In just one week, the Igbo people of Nigeria have shattered world records even in distant lands, becoming the first in all that is good and positive. Expectedly!
While they suffer excruciatingly painful marginalization, unimaginable abuse, scurrilous attacks, unwarranted military offensive against their agitating youths who have never been known to be violent in any way in the course of their agitations, they still thrive not only in Nigeria but world over.
Compare the full scale military attacks on Igbo youths for merely agitating, to the buttery and silky treatment meted out to killer Fulani herdsmen terrorists who have gone about the country maiming and killing innocent children, helpless women and hapless men, sacking communities in their numbers and violently taking over lands unhindered and destroying, in most cases, people’s sources of livelihood for good unchallenged, then one can comfortably conclude that there is a written script by those who have merrily but unfortunately, turned themselves against the Igbo with the very dark hope of pinning them down. A mission that is absolutely impossible!
Although the Igbo are renowned for their sophistication in education, science, technology, arts, commerce, sports and such other gainful ventures worldwide, the system in Nigeria has been deliberately skewed against them to the extent that the least literate and backward still find a way of elevating themselves over others, thereby exalting mediocrity over merit to the detriment of the entire nation.
But the Igbo are a very peculiar tribe. They have proven over time to be beyond destruction, always rising higher, far and above their traducers. They are just like the phoenix that will always rise from the ashes of subjugation to the height of success. They are like the seed, the more they seem to be buried, the more they blossom. Or even like the stream, hemmed on all sides by rocks but still finds its own course.
Ndigbo are simply unstoppable! The more their stars are thought to be dimmed, the higher their sun rises, and the brighter it shines.
Nothing can be truer of this than significant global events of the past week where Ndigbo from different parts of the world, true to character, have risen above human limitations and social barriers to attain heights never thought attainable even in countries arguably known to have racial biases running deep in them.
First was Toni Chike Obi who was elected into the revered and prestigious Senate of Italy, thus becoming the first ever black man in world history to have been so elected. His election came as a surprise to many given the general notion many have about the issues of racism in Italy. And given the fact that Iwobi is a full-fledged Igbo man without any Italian parentage whatsoever, it gives cause to study the course of how the Igbo man’s tenacity in him has propelled this man to achieve that which many had thought would never be possible.
As the world was celebrating this feat, news filtered in that our own Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has been appointed a professor by the Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States, thus making him the first Senator of that ranking to be so appointed in the entire political history of Nigeria. This is apart from the fact that he is also the first deputy senate president to be so elected by his colleagues from a minority party in the nation’s modern political history. He has proven, as it is with the Igbo, that he is a man of many firsts.
While the ovation for this feat was still at the level of delirium, the news came in that another Igbo man, a legal luminary of international repute whose services at the International Criminal Court has been characterized by the Igbo spirit of excellence, was elected the president of the highly esteemed ICC.
Chile Eboe-Osuji hails from Imo State and has been at The Hague only for six years, and in that very short period of time has risen to be its president. What Nigeria loses, the world is gaining!
This is not talking about the Umuahia-born Godson Chikama Onyekwere (John Godson) who emerged as the first African to be elected into the Polish parliament in 2010, and such other firsts blazed by the Igbo worldwide.
It is instructive to note that all these happened in just one week. This should not be taken lightly. The discerning knows that this is highly significant. It is an indication that what Nigeria reviles back home is being highly appreciated globally. It is also a pointer to the fact that Nigeria is the biggest loser as long as some people are allowed to continue to maintain this skewed system and structure which do not allow our best to take their rightful places in our land.
As long as the Igbo man is thought to be held down in Nigeria, it is Nigeria that remains down! And until good spirited Nigerians begin to rise above parochial, pecuniary and such other petty considerations in the running of the affairs of the nation, only few individuals and certain parts of the country would continue to drive the nation’s systems, and it is only a matter of time before they crash it into the rocks destroying all that we all hold dearly.
By Jude Ndukwe
—Jude Ndukwe is Publicity Secretary of “Igbo Bu Igbo”, an Igbo sociocultural association. He writes from Abuja.