Monday, October 31, 2011

[Nigeria] Nd'Igbo, Persecution, Etc. and Random Thoughts

I am not the only one who had thought the whole idea was crazy, even though I had overlooked it as a rhetorical garbage, hearing about it as a speculation and what the news outlets had gathered.

I am not the only one who felt the pain that a brother in a new line of attack wants his own brother permanently out of his face.

And I am not the only one who had seen the order from Theodore Ahamefula Orji’s administration in Abia State asking non-indigenes of the state to leave his government office jobs alone drawn from the deadly Boko Haram incidents Vanguard’s Pini Jason called ‘Tufiakwa,’ an outright abomination in Igboland.

I am not the only one who had thought the decision of a 21st Century persecution of a group of people profiled for some inexplicable events I’m yet to fathom, was bizarre and should be condemned in its entirety.

And, for sure, I am not the only one who is seeing the ridiculous measure as a tactic to change its subject, hijacking the peoples mandate to run a regime typical of banana republics.

And what would have amounted to such unimaginable action as a move beyond reasoning by Orji asking non-indigenes in his state to leave his civil service alone?

If this clueless ‘executive’ and his action is not an indication of madness and psychological problems, I don’t know what else is.

After giving a thought to Orji’s weird decision, I had hoped it was like another sensationalized story and, thus have this to say: One, I really hope Orji’s cabinet reverses its decision. Two, I hope the decision is not true and had been taken out of context through its legislative process before becoming law. Three, I hope it’s like one of the practical jokes picked up by the tabloids targeting its reading audience for some cheap shots. Four, if indeed it’s true that Abia State had a plan to sack her own kith and kin from a land that was once one entity and a land once a whole before the mean strategy of divide and rule by the colonization powers and military juntas, Igbo, then, should forget about its own national state. And five, if as it has become true and all the Igbo-related states are now bent, watch the forbidden decision unfold in Abia, and do nothing by way of mass movements - demonstrations, sanctions and other related measures to proclaim Abia a pariah state - Igbo should forget its national state, living as predicted and appears; a peoples disappearing cultural heritage and natural being, coupled with the landscape that identifies it as a national state.

That would mean Igbo is done with its nationhood, eventually. It would mean no such thing as Igbo. It would mean Igbo would be extinct as a people, evolving to a blend of other people, culture and languages. And it would mean what its culturally heritage rivals had haggled on, over time in terms of its exceptional culture and tradition, that Igbo never had a unique culture, was never distinct as had been thought, which evidently had become the simple truth.

It is pointblank in this regard that no one should come after me as in the past on my essays, reports and views which caused all sorts of outrage from related events over time, and the analysis following the thoughts I had penned into perspective; issues concerning Nd’Igbo and how to screw in the nuts and bolts needed for a permanently structured place, appropriately. As those thought-provoking papers were directed toward effective leadership which had been lacking, measuring the capability and the capacity of the seriousness in which organized people gets things done. Even though it came with reasonable and logical responses from a very few on the subject matter, many, beyond imagination, chipped in with their ideological views, unrelated and incoherent to the topic in question with quantities of angry mail that flooded my mail box. Some of the bunch were sociological anger by its expression. “Who is it you are writing for?” How much are they paying you for all these your write-ups?” “You have been sent to destroy my political career.” “When you collect, you write good and when you don’t collect, you criticize.” “What did Nd’Igbo do to you?” “I like the way you write but people are complaining that you only criticize Nd’Igbo,” read some of the angry mails and comments.

And with all that hate mails popped out due to the magic pen I had used to write about a peoples social ills, not too many are now raising hell to the line of profiling, bigotry and hatred instituted by the government of Abia State on a people it shares the same lineage. A people culturally and linguistically bonded. A people known to have shared the same ancestors. A people commonly bonded by way of its worship until the advent of the missionaries and the colonial mandates; and a people that have lived, prayed and worked together for onward objectivity.

Many are now tight-lipped for having nothing to say on a variety of reasons - not wanting to be disturbed - being preoccupied with personal obligations, got bills to pay, not the one to fix Igbo problems, none of “my” business and besides, “they should put their own acts together,” and things like that.

Many do not want it mentioned in their face, the in-your-face kind of attitude, for problems heavily accumulated and problems requiring little or nothing, best known to them. Gestured moves like, I don’t have a job and why should I be worried about something that is not going to fetch me a job or pay my bills. Who cares and why couldn’t those non-indigenes stay in their respective states of origin or relocate elsewhere no such laws of eviction exists? Why are all the brouhaha news when there are numerous overwhelming challenges facing them ahead? Why are they in such a bad shape, anyway, and why would all these nonsense stick out when the sitting governor was not legitimately elected in the first place?

Many are moving on, doing their own thing as it pleases them; for their property, life and wealth comes first before any social ills sort of, that will not contribute to their welfare.

Many gave a thought to Abia State’s newest proposition, writing and talking about it as a taboo and should not be allowed to be implemented in the said state; for it would ruin the foundations of Igbo cultural heritage.

And many, as obviously may have been the case, indicated the sanction did not target Igbo indigenes but non Igbo indigenes, and no matter what the decision may have seemed to be, that it included Nd’Igbo on its eviction notice to proclaim the action was not bias, and that realistically, no Igbo had been affected or evicted from the state’s franchise following the strange decision.

Nevertheless, when a government respects the rule of law, upholding democracy its legislative body makes, it should be known that a legislative process in any democratic order involves representations from districts/zones in which proposals are tabled or set in motion for legislation, and when passed on the terms of required figures favoring the proposition which then becomes law, and despite the negating party which may be short of gridlock or fails to garner enough counts to kill such proposition, the yays takes it away, thus making its sponsored motion law, as in all democracies, unless otherwise.

So, as it happened, Abia State in what it had claimed as events that led to evict non indigenes from its governmental offices, the Boko Haram terrorists, it saw threatened the state from its relative bombings elsewhere which ignited the deal of persecution and justifying it with action “timely taken” by Governor Orji.

Persecution had been a classic case of human endeavor. But persecuting a cousin is way out of fashion. I would have been less worried if the Abia State government had been concerned on the mounting pressing problems in the state - widespread scandals of kidnapping, rape, assassinations, civil unrests resulting from related socio-economic problems as part of unending tragedy in the state, rather than its new measure, taking its woes on a people of its kind, moving to where they find life sustainable and comfortable.

In analogy to persecuting people on reasons of faith, language, religion, culture, economics and what have you - the Spanish Inquisition; Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews and Gypsies in Europe; and persecutions in related African countries, draws Abia’s “non-indigenes must go” into perspective with a whole lot of questioning, though.

“If we had some sense of shame, I mean even a little, some people called traditional rulers in the state should know they have no business in this matter, and it is totally out of place for them to log unto this dirty side of politicking to champion a cause,” writes Ikenna Emewu (Daily Sun). “So base and inane as this discriminatory policy of a state against its own blood. If indeed, this list of traditional rulers – about 10 of them and some others in the list is real, I really sympathize with the communities they rule.”

The traditional rulers had been something else but total blame should be irrelevant when a cast of administrative personnel lumped together would endorse an arbitrary measure which makes it scary. The traditional rulers, to be precise, are the architects of destruction in Igboland, in every aspect of its civil liberties, even though the enlightened ones among them sit idly and watch these ridiculous measures unfold. What unfolded in Abia State should not be of a “stunning gig “ based on how Ndigbo operates, remarkably with the traditional rulers who have no business in a just, representative and accountability government but the desire to put in monkey wrench to cause havoc in every of its dealings, adding insult to dishonor. And on the claim that Imo was not nice to Nd’Abia on the breaking down and carving out of the state from a previously dissected Eastern Region to East Central State, to Imo State - Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Muhammad military juntas - a plot orchestrated to keep Igbo divided; which should be taken that Abia had declared its isolation from Igbo in its entirety and no longer care..

The point is, nobody seems to be paying attention as to where Orji’s executive order may lead to and when that decision had been to kick the rest of Nd’Igbo out from its civil service, that could also be making a whole lot of stuff clear for Nd’Igbo: that, say, for instance, an Arochukwu is being savagely axed or murdered in the most brutal way, and a fellow Igbo who stood by watch the horrific event take place must not be questioned or blamed in an act of feud across state lines among brothers, because Orji had fired the first shot in what would be a long battle of a brothers war. That when an ethnic slur is rained against an Ngwa at a market square, it would be fine to cheer on remarks of bigotry and hatred, because Orji started it all. That assuming a Bende man got into squabbles of civil unrest in the northern landscapes and about to be lynched for simply being Igbo while an Igbo at the scene could have intervened but didn’t on the grounds of an irrational executive order by Abia State government.

As the list goes, that an Abriba girl happens to be hijacked by a gang of cultist rapists and another Ihiala man was well positioned to have stopped the rapists and wouldn’t do it just to retaliate by way of personal vendetta, getting even as a result of the actions by Abia government against Nd’Igbo. That an Mbano trader could not meet a fellow colleague of Njaba descent on business related talks over pounded yam and ofe olugbo, bitter leaf soup, at an eatery around the block because the restaurateur hails from Ohafia.

Or as we may have discovered the tragic events of our time, that Nd’Igbo whose history has been of political impotence and victims of genocidal campaigns; and all of a sudden, the northern Islamic Jihadists and terrorists begins to sound positively bloodthirsty again, as in the Sharia Debacle of 2000, and had turned en masse against Igbo women, men, children and their properties in another cycle of wanton killings, and demolitions; and as in a new balkanization theory begun by the state of Abia which would justify the gruesome acts of the Islamic “Jihadic” nihilists and hoodlums on the basis “Igbos have no business to where they don’t belong” in supposedly a Nigerian national state having no restrictions on the free movements of peoples.

What message would Abia State be sending to the rest of the nation when it creates a platform encouraging the northern Islamic terrorists that its acts of terrorism is justified for the purpose of deliberately eliminating its own kind by walling.

Igbo, from generations, not even recorded, has been spoken within the borders in predawn Southern Nigerian Protectorate, a colonial schedule by fabrication - Umunede, Agbor, Asaba, Okpanam, Okitipupa, Igurita, Auchi, Lagos, Abeokuta, Omoku, Ikwerre, Ogoni, Bonny, Okirika, Nando, Ugep, Adadama, Degema, Ogoja, Iva Valley, Enugu, Enugu Ukwu, Ohaji, Egbema, Diobu, Yenagoa, Ahoada, Umuapu, Osina, Akokwa, Umuobom, Arondizuogu, Ikot Ekpene, Nsugbe, Otura, Nnewi, Ogidi, Abagana, Obodo Ukwu, Orlu, Amaigbo, Abba, Ore, Benin City, Warri, Abonema, Obigbo, Umuahia, Uzuakoli, Ogbunike and the list goes on and on - identified with its roots, accent, way of life and tradition.

During the Sovereign National Conferences debates upon the birth of the Fourth Republic when Olusegun Obasanjo who came close to death under Sani Abacha’s gulag, was handed the mantle to take over the affairs of state in a fraudulent election conducted by the Abdulsalami Abubakar’s military juntas, series of groups surfaced on ethnic and tribal lines suggesting the necessities of a sovereign national conference as a road map to a working document for the country. Obasanjo singlehandedly killed that motive.

By then, many groups erupted, waxing stronger save for an Igbo-related group, though the late Stanley Macebuh had earlier founded Post Express, first online national newsreel that provided all around the clock news-related analysis to the nation’s readers. It was during this time I was able to connect with my colleagues piecing together stuff for North Carolina-based Chuck Odili who emerged stronger with the Nigerian World website and the Naijanet discussion group which ignited a new political era for the Fourth Republic with political discourse at its best, before folks who joined lately and hijacked the forums to something else, seeking relevance.

It was also then, that every Nigerian sought the Aburi Accord, the first post-independence conference to resolve the nation’s internal strife and would be breached by the federal Nigerian vandals in its quest for genocide and occupation of Igboland.

Mobolaji Aluko, then Yoruba mouthpiece in its social network began corresponding with me with regards to the Aburi Accord.. Aluko lectured at Howard University, Washington, D.C., and had appeared at Nigerian World related political discourse in an attempt to sell his sovereign national conference campaigns to a young, radical audience that declined to buy his product. Aluko, irratical, angry, mischievous and tribally bent political salesman, left the forum, and in a nutshell, created his own website to promote his agenda and the Yoruba ingrained Awoist principles.

The irony during this period a “reborn” nation was seeking its path to a sound democratic order, Igbos were hovering, knowing not what to do until the Dallas Igbo elites, spearheaded by Acho Orabuchi, founded Igbo Forum, a platform that was way overdue and applauded gracefully. As it happened, it would not be long when the rascals would hijack the place ridiculing the place beyond imagination. Igbo Forum and its sister discussion groups never would be the same again, henceforth.

Sadly, as it developed, Igbo happened to have fallen into a country widely known for its philandering politicians reason why nothing works in its endeavor to get things straight - a brutal police and military force, an Islamic “Jihad” terrorists, a murderous gang of militants, a failed state, collapsed culture and corrupt leaders - virtually in everything that is bad, including the churches all across the land purportedly to have followed the Gospels accordingly, but deviated, misinterpreting the Biblical principles, taking the whole concept to a whole new heights and blown out of proportion. And in some of the bizarre cases, they hold their mouth while the congregational leads are engaged taking advantage of their victims, the gullible and vulnerable ones who had been left with no choices, and who are eventually castigated for attempt to destroying God’s House of Worship by seducing and charming these congregational leaders, offering them what they couldn’t refuse. Such has been the dilemma of these congregational worship centers.

Moreover, as these atrocities and moral outrages are been unveiled, taking other parts of the world, for example, the social media have had a part in changing all that - in their leaderships like in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now all around the world with Occupy Wall Street, demonstrations, denouncing corporate greed; with an impact already felt and a big ups for digital social media - Facebook, Twitter and other networks.

Are Nd’Igbo using these social media networks effectively?

The answer would be an “absolutely not!” In June of 2010, twenty-eight-year-old Khaled Said from Alexandria, Egypt, was beaten badly by Egyptian Police while witness and several hand held cameras documented the assault. Despite police denial and cover ups by the Egyptian state, contrary evidence was posted by Egyptians on Facebook and Youtube. It was this disturbing development that that twenty-nine-year-old Wael Ghonim, Googles marketing big wig took his expertise to work. He created the Facebook group “We Are All Khalid Said,” for people to join in protest for the case. Ghonim was arrested returning to Egypy from Dubai where he started the movement that eventually ousted Hosni Mubarak. The Internet movement spread elsewhere in the Arab League becoming a phenomenon all around the globe.

Similarly, there has been cases of murder, extra judicial killings in all the Igbo states, corrupt politicians and scores of atrocities all over the land, and yet the only tool left could not be utilized to effect changes as seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, the ongoing strife in Syria, Yemen, and several parts of the globe, using the Internet as a force of change and “liberation.”

The arrival of the rascals at Igbo Forum when Igbo elites took things for granted - the inability to set standards with guidelines for decorum and topics to be posted and discussed relative to current trends on all Igbo-related political debates and engaging the politicians in a sense of belonging to their best in providing the structural needs of the people they had been elected to serve.

While Igbo Forum emerged, its counterparts had already concluded its phase of its charter and ready to present its recommendations to the much, looked forward to Sovereign National Conference. By this time, the forum had begun to fall apart for lack of keeping up its archives resulting from non payment of dues. As it happened, a series of Igbo forums begun to surface since the breakouts wanted to go on to the local level - remotely to their enclaves - Nd’Ngwa Forum, UmuAnambra Forum, ASA-USA Forum, Akah Forum, NdiIgbo Forum, Old Orlu Province, Waawa Forum, Njaba South, World Igbo Forum, Igbo Events, Igbo Worldnet Forum and the list goes on and on.

Quite disturbing, typical and indication of a people divided. And when one looks at all the nonsense coming out from Abia and the gang of Orji’s election fraudsters who stole the peoples mandate, one would be wondering if Abia’s really the part of Igboland and origin where prominent Igboist in the likes of Michael I. Okpara, Alvan Ikokwu, Francis Akanu Ibiam and numerous other good men came from.

Until now, Igbo seems not to be getting it, regardless of the ongoing pathetic thirteen years of the nation’s fledgling democracy in the Fourth Republic; that after thirteen years the experiment seems not to be working and an alternative should be sought; which brings to mind Aluko responding to an article I had written years ago giving references to the Holocaust, Apartheid, the Armenian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Russian Pogrom and Revolution, all all related human atrocities in which the anti-Igbo Pogrom bears the same resemblance, and using the Aburi Accord as an analogy the Nigerian vandals negated; thereby, a sovereign national conference of that nature would not work in a situation no formal apology came forth, effectively. In that regard, I cited sections vii, viii and ix of the Aburi Accord for reference to weigh in the irrelevance of a sovereign national conference. Sections vii, viii and ix of the Aburi Accord:

(vii) With a view to promoting mutual confidence, all decrees or provisions of decrees passed since January 15, 1966, which detracted from the previous powers and positions of the regional governments should be repealed. Law officers of the federation should meet in Benin on January 14, 1967, and list all the decrees or provisions of decrees concerned, so that they may be repealed not later than January 21, 1967, if possible.

(viii) A meeting of Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance of all the governments in the federation should be convened within two weeks to consider ways and means of resolving the serious problems posed by displaced persons all over the country.

(ix) Displaced civil servants and corporation staff (including daily-paid employees) should continue to be paid their full salaries until March 31, 1967, provided they have not secured alternative employment. The Military Governors of the East, West and Mid-West should send representatives (Police Commissioners) to meet and discuss the problems of recovery of property left behind by displaced persons.

Aluko had written extensively on a working document on behalf of the Yoruba elite, and had concluded it was only principles based on Awoism that would work in a Nigerian entrapment, and considering a modelled Western Nigerian framework, through the profound leadership of Obafemi Awolowo.

At this time in question, Igbo had already been divided on its cause of action in determining if a charter drawn from the various sections of its grouping, suggesting what and what not should be included in the charter. Orabuchi, Francis Elekwachi, Nkem Ekeopara’s “Nd’Igbo Generation 1960-!970, Ralph Uwazuruike’s Movemen for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Oguchi Nkwocha’s Biafraland even though he had consistently been against any decision on a Nigerian national state, Okenwa Nwosu, Iselle Obikpani, Ekwe Nche, Enyimba, M.O. Ene’s Kwenu, Cornelius Akubueze and the rest, took part in what had been an arduous task to bring forth a binding document by way of joint sessions with the related factions. Town after town, hamlet after hamlet, village after village, brothers after brothers and cousins both near and far after cousins of the same lineage, raised their voices and said thus far and no further; that Igbo must come up with a charter in the event of an endorsed sovereign national conference, submitting its own line of constitutional guidelines to be deliberated in what the opposing sides had called “conference of sovereign nationalists.”

I had connected with Elekwachi on a series of hiccups relating to the document he had presented on behalf of Pan-Igbo Constituent Assembly in Diaspora (PICAD), the committee he founded in collaboration with Obi Nwakanma, Cornelius Akubueze and others. Elekwachi had commended my insights when the confusion on who is an Igbo and the full definition and meaning of Igbo Proper, which fired up another cycle of debates and symposiums. I had already been exhausted with these debates that had been mind boggling, looking at how the Yoruba nation fair with its stanby, ready made document to keep a Nigerian national state intact and viable.

With respect to what was about to explode among Igbo elites and the ones so distrust of an Igbo charter on the bearings of the document prepared without appropriate and adequate consultations; I gave a deep thought researching and studying the facts and logic about a Igbo Charter to be submitted on behalf of PICAD and a very few other committees. In an exclusive article which was bordered on a profound Igbo national state, putting together analysis and all the stuff detrimental to a healthy Igbo nation, laying empahasis on Igbo as one infinite, indivisible people. Thus I wrote:

“the Igbos are a people whose origin is of one lineage, their genealogies can be traced back through many generations of forefathers to a common ancestor. This type of societal identification is not the same as a national or linguistic grouping. One can join a nation; one can learn a language; both are voluntary. But in blood heritage, it implies Igbos have an inherited customs and traditions which led to a particular order of social organizations. The Igbo of Nando has the same socio-cultural structure as the Igbo of Abakaliki, Ikwere, Obigbo, Nkwerre, Igurita, Okpanam, Ibuzo, Elele, Omoku, Orlu, Abriba, Waawa, Obowu, Nnewi, Idemili, Ihiala, Nsugbe, Amazano, Awkuzu, Nteje, Okigwe, Eziama Obiato, Onitsha and Abagana, Arochukwu, Ohafia, Amaigbo, Arondizuogu, Owerri, Mbaise, Umuohiagu, Oko, Diobu and any community where Igbos can be found. It is in this vast genealogical structure that provided a simple basis for alliances and inheritance. Lands and rights go to sons and brothers on the paternal side. Residential groupings, too, are familial. Villages, kindred and hamlets are made of men descended from a common paternal line women marry in, though many also are of the same paternal line linked by a lineage traceable back to a primal patrilineal ancestor.

So, too, is the traditional way of marriage as no dating occurs when a man expresses his interest in a woman, parents and relatives arrange marriages. As custom dictates, the groom to be has to go through series of interviews and other custom-related events such as paying dowry to the bride to be family before the marriage can be arranged and finalized.

By this order and method, and as we head to the conference table to write a charter for the Igbo nation, we must bear in mind the above particular order when our decisions and resolve begins to climax. We must also bear in mind Igbo nation is a nation state, and that Nigeria must not be included in her principles. In choosing this method, of not including Nigeria or any other entity in her preamble and the entire document, and by not mixing any political principle that varies with the ideals, customs and traditions of Nd'Igbo, treating at great length the needs or rights supposedly appropriate to Igbos everywhere.”

The article was followed by an overwhelming line of commentaries and rejoinders at a time the simmering sovereign national conference proposals had begun to wane, losing steam from a burnt out flame under Obasanjo’s watch and on the premise there was ultimately no need for sovereign national conference as long as a legislature was in existence, a legislature as in all democratic orders to rewrite the constitution through its representatives. The SNC died a natural death the way Obasanjo wanted it.

As the case turned out, the SNC fizzled out for many reasons. Obasanjo, a Yoruba should continue with running the affairs of state, and with the applications of SNC, Obasanjo’s presidency might be jeopardized on the grounds of presiding on a constitution fabricated by the military juntas, and not through normal constitutional conferences procedure. And also, the Yorubas, in respect, should grip firmly on the presidency on the course of its two-term llimitations, and for the first time in the nation’s history, a Yoruba president that could be costly if given away. Obasanjo knew very well the implications of a dim wit sovereign national conference. He alerted his kinsfolk to relax the pace of their desperation based on complications of the agitation on a so-called “better ways to govern ourselves.” Forthwith, Yoruba and Afenifere backed off.

Some weeks ago, I had gone to Town Hall Meeting in my district on related community projects that would create more jobs within the district and with the only community bank in the neigborhood --Union Bank -- and a long standing commitment to help small businesses grow in the community, hoping favorably on the takes of Councilman Bernard Parks (8th District), Councilman Herb Wesson Jr. (10th District), and Mark Ridley Thomas (Supervisor, 2nd District) in a series of ground breaking projects, all in the community.

While exiting the meeting, I bumped into Derek Brown, pastor, the House of Judah Christian Center, who had recognized me from when we met sometime ago in Los Angeles. Brown was classmate to former Kansas City Chiefs running back, Christian “Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Brown, later would move on transfer to University of Oregon, Eugene, to finish up his college scholarship sports program. We spoke at length on gists surrounding his college years at Azusa with Okoye, and how Okoye talked him into Igbo dishes which he is now fond of, patronizing West African-related restaurants in Greater Los Angeles, from time to time. Brown had asked where to locate a Nigerian community in Greater Los Angele, and my answer to his question was a capital “Nada!”

Brown and I talked about a whole lot. His days of flirting with Igbo girls in college and all that cultural stuff; how his dates’ brothers and relatives were always around protecting them. He finally gave up as his routine dating became a trend, the frustrating run around, playing hard to get delay tactics. We also talked about politics and the failed African states. We talked about sports in general and how African athletes were shopped for and picked up at Azusa, for professional and international engagements; and one of the reasons Azusa still stands out for its excelling sports programs in small town San Gabriel Valley. Our hangout was a full historical discussion describing the magnitude of our bonding as one, infinite, indivisible people, never mind the past, that we should work in unity because “working together works!”

Igbo is one, infinite, indivisible people!

Ede chaa nam!

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