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Sunday, 4 October 2020

Igbo Freedom: The Chasm Between Reality And Fantasy

By Chukwuma Uche

One of the good things we happily deny ourselves as a people is the courage to effectively evaluate ourself outside the prisons of emotions and pretended patriotism. People like me will from time to time raise the lid for the benefit of the curious among us.

One of the major reasons Igbo freedom remains unattainable is neither because of the alleged overbearing influence of the colonial masters against the Igbo nation nor the unfounded claim of hideous hatred against the Igbo by other ethnic components of Nigeria. The undeniable fact is that the Igbo man naturally lacks the politics a nation needed to navigate itself to freedom and to affirm itself in Nigeria politics.

Many people erroneously believe that military power is enough to secure freedom for any nation but this has been repeatedly proven to be wrong. Military power without prerequisite politics is bound to put such a nation into more troubles.

So I will quickly make a list of the disabilities that make the Igbo freedom or Igbo ascension in the political ladder of Nigeria impossible. I will group them into two: internal and external factors. I will ignore the external factors since each one of us has erroneously attributed all our woes to this factor alone and therefore assumed to have a great knowledge of what they are. The internal factors are the inherent disability in the Igbo nation which serves as impediment to its freedom while the external factors are the outside forces that work against the Igbo political emancipation. These internal factors are actually the things holding us down and not the external factors as we are constantly deceived to believe.


(a) Poor understanding of politics and how to employ it effectively.
(b) Absence of conversation amongst its people
(C) Inordinate ambition
(d) Greed
(e) Poor understanding of Death
(f) Lack of patriotism
(g) Mutual suspicion
(h) Lack of recognized societal hierarchy
(I) Not being curious enough


For lack of time and space, I will explain the first two important items in the internal factors while the rest are left at your own imagination or guess.


We don’t have the politics needed to free ourselves.

The Igbo nation is generously endowed with great potentials in all aspects of human activities but surely deprived of the ability to conceive and deploy politics. It is not bad since no one is expected to be perfectly made. Different nations have different disabilities but they all recognized them and tried to improve on such areas of poor performance. Our own became an insurmountable hurdle because we never recognized it as a problem. The problem we have in Nigeria is 100% self-inflicted. We have at all time been vindictive, blamed everyone and everything around us but ourselves. I have heard many of us claim that the colonial masters handed over Nigeria to the Fulanis before they left. Almost everyone amongst us who can read and understand knows that this is a malicious lie invented to absolve and hide our complicity in the problems we have.

Before the colonial masters left, they handed Nigeria over to the Igbo, the Yoruba, and the Hausa-Fulani in that order. That means the Igbo was first followed by the Yoruba before the Hausa-Fulani. By 1960, the Igbo man was the president, the Igbo was not only the head of the army, they equally dominated it. The Igbo dominated the civil service, very visible in the federal cabinet, federal agencies and parastatals. The Igbo were dominant in business- commerce and industry. The richest private business owners were dominantly Igbo people. Half of Lagos urban land spaces as at that time were bought and owned by Igbo businessmen which included Ojukwu, Ebubedike, and others. Do we need to have everything and others nothing before we accept that the colonial masters were not against us? It is only the bad Workman that quarrels with his tools.

The Hausa-Fulani on the other hand had only the prime minister. Some of us had dishonestly argued that the office of the president as at that time was ceremonial. In the desperate bid to deceive ourselves, they have always presented their argument to suggest that the office was irrelevant. This is not correct. Power was only shared between the two offices with the president having the lions share. The prime minister was the head of cabinet which which acts as the head of government while the president controls and heads diplomacy among other functions. It is noteworthy that the cabinet can be dissolve and new prime minister appointed if the president have the needed politics to achieve that.

So, Nigeria was practically handed over to the Igbo at the point of independence. The Hausa-Fulani were aware of this. They protested and even threatened to pull out of the Union if they were not given enough time to get more foothold in the arrangement that is Nigeria today. They were even tricked by the colonial masters to continue with the union by helping them to ascend the nominal head of government. That was all they got. If the Igbo had a rudimentary knowledge of politics and with the composition I described as at that time, it would not have taken the Igbo two or three years to push them out if they so wished. But reverse was the case. By 1969, the Igbo was no where to be found because of bad politics. By 1979 the Igbo was in comfortable third position but the free fall continued. As at today, the Igbo is completely lost in the complex ocean of Nigeria politics.

Even other much smaller ethnic groups have since overtaken the Igbo. Today, we are roundly regularly trounced politically by every other ethnic group at will.

In our profound confusion, we kept on shouting marginalization. Now, we are ashamedly begging to be given the office of the president by 2023 while the Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani are effectively politically strategizing to attain the throne. My question is: To be given by who? If you need the presidency you work for it and not to beg for it, and the only way to work for it is to work on our politics. It is late for 2023. We can have a twenty year plan to work for it. But, we must recognize first that we don’t have the needed politics to make any impact as at today.

For lack of space, to be continued in few days.

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