- Some Igbo people see themselves first as Nigerians before being Igbo.
- Some Igbo people see themselves first as Bini before being Igbo.
- Some Igbo people see themselves first as Jews before being Igbo.
Sometime ago, Obasanjo tried to define some Igbo agitating for Biafra as ‘miscreants’, and funny enough some insensible Igbo bought his definition hook line and sinkers and even went ahead to tag their brothers(Igbo) as ‘miscreants’.
These practice of hoping to be another ethnicity other than Igbo and being ready to accept any tag tagged on the Igbo is doing us more harm than good in the sense that it belittles us before others. It projects us as inferior beings kind of. A people who are insecure about themselves. You get?
The Igbo nation must look inwards with the objective of properly ascertaining whom we are as Igbo, and then project this identity to all. We must not seek to be another people who maybe no match to us. We must not allow non-Igbo to define whom we are. For when we do this, we give them power over us.
I see no reason why any Igbo wouldn’t be proud of being Igbo.
1. Our entrepreneurial and technological prowess are recognized all over the world. This made Henry Kissinger a one time government appointee of the USA to refer to us figuratively as the Jews of Africa. The second ethnic group in Africa that comes close to the Igbo in terms of entrepreneurship are the Kikuyi of Kenya; and, they proudly refer to themselves as the Jew of Kenya. Can’t you notice the significant difference between ‘Kenya’ and ‘Africa’ within the context used? So, why shouldn’t you be proudly Igbo?
2. We are the live-wire of the Nigerian economy and contribute significantly to the growth of many economies in Africa. This is well-known and documented. There is no gain saying this fact. Why shouldn’t you be proudly Igbo?
3. We came out from a devastating civil war with just £20 and our properties UNJUSTLY CONFISCATED and yet, we have made billions and billionaires out from that £20. We have equally bought back those properties from those who confiscated them. This is no mean feat that even our friends and enemies are surprised about. Igbo are in the league of the Germans and Japanese who came out from the Second World War defeated and still went ahead to built stronger economies in such a record short time. Germany is the powerhouse of Europe, and if she collapses, Europe collapses. Japan is a tech-wonder and the third largest economy in the world. If the Germans and Japanese feel good about themselves, why should you feel good being Igbo?
4. Even the British acknowledged our intelligence that they dubbed us “the intelligent Igbo”. You can find that in the Willinks Commission Report of 1958. Today, our sons and daughters are record-breakers in the top universities of Europe and America surpassing their whites classmate in school. Yes, the Jews have their own fair share of disproportionate successes, but accepting that we are Jews is too SIMPLISTIC just because we have recorded some successes like them. In essence, intelligence and successes is not confine to one race or ethnicity alone that if the Igbo nation thinks her numerous successes stem from the fact that they are Jew is arrant nonsense. We are Igbo and just as blessed as any other ethnicity or race on earth be they Jews, Caucasians, Asians, or whatever!
5. Within the Nigerian context, the Bini are no match to the Igbo as at today. All that Bini has are records of past glory. Accepting that we are Bini is too condescending to say the least. This is like an insult to us; like we are bringing ourselves under Bini’s shadow.
7. The practice of trying to sound too Nigerian than others by saying that we are Nigerians first before Igbo is not wise because the political reality in Nigeria demands that one should be an ethnic chauvinist first before being Nigerian. We have been more Nigerian than the others for the past 150 years of the existence of this nation, and we have little or nothing to show for our ‘One Nigerianess’. We need to re-strategize. We need to drop political idealism for realpolitik. We need to be selfish first like they have always been. We need to be Igbo first being Nigerians. This is the ONLY way to be successful both politically and economically in this country.
In conclusion, we need to feel good about being Igbo first in all we do. We shouldn’t try to please humanity by relegating our Igboness to the background. Our successes are firmly rooted in our value systems as Igbo and not in any other cultural or ethnic or racial values.
We are what we are because we are Igbo and nothing else, this must know!
Written by Chidiebere Okere
(Chidiebere Okere is a young political analyst; the statement above are his views and does not fully represent the views of the management & 0wners this online news media).