NewsReel 20/8/14 - Among The Igbos (Archives)

[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] - There is always the ever-present tendency to see things from our own points of view.  Subjectively-driven, each tribe in Nigeria considers itself as the leading light, the primus inter pares.  This tendency is, however, not restricted to Nigeria ; it is a universal phenomenon.



In the Chinese myth of origin, they consider themselves, like the Jews, as a chosen people. They believe, parochially though, that God or the Divine Artificer fashioned man in a furnace as cake is baked.  Whereas other peoples of the world were baked improperly, the Chinese people were a well-finished product.



Egypt is said to be rich in ancient civilization.  A tale was told of a Greek who visited his Egyptian friend.  During discussion, the Greek boasted that he could name his generations up to the fifteenth, whereupon, we are told, the Egyptian smiled calmly.  Rather than argue, he took the Greek to his private chambers.  There, he showed him the statuette of his generations up to the three hundredth.  The problem with the Greek was that he forgot the possibility that other countries or peoples could be richer than they were.



The story of the Greek and the Egyptian illustrates the thinking of each tribe in Nigeria .  They take it for granted that they are the superiors; the type of superiority that instigated the lunatic Hitler to try to exterminate the Jews, in order to create space for the “supreme” Arian race.  InNigeria , the tribes look at and address one another in derogatory languages. Nigerian lexicon accommodates words such as Nyamiri, Ofem manu, Ofe Ose, Ngbati, e.t.c.



It is often said that the only uniting factor among Nigerians is football.  But Nigerians, from the benefit of hindsight, are also united in their hatred for Igbos.  They say that Igbos like money.  In truth, I am yet to see the tribe that does not like money equally.  If the scandal in the Senate (Mantu’s alleged demand for money from Mallam El Rufia to be cleared by the Senate as a Minister) were to involve Igbo men, tongues would have wagged on their phenomenal love of money.  They say we like to be flattered.  In truth, only the greatest saints are immune to the seductiveness of flattery.  Some say we do not go to school.  In truth, this is a fallacy of biased statistics.  The truth is that JAMB statistics have consistently shown that Imo, Anambra and Delta are the leading light in education.  They say that we are politically naïve.  In truth we are because we do not fit into the Nigerian politics, which has remained conspiratorial and tribalistic.



The accusations of other tribes should not worry Ndigbo.  Their problems with Ndigbo are understandable.  Because of our resourcefulness and innate superiority of brains, we are easily objects of jealousy and envy.  The other day, Governor Kure Of Niger state accused us of inordinate love of money.  It has become fashionable for everybody, even those that walk on tiptoes, to vilify the Igbos unbearably.



But the hatred of Igbos by other tribes should not bother any right thinking Igbo man.  What should bother us is the disunity among the Igbos.  I have always maintained that the strongest incentive to progress is internal unity.  When a nation is internally disunited, it will be easy to conquer it from outside.  It will be easy for that nation to fall prey to the bad designs of its rivals.  This, sadly, is the bane facing the Igbo man today.



Ordinarily, the question of internal quarrels is better settled within.  It is disgraceful and uncalled for to wash our dirty linen in public.  I consider it a bit out of place to start telling the entire country that all is not well with us.  The truth, however, is that this internal disunity has so often been made manifest that it has become an open truth.  The bombshell:  All other Igbo States, especially Imo and Abia, hate the Anambra man.  The hatred is such that, tongue in check, any fly that comes within the sphere of the radiation of that hate will fall dead.



The question has been asked again and again:  What kind of man is an Anambra man?  It is quite possible that Anambra people have over-exalted themselves; his enemies, including, painfully, many Imo and Abia indigenes, have slandered him.  Both extremes must be avoided if a true picture is to be drawn.    Let us venture a bit into describing the Anambra man.  In this, I should struggle to be objective.



Anambra people are often men and woman of ability, gifted with fierce courage and industry; only so can we understand how they have continued to maintain their positions among a hostile people so overwhelmingly outnumbering them. They are sometimes coarse but jolly, and temper their piety with sensuality.  They could be cruel, as manifested by some of the things they do.  Their robust spirits make for bibulous humour rather than dry wit that drill their sense of logic and beauty and deny them the grace and subtlety of a people that live in abundance, with few troubles to torment them.  There is a steady persistence, a disciplined industry, and a brute courage among the Anambra people.  Even the lowly Anambrarians still have nimble intelligence, even when it is not highly creative in the field of thought; it is still capable of quick comprehension, adaptation and practical achievements.


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