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Ndigbo: Biafra, Hypocrisy And Acts of Sustainable Self-Destruction By Churchill Okonkwo

March 10, 2016

In the poem "The Second Coming" published in 1921, William Butler Yeats wrote that "… everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Sustainable self-destruction and hypocrisy with passionate intensity is the only way one can describe the present situation in South Eastern Nigeria. 

The worst of Ndigbo appears to have arrived and taken control of our lives especially in the social media; redefining our trait, characteristics, morality, and everything we are known for. While acknowledging that ethnic jingoism in our society cuts across all the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, the alacrity with which the worst in Ndigbo have pervaded our societies is very dangerous and disturbing to say the list. 

If any lesson was taught to Ndigbo in the last election in Nigeria, it is still apparent that nothing was learnt. This piece is an expression of my concern that rather than focusing on the substance of the challenges we face as a democracy in transition, we (Ndigbo in particular) appear to be once more chasing shadows and building ourselves to fall. I will use some of the recent acts of hypocrisy, unnecessary whining and dangerous acts of sustainable self-destruction to drive home my points.

In a country that is decrepit, with its people destitute and unemployed, crime rate ghastly, the army and police murderous (as are numerous civilian "vigilante" groups), corruption rampant, how to build and preserve a functioning democracy should in my opinion supersede everyone’s and in particular Igbo People’s cry-cry attitude.  But no, HELL NO! Ndigbo have continued with actions of sustainable self-destruction.

The most troubling element of these acts of sustainable self-destruction is the contamination of the Spirit of Biafra, my Biafra. Enticed by the support of our “enlightened” brothers, the unemployed and frustrated youths of Umu Igbo took to the street, threatening to quench the river that swallowed the elephant like the Jews at the Red Sea. The calls for the destruction of the “zoo” has turned Biafra into a disease. 

A disease that has never been seen before cannot be cured with every-day herbs." But unfortunately for Ndi Baifra, Nnamdi Kanu, and their sympathizers, the disease of secession is not new. That’s why the same old every-day herb has been deployed as a cure. It is, however, unfortunate that some poor innocent Umu Igbo died and are dying for nothing. 

We are (Ndigbo) explosive cocktail. In an attempt to score cheap political points, my Ibo brothers and sisters have turned themselves into a bunch of hypocrites. For example, it is very hypocritical to be complaining about the actions and inactions of Buhari especially his perceived “inability” to defeat Boko Haram when yesterday, you swore in the name of God you even know that he is the father and sponsor of Boko Haram. What moral right do you have now to question why the dragon has refused to cut off his own head? 

If Ndigbo (and other anti-Buhari elements) are not hypocritically complaining about Boko Haram, they are whining about Naira and exchange rate.  Suddenly, every dick and harry have all turned to economic experts, analyzing exchange rate the way we analyze football games. Instead of disputing whether we belong to the “zoo” or not with empty hand, we must bale this water out now that it is only ankle deep.  

If you dispute land ownership empty-handed, the person who has yams will be planting them. That’s why the likes of Dangote are capitalizing of the low prices of crude oil to expand their business empire in Lagos. Dangote is already building a refinery, has plans to generate 12,000 MW of electricity by 2018 and start selling forex to the federal government and by implication to Igbo traders by 2020. And here we are, whining and hoping for Biafra? By 2020, our eyes will open, and we will continue shouting (with our mouths closed) about marginalization. 

Just take a long pause at this point to digest and think about Dangote’s move and then, as Onye Igbo, ask yourself; are my actions and inactions today that of self-preservation or sustainable self-destruction? Are we as Ndigbo making smart and strategic decisions today? In the dispute on how to balance the third-order partial differential equation called Nigeria, are you just opening my mouth wide to whine and make empty noise while smart people and ethnic groups are planting yams?  

Interpreting every trivial action and inaction of GMB or any perceived supporter as being as anti-Igbo or antichristian will only be soothing for a night.  Reality still awaits in the morning. If you have given up -that’s okay- just think about your kid’s future for Christ’s sake! Especially the ones you are raising in the “zoo.” Ndigbo should avoid making a mockery of Buhari’s administration so sensationally, so lurid, and so rooted in the word of mouth that we lose the most important battle of saving ourselves, in the process perpetuating sustainable self-destruction. 

Just yesterday, I heard that our Ohaneze is planning to visit Aso Rock to present a charter of demand from Ndigbo to Buhari. Do you know the top three in their list? Enugu-Onitsha & Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway and Second Niger Bridge. This has been in our top three for more than 25 years even under the administrations we celebrated as our own. As Ndigbo, shouldn’t we be ashamed of ourselves? 

What actions are we initiating to ensure that the bunch of nincompoops and politicians with low IQ (before you crucify me, note that I borrowed this from Chinua Achebe) we have as executive governors and the ones we send to the National and State assemblies are working for the people? What will it cost Igbo states to construct this ALMIGHTY express roads (with light rail lines)? Or is that not part of self-determination you are agitating for through Biafra? 

The truth is that we all have to avoid barking too much but start biting. This present darkness that is gradually eating up the heart of Ndigbo and Nigeria must be brought to an end. To turn on the light in those dark parts of our brains, we should start be becoming all embracing, responsive and most importantly have to rise above ethnocentric mentality in Nigerian political arena. Indira Gandhi said that "I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscles, but today it means getting along with people."

To get along with people, Ndigbo should start opening their hearts once more. The hearts of Ndigbo and indeed all Nigerians has to be opened for all of us to experience real change as a way of inspiring the next generation. Ndigbo – the Oha and the Ezes should start re-aligning themselves with forces of national unity and integration even as they fight for our cut of the “national cake”. 

Our elders say that; to count your teeth with your tongue does not mean you are losing any. It means you should watch your steps and reflect on what may have happened and is happening. It's time for Ndigbo to sit up and stop these acts of sustainable self-destruction. The ear that won't hear, when the head is cut off, it goes as well.

Ekwu-cha-go-kwam - I rest my case.

You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow on Twitter @churchillnnobi