with a one Nigeria and be dragged like a zombie. How does that sound? Or produce an Igbo charter solely for an independent Igbo nation.
For the former, we are all living witnesses to federal Nigeria's effective isolation and marginalization of the Igbo nation, treating a people with unique tradition and culture as second class citizens, for the past thirty-two years. And in that regard we still want to remain in that entrapment?
The latter has been a political and cultural classic. It is, because the Igbos are a people whose origin is of one lineage, their genealogies can be traced back through many generations of forefathers to a common ancestor. This type of societal identification is not the same as a national or linguistic grouping. One can join a nation; one can learn a language; both are voluntary. But in blood heritage, it implies Igbos have an inherited customs and traditions which led to a particular order of social organizations. The Igbo of Nando has the same socio-cultural structure as the Igbo of Abakaliki, Ikwere, Obigbo, Nkwerre, Igurita, Okpanam, Ibuzo, Elele, Omoku, Orlu, Abriba, Waawa, Obowu, Nnewi, Idemili, Ihiala, Nsugbe, Amazano, Awkuzu, Nteje, Okigwe, Eziama Obiato, Onitsha and Abagana, Arochukwu, Ohafia, Amaigbo, Arondizuogu, Owerri, Mbaise, Umuohiagu, Oko, Diobu and any community where Igbos can be found. It is in this vast genealogical structure that provided a simple basis for alliances and inheritance. Lands and rights go to sons and brothers on the paternal side. Residential groupings, too, are familial. Villages, kindred and hamlets are made of men descended from a common paternal line women marry in, though many also are of the same paternal line linked by a lineage traceable back to a primal patrilineal ancestor.
So, too, is the traditional way of marriage as no dating occurs when a man expresses his interest in a woman, parents and relatives arrange marriages. As custom dictates, the groom to be has to go through series of interviews and other custom-related events such as paying dowry to the bride to be family before the marriage can be arranged and finalized.
By this order and method, and as we head to the conference table to write a charter for the Igbo nation, we must bear in mind the above particular order when our decisions and resolve begins to climax. We must also bear in mind Igbo nation is a nation state, and that Nigeria must not be included in her principles. In choosing this method, of not including Nigeria or any other entity in her preamble and the entire document, and by not mixing any political principle that varies with the ideals, customs and traditions of Nd'Igbo, treating at great length the needs or rights supposed appropriate to Igbos everywhere.
Nevertheless, as in the modernity, the charter should include political traditions of the Western Hemisphere, which would entail ideas such as freedom, the rule of law, representative government, as well as our conceptions of personal liberty and civil equality.
On the rule of law, we must strongly condemn empire and anarchy, and must not ignore the tyranny and disorder that widely persists with us tongue-tied for ages. As I write, the entire Igboland is in a state of anarchy. Armed robbers and hired assassins have made random killings and gangsterism the order of the day. It was in this same mode when we, tight-lipped, applauded, hailed and watched Vincent Otokoto turn Owerri township into Otokoto Underworld as lawlessness and horrific criminal activities ruled with the elders and "chiefs" belonging to Sicilian mob-like racketeers. Otokoto, whose parents ran a prostitution ring was in the United States shuttling from city-to-city until he arrived Los Angeles to carry out a full-blown Al Capone's Chicago mobster-like criminal mafia. Otokoto was a greedy, insane criminal. He was always in debt living life in the fast lane, but his admirers loved him for the way he took advantage of his friends. If he liked you, he'd con you, a tactic for his recruit, and if he didn't like you, he'd avoid you.
In July of 1999, he struck a deal with one Chris Ojogho, a fellow Owerri native, in Los Angeles, on a credit card-based scheme. A "cock and bull" story, as it turned out, Ojogho did not deliver which of course degenerated to exchange of words on the phone with the frustrated and angered Otokoto, who in a few hours later would drive to Ojogho's apartment in Studio City, California, shooting him at close range and fleeing the scene. Today, Ojogho's speech is fractured and the case was not followed up due to its akpuruka, criminal behavior nature. But the buck did not end there. Otokoto's Sicilian-style gangsterism persisted for years. Its influence reached Owerri. In Owerri he formed a coalition with upper world businessmen, publishers like Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, and vulnerable, desperate and corrupt law enforcement officers. Otokoto took his criminal activity to a level no one, absolutely no one could have imagined. At a particular time, prominent Igbos and intellectuals in the likes of Onwudiwe began to adore and hail him as his gang of 419ers, kidnappers and murderers invaded Alaigbo.
All this, and with Igbo charter heading to the designer's table, the question here would be, what kind of a national state do we have in mind when rape, murder, incest, prostitution, human body parts trafficking, drug trafficking, armed robbery and you name it, that was systematically carried out by Otokoto-Obieke-Iwuanyanwu Underworld while our eyes closed and our mouths permanently shut? Would our national state be that of the philanthropist who would award a twenty-five thousand naira (N25,000) scholarship to his community and in return would demand five thousand dollars ($5,000) for his expenses in that endeavor? Would our national state be that of our always evil intent which in the past had destroyed the most organized ethnic group our forefathers founded? Or would our national state be a replica of our regular meetings whereby intimidation, material rivalry, greed, jealousy, malicious gossip, all kinds of talk shows and blah, blah, blah becomes the norm?
The dilemma of the array of questions posed here rests on our unwillingness to make sacrifices and committing ourselves to bringing about a national state devoid of intellectual elites like Onwudiwe, Otokoto-Obieke-Iwuanyanwu organized crime, the dubious philanthropist, the present have-no-clue about Igbos plight sitting governors, the Ogbuefis, the "chiefs" and their haul of "take that and make me chief" money bags, the political thugs and hired hit men who had been brainwashed to eliminate honest and dedicated men who advocate for change in Igboland, and the akpurukas by nature who corrupted our youths--leaving them with the option "it's either you are rich or you are poor"--abandoning education, hard work and good morals in pursuit of fast money, which of course led to a state of barbaric anarchy.
The state of barbaric anarchy in Alaigbo today is not new. It has persisted in nearly all times and places in history. But in this modern times with a sound world capital and globalization improving living standards all around the globe, how do we stop what Obasanjo's fledgling democracy has turned Igboland into? Take for instance, the war zone in Imo State, the political warfare between Emeka Offor and Chimaraoke Mbadinuju in Anambra State, and the fracas in Enugu State House of Assembly, to a point some legislators in Enugu had to run for their lives taking refuge in Abuja of all places. Imagine. Would one take it that the creation of more Igbo states by our enemies within the entrapment called Nigeria, notably to destabilize Nd'Igbo was the strategy that brought in disunity and confusion to the Igbo nation? I should think so. In other words, in Achike Udenwa's state of empire and anarchy, where if you are not loyal to him, you become his enemy, and whereby if you don't protect yourself, you become a victim of hired assassins and political hoodlums groomed by Udenwa's Underworld. It means as an Igbo-Yank who may have great ambitions, or put it this way, for one to survive in Igboland today, especially Imo State, one must proffer loyalty and obedience to a collective whose bounds are sharply drawn, and circumscribed only to people with whom he could in principle be personally acquainted.
This may sound like a criticism or political propaganda toward a political campaign, which is quite familiar in today's political world. It is not. It is the simple truth. Understood in this way, when the charter conventions begins and ends, and when it is endorsed and ratified, ready to be distributed and enforced, who would or could stop the hi-tech immoral, cruel, crazy and dubious nature of Udenwa's Underworld, Jim Nwobodo's sponsorship of political thuggery in Enugu State, Offor's funding for instability and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume's mean spiritedness to eliminate his political opponents who happens to stand on his way? Would this "legitimization crisis" created by men in high places who supposedly need the consent of the people they manage or govern be stopped, and if so, how? As corrupt as Igbo-Yanks are, and as vulnerable, desperate and gullible they would be when they get into public office, the "legitimization crisis" is bound to continue apace.
On this basis, if we must draw a charter and implement it, and being powerless in lacking the faith in our Supreme Being and moral obligations, we must admit the failure of our "leaders" the last thirty-two years and decisively get rid of the "forces of evil" in order to begin anew a sane and morally healthy society. It was done in Otokoto's Shakespearean and Orwellian drama, leveling all of Otokoto holdings to the ground. The Bible from which economic, political, social and religious orders emanated taught us how a tiny and familiar community was saved from a violent and anarchic mankind in Noah's Ark. On this score, it becomes natural to look into civil society--faith-based foundations, churches, charity-based organizations, political forums, and social-cultural entities--for moral leadership when our economic and political leaders fail. However, I am not sure if the above-mentioned institutions have delivered over the years as an option. Faith-based foundations are widely known for keeping records of ugly and funny books. The churches, especially the Catholic Church, have a growing scandal of homosexuality and child abuse. Charity-based organizations, for instance, Ada Ugo of Los Angeles are clouded with fabricated and exaggerated overheads. Political forums such as World Igbo Congress (WIC) which convenes annually to show off, often inviting their enemies, is totally a ridiculed and confused bunch. Socio-cultural entities in the likes of Ohaneze Nd'Igbo, the so-called "pan-Igbo cultural organization," the efulefu, worthless bunch, who would feed from the crumbs of the Northern caliphates and "generals" in charge of every show in Aso Rock, is entirely a lost cause. So what is the option?
When the founders of this great nation began to write extensively denouncing imperialism and the feudal lords, followed by demonstrations calling for freedom, liberty, rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and a free market society which eventually turned out to be the most organized society on Earth of which we are now beneficiaries. Remember the Sons of Liberty and Boston Tea Party? It is called organized opposition.
It is obvious we of the Diaspora, scared to our scrotum of speaking out against tyranny and anarchy seemingly to have destroyed the strong foundations our forefathers laid when we encourage our leaders of bribery and corruption. A case in point is that of Dr. Julius Kpaduwa who had seen himself and other honest and dedicated Diaspora Igbos as a vanguard of a new society almost got killed to a political witch-hunt and Araraume's inspired underworld. Most ironic of all, it is the same Diaspora Igbos who have become conduits for the corrupt politicians' money laundering scheme. How then can we achieve profound democracy based on oneness, transparency, accountability and a stable political order when the crop of our would be Igbo Diaspora "leaders" are the architects of barbaric anarchy in our land?
In 19th Century Russian pogrom of Czarist empire and anarchy, Jews moved en masse in a stable and organized form to build a nation state, the sovereign state of Israel. Then followed the fateful and horrific Holocaust in Hitler's Nazi Germany where an estimated six million Jews perished. In historical analogy, the Igbo nation has suffered the same fate as the Jews, the Gypsies and other ethnic minorities sought by Hitler-like bigots for persecution and extermination. Have we forgotten? The execution style killings of Lt.-Col. Gabriel Okonweze, Major John Obienu and several Igbo military officers in Abeokuta Garrison. The mass slaughter of Igbo military officers at 4th Battalion in Ibadan, under the command of Major Joe Akahan. The atrocities committed at Ikeja Cantonment and airport, under the command of Lt.-Col. Murtala Mohammed. As gruesome and barbaric Mohammed was, his military record was a distinguished one. Imagine. But the ghost of innocent civilians and Igbo military officers he slaughtered haunted him until that fateful morning of Friday, February 13, 1976 when he was murdered on his way to work, the same way he slaughtered Igbos.
In Sunday, August 4, 2000's edition of the Los Angeles Times, it was reported and estimated that over ten thousand people have died in Obasanjo's Fourth Republic, apparently from civil unrest, political thuggery, accidents and military invasions. Ten thousand perished souls in three years under supposed democracy and freedom, and we call that national unity? Moreover, a situation that left ten thousand souls dead in three years is ground enough to break up a country either by peaceful means through dialogue and diplomacy or by any necessary means in national liberation. As troubled a nation Nigeria has been since independence, and as composed of many nationalities that it is, which would continue in a dramatic state of confusion until a resolve is reached, takes us back to what ignited in pre-independence and post-independence eras. Our founding fathers knew very well about this confusion tailored by an imperial state--which ended up to empire and anarchy, as a result, a complete chaos, ever since.
Remarkably, the Ikene born trader turned lawyer Awolowo, earlier in the struggle for independence had indicated during this struggle that Nigeria as a nation was "mere geographical expression." In considering this argument, it is worth quoting Awolowo again:
"When imperial powers ratified the final share-out of colonial territories at the Berlin Conference in 1885, Nigeria existed as three separate political units. These corresponded roughly with the present three regions, and administered by three different authorities. Since the amalgamation all efforts of the British government have been devoted to developing the country into a unitary state. This is patently impossible; and it is astonishing that a nation wide political experience like Great Britain fell into such a palpable error. If rapid political progress is to be made in Nigeria, it is high time we were realistic in tackling its constitutional problems. Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. There are no "Nigerians" in the same sense as there are "English," "Welsh," or "French." The word Nigeria is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not."
Even though the bigot's concept of nation state was a matter of theory, tongue-in-cheek and deception, he was right on that one. Awo's argument was premised on the observation that a multinational state would eventually disintegrate into rival national states and an unending total conflict. Today, the growing conflict is far from over, stuck on a deadlocked shadow conference of ethnic nationalities. When Obasanjo was sworn in May 29, 1999 with his vow of "no sacred cows," the Yoruba nation, the alarmists (AD-Afenifere-NADECO), framers of the "Sovereign National Conference" popped up threatening him (Obasanjo) to endorse a gathering of ethnic nationalities or they would declare the "Republic of Oduduwa." Most ironic of this conference sensation is the way the Igbo nation seemed to be carried away and confused about it. Ironic, to be precise, they have joined in the bandwagon as if, to say, it is now a big deal. Baloney! Even though the sovereign national conference clearly looks more like a forum that would probably bring about a resolution replica of the Aburi Accord, the naysayers, the double talkers and the confused bunch who have no clue what political recklessness they may be dabbling into, are now "stomping and singing the freedom song" not knowing what kind of freedom may be coming their way. We saw that kind of freedom in 1993 when Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan committed political suicide. He nailed democracy and the Yoruba nation in particular.
In an about-face, he became a confidant of the military juntas with "General" Sani Abacha taking over the affairs of state nullifying the infamous "June 12" presidential elections Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was alleged to have overwhelmingly won. So what in God's sake guarantees that in the event a conference of ethnic nationalities is held, and a decision is reached, and afterwards ratified, and thereafter implemented, that the Awolowos and Enahoros in our midst would not in a sudden 180-degrees turn renege? And if so, why are we dim wit hung in to a sovereign national conference when there are several other options, "like say," propositions by ballot, measures typical of a sound democratic fabric. When Shonekan's political suicide paved way to a reign of terror instituted by Abacha, and when the chickened Oladipo Diya, a Yoruba and Egba by enclave became Abacha's second-in-command, why did the Yorubas flee instead of resisting Abacha's iron rule.
A nation that has gone through four devastating republics and still lacks a sense of purpose and direction is deeply troubled and problematic. The problems, among them, can be found within the confused bunch of Igbos who are now behind cyber closed doors writing what would be Igbo charter for the Igbo nation. My question here is, when these cyber writers, thinkers and intellectuals comes up with the so-called charter, would the likes of the self-acclaimed philanthropists whose scholarship projects are foreshadowed by funny book-keeping be used as a model to a presumed principle of Nd'Igbo all around the globe? Would the code of conduct and ethics of the charter be upheld and respected? Would the Igbo nation hold men accountable for defrauding their kit and kin or would they, as usual, hold their tongues?
The point is, in the event a conference holds, there will be no difference because it is evidently clear the gathering will consist of the same bunch of efulefus and political criminals including our U.S.-based "chiefs," the tax evaders and househusbands who would assemble to seal our fate again.
The starting point for this initiative regarding a better way to manage ourselves is January 4-5, 1967 when Gowon and his federal Nigeria delegates (Lt.-Col. David Ejoor, Lt.-Col. Hassan Katsina, Col. Robert Adebayo, Kam Salem, Commodore Joseph Wey and the rest) and Lt.-Col- Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu met in a conference at Aburi, Ghana, signing an agreement to put a halt to the internal strife with the following "decisions unanimously reached" which is now a common citation:
(i) A military committee comprising representatives of the regions should meet to take statistics of arms and ammunition in the country. Unallocated stores of arms and ammunition held in the country should be shared equitably between the various commands in the federation.
(ii) The army should be reorganized in order to restore discipline and confidence...
(iii) In accordance with the decision of August 9, 1966, army personnel of Northern Nigeria origin should return to the North from the West. In order to meet the security needs of the West, a crash programme of recruitment and training was necessary but the details should be examined after the military committee had finished their work.
(iv) The supreme military council should deal with all matters of policy including promotion to top executive posts in the armed forces and the police.
(v) The legislative and executive authority of the Federal Military Government should be vested in the supreme military council, to which any decision affecting the whole country should be referred for determination, provided that, where a meeting was not possible, such a matter must be referred to the military governors for their comments and concurrence.
(vi)Appointments to the Diplomatic and Consular posts as well as to supercale posts in the Federal Public Service and equivalent posts in the Federal Corporations must be approved by the Supreme Military Council.
(vii) With a view to promoting mutual confidence, all decrees or provisions of decrees passed since January 15, 1966, which detracted from the previous powers and positions of the regional governments should be repealed. Law officers of the federation should meet in Benin on January 14, 1967, and list all the decrees or provisions of decrees concerned, so that they may be repealed not later than January 21, 1967, if possible.
(viii) A meeting of Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance of all the governments in the federation should be convened within two weeks to consider ways and means of resolving the serious problems posed by displaced persons all over the country.
(ix) Displaced civil servants and corporation staff (including daily-paid employees) should continue to be paid their full salaries until March 31, 1967, provided they have not secured alternative employment. The Military Governors of the East, West and Mid-West should send representatives (Police Commissioners) to meet and discuss the problems of recovery of property left behind by displaced persons.
(x) The Ad Hoc Constitutional Committee should resume sitting as soon as practicable, and the question of accepting the unanimous recommendations of September 1966 should be considered at a later meeting of the Supreme Military Council.
(xi) For at least the next six months there should be purely a military government having nothing to do with politicians.
(xii)The deceased military leaders should be accorded full Military Honours due to them.
(xiii) All Government information media should be restrained from making inflammatory statements and causing embarrassment to various Government in the Federation.
(xiv) Lt.-Col. Ojukwu should keep his order, that non-Easterners should leave the Eastern Region, under constant review with a view to its being lifted as soon as practicable.
(xv) The next meeting of the Supreme Military Council should be within Nigeria at a venue to be mutually agreed.
According to the framework laid out by the Aburi Accord, the brief period of uncertainty which required temporary regionalization as a litmus test, was followed immediately the delegates returned home, a behind closed doors meeting led by Gowon, Awolowo and Enahoro, making an about-turn to such a spectacular document, and intentionally reaching an agreement violating the decisions agreed upon at Aburi, and then taking on a gruesome act of unnatural taste to wipe out the Igbo nation from the face of this planet. Nothing could be compared to the Aburi decisions to a stable and peaceful government if Gowon and his Awolowo-led collaborators had respected and upheld the Aburi Accord.
Some advocates who strongly back a conference of ethnic nationalities had argued that Aburi Accord was a military supervised conference thereby should not be compared to a supposedly "national conference" whereby every ethnicity is wholly and adequately represented. Good point, though, but again, what guarantees an alliance of a majority group of conspirators would not turn their back and do the otherwise in the event Aburi is photocopied?
Okay, all said and done, Aburi Accord is duplicated. So what? A perfect nation to emerge? Nonsense. While we jubilate over this successful conference which has given us full autonomy without strings attached, we must not forget Sharia will be stoning to death a mother out of wedlock and surely will be slicing a man's limb for petty theft. How do we, who want a civil society based on a sound democratic set-up of separating religion and state allow barbaric acts typical of the Sharia laws be accepted in our "national state?" Would an American teenage moslem be stoned to death for adultery or conception? Would a woman of Islamic faith not be allowed to drive in America? What that means is we have nothing to do with the bloodlust Northern Islamic Jihadists whose religion is violent and satanic in nature. And it all means we are no one nation; and it is as simple as that. Whoever holds the notion Nigeria is a one nation must be delusional and must be living in another planet much, much different from Planet Earth.
In my recent interview with Dr. Kpaduwa on which I had asked why a sovereign national conference which had the same resemblance of the Aburi Accord, he noted the 1999 constitution was "inadequate," thus a "unitary element" still exists in that constitution; and moreover, according to him (Dr. Kpaduwa) if we are to make progress toward building a perfect national state, the only better way would be a conference of ethnic nationalities whereby the issue of resource control would be addressed once and for all, reflecting the true federation of the First Republic. That being true and enough being said, and a neo-democratic foundation being established after fifteen excruciating years of military dictatorship from which its nature of settings is devoid of the peoples consent, is ground enough for constitutional review committee, a legislative mandate for constitutional amendment or a representative committee to study and rewrite the constitution which would be orderly and normal of democratic principles; and not a "Sovereign National Conference." But though, if the legislature approves of such a conference, I say "ride on."
The word sovereign is nothing special in Nigeria's political class. Before we get carried away with this talk of town lexicon, we should bear in mind a similar transaction took place in 1979 where the same military juntas under the leadership of the present head-of-state Obasanjo, supervised a constitution which handed over power to an elected government with Shehu Shagari emerging as president on the platform of National Party of Nigeria (NPN). So, what's the difference between the transition of 1979 and 1999, almost twenty years after? Why were there no agitation by the "sovereign nationalist" to seek a better way to govern themselves? Would it be that all was well and there was nothing to complain about, then? And how come, all of a sudden, after the 1999 transition with a replica of 1979 handover, be threatened with a "Sovereign National Conference" when in fact, there is a legislative procedure to handle such issues as in all democracies? And why was a "Sovereign National Conference" not called when Igbos were sought and slaughtered from house-t-house, city-to-city and in anywhere Igbos could be found?
But the suspicion in this good cause of finding a way to manage ourselves better lies on the victim who once was a hawk. If Abacha had not slammed, persecuted and driven these Yoruba cowards who could not fight, to exile, they probably would not be front-runners for a sovereign national conference. It's quite intriguing to find out how a one time collaborators and conspirators have themselves caught up in the same condition that if it had been taken care of earlier, we would not be desperate for a way out in the trap we found ourselves in, today. The case of Aburi to which one is weary of pointing out and which has extensively and exhaustively been debated, regardless of its military compositions, which resulted to a betrayal for whatever reasons Gowon, Awo and Enahoro deemed appropriate, should be dust-off and re-examined if we are to make a headway in "national state."
Nevertheless, must Igbos be much concerned in a sovereign national conference or must they be concerned about building their own community, helping one another grow mentally, spiritually and culturally? Here is another classic example of how we fell dramatically apart, fell entirely away from the standards and lacked the necessary morals to effect change in our community, in a fast changing world that is now community-based. Talk about Igbo-Yanks community and enterprise. Do we have one? Nope!
Take a tour of the various cities in the United States and tell me where you can count on that is recognized as Igbo community absolutely of Igbo enterprise and cultural relativism? None, to be exact. Just like the Far East Indians can be identified with their thriving communities known for having the highest stakes and stocks in the hotel industry; the Italians and their thriving communities known to operate the best restaurants and the stocks that follows; the Jews and their communities well known for their control of the media and the movie industry; the Korean communities and their self-centeredness known to be thriving in every aspect of business, from real estate, marketing, banking to mass production; the Ethiopian communities known for their dwelling and association; the Persian communities whose majority holdings runs most gas stations; the Mexican communities known for their habitats, and as the list goes on and on, what is one would say Igbos have accomplished in terms of building community since the "Push Factor," the economic, social and political conditions that drove us away from our homeland in search for a better life?
We, the Igbos are the "most disorganized bunch" and my fear is, with the way things seems to be, the Igbo nation will one day disappear. And why am I saying this? When our intellectuals, thinkers, business magnates and educators including the Brahmins and "chiefs" among us abandon their responsibilities of building community and a profound nation state to engage constructively in tabloid sensationalism, malicious gossips, lies and all forms of moral indiscipline against our kit and kin in favor of our enemies who would in return use the efulefus as rubber stamps, becoming loyalists with flourished corruption. As I said about community and enterprise, who among us, the so-called entrepreneurs have hired a kin without exploitation and abuse? Who among us, the intellectual elite and Brahmins have offered to help a struggling kin, a troubled youth, a brother in need other than making the fellow a laughing stock and telling the whole world how bad in shape he (the guy) is? With this way of life and modus operandi, how do we expect a perfect Igbo nation with a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose and a sense of building community? And how do we establish community toward oneness and growth?
First, we must take to heart of who we really are, and come to terms with reality acknowledging a whole lot has gone wrong in many ways. To start with, the case of our troubled and failed marriages in the Diaspora, which in some cases had been fatal, should be cause for concern to all of us. We were not raised in this way, and we should not allow society not relevant to our culture determine our fate and jeopardize the good morals and tradition we learned from our fathers. Take for instance, the case of Jude Nwandu and Frank Obiora Uyanwa of Los Angeles which I will be writing about in a different essay, the murder suicide in Florida on a love triangle, the man who shot his pregnant wife in Miami Florida, the recent tragedy in Nashville Tennessee and the Hudson Oaks, Texas homicide and several other domestic violence and disturbances which is now a common faire in our marriages, should be taken seriously. This is totally outrageous and out of the norm, the humble beginnings we had, begun by our ancestors. Today our marriages have taken a different shape, disturbingly becoming scary by the day, and of course, "this is America, man!"
What is the root cause of this avalanche of insanity wide spreading by the day in our American homes? Could it be the American society which we live in and after surviving the hostile environment by overcoming our predicaments poisoned our minds? Or could it be our women whom we vowed to live the rest of our lives "for better and worse" abruptly changed submerging into the American culture? I don't care what it is; nothing justifies a man smothering his wife to death, a woman killing her children or a man killing his wife in the most brutal of circumstances. But as this phase of madness which most of us have ignored with some blaming our men, and with some blaming our women for crossing over, negating our cultural heritage and embracing the American socio-cultural outrage needs to be addressed by "leaders" of our communities before it becomes an epidemic and before the party is over.
Evidently, we are good at throwing parties more than the Gypsies and not the "African Jews" we were known for, which is a mere fallacy not even close to any similarity to the Jews. I have no problem with our Gypsy-like conventions. For sure, and of course, there is a Gypsy in every soul, which of course is human nature. But the problem is, we have turned the Gypsy in us into something else. As World Igbo Congress convened in what has turned out to be a yearly tradition to discuss matters of personal interest, dine and wine on isi-ewu, ngwo-ngwo and akaneme, liquor, then show off their babarigas and agbada, three piece Yoruba-Hausa-Fulani outfits and flowing gowns, chat briefly on Igbos plight and bid themselves adios, calling it a great convention with substance and results--meaning a lot was covered from problems grand and small about the Igbo nation to who takes over the mantle of leadership in Igboland. Really?
So where was World Igbo Congress and Ohaneze Nd'Igbo in the aftermath of "June 12" when Igbo transporters hiked up fees during the Oso Abiola, making it extremely difficult for our kit and kin to get home as a result of the nullification crisis in Abiola's alleged presidential ticket? Why would Izu Chukwu Transport, Chidi Ebere, Osondu, The Young Shall Grow, Ekene Dili Chukwu and the rest wicked merchants raise their bus fares when desperate Igbos were running for their lives heading back East? And where were the leaders of thought and the Ohanezes when the greedy Igbo merchants and transporters instituted their act of iniquity on our kit and kin in such fragile and emergency cases?
Then came the Sharia debacle in the Jihadic Northern states where Igbo lives were sought by the Islamic bloodsuckers. In the wake of the satanic Islamic Jihadic North's demonic Sharia over the Christian South in which thousands of Igbo lives were lost, what was WIC and Ohaneze Nd'Igbo's reaction when Igbo bodies were brought home in shrouded coffins and "meat wagons?" As usual, the bunch of efulefus did practically nothing but watch.
As I keep saying, don't let what the shadow "leaders" and the drug barons who bankroll WIC and solicit for funds from their enemies, giving them prominent role to keep "slapping Nd'Igbo in their face" fool you when they turn around to convince us that it is a "new awakening" or rebirth of the Igbo nation. WIC and Ohaneze will continue to be the confused bunch of efulefus until they come up with a vision that would change the condition of persecution that had affected the Igbos in their dispersion, permit an independent Igbo culture based on the unique perspective of Igbos and work hard on developing a character suitable for a life of self-reliance and independence.
Unfortunately, the seemingly withering away of Igbo nation and her culture cannot be saved by the present generation of liberals and radical lefts whose offspring would have nothing to do with a quest for Igbo nationhood. Our generation as it turns out would be replaced with a "mixed breed," a generation that would be well assimilated into mainstream American culture and would have nothing to do with our Igbo cultural heritage. Obviously, there is much more to be said on this subject, but I will restrain myself for the time being and leave it alone for the experts.
So, for us to determine what must be done if the Igbo nation is to fulfill its obligations under such very different circumstances as in this framework, it will require much effort. And the effort, bearing in mind the establishment of the Igbo nation was an enterprise of our fathers and their fathers, must be a collective one entailing a gathering of Nd'Igbo from all walks of life.
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Article published exclusively September 09, 2002 at BiafraNigeriaWorld
EFFECTIVE PRESS, EFFECTIVE DEMOCRACY