NewsReel-2 7/1/13 - Why Are Igbos Falling Behind In Nigeria?

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] – My former student, Dr. Peter O., called to ask one question: “Why are we Igbos falling behind in Nigeria?” It was shocking to think of Igbos as a people falling behind. Dr. Peter O disputed my arguments about Igbo gains of yesteryears. He did so rather strenuously, making me believe he had some good points. I offered some weak counterpoints. Igbo education? Dr. O says: “No”. Igbo money? Again, Dr. O says: “Not at all”. What else? My former student says: “ Nothing”. Dr. O knocked me out with a tirade on the exploding numbers of non-Igbo (Yoruba and Hausa) physicians, engineers, scientists, mathematicians, bankers, politicians, billionaires, and manufacturers that are everywhere in Nigeria. All these are happening while Ndigbo are busy chasing after “toro na afu” (pennies).
The Igbo professors Dr. O has known and worked with in America have recently been dismissed before attaining full professorships, while there are a plethora of Yoruba Deans, Vice presidents, and a handful of U S university Vice Chancellors. I called two Yoruba men I know, a Vice President on the east coast and Associate Vice Chancellor on the west . “What are you doing right that the Igbos are doing wrong?” More Yoruba professors and professionals in the USA appear to be quieter, less troublesome, and get along better with spouses, colleagues, and the Americans in general. More Igbo professionals appear to be louder, more quarrelsome and argumentative, more ostentatious, self- aggrandizing, and showy when displaying material stuffs like vehicles and houses.
Finally, Dr. Peter O. and I agreed on one thing: a blithering indictment of NdiIgbo and their leadership at home and abroad. We condemn the Igbo governors for failure to take care of the rest of us at the difficult time in our history as the Yorubas and Hausas have done for their people. We denounce Igbo parents and elders for over-emphasizing the pursuit of money in opposition to education as an instrument for Igbo nation-building. We accuse Igbo religious leadership of unfaithfulness in abandoning their calling and prostituting (being akwunakwuna) after prosperity. We condemn Ndigbo in general for their excesses (a) excessive pursuit of money; (b) excessive clannish isms– Abiasm, Enuguism, Imoisn, Anambraism, Ebonyism; excessive abandonment of education; and (c) excessive use of Biafran War as excuse for being lazy and in deep stupor (trance, coma, daze, state of unconsciousness).
Having said this, why are Ndigbo falling behind In Nigeria and the United States? Are the Igbos discouraged or brow-beaten in their circumstances? Brow-beaten is synonymous with being downtrodden, subjugated, broken, oppressed, demoralized, oppressed. Does this result from post traumatic syndrome, atrocities of Biafran War?   It is believed the Igbos didn’t suffer a defeat in war; they simply gained the opportunity to regroup, rethink, strategize, and return stronger and more resilient. Igbos have always bounced back. There is no shame in falling down from time to time; but it is shameful to remain on the ground after a fall. What seems to keep us Igbos down for 44 years since end of Biafra? Are we Igbos less likely to help each other? Are we carrying unnecessary baggage consisting of guilt, “mmegbu” (oppression); “anya ufu” (jealousy), “anya ukwu” (greed), and “obi ojoo” (bitterness)?
·         Fewer Igbo children and adults are going to schools than they once did, than the Yorubas
·         More Igbos are interested in making money and dreaming of becoming billionaire Dangote or politician President Goodluck than they are in acquiring education
·         More Yorubas are acquiring higher education to the PhD level than the Igbos
·         There are fewer Igbos in SEM (science, engineering, and mathematics) and technology (plumbing, air conditioning, airplane mechanic, etc) than there the other Nigerian tribes.
·         More Igbos are unemployed and unemployable than any other tribes
·         Igbo States are more likely to be hot-beds (or boiling pots)of dissent, with strings of Ngiges, Ubas, and Rochas, Chimes, and “esem okwu” (troubles).
·         If you are Nigerian running for dear life from boko-controlled North, you are more likely to be denied employment in Igboland and asked to go to your state of origin than if you run to Yorubaland.
·         You are more likely to be robbed, kidnapped, or even killed if you venture into Igbo majority places than if you seek refuse in Igbo minority areas
·         More breweries are in Igboland and more Ndigbo are likely to become alcoholics.
No one can compellingly argue against the fact that Ndigbo of Nigeria are a force to be reckoned with. Though Ndigbo did the unthinkable before Nigeria became the Nigeria it is today, long before the granting of self-governing in 1960,they are now as dormant as inactive volcano Though Ndigbo did make tremendous strides during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, happenings among Igbos reflect “backward ever.” Think of the schools and cathedrals the Igbo have constructed throughout Nigeria. Do you remember how Igbos provided the early manpower Nigeria needed as she marched towards sovereignty, teachers, merchants, administrators, health workers, and miners? And if you add the fact that the Igbos have always loved education and are skilled in accumulation of wealth, you’ll begin to appreciate this people’s indomitable spirit and adventurism. Indefatigability seems to be a better choice of words. To be indefatigable is to be incapable of being tired out; tireless, unflagging, unrelenting, unfaltering, remorseless, tenacious, resolute, inexorable   Isn’t it true that, all things being equal, some animals are more equal than their neighbors? It seems the Igbos are becoming less equal.
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