Saturday, 23 January 2016 14:29

Can grandiose Igbos govern themselves well?

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Igbos have no historical experience of governing themselves as one political unit. They had village and or town level political units. They have never had Igbo wide governments (except the one imposed on them by the British...before the British they essentially had only the most primitive rudimentary governments, village governments).

Generally, each Igbo man is egotistical, grandiose and does not subjugate his ego to obedience to other people.  Therefore, it would be very difficult for Igbos to have an Igbo wide government and make it work. Their egos need to first learn to obey laws and live within larger political structures before they can become a country.

Of course Igbos need to rule themselves; they ruled themselves, sort of, for thousands of years before the British colonized them; however, they did not progress to higher levels of governance such as feudal and bourgeois levels. Nevertheless, they must rule themselves; other people must not rule them.

I am not advocating for them to return to British colonizers to rule them; the colonizers themselves are not exactly doing a good job in their world; white Americans are not doing what they need to do to incorporate black Americans; instead of doing so they merely send them to jails hence doing what would come to hunt them in the future.

What needs to happen is to make all of Alaigbo a state within Nigeria and, ultimately, Africa federation and have them govern themselves within that larger Nigerian and African federation and learn how to obey larger political structures; they have to learn to work for the good of the whole not just for the individual.

Alternatively, Igbos can be ruled by a dictator; the tyrant called Emeka Ojukwu subjugated them to his egoistic rule; he imprisoned and killed those who disobeyed him.

Igbos are a wild, unruly people and a strong hand can bind them into a unit; Igbos are not yet ready for popular democracy, for they see democratic offices as from which they amass wealth and obtain social prestige.

In my perception Igbos do not understand the idea of public service; they live to serve their egos; they are self-centered and selfish; they are pragmatic, opportunistic and amoral; they will do any and every thing to make money and get ahead.  They want to be wealthy so as to be admired by other people but not to use their wealth to serve the public.

In politics they seek public offices for prestige, to serve their narcissistic egos; in occupying offices they want people to admire them and see them as very important persons but in the meantime they do nothing for the people. Thus, they make poor politicians and would not lead their people well.

What needs to happen is to gradually teach Igbos the nature of politics and public service so that they seek political offices to serve their people not just to gratify their egos need for importance.

No human being can ever totally transcend narcissism and still live in body (for one must admire one's body and ego, admire nothing, to live in body) so Igbos will always be narcissistic but they can moderate it to adult level instead of their present infantile narcissism.

Their narcissism is childish in that they want to be the center of other people's attention and have everybody admire them while they do nothing for other people's good; they want the world to see them as a superior and special people while not serving the world; they boast about their meager accomplishments which they think are monumental.

It will probably take hundreds of years before Igbos attain adult narcissistic level. In the meantime, we have to live with their big egos and necessary poor governance.

Generally, other Nigerians come to the conclusion that Igbos have serious problems, are either mentally sick (narcissistic) or are criminals and ignore them. In effect, their attempts to prove their supposed omnipotence are not yielding for them the type of dividends they are seeking.

In Nigeria folks have come to the conclusion that Igbos do not know much about leadership and merely enjoy insulting people, putting people down to falsely feel superior to them but would not do something to uplift the people as leaders are supposed to do.

These days many non-Igbo Nigerians would not vote for Igbos to be their leaders...most Nigerians would not vote for an Igbo the president of Nigeria.

If what Igbos are doing bring them universal negative appraisal why don't they stop doing it? They gain nothing by acting as narcissists and criminals (they gain universal contempt). They ought to learn and correct their mistakes but instead they keep doing the same things, over and over, again while expecting different (positive) results; they say that this behavior is the definition of insanity.

These people need to change but that is asking too much; only  a naive idealist would expect them to change; realism teaches one to accept them as they are and when they step out of line punish them.

Finally, let me observe that governments exist because human beings are imperfect; imperfect folks try organizing their society; if they were perfect and always did the right things they would have no need for governments (as they presumably do not have in unified spirit, heaven).

Governments would always be led by imperfect human beings; therefore, all we can expect is for politicians to do their best for the people knowing that as imperfect human beings their best must always be imperfect (perfection can only exist outside life in body, in spirit, heaven not earth).

Igbo politicians ought to try doing their best to serve their people and humanity in general; however, no one is expecting them to be angels, just doing something that benefits the people is good enough.

The alternative of merely seeing government as avenue from which they gratify their egos, what they currently do, is not acceptable.

Igbos need to shrink down their swollen egos; they need to learn humility if they want to have good governments in their world.

Ozodi Osuji

January 23, 2016

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176