THAT THE IGBO NATION MAY RISE AGAIN
Remy Chukwukaodinaka Ilona
That ndi Igbo as a nation have not succeeded in
I will not be very detailed in narrating the reverses, defeats and failures that the Igbos have recorded since they became Nigerians, because of the above-mentioned reason. However I will give just a few clear examples of Igbo failures and shortcomings.
Since the European intervention in sub Saharan Africa, the various peoples that became the sub Saharan Africans have not been productive, in any kind of important capacity. This is most keenly manifest in
As meaningful production is non existent, resources are consequently very scarce, and there is cut-throat competition for the available resources. Individuals, nations and cliques which exist in the various states created by the Europeans consequently do everything to get what they consider as their fair share of the available resources. In this part of the world the surest way to sit atop the little resources that are available is to capture political power.
Whoever captures political power in this part of the world also controls economic power. In
In getting political power, the big three have faired thus. The Hausa and Fulani who lead and dominate what is known as
Can anybody say that the Igbos who definitely outnumber every other individual Nigerian group have faired well as far as acquisition of political power is concerned? A truthful answer can only be a resounding no. And from the look of things if Igbos get the presidency of
Economically the Igbos are loosing ground very fast. Truthfully, since the tragic and disastrous Nigeria-Biafra war, the Nigerian state has tried to cage the Igbos by promulgating and implementing policies that would weaken the Igbos. The Igbos who are by far the most commercially oriented of all the Nigerian peoples have been denied an international airport for reasons that are at best meaningless. Also because it seems to the persons that have led
The Igbos are the most-close knit of the Nigerian peoples. Their huge population; approximately 30-35 millions tends to make it unbelievable that all the Igbo people sprang from just one source-ancient
On the socio-cultural-religious front what we are witnessing is a disaster. I culled the following from The Igbos: Jews In Africa: With Solutions To The Most Critical Igbo Problems: “………………….There is trouble. Morals have been thrown to the dogs. The women who are the real pillars of the society are in my opinion seriously in need of moral rejuvenation. Nothing humiliates, denigrates and dehumanizes womanhood like prostitution. No wonder why it was not found in Igboland when Omenana held sway. Unfortunately it is a feature of Igbo life today. Some people have defended it as ‘modernization’, while others argue that prostitution is universal. And something is very worrying about it. An Igbo woman who is compromised by prostitution would still be very religious, and announce ‘where she worships’ before you even finish exchanging greetings with her.
We are not getting good reports from the universities, polytechnics and colleges. Un-Igbo practices like the one in question have become acceptable in our institutions of higher learning. When I was in a higher institution in
Another heart-rending eyesore is the presence of Igbo girls, alongside other Nigerian girls in the brothels and red light districts in
And worthy of mention is the (mis)behavior of many Igbo women during the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Program.
Also another sore point which fuels immoral behavior is that Igbo girls of marriageable age are not finding husbands easily. If the Igbos had understood and respected their own religion and tradition getting good spouses would have been very easy for Igbos. Igbo custom like ancient Semitic custom, as we saw from the Laban, Jacob, Leah, and Rachael saga, stipulates that the younger must not marry before the elder. According to my friend Sam Ozoekwe, if the Igbos had respected that tradition, and had not ignored it, today, as in the past, all Igbo ladies would have found husbands. But this rule was ignored, like almost all Igbo rules and today Igbo women are in trouble, and by extension the Igbo society is in trouble.
Most of the women who could not attract spouses suffer abuse and humiliation at the hands of unscrupulous men.
This not an easy issue to discuss, because it is easy to be misunderstood. I must make it clear at this stage that I understand that these women, or most of them do what they do, because their natural families and the Igbo community have not lived up to expectation. And have even ‘died’ in many cases. In the tertiary institutions there are Igbos, males and females. In the towns hosting the red light districts there are Igbo men and women. In the towns where Igbo women go for their national service, there are Igbos. If these Igbos recognize themselves as Igbos, they would have cohesive ‘Igbo unions’ that would help, police, protect and advance the cause of individual members?
But they do not have them. Why, one would ask. Answer: most Igbos would not respect the Igbo groupings. Some would not even condescend to belong to them. They would rather prefer religious groups formed by non Igbos that promise strange, esoteric and unrealizable objectives. There they would be milked of their little monies, abused in every imaginable way, and discarded when they are no longer useful”.
Prostitution has become a way of life among the Igbos. Igbo women even dress like prostitutes while going to church in Igbo land. In
I need not repeat that Igbos; including traditional rulers are escaping from Igboland, because every Igbo who could afford to eat comfortably is afraid of being kidnapped. And as most are leaving they leave with their investments.
Ironically kidnapping as a gainful past-time has reduced banditry, which is known as armed robbery in
We need to find answers to the following questions. Is prostitution an Igbo customary practice? Is kidnapping an Igbo practice? Is banditry Igbo? Igbo traditional rulers have to answer these questions. Igbo religious authorities need to provide answers to these questions. It is incumbent on Igbo scholars to help find answers to some of these questions. As an Igbo scholar I have looked deeply, and what I have found is that these crimes are imported. That they were copied from outsiders, but are becoming part of Igbo life, because the Igbo filtration mechanism, which is contained in Omenana has been broken.
I began this series by drawing a brief outline of the failures, and reverses that the Igbos have suffered. Readers have been calling me, and National Times, about the expositions which should be self-evident, but which become more so, after they followed our article-‘That the Igbo nation may rise again’. One question has been coming consistently. The question is. Why is the Igbo society breaking up? I’ll try to answer this question before I’ll begin to proffer what are the possible solutions to the Igbos decline. And the steps already taken to halt the decay.
The Igbo society is collapsing because the Igbo people are descendants of Israelites who violated the Covenant they entered with the God of Israel; the God of their fathers, and are reaping the consequences of the suspension of diplomatic ties between them, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
For proof that the Igbos are Jews readers should examine the following books:
The Igbos: Jews In Africa Vol 1, The Igbos: Jews In Africa: With Reflections on the Civil War and Solutions to the most critical Igbo problems, Introduction to the Chronicles of Igbo Israel-And the connections between the African Americans and the Jews, the following essay, A Brief Study of the Foundations of Ancient Israel: From the Igbo Experience, and the soon to be published books; From Ibri to Igbo-40 million more Jews and Uri’s Travels.
For more evidence that the Igbos are in serious trouble, and that it is so clear now, consider the following which are exchanges between me and some Igbos who are resident in the United States:
[For Igbo eyes alone!
Change they say is the only constant phenomenon. In '66 the Igbos fled from
Nigerian territory to '
Today, Igbo elites; from traditional rulers, businessmen, academics,
scientists, lawyers, out of office politicians, etc, are on the move-away
from Igboland. And the first ports of call are
produced traditional rulers who 'rule' their clans from outside Igboland.
And what is responsible for this reverse Exodus? Abnormally high incidence
of kidnappings, and general societal dysfunction].
You made the right call. ………………Build heaven o, build earth o, if your people are
fleeing the state due to insecurity to life and property, you have aided the
[Da'alu nwanne mmadu. It helps to see that there are still some who note that uno ndi Igbo na agba oku. The way I see it is that the 'governments' can help, but the people need to be involved. Too many of our people feel that they do not have any stake in the wellbeing of of the Igbos, and Igboland anymore. And perhaps they have no stake truly. Isn't it intriguing that a society that had very little crime when it was materially poor, dependent on subsistence farming, is today crime-ridden, in spite of the billions that flows into it. Social and economic security for the poor need to be factored into any Igbo programme.
It is not the responsibility of the governors in the East alone. It is the responsibility of ALL individuals and ALL communities to begin to create conditions that will secure and sustain the security of lives and property. Government is a mere abstraction if there are no people or systems to organize and govern. The sheer economic, cultural, and social implication of what is happening now in Igbo land must be clearly placed before EVERYONE - and let us decide whether to live with or die trying to change it. It is better to die than to live without freedom. But the core important questions are these:
A) Who is driving the Igbo, especially its elite and middle class out of Igbo land?
B) Why? To what end?
There seems to me to be a real situation here in which the Igbo, once again unwilling to safeguard their own unique personal and collective interests will allow the massive evacuation of the Igbo people from their homelands into the margins of the urban ghettoes where they will live in fear and at the edge of culture. Perhaps the true equivalence of the "Jewish exile" is happening right before our very eyes, and we are busy complaining and wringing our hands. Two hundred years from now, when a new people have resettled Igbo land, and become more dominant, and we would have ceded the greatest gifts of our heritage - land and its culture - the Igbo would then be fully the rootless, homeless people of the future. But may our ancestors never permit that we allow this.
What is to be done? This is an emergency that must involve every Igbo HOUSEHOLD in a discussion towards a restoration of the land. We must FIND those who are doing this - and there are few of them with support from external sources - and we must DEAL with them in a collective fashion in the time-honored Igbo way. We must send the EGWUGWU after them. Organize our own faceless and dreadful counter-measure to hunt down anyone involved. That is my own suggestion. We must play the asymmetrical game with all these forces of crime and bad governance in Igbo land. There was a time in the 16th, 17th, 18th and some part of the 19th century when people marauded Igbo land to kidnap people whom they sold across the seas. Our Igbo ancestors knew exactly what to do. If we, in the 21st century do not know what to do to this kind of emergency, then we do not deserve to live, and probably deserve slavery and exile. It must be all hands on deck. It is not a work for the governors. The governors MUST today be like horses in our hands, it is up to us to send them to the stream. We must rein them and force them to take action, or otherwise, give way. That is the meaning of what we have always had: democracy. Perhaps we must return to the true democratic structure - the Okpu Umunna - reconstitute it through "igba-ndu" and "idu-isi." Perhaps we must begin once more the tradition of treaty making between one clan and other for treaties of mutual security and protection, and by that means create a powerful, people-based security umbrella in the East. It is time to act, and no longer time to worry. And it is each man's responsibility - for indeed, this is one implication: wer are all DEAD. But we dare not give up our homes to those who say we must not return otherwise the dowries paid for our mothers would have been better used to buy a she-goat.
One could begin to wonder why the fate of the Igbos should be as it is. I repeat that it is so because the Igbos are Israelites who have not kept the Covenant that
Curses for Disobedience
However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. [a] The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.
The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth. Your carcasses will be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away. The LORD will afflict you with the boils of
You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and ravish her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them. Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand. A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days. The sights you see will drive you mad. The LORD will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.
The LORD will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your fathers. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone. You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the LORD will drive you.
You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it. You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not use the oil, because the olives will drop off. You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity. Swarms of locusts will take over all your trees and the crops of your land.
The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail.
All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the LORD your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.
The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young. They will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your land until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine or oil, nor any calves of your herds or lambs of your flocks until you are ruined. They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down. They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you. Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities. The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For she intends to eat them secretly during the siege and in the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in your cities.
If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God- the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of
Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, "If only it were evening!" and in the evening, "If only it were morning!"-because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. The LORD will send you back in ships to
Have some of the curses come on the Igbos? A study of the trans-Atlantic Slave trade, and of what the Igbos passed through in
Holy Writ (the Hebrew Bible) should not appear as an abstract document to the Igbos. It should be terrifically real to them because it contains the written version of their culture. As it contains Igbo culture so there should not be any question of Igbos doubting even one iota of any of its provisions-be it the legalisms, or the prophesies. An Igbo who doubts anything in the Torah, Neviim, and Kethuvim (the Hebrew Bible), is like the Igbo who doubts that there is an Igbo people with a distinct culture and language.
I will continue the series by stating what is to be done for the Igbos to rise.