There we were seated talking about everything and all of a sudden we harped on the recent boom blast in Sabon gari in Kano; an Igbo dominated are of that state and my colleague said something that boggled my mind and kind of amazed me. She said Igbos were the most patient people in Nigeria. Given that mostly, especially here in the north, what people have to say about the Igbos are negative I had to revel in the moment and also buttress her opinion.
But later when I found myself alone, I had to put that whole scenario through the sieving machine that was my mind and had to ask myself some really serious questions like are the Igbos really patient or just docile? I didn’t need to over think it to realize that it was the later.
A people so great that they took a whole nation to war; with nothing. Cut off from the rest of the world, they still held Nigeria at bay for 3 years till sabotuers; who were mostly none Igbos laid waste to their dream of independence.
The injustice of that war has been swept under the rug and when the late Chinua Achebe tried to waken the world to its atrocities he was met with unfair criticism by the word mercenary; Wole Soyinka. But honestly what happened to the millions Igbos had at the various banks in Lagos before the war and only to be given one miserly pound to start over after the war as punishment! And did Igbos complain? No! They went about their business!
Since the civil war that was some thirty something years ago, the closest an Igbo man has come to the presidential seat, is senate president. Nigeria can not afford to give that seat to an errant son and the Igbos themselves have not being able to produce a figure capable of occupying that seat or have they? But did the Igbos complain? No!
Since the Jos, Kaduna and the many religious crisis during and after the third democratic dispensation, I can without much research tell you that the Igbo nation has been most hit by them. Having lost countless lives and properties to meaningless acts of brutality. Have the Igbos complained? No!
It is no hidden fact that under every rock, there is an Igbo man. Yes the Igbo man might be many things, but he is resourceful, that is why he is scattered everywhere around the world. He puts his skills and knowledge to use to advance himself, family and his immediate surrounding, but still for that he is punished. It is not a hidden fact that the common Igbo man contributes at least; I said at least because I don’t know the exact figures, at least 10% to the economy of Lagos state. But go to Balogun and see how some Igbo traders are treated with scorn and disdain! Like pariah of some sort! Their lives are made difficult with heavy taxes, fines, rents and undue sanctions. And does the Igbo man complain? No!
But my fellow country men, isn’t it time the Igbo men and women woke from the slumber Gowon and Obsanjo put them to with the war or are they going to continually scurry about the corridors of Nigeria with their tails between their legs while injustice is meted out to them?
How many more businesses have to be destroyed before our leaders in the South East speak up? How much more blood of the Igbo man does Nigeria have to drink to have its fill?
It just seems like anytime any two tribes of the millions in the country have a quarrel, they go: ‘Let’s pick on an Igbo man and feel better’. The Igbo man has become the sacrificial lamb used to merger or reconcile warring factions. How much more of these can we take before our leaders and the Ohaneze people come out and say enough is enough. Haven’t we paid our dues? Isn’t it time the Igbo man was a shoo in for the presidency or are we going to forever remain in the background of power and the end of pointed sharpened blades.