Skip to main content

How Ndigbo Can Break Free From Their Victim Mentality Syndrome By Churchill Okonkwo

July 13, 2016

Reducing the nationality of an individual’s achievement to the lowest decimal possible - one's tribe - to me does not elevate nor strengthen such honors. Rather than strength, it all points to something strange, a feeling of inferiority and fear.

I don’t know about you, but it looks bizarre to me anytime I come across phrases like these on social media: “Igbo man achieves…”;  “Igbo student ….”; “Igbo woman became…”; “Igbo man this, Igbo man that”. Suddenly, accomplishments by Nigerians across the globe are being zeroed down to tribe by a section of the country. What could be the reason behind this? To feel superior? To feel good? To show “them” that you are excelling?

Whatever you think it is, reducing the nationality of an individual’s achievement to the lowest decimal possible - one's tribe - to me does not elevate nor strengthen such honors. Rather than strength, it all points to something strange, a feeling of inferiority and fear. I thus see such actions as unconscious acts of perpetuating a self-imposed and unwarranted sense of marginalization – a victim mentality syndrome that only reinforces negative attitudes and isolation.

Negative attitude is poisonous and can negatively impact the way we feel and act. It is therefore extremely important that Ndigbo should switch to a positive frequency in order to reshape our realities and thoughts. That’s why I am here to let you know that it’s time to let go and start with a new thinking.

But first, here’s how to know that you have this victim mentality syndrome as Onye Igbo. You feel like every other tribe has it so easy in Nigeria except you; you always feel like it’s not my fault, they did it to me. You want to be a martyr, so you confront the security forces to be killed; you are addicted to imaginary misery and drama; blaming Buhari for everything improves your state of mind; you never feel responsible for your negative behavior; you only focus on negative events and disappointments, so even when Boko Haram are being decimated and massive corruption exposed, you keep focusing on real and imaginary marginalization; you display self-defeating, almost masochistic behavior – I am miserable therefore, I am. You know yourself now.

For Ohaneze Ndigbo that is meeting tomorrow at Owerri, here is the deal; you should make it clear to Ndigbo that the traits listed above are not an excuse to embrace a victim mentality. Tell Ndigbo that they should not be steering the pirate ship into the same iceberg that sank their father’s ship. After accepting that something shitty happened to them (whatever it is), tell Ndigbo that they need to embrace a new and fearless chapter. So, here are the bold steps to release ourselves from our victim mentality syndrome.

Stop asking why.

You will only end up torturing yourself more with that painful loop of questions without answers. It should have been that simple from day one. There will never be a satisfactory answer or gratifying analysis as to why Nigerian government will not “let you go”. So, stop playing the “poor me” card. Take responsibility. Wise up your life, there is really no way around it. Stop committing acts that will make you a martyr. The world is not paying attention.

Ask courageous questions.

I completely agree that space must be given for the “marginalized” to express themselves. But by clinging to the victim mentality, you get lost in the funk of sadness and self-pity. You fail to take action and exempt yourselves from the risks of failure. You carry an extra baggage. The fact is that surviving and thriving in multiethnic and religions society like Nigeria is not easy, but one need not assume a victim mentality in relation to it. So, ask courageous questions. How can we as a people move forward from here? Can you grab some power at state level of government and start setting example of what live will be like in the land of the rising sun?

Name your prize.  

If what it will take to rid yourself of victim mentality is to have an Igbo sounding name as Nigerian President in 2019, start planning for it now by forging alliances with other political forces. If, on the other hand, ‘restructuring’ Nigeria will make you feel ‘rich’, take responsibility by strategizing on how to elect public office holders that will champion that cause from the local to the federal level. That’s how to take responsibility. Not this present display of victim mentality syndrome.

Unfortunately, your pro-Biafran movement is full of unhappy and confused people who keep telling you that the only way to achieve ‘sovereignty’ is by airlifting all your kinsmen to Mars. But what if you start with what you can grab immediately while you wait for the airlifting? You can shoot for political power base in the entire Southeastern Nigeria starting with the “Biggest Price” – The Anambra State Government House come 2017. The election is more than one year away, so you have more than enough time to start planning.


The most important thing you need to do is to forgive. Forgive the Hausas for the atrocities leading to the civil war. Forgive the Yorubas for betraying you during the Biafran civil war. Forgive the Niger Deltans for conniving with the Nigerian government to effectively block the Biafran enclave. After all, we are all over Southwest, North, and South-south working as professionals, doing business and prospering. By not forgiving them, you are bound to them by an emotional link that is stronger than uncooked ponmo (‘kanda’). Do you know the best thing about forgiveness? It does not only release the other person, it also sets you free from agony and unnecessary pain.

Finally, give yourself a break. Take a break from social media and all the junk websites that have kept you on the edge with fake stories of how the whole world (except Mugabe, Putin and Trump) has turned against you.

I know it’s hard getting out of the victim mentality syndrome but, you should be nice to yourself. All it will take to free yourself from the victim mentality syndrome is to remain an Okonkwo. Yes, Okonkwo! That’s who we are as Ndigbo - outgoing fearless, hardworking with reasonable sense of integrity. And that is freedom!

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