Saturday, 10 August 2013

NDI-IGBO are we that desperate that we must force ourselves on others? Dr. Pat Obiefule asks!





I greet you all. Ndewo nu! I have tried very hard to resist the urge to jump into this Igbo-Yoruba-Hausa-Nigeria discourse; but the more I read the posts on all sides of the argument, the stronger and more irresistible the urge became. So here we are.

As a brief recess from all these high and low impact intellectual aerobics, may I please ask that you patiently walk through and analyze the following basic anecdotal scenario with me regarding the Igbo-Nigeria quagmire? Here we go:
Nigeria is a polygamous man; hence the many wives - Alhaja Yoruba Nigeria, Hajia Hausa Nigeria, Lolo Igbo Nigeria, Mrs. Efik Nigeria, Mrs. Edo Nigeria, Mrs. Ijaw Nigeria, etcetera.

Picture Nigeria’s majestic mansion (main house) strategically located in the front center of his compound and surrounded by the individual bungalows belonging to each of the wives and her children.

While each of the other wives and her children are busy developing/beautifying and maintaining their bungalow and its surrounding, Lolo Igbo’s children decide to leave her own bungalow and instead reside with her co-wives and help develop their bungalows.

Lolo Igbo’s children are fairly patriotic, but regrettably not “matriotic” (made that up, hahaha!) because they help their half-brothers and half-sisters develop and maintain their mothers’ bungalows while neglecting their own home which is Lolo Igbo’s bungalow.  
Now, Lolo Igbo’s bungalow is rapidly becoming dilapidated. Meanwhile, Lolo Igbo’s co-wives and their children feel that Lolo Igbo’s children have overstayed their welcome and want them to go home to their mother and help her rebuild her crumbling bungalow.

Understandably, Lolo Igbo’s co-wives and their children insist that Lolo Igbo’s children are welcome to visit their respective bungalows to enjoy for a while, but not to move in and try to displace them from their own homes.

But alas! Lolo Igbo’s children would not have it. They feel instead that it is their father’s compound and they are ENTITLED to leave their mother’s bungalow and reside in any of the other ones, if they so desire. (IDEALLY RIGHT, WHERE THERE IS LOTS OF LOVE; BUT NOT ALWAYS PRACTICABLE ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS NO LOVE LOST)
Of course the half-brothers and half-sisters are enraged by Lolo Igbo’s children’s stubborn defiance; so, in attempting to forcibly eject them from Lolo Igbo’s co-wives’ domains, lots of the Igbo children lose their lives.

Now, Lolo Igbo and her surviving children cry, “Bloody murder!”

As a bona fide Eziada Igbo, I then ask:

1.     Under the circumstances, do we really have the right to blame anyone else but ourselves?
2.     Do we not say in Igbo that: ukpara okpoko gburu, nti chiri ya”?
3.     Are we so resolute in our own self-ascribed level of knowledge and wisdom that we’ve gone to the stream to fetch water with a basket (amakam ihe, jiri ekete kuru mmiri)?
4.     Do we not understand the simple basic fact that we cannot force ourselves on someone who does not want us even if we happen to be siblings or half siblings? After all, we don’t get to choose our relatives (half-siblings included), only our friends.
5.     Have we stopped to wonder why our half-brothers and half-sisters are not breaking down our mother’s door trying to come and reside with us their?
6.     And what about our polygamous father, Nigeria? What is his stand in all of this?
7.     Could it be that he has turned deaf ears and looked the other way because our mother, Lolo Igbo Nigeria, is his least favorite wife?
8.     Could it also be that allowing us to renounce his paternity claim on us and secede from his polygamous dominion would hurt his ego and embarrass him, but more importantly deny him access to the economic resources in our mother’s backyard?
9.     Assuming these reasons were totally or partially true, shouldn’t that be strong enough motivation for us to retreat to our mother’s domain, rebuild it, and then make our case when we come to the general family meeting table at the main house (father’s mansion)?
10.  Have we not determined that we can actually retreat to our mother’s domain, rebuild and develop it while still sharing our last name (Nigeria) and a peaceful co-existence with our half-siblings within our father’s polygamous kingdom?
11.  Isn’t that how it really works in most polygamous families?
In more general terms (non-scenario specific), may I then ask:
1.     Will it be deemed over-reaction on my part if I characterize as callous, those who cite “One Nigeria” as the impetus for espousing the establishment of micro Igbo dominions within other linguistic regions of Nigeria even in the face of foreknown unflinching hostility?
2.     Are these individuals capable of empathizing with the individuals and families whose hearts and lives have been shattered and forever changed by the consequences of the pogroms that have punctuated our history?
3.     Does it not make more practical sense that a sustainable egalitarian “One Nigeria” would be better negotiated and achieved with mutual respect by designees of each linguistic group who come to the Federal table from a strong, confident and respectable home base rather than a resentful, envious, and even spiteful victim-minded one?  
4.     If I come to your home and you decide that I have overstayed my welcome and ask me to leave, or else lose my life; is it not foolhardy, to say the least, for me to not only insist on staying, but also demand the right to share your home?
5.     Will it not be wiser for me to heed your request or threat and exist gracefully, and once secured in my own home (developed or not), then express to you my disappointment for being excused from your home?
6.     For those who propose claiming dominion in another man’s land, and then establishing and nurturing strategic alliances for safety and security; do you honestly believe that when the chips are down, there are enough Hausas and Yorubas that would lay down their lives to save that of an Igbo friend?
7.     Given the proven intellectual prowess and enterprising acumen of Igbos, can any of you even begin to imagine the paradise that Igbo land would become if Igbos were to invest in their land, half the energy and resources we spend in developing other lands?
8.     Even though Igbos don’t have the enormous land mass that exist in the north, for instance; could we not build on top of buildings, so that Igbo land becomes known in the world as, among other things, the land of sky-scrappers?
9.     Would that be such an impossible dream to accomplish?
10.  Have we not yet realized that we are the direct architects of all the ills (kidnappings, child trafficking, corruption, armed robbery, etc) that plague Igbo land? Why? Because all those ills are the unintended consequences of our insatiable lust for non-Igbo lands and our willful neglect of Igbo land?
11.  Will I be branded a pessimist if I dare predict that until we choose to shift our focus from constantly retelling the tales of woes in Igbo land (problem mindset) to churning out possible solutions (solution/result orientation) to those ills; we will continue to spin the wheels of status quo, while delusively expecting a new outcome?
My brothers and sisters of Igbo extraction, “ariri erigbuole umu Igbo”! Let us for once in our collective live take the challenge to retreat and develop from within. Let us initiate an “Operation Develop Igbo land” and insist that until full development is accomplished, all roads lead to Igbo land. We can do it! The devil is always in the detail, of course. So, think results! Think solutions! Brainstorm! No idea is too big, too small, or too irrelevant to be considered. Keep your ideas coming until we find one or some that will work! If you condemn someone else’s idea, please lay out your reasons, then present your alternative(s) along with the underpinning rationale(s).
Long live Ala Igbo (Lolo Igbo Nigeria)!
Long live Nigeria!!!

Udo diri unu!
Much love
Eziada Dr. Pat Obiefule
(Opuruiche Nwanyi)