Friday, 17 February 2017 05:33

Could Biafra be the land of criminals?

Written by 


Ozodi Osuji

Daniel Akusobi, your below response to Jerome is evidence of my belief that you are capable of rational thinking if only you choose to do so. In your response you noted that the reason, among others, why many Igbos are hell bent on obtaining money, to the extent of doing criminals things for it, such as selling drugs in countries where arresting them means hanging them, stealing from their people and kidnapping their people and holding them hostage for ransom money is because of Igbo society's structure. You noted that Igbos give nothing for free to their people.

You went on a long winded rant on the looters of the Nigerian treasury and how they are more harmful to Nigerians than the Igbos caught selling drugs overseas; I am going to ignore your defensive rant (you tried to minimize the import of Igbo criminals relative to the treasury looters of Nigeria; the fact is that two evils don't make right) and concentrate on the meat of your response, why Igbos engage in criminal activities.

You got it right as to why Igbos engage in criminal activities but did not continue with the logical conclusion of that line of thinking: you did not ponder the consequences for Igbo land Igbos general character structure.

As you observed, Igbo society virtually does nothing for the individual Igbo. All Igbos are left on their own. Each of them struggles for achievement knowing that his society would accept him only if he seems successful and reject him if he seems a failure.

Sadly, Igbo society really does not care how the individual Igbo obtains money; all that matters is that he has money and he is seen as successful.

In the past, selling other Igbos to get money was perfectly acceptable to Igbos. Igbos sold their people to Europeans and obtained pieces of glass and cowrie shells from white folks and placed those stupid items on their bodies and masqueraded around as very important persons.

The desire for prestige and social importance is paramount in the Igbo man's mind. To be ordinary and humble is unacceptable to the Igbo psyche.

Chinua Achebe noted this issue in his best literary work, Things Fall Apart; he wrote how Okonkwo's father was a musician hence an artist who was not motivated by money and how as a result his fellow Igbos looked down on him, and as a result his son, Okonkwo developed inferiority complex and was motivated to seem important by becoming a rich man and did, indeed, become rich by his primitive society's standards but in the process developed that paranoid personality structure that is now the hallmark of the Igbo character; Achebe himself was an artist and was not rich and as a result his Ogidi folks did not respect him (I was told this fact by a friend from Ogidi!).

Not too long ago Igbos apparently cared for education but these days they don't even care for education; making money is now all that they care for. .

The contemporary Igbo has made money his god; money is used to buy what gives him social prestige, such as   build a fancy house in his village (but he refuses to pay taxes with which the road in front of that house is paved so that the road is unpaved, and strewn with garbage), marry wives and generally appear to be rich in his eyes and the eyes of his fellow rustics.

To the Igbo how the individual obtains the money that makes him seem rich is irrelevant; what matters are that he has money. If he does not have money he is socially judged as nobody. This is your crazy Igbo society, Daniel; in it folks will do whatever they could to be wealthy for wealth is the precondition for acceptance by their fellow denizens of Igbo land.

If you assume that people do not change their behaviors just because their immediate environment changes you would infer that if Biafra were to come into being that Igbos would transfer their present behavior patterns to it.

In Biafra each person would be on his own, with each person trying to seem rich so that other Igbos would accept and respect him. In that circumstances many Igbos would, as they do today, resort to stealing and kidnapping their people for money; criminality would be sky high, more than it is today.  Biafra would be thief land, criminals' haven!

Daniel, you appear to have a bit more sense than is found in typical Biafra yahoos, therefore, ask yourself what needs to be done to forestall this dreadful fate of Biafra.

Thoughtless Igbos proffer the old nostrum that Igbos are competitive and achievement orientated and that all would compete and make it on their own. That is the old saw that got Igbos to where they are as a nation of thieves.

It is the same Igbo culture that produced folks who captured and sold their people rather massively during slavery times (1500-1900).

Aro Igbos and their Abam and Abriba mercenaries captured and sold Igbos so massively that some have estimated that almost one out of three black Americans are Igbo ex-slaves (Virginia and Maryland African Americans are 80% ex-Igbo slaves).

Yes, of all the people of West Africa from where slaves came from most of the slaves in the USA came from Igbo land. Kudus to Igbos for always excelling at anti-social behaviors!

Dan, assuming that you really want to think you ask yourself what needs to be done to prevent the inevitable degeneration of  Biafra to thief land, to something like south Sudan and Somalia, a state of anarchy and chaos. It is here that you need a bit of education.

You need to study the various economic and political ideologies (such as liberalism, conservatism, capitalism, socialism, communism, mixed economy, corporatism and fascism.) and figure out which would be useful to address the Igbo problem so as to prevent Igbos from becoming mass criminals who killed themselves off in their proposed Eldorado of Biafra.

I have at several places pointed out that Igbos have to retain Igbo achievement orientation but moderate it with mixed capitalist-socialist economy, an economy that does certain things for people, such as give every child publicly paid education at all levels and provide all Igbos with publicly paid health insurance and pension during their old age (age 70 is nice retirement age) and thereafter leave people to fend for themselves.

If these things are not done and every Igbo is left to fend for his self he would feel that nobody helps him and may resort to stealing and killing his people to make a living. Thus, Alaigbo could become hell on earth.

I pity those who would live in Biafra for their lives would be like what Thomas Hobbes (1651) described in his seminal book, Leviathan, as what life was like in the state of nature: all at war with all and life is nasty brutish and short.

Daniel, I think that you are capable of thinking, therefore, ponder what I said here. As for your Biafra co-travelers at Nigerian Internet forums, I do not believe that they are intelligent enough to be able to grasp what would happen in their proposed Biafra if Igbos retained their present extreme self-centered, individualistic and opportunistic character structures; they are like children and cannot do rigorous and critical thinking.

I am tempted to say more but probably have already given you enough to chew on for a while.

Good luck,

Ozodiobi Osuji

February 16, 2017

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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