”The Igbos are the Wandering Jews of West Africa” – Etcetera Writes

It’s another Saturday and now famous for writings Etcetera is back
with his articles. This time he writes about the Igbos been
marginalized. Enjoy…

The Igbos are the wandering Jews of West
Africa… gifted, aggressive, Westernised; at best envied and resented,
but mostly despised by the mass of their neighbours in the federation –
Henry Kessinger (famous American diplomat) 

Back in the days, men made fortune out of
war, war was business. But today, the Igbos are making fortune out of
business, because business is the new war. 

Before we talk about the plight of the
Igbos in Nigeria, let us start by defining a word that has been
frequently used by the Igbos to define their situation in the country,
marginalisation! According to a good number of dictionaries, to
“marginalise” means “to treat someone or something as if they are
unimportant.” It also means “to take or keep somebody
away from the centre of action.” Another dictionary defined it as
“relegating someone or a group of people to a lower or outer edge of a
community or society.”

For so long, the Igbos have bitterly cried
out against apparent marginalisation by the Federal Goverment of
Nigeria. There is almost a zero federal presence in the east, despite
the fact that the eastern region is the most technologically advanced of
all the regions. This suggests unequivocally that the Igbo-speaking
Nigerians have been unjustly treated. 

There is a well calculated ploy by the
powers that be from other ethnic nationalities to ensure that the Igbo
region stays perennially underdeveloped. 

What the Igbos are going through can be
traced to none other than Yakubu Gowon. Gowon should explain why a
people who were by far the dominant majority ethnic group were suddenly
relegated to only one out of the three states created by him in the old
Eastern region. Why alter demography just to make the Igbos a minority
in a region where they were the majority? Since then, the Igbos haven’t
been able to get this injustice reversed and till date, they have seen
more states and local governments created in other regions across the

Nigerian historians are unanimous that the
1963 census remains the most transparent in the country till date. The
1963 census stated that one out of every four Nigerians was an Igbo,
which means that if things were done equitably in this country, the
Igbos should have a 25 per cent representation in all federal
institutions as well as a 25 per cent share of all states and local
governments created since independence. 

We must tell ourselves the truth and stop
living in denial. Nigeria as it stands today is sitting on a keg of gun
powder and if we must stay together as a country, we have to sit down
and discuss the terms and conditions of our coexistence. No section of
the country should be treated better than others. 

I have heard some northerners mutter
several times that power belongs to them. “Born to rule,” the old Sokoto
State slogan is a clear confirmation of what has been psyched into the
system of every northerner. And they keep saying “One Nigeria?” Isn’t it
obvious that the northerners are more Nigerians than other Nigerians?
That’s why they could openly threaten the nation with violence like they
did in the just concluded presidential election. It was peddled about
that if Buhari had lost the election, there would have been trouble in
the country and as a result, a lot of people voted against their wishes
especially in the north. 

So many issues need to be addressed in
this country. For example, how do you explain why Arabic is on the naira
when the official language of the country is English? How do you
explain why an Hausa man is allowed to carry daggers freely when others
get arrested for carrying a razor blade? 

Please, can someone explain to me who the
real Hausas are? I have travelled to virtually all the northern states
and in most of the states, the people I met claimed not to be Hausas but
from other tribes. According to them, that they spoke fluent Hausa
doesn’t mean they are Hausas. Nancy who’s from Kaduna always makes it
known to whoever cares to listen that she’s not Hausa but Zango Kataf.
My guitarist who’s from Nasarawa State grumbles whenever I call him an
Hausa man. Amina, my Fulani neighbour screams and curses whenever I call
her an Hausa lady. So who then are the real Hausas? What states are
they occupying? 

Stop using politics to bamboozle me that
Hausa is a majority. Stop using politics to lump Hausa and Fulani
together because you want me to think you are highly populated. In the
just concluded presidential election, Katsina State had over two million
eligible voters, I have been to Katsina several times and I can’t
remember ever seeing so many people there. How did they come about the
figures in the presidential election? May God save this country from
desperate politicians because it doesn’t make any sense politicising the
population of the North when we see otherwise each time we travel

It is in the same light they claimed Kano
was more populated than Lagos in the census conducted during Obasanjo’s
regime. We are tired of these lies. If we must remain an indivisible
country, the true population of the Hausas, Igbos and Yorubas and every
other ethnic group in this country must be made public as well as the
number of Christians and Muslims. Enough of the Hausa-Fulani scam or the
Zango Kataf man being counted as Hausa. 

Finally, the fact that other ethnic groups
see the marginalisation of the Igbos as relative or just a perception
and not based on the objective realities on ground is a shame. The
Nigerian army today cannot produce a bullet but the boys in Awka are
producing not only bullets but guns. An unbiased Federal Government
would have taken advantage of that and create employment as well as
exporting to generate money for the country. With a little government
encouragement, Aba can easily rival the industralised nations of the
world in production. 

If Ndigbo won’t be allowed to enjoy the
freedom, to develop and maximise their collective and individual
potential through unfettered access, use and exploitation of God-given
resources – human and material, the country might soon be plunged into
another years of Biafra vs Nigeria and this time around, there will be a
victor and a vanquished.


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