ALL the military rulers since the civil war were from the North, and did not give Igbos the second Niger Bridge. The civilian government that followed ignored that need of the Igbos. President GEJ is the one who seems to appreciate this key need of the Igbo people and is working on it. Yet you find the Imo State Governor antagonising the President. The Governor claims that he fetes Chief Sam Mbakwe, but Mbakwe’s political strategies are completely lost on him.

Chief Mbakwe was the only opposition governor who got more for his people than even the NPN governors, because he simply was driven by the love for his people. Our governor preaches the gospel in government house, and celebrates when a Christian converts to Islam. What kind of evangelism is that? The Muslims know that they can confuse the selfish Igbo Christian, and that is why they despise Igbos so much. I just shudder at these things. It is as if the war never happened! Why won’t the Hausa- Fulani man despise Ndigbo when he knows that Igbos refused to learn from their own experiences?

After the war, Nigeria reduced all deposits by any Igbo man in the bank to 20 pounds only! It was an economic deprivation policy. Igbos lamented seriously but trudged on with life. Now, 44 years after that war, has the Igbo nation any plan to ensure the financial stability of their zone? No! Did they learn anything from that policy by Nigeria against them? No! Did they even try to build any bridges with their kith and kin? No! The result is that today, we have people in Rivers and Delta states of Nigeria who bear Igbo names, have Igbo traditional institutions and culture, but deny vehemently that they are Igbos because they do not want to associate with the Igbo man in order not to curry the displeasure of the likes of Dr. Junaid Mohammed who were in power. Since Igbo neighbours in Rivers and Delta states rejected Igbos to please their Northern bosses, should Igbos not plan as a people and stop fighting and blocking each other? No, not Ndigbo!

I have lived in Yoruba land since the past 34 years, and I keep hearing the words “Omo-Ibo” ‘Aje okuta ma mu omi’(meaning people who chew stones without drinking water), used in a rather derogatory manner by the Yorubas when addressing Igbo people. I have asked the offence of the Igbo man against Yorubas, and there was none, except that the Igbo came with nothing after the war, and are recovering the swampy lands in Lagos State, developing them and making immense contributions to their economy, while shamelessly abandoning his own land in the South East.

This is the Igbo man’s lot everywhere in Nigeria. He has ended up being trapped in confusion between his host states and his homeland. The result is that in spite of the huge investments by Igbos in other zones, they have this fear that one day they will be asked to go home to Igbo land, yet they have strangely done nothing to make the Igbo land a place of pride in Nigeria for themselves and their generations unborn.

Under the late General Sani Abacha as Head of State, the Catholic Pontif visited Nigeria and Igbo land. An international airport and a university were to be built in honour of the late Michael Tansi. That airport project was scuttled because Igbo sons in transport business killed it. Today, Igbos drive to Asaba in Delta State to board planes to go wherever. How wise have they become in this one?

Ten years after the end of the war by 1980, they started killing Igbos again selectively in Kano; they called it Maitatsine riots. The Northerners told Igbos not to worry, and Igbos listened to them and accepted their situation. Some Igbo men joined in shouting that nothing happened.

But soon after, the hatred which started because the average Igbo man is a Christian and the average Northerner, a Muslim spread across the North and in Plateau State; they started burning churches, killing Igbos and others as well. Nothing happened and the killings have continued till date.

Has the Igbo moved or relocated? No! Does the Igbo man have any plan to stem the imminent Jihad that Boko Haram is promising to unleash on their religion? No! Do they even accept that the war is about their religion? Has the South Eastern Governors produced any plan to assist their peoples displaced from the North? Nothing like that!

Can anyone really blame the likes of Junaid Mohammed for telling them the truth? Every now and then, you find some misguided Northerners insulting Igbos and no one responds because the Igbo man wants to protect his investments. While I appreciate the little wisdom in it, I refuse to accept that Igbos should take any kind of rubbish from these men for no just cause.

APC’s Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State was reported recently to have said that he endorses a Jihad in Nigeria. Jihad means the eradication of all other forms of religion by the use of force. That is APC talking; yet some Igbo governors and sons are busy dancing the shameless dance of death around APC!

Sheik Ahmad Gumi has just written open letters, and followed it up with press interviews in which he urged GEJ and Buhari not to contest, in the 2015 elections. His major reason is that Buhari’s many followers have been brainwashed that he will become the next President, such that they will take to committing mayhem should Buhari lose.

Sheik Gumi’s argument cannot stand, because it is certain that in any free, fair and transparent elections, GEJ will defeat Buhari, any day. It appears therefore that they are laying the foundations to target the Igbos and non-Muslims should they lose the elections of 2015. The prime targets, the Igbo people, will refuse as usual to read this handwriting on the wall!

WE have some dominant ethnic groups in Nigeria, and their group influence and power run through most national enterprises, from sports, music, entertainment, education and academics, to raw politics. The ethnic groups are mainly the Yoruba of the South West; the Tiv, the Idoma and some tribes around Plateau State which make up the Middle Belt; the Hausa-Fulani in the North; the Ijaw, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Isoko, Efik, Kalabari, etc, of the oil-rich South-South; and the Igbo people of the South East of Nigeria.

Ethnicity is a force that could have been used to pull Nigeria to her very highest, but its negative application has remained the undoing of this country, with all the great potentials we carry. Bad application of ethnicity has been responsible for the somersaults we see in our performance in the areas of football, management of the national oil wealth, politics and now the effectiveness of our security forces.

The efforts by ethnic individuals to establish equality and balance among the ethnic groups in Nigeria in everything, and the silent fight by the North to lord it over all other groups have so permeated the system that it will be naïve of any person not to think of ethnic impacts of any decision before making it at the national level today. Religion has not helped matters at all; it is the fusion of religion into national politics that has brought us to where we find ourselves today with a good portion of North East Nigeria controlled by a new caliphate of hatred, blood and gun called Boko Haram.

One ethnic group that has consistently failed to read religion into national matters is the Igbo people of the South East, and that has left them short changed as the key victims of most national political calculations.

The North, made up of the Hausa-Fulani and other tribes, can speak with one voice on any serious matter through the religion of Islam. The same applies to the Yoruba of the South West, where Muslims and Christians have managed to live harmoniously without rancor except for the recent reports from Osun State where the Governor reportedly expressed support for a Jihad. It remains to be seen whether that Jihad call will translate into a political fortune for the APC in Yorubaland in the future. Jihad is yet to be tested in Yoruba land and the APC, which is a direct product of OIC, will provide them that opportunity soon through their Muslim-Muslim ticket for the presidential election in 2015. Christians in Yoruba land have a job to correct the dangerous trend.

The Middle Belt zone has been galvanized into one enviably formidable force, and is pointing the way to one Nigeria without the religious cleansing message from the core North. It has successfully survived turned the wickedness of the Fulani herds men and working to safeguard their future.

The South-South people are firm about having some measure of say on how their God-given oil wealth is shared and will resist any attempt by the core North to use political manipulation to cheat them. In fact, they are ready to employ the same creek-power determination that sustained their fight and struggle for resource over the years. It is, however, not clear how they will overcome the evil effects of religion in their midst, with the way and manner they are turning to Islam in hundreds by the day. The link between Islam and violence will remain their headache for some time to come.

The Igbo man of the South East appears to be the most naïve of all the ethnic groups. They seem to think that they are wiser than the rest by failing to form a strong political base like the other zones. The Igbo man started out with PPA as the Igbo party with the return to democratic rule in the late 1990s.Today the PPA is summarily dead. Then they started with APGA, and in spite of the promises the Igbo politicians made to the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, who trusted the Igbo man so much and gave everything to see that that APGA survived; they have all abandoned APGA for their selfish, greedy and shameless political pursuits.

This could be because the Anambrarian thinks that he is the moneybag of the South East; the Imo man see himself as the eagle of the South East. The Abia man thinks that he is wiser than the rest put together; the Enugu man sees others as crude, while Ebonyi feels completely under- estimated by the rest.

The leaders of APGA, that party that once promised to give hope to the hopeless and voice to the voiceless Ndigbo, have looked the other way. And in less than four years of the death of Dim Ojukwu, they are shamelessly superintending the imminent demise of APGA without blinking an eye! If APGA loses its grip in Imo State in 2015,God forbid, what will people say of the Igbo man and political party management in Nigeria? The mistake, again, appears to be that the Igbo man still sees the political party as a means to an end, and that is money and power, which if not flowing must be abandoned; or that he sees the political party through the eye of a typical shop owner: if sales are not flowing from the shop, it must either be closed, relocated or both.

In Nigeria of today, party politics for the Igbo man should transcend power and money to cover our destiny because of who we are, where we have come from and where we must go in the face of untold onslaught from Islam.

I pray and hope that Igbo leaders will wake up to this reality and that Ndigbo will not become wise in Nigeria when it is too late.

God help us!

Clement Udegbe, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.