Although many contributors to this forum attempt to convince me that indeed there is something wrong with the Igbo of Nigeria, yet I find the Igbo to be the very Christ in minds imbued with conscience or sense of right and wrong. Dr. Osuji is a dear friend, a clever Professor, as well as fellow Igbo whose prolific essays I find to be very helpful and insightful. .
However, for this writer and for many people, It is not too much to say that the Igbo of Nigeria is archetype of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Being Igbo in modern Nigeria is not an easy task. Igboism is the pain and discomfort of being placed in pillories and stocks in a tumultuous nation resulting in shocks so severe as to cause the Igbo to die prematurely. All in all, when all is said and done, the Igbo walks tall with grace and recherché nonchalance, insouciance, or indifference.
The purpose of this essay is to voice certain things about detractors of Ndigbo and then attempt to illustrate concepts with appropriate images. Why is everyone crying out and asking for the blood of Ndiigbo? What crime has this significant tribe in Nigeria committed to deserve the organized hostility of over 150 million detractors? A detractor is a non-supporter of Ndiigbo. A detractor is not simply a critic, enemy, attacker, heckler, disbeliever. He or she is a serious cynic, pessimist, or disparager.
Alleged crimes of Ndiigbo, according to detractors, include but are not necessarily limited to the following: One: Ndiigbo were the first to agitate for independence from colonialist Britain. Two: Ndiigbo were the first to orchestrate the first bloody coup in Nigeria right after independence. Three: Ndiigbo were the first to secede from the Federation. Four: Ndiigbo appear to be the first and only tribe to parade their wealth in the watchful eyes of jealous neighbors.
To single out is to separate an individual or individuals from a larger group for the purpose of inflicting punishments or some other negative consequences, such as denial of privileges and ostracism. Ostracism is a form of exclusion, barring, banishment, isolation, or non-inclusion. A group that is singled out is sometimes castigated. Castigation is a shameful act and consists of subjecting a person to severe punishment in the form of reproof, criticism, or even death.
In everyday conversations on the lips of Nigerians of every political or religious leanings, the Igbos are likely to be rebuked, admonished, chastised, chided, upbraided, reproved, reproached, scolded, berated, taken to task, lambasted, or given a piece of one's mind.
That the Igbos are daily put in pillories cannot be gainsaid or contradicted. What is a pillory or to put in pillory? The Igbos are put in pillory when attacked or ridiculed publicly. Igbo Nigerian citizens find themselves pilloried by others, such as when it is said "they are unschooled, stupid grabbers always after money." To pillory is to attack, criticize, censure, lambaste, condemn, denigrate, stigmatize, or denounce.
Sometimes, the Igbos are placed in stocks. What are the stocks? Stocks are wooden (sometimes metal ) devices that were used on slave plantations in colonial America as a form of punishment to immobilize victims who were often exposed in a public place such as the site of a market or open weather to the scorn of those who passed by. The head, feet, and hands of victims sick out to e kicked or beaten by detractors.
Being Igbo in modern Nigeria is not an easy task. Igboism is the pain and discomfort of being placed in pillories and stocks which could be so severe as to cause the victims to die. All in all, Ndigbo is a modern-type Christ in Nigeria. This prompts this writer to intone that Jesus Christ is an Igbo with redeeming powers, walking tall with recherché nonchalance or dispassion.