The Day Nigeria Died By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

If the Super Eagles had lost last Sunday’s match against Ivory Coast, calls for Stephen Keshi’s head would have overtaken the airwaves. I, too, would have supported his immediate firing. But not for the same reason that some Nigerians would have advanced.

I would have argued that Keshi failed to utilize the enormous talents that Nigeria has to make a decent showing at the African Cup of Nations. Some Nigerians, on the other hand, would have contended that Keshi should be removed for fielding predominantly Igbo players. The rumbling was already approaching a crescendo before Sunday’s game.
 
I must confess that I do not know anything about contemporary football. I have since swapped soccer, as we call it in America, for American football. So I do not know these players wearing the Nigerian jersey. I have no idea where they play their professional football careers and how good they perform for their respective teams. I am not sure how fit these players are. All I know is that when Keshi was given the job of assembling the team to represent Nigeria, I expected him to pick the best Nigerian players at home and abroad, irrespective of their ethnicity or states of origin.
 
Having said that, I am not naïve about the Nigerian peculiarities and propensities. I know it doesn’t often happen that the best are picked. I am not even arguing that it happened in this case. As an invested outsider not involved in the processes of choosing a team, my eyes are focused on the results. My refrain for Keshi is, perform or pafuka. And I am sure that Keshi is aware of that. I am sure he is not that dumb as to intentionally jeopardize his coaching career just to advance some ethnic agenda.
 
I am aware that in the past someone must have intentionally chosen to pursue an ethnic agenda even as it jeopardizes his job. As you read this, it is probably happening in one or more sectors of life in Nigeria. Actors like that are often people who feel so connected with the powers that be that they fear no repercussion no matter the public outcry. In the lifetime of a nation such discriminating acts have shown, time and time again, to be temporary and ultimately futile. But I honestly believe that the most important case Nigerians can make in their everyday life is to insist that people given responsibilities must perform. We must raise our expectations and reduce our indifference. We must denounce their excuses and demand results.
 
A similar scenario is perhaps playing itself out in the military. A lot of stories are emerging of how the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika is alleged to be promoting Igbo army officers over others. First and foremost, I must say that I lost respect for Ihejirika when his brother was using military boys to terrorize political opponents in Abia State and he did not stop him.
 
Like the Keshi situation, I do not know anything about the military. I have no idea the courses they take and how they earn their promotions. Again, I am sure there must be a guideline for promotions that is based on competence and merit. I am sure it has not always been followed. As an invested outsider, I want to insist that it should be followed. If it is vague it should be made clear and specific. And in all things, transparency must be paramount. Often when we champion accountability and transparency it is not just for the governed. It benefits the office holders too. When things are transparent both the goat and the chicken will concur.
 
The information that leaked out to the media about promotions, or lack thereof, in the military showed a concerted effort to discredit and ultimately get rid of Gen. Ihejirika for favoring Igbo officers in promotions. Apparently, like such allegations, the examples used were selective and subjective. I personally favor getting rid of Ihejirika for a much more serious reason - failing to restore security in Nigeria.
 
Sheik Gumi has called the allegation against Gen. Ihejirika another Igbo attempt to dominate the military. I find that very disturbing, to say the least. Even if Gen. Ihejirika is dancing to the drum of some evil spirits deep inside Okija forest, how does the action of one man constitute an attempt by the Igbo to dominate the military? It hasn’t even been 50 years since hundreds of thousands of Igbo people were massacred for the same trumped up reason behind the January 15, 1966 coup?
 
As long as people in polite circles find it uncomfortable discussing issues like this, the ragamuffins will run with it, adding salts and peppers. I deplore those who say that if, truly, Ihejirika was favoring Igbo officers in promotions he should go ahead because others before him had done the same. Maybe this is a teaching moment for us to go in the right direction – the path to excellence through merit. Maybe it is time to ask the question; Who’s afraid of excellence? Who is afraid of merit?
 
I understood that there was a time when Nigeria’s railways used to function well. There was a time when Nigeria’s civil service was something of pride to the nation. There was a time, not long ago, when people earned their positions. There was a time when people could account for the things they owned. Those were the days that we should all work to recapture. This sad detour to mediocrity has failed us all. Meritocracy inspires competition, increases standard and advances the whole society. The opposite of it is what we have now.
 
After wallowing in mediocrity for such a long time, having people of our own ethnicity represented is more important than what they represent. We have become so mentally screwed up that we confuse presence with substance. Twenty percent of zero is still zero. Andy Uba as Obasanjo’s domestic aide did not fix the roof of my hometown school or provide a path for genuine drugs to get to my town’s general hospital. Instead, it opened illegitimate doors for him to own mansions and a private jet.
 
Most decent people do not care how many tribal marks are on the faces of the men and women who are keeping their electricity on for twenty four hours, maintaining their road from Lagos to Okitipupa and performing dialysis on their relations with renal failure. My greatest fear is that we have degenerated to that point when meritocracy is synonymous with Igbo dominance. Now that will be a point of no return.
 
The day Nigeria died was the day we dethroned meritocracy and enthroned mediocrity. That was the day the race to the top reversed to become a descent to the bottom. The day Nigeria will be buried is the day this trend becomes a habit. Or is it a habit already?
 
Please correct me if I’m right.

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The Truth

Rudolph,
The truth is that most Igbo people cannot manage success especially in a multi-ethnic society in Nigeria. What is happening in the Eagles today is evident everywhere Igbo man is in charge. A friend just complained to me how clannish his Igbo boss is in one of our leading banks.

The irony of it is that they are always the first to shout marginalization. I hope Igbo people will realize that this phase will soon pass away and we will all be here to witness what will happen next.

Well there is an entity known as Nigeria, but there were NEVER Nigerians.

tribalistic bigots are lethal.please keep off.they ar pernicious

Guys,i believe so much in a nigeria of my dream.and that can only be actualise when all the fractions of the country's tribe start seeing themselves as one blessed couple with their marriage ministered by God.when the igbo man will sit down in the east and condemn the wanton bombing in their hausa-northern counterpart and will not say,"if boko haram likes,let them finish them,afterall it is the north."when the westerners(yoruba) will see the kidnappings in the niger delta and say it is inhuman.
We should learn to believe,acclaim and actualise 'UNITY IN DIVERSITY' let that which even our exponent(lord lugard),had even life spaned for 100years be our greatest asset.
The americans are *4(times 4) or so of our geographical size.they are the 2nd largest population in the word.permit me to infact call them a continent,yet their number is their strength,their size an advantage,and their diversity of opinions a JOY.
Kristen onuora,
student commenting from enugu.

tribalistic bigots are lethal.please keep off.they ar pernicious

Guys,i believe so much in a nigeria of my dream.and that can only be actualise when all the fractions of the country's tribe start seeing themselves as one blessed couple with their marriage ministered by God.when the igbo man will sit down in the east and condemn the wanton bombing in their hausa-northern counterpart and will not say,"if boko haram likes,let them finish them,afterall it is the north."when the westerners(yoruba) will see the kidnappings in the niger delta and say it is inhuman.
We should learn to believe,acclaim and actualise 'UNITY IN DIVERSITY' let that which even our exponent(lord lugard),had even life spaned for 100years be our greatest asset.
The americans are *4(times 4) or so of our geographical size.they are the 2nd largest population in the word.permit me to infact call them a continent,yet their number is their strength,their size an advantage,and their diversity of opinions a JOY.
Kristen onuora,
student commenting from enugu.

May God help the entity

May God help the entity called Nigeria where tribalism and nepotism is the order of the day.Sell your car or buy a used car online. Post your free classified ads with unlimited photos. http://www.planetadvert.com

PERCENTAGE RESERVED FOR MEDIOCRITY

THE NORTH ARE ENJOYING THE PARTY BECAUSE OF THE PERCENTAGE RESERVED FOR MEDIOCRITY. THEY ARE AFRAID OF LOOSING THAT TO MERITOCRACY. IF NOT WHY THE CRY ABOUT RECRUITMENT IN THE ARMY AND IMMIGRATION. THE ALLEGATION AGAINST THE IGBO WAS WHAT THEY WERE DOING TO OTHERS IN THE PAST. THANK GOD THAT THE IGBO BELIEVE IN MERITOCRACY AND HARDWORKING

@ Anonymous is a fool

Firstly, you are not Yoruba.

Secondly, if you are Yoruba (which I doubt), you need to wake up and smell the coffee. The Yorubas are being sacked in Aviation (headed by an IGBO), retired in the army and having the lowest recruitment of any zone (headed by an igbo), and had the lowest number of recruits of all zones recruited in immigration (headed by an igbo).

You also recently had a hatchet job done by Achebe on Awolowo (which was really a metaphor for the Yoruba).

If you don't know that evil is headed your way then you are indeed the big fool!!

All I have said is the truth (which is the word used by igbos to defend Achebe). If I have written any inaccuracies, please point it out with specificity!!

I know you are Igbo.

PERCENTAGE RESERVED FOR MEDIOCRITY

THE NORTH ARE ENJOYING THE PARTY BECAUSE OF THE PERCENTAGE RESERVED FOR MEDIOCRITY. THEY ARE AFRAID OF LOOSING THAT TO MERITOCRACY. IF NOT WHY THE CRY ABOUT RECRUITMENT IN THE ARMY AND IMMIGRATION. THE ALLEGATION AGAINST THE IGBO WAS WHAT THEY WERE DOING TO OTHERS IN THE PAST. THANK GOD THAT THE IGBO BELIEVE IN MERITOCRACY AND HARDWORKING

THEIR COMMITMENT IS OUTSTANDING

Nigerians, have we ever ask ourselves the tribe that has shown more commitment in the project called NIGERIA? The answer is the IGBOS. Let me buttress this fact by saying meritocracy comes through commitment and the Igbos have it. A typical example is what is happening in this present AFCON. Their handwork to excel is undoubted.Believe me, the Army, the immigration and others mentioned are not exclusive. Let us stop jettisoning meritocracy through commitment and fall for mediocrity in the name of federal character.

DELE AWOGBEOBA IS A FOOL

I am Yoruba and it aches my heart when I see anyone from by tribe ranting like a mad dog. When we all should be seeking for ways of re-engineer Nigeria back to its glorious days, it is sad to find people like dele awogbeoba spewing tribalistic nonsense. Rudolf has written a very sensible article which needs the support of all those who love Nigeria. Many of us are emancipated Yoruba people - no longer disciples of the Awolowo hatred for the Ibos, however bitter we may think this truth is. Dele awogbeoba should go hide his head in shame. He is a disgrace to my Yoruba tribe.

@Igbo Domination

People are worried about igbo tribalism (as well as core northern tribalism). The country spent years trying to reduce the negative effects of clan mentality. We are not about to accept such conduct from the IGBO's either! All Nigerian's have people that have excelled in all areas of excellence! Nobody has stopped the IGBO's from hiring whoever they want to hire in the private companies! The most successful private business owners have all hired the best for the job irrespective of tribe (Abiola and Dangote!

If you are saying that all or most first class honours from Nigerian Universities are held by igbos then you may have a point! I doubt this is the case!

Igbo Domination

While the Igbos in their quest to excel and in the process of trying to excel, demanded and still demands excelence, mad Igbo cows notwithstanding.

Imagined or percieved, loofers felt threatened.

Perceived Igbo domination was the death of Nigeria and still is.

Correct me if am wrong.

@Naija East Coast.......

Firstly, there is no tribe called hausa-fulani. The first fulani leader was shagari then Buhari and then Yar Adua (total of 8 years maximum).

Secondly, 9 states have been created out of the former eastern region (which is more than the 8 states created out of the Western region).

I agree that ALL federal ministries should be investigated to avoid this type of nepotism. The former IG Ringim also faced this same

issue..http://www.pointblanknews.com/News/os5216.html.

The settler issue is complicated because of Nigeria's unique history of an amalgamation of nations. It is not like the US where everyone is a settler.

I can however comment on those ministry's where it has been raised as an issue. Nobody, stops anybody from beaming the torch light on other areas as well. This afterall will help nip that kind of conduct in the bud!

@ Dele Awogbeoba, you can not be serious.

“We all know where the igbo stand when it comes to the application of nepotism!!”
_____________________________________________

Seriously, are you a Nigerian? That your comment, I think is offensive and idiotic. Take a look at who has ruled this country. Check the state and local government creation in Nigerian and tell me who the chief of nepotism is. Where was coward Dele Awogbeoba in the seventies, eighties and nineties when Hausa-fulanis were playing checkers in the name of leadership? They dragged all Nigerians into OIC, what did Dele do? I ask you to support for an audit/investigation into ALL the federal ministries and publish the result for all to see. You can’t cherry pick which ministry to mouth on. That is being dishonest. F.Y.I., this country has not yet gotten over the tribal line that is why a Nigerian citizen is also a settler in Nigeria.Go figure!

Rudolf, you're part of the problem.

Don't you see?

Would you rush to the pen if, say, an Hausa man was being accused of marginalization?

Especially if such accusation was coming from a peripheral figure comparable to Sheikh Gumi? Why do you give a lot of credence to his utterances and seem to think he speaks for a majority of the so-called "Abokis"?

Meanwhile, the ordinary person on the streets of Gusua, Kaduna, Sokoto etc are celebrating the Super Eagles. Even Boko Haram-ites are watching on their satellite phones.

Our football conquers all. Stick to American Football where they play in oversized nappies.

Don't mess up the nation's deserved euphoria with your poison pen.

@Usman....

Firstly, no need to hide your ethnicity! This is an issue because in a country like Nigeria with massive youth unemployment, we cannot have a situation where skilled and educated Nigerians are denied jobs because they are from a different tribe from the Oga. This holds truest in public sector jobs. People can hire who they want in private sector jobs.

I am yet to see the major private enterprises completely independent of government that is a poster child for the meritocracy of the IGBO and is still surviving!

This is a big issue that must be addressed.

The day Nigeria died

The more the press and other commentators give publicity to this ethnic rubbish, the more it digs in as an issue. This thing will keep evolving. There are only so many Hausas Igbos Yorubas Nupes Ibibios Kanuris etc in every facet of our lives.

@Naija East Coast

For your information, since 1999 till date, a southerner has been head of state and first minister of Abuja for 10 years. If no southern president deems it relevant to appoint a southern FCT minister then who are we to complain.

Similarly, we have had a Yoruba C-in-C for about 12 years of Nigerias independence yet have only had one Yoruba COAS late lasted no longer than 6 months in 1979! Again, if no Yoruba head of state appoints a yoruba officer as COAS in order to avoid perceptions of nepotism then who are we to complain now. Clearly not all people are as de-tribalised as OBJ and Jonathan (though I suspect he is a Yoruba hater but not a person that unduly favours the ijaw)!

We all know where the igbo stand when it comes to the application of nepotism!!

Football @Too Late 3

the 2008 olympic silver winning team selected by Nigeria's best coach to date was hardly predominatly igbo was it....

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/match?id=253333&cc=5901

@too late 2

Nigeria has won the afcon twice. The 1980 team was anything but igbo centric.

As discussed, Ironsi was never appointed on merit. In fact Ironsi was appointed against the advice of General Welby Everard (the then british GOC). The British General thought Brigadier Ademulegun and Ogundipe were better qualified for the job because they had more brigade experience.

Prime Minister Balewa appointed Ironsi for "political" considerations in order to avoid the perception that in the aftermath of the NNDP NPC election victory, that the Yoruba had supplemented the igbo.

http://books.google.com/books?id=qA44AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA243&lpg=PA243&dq=elec...

@ Too late

Actually, General Ironsi was selected against the advice of the outgoing british GOC General Welby Everard. The British general recommended Brigadiers Ogundipe and Ademulegun. Prime Minister Balewa and Defense minister Ribadu appointed Ironsi against the advice the the outgoing British GOC. I have attached the link.

http://books.google.com/books?id=qA44AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA243&lpg=PA243&dq=elec...

@ Dele Awogbeoba & Sanusi A. Yaradua

Who is still insisting that a 400 pound fat ass man should go to a doctor to get diagnosed if his butt and gut are too big? One Nigeria is dead and we should bury it and move on. May be it is time to seriously look into division option. It looks to me that a lot of people in Nigeria are suffering what I call naija name loyalty. We gotta pull out and save the future is my take.

For those that are calling to investigate the immigration and the army, how about nnpc, customs, prisons, dept. of agriculture, external affairs, central bank etc. How come only northerners head FCT? If you are interested and honest about change, you gotta change ALL.

Too Late!!

Nigeria has been dead sinces the civil war, its rotten corpse is what you are witnessing! there is no such animal like meritocracy in Nigeria and there can never be so stop dreaming Rudolf. wake up and smell the egusi. As long as igbo people are in nigeria there will always be a need for federal character and and other excuses for incompetence.

Before Ihejirika, the last Igbo COAS was Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi. The British made him COAS based on merit. those days are over and dont ever expect it again. The last time Nigeria won AFCON,many of the players were selected on merit and they were igbo. Nigeria can cannot go back to merit, they prefer to wallow in mediocrity rather than let the best shine.

this state of origin

If want to enthrone a true meritocracy, we should start by removing this "state of origin" rubbish..all in favor say "AYE!"

Mr Okonkwo, You Are Right, But I am vindicated.

I agree with your major premise: Federal Character is destructive. In other words, If we adhere to meritocracy and dethrone mediocrity, we will significantly experience greatness in all sectors in no time. Mr. Keshi's roster for the 2013 CAF is a positive testament to that belief. Today, every Nigerian is happy for the outcome so far, notwithstanding our tribal differences or the make of the team.

I am vindicated in the sense that, what Mr Keshi did is in line with the position of my Blog: Hamiltonatlarge.blogspot.com. We firmly believe that disintegration, which you have always championed, is not the solution to our problems, but our willingness to talk and address the ills of federal character, leadership deficit and related problems that make certain group of people reasonable disposed towards disintegration.

MERIT IS THE KEY

Go to Abuja and see perm secretarys that cannot speak English! We ve had heads of state that cannot read out budget, we ve Professors that cannot give 10 mins acceptable lecture, in our defence, we have soldiers and police men that cannot sign signature to withdraw their salary from bank.Reason-QUOTA. Let the best go for us. It will favour all! What has happened to merit? No wonder the country's ailment is incurable!

@Drudge

You are wrong. The complaints against the army boss is that he unduly favoured the igbo and not that he unduly favoured the south. Looking at the recruitment under Uzoma and the army boss showed that the SW had the lowest intake of recruits of all geo-political zones. I know for sure that the SW is not the least educated geo-political zone nor is it the least populated. In fact i dare say it is the second most populated zone and in the top two of the most educated zones of the country. What then accounts for the lowest intake in organisations such as immigration and army when controlled by igbo heads? Could this be a relic from their anger at the Yorubas deciding to pitch with Nigeria (aka Achebe)? Whatever the reasons, i doubt merit plays any part of it!

This article aptly describes

This article aptly describes the situation we are in this country. People like sheik Gumi can not be dismissed with a wave of the hand because he did not just come out to say it on his own. This issue must have been discussed at all levels in the Northern heirachy and was agreed that the sheik should be the one to raise it since people will view it as the ranting of a religous leader and the attack if any will be minimal considering that no one wants to attack him. Permit me here to say that we found ourselves in this situation because in time past especially during the military era chronism was the other of the day and the people that benefited most were the northerners because the heirachy of the military and government were headed by the north. If go through the history of that era, you will find that 80% of those who occupied positions of authority or companies ( if registered) that got juicy contracts were not qualified or grossly incompetent.

Show me the Eagle in Keshi's

Show me the Eagle in Keshi's line up that should not be there on merit. Mention one promotion Ihejirika effected that is without merit or which violated Army Promotion policy, then we can talk. Prof Barth Nnaji started giving us light and suddenly Mr President succumbed to the blackmail of mediocres and the man was allowed to go. When the British ran things and merit was the order, a certain ethnic group dominated because their society is inherently founded on meritocracy and free reign of competition. This blackmail should stop by mediocres to allow Nigeria grow.

Rudolf!!

Dear Rudolf, For years igbos have complained of marginalisation in Nigeria. That situation is now changing. Now, we have people of igbo origin giving between 70-90% of positions to people of the igbo race and we are now being told that it is a meritocracy!! Meritocracy to our igbo brothers means all positions are occupied by igbos. First of all, Nigeria is a very educated country. Every single geo-political zone has highly educated people and every single southern geo-political zone has very highly educated southern professionals. Stacking organisations exclusively with people from your tribe on some fake "meritocracy" argument fools nobody. The causes of the civil war was the crude tribalism of the igbos. As a tribe it has learnt nothing. It cannot even properly remember the events that led to the civil war itself (you included)!!

U spoken very well brother

Thank you.

But saharareporters are the one promoting them because they hate Goodluck and like ribadu, el rufai, buhari etc forgotten the NORTH has one agenda

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