Thursday, 29 June 2017 12:48

Igbos are really screwed in Nigeria!

Written by 

I left Nigeria after secondary and, more or less, did not keep up with what is going on in the country beyond cursory glance at the news. Lately, however, I have been paying attention to Nigerian politics and power.

Harold Laswell defined power as who decides who gets what and when in a human polity. In Nigeria it is now abundantly clear to me that the Hausa Fulani has power for they decide who gets what and when in Nigeria. Just look at the composition of the federal cabinet and government and you see that Hausas have a predominance of the positions; and this is not done out of merit but based on their self-assignment of important positions.

The recent information that recruitment to the Nigeria Air Force has 80% of the recruits from the North and 20% of the rest to the rest of the country is an eye opener. And this is not done out of competition and merit but simply because the Northern rulers decided to have their people in the Air Force and shut out other people. If an examination for the selection of those recruits was done, historical evidence shows that most of them probably would have come from the South of Nigeria for they would do better on examinations than Northerners.

This tells you that the North, a region with the least educated people and the least competitive people, take the lion share of everything in Nigeria.

At the revenue allocation level the North gets about 60% of all federal revenue shares whereas almost one hundred percent of that revenue comes from the south.

The Niger Delta produces most of the moneys that run the Nigerian government yet most of the oil blocks belong to Hausa-Fulanis and some Yorubas. This is really an amazing situation, any one would say.

By any indices of judgment this situation is not fair to Igbos and other southerners.  If you assume that there needs to be justice in life you must agree that Igbos are treated like orphans in Nigeria.  They are therefore justifiably angry at the Nigerian state.

My personal predilection is for the continued existence of large political states such as Nigeria. I hate mini states for they are irrelevant in international politics. Indeed, my writings call for a unified Africa, what I call Africa federation where each ethnic group is a state or county with each group totally in charge of its economic and political affairs but leaving to the centre the management of military and foreign affairs.

I was for large political entities but given what have come to be in Nigeria it is now obvious to me that the situation is not tenable.

Igbos are justifiably angry at how they are treated and anyone who does not understand their anger is not a human being.

I had hoped for a restructured  Nigeria with twelve states with each large ethnic group a state and smaller ones put into additional states, for a total of twelve states for the entire country and for each state to control its resources and its citizens pay federal tax to run the central government. But given the political reality where the North in cahoots with the ruling elite is the south just about steals all the country's revenues I have no choice but to agree with the Igbos that separation from Nigeria is the only way to go. It is now too late to restructure Nigeria as I had hoped for.

Anyone who had followed my writing would know that I am not particularly fund of Igbos. Igbos were living in a stateless state before Frederick Lugard gave them a place in the modern polity. They did not have Igbo wide political structure. Each Igbo town or village ruled itself.

Igbo identification therefore was limited to village but not to a country. At best Igbos identify with their clans. Thus, we have Owerri, Onitsha, Ngwa, Umuahia, Abakalike, Wawa and other clans. Each of those thinks only about what is good for it but not for all Igbos.

The typical Igbo works for his village or town but seldom for all Igbos! Thus, when the typical Igbo comes to power he does not care much about other Igbo clans. Indeed, he has an arrogant, condescending view of other clans. The Onitsha man looks down on the Owerri man and the Owerri man sees the Onitsha man is an illiterate trader and a thief and wants nothing to do with him. Simply put there is a lot of division among Igbos.

At the individual level, each Igbo works mostly only for his self. He wants to become financially wealthy and see himself as rich man. He will do whatever he can to become rich but would not care to work for the good of all Igbos. Indeed, when he thinks that he is rich he sees the poor as fools and looks down on them. He is always boasting about his fantasy wealth as a way of putting down other Igbos.

The Igbo's pride and vanity is off the charts. In a way he is too immature and childish to be taken seriously, for a mature person does not boast about his wealth but uses that wealth to serve the community.

It does not matter whether you are a billionaire or not but what matters are you using that money to help other people.

Do you build factories to provide the youth employment? If not you are poor despite your supposed wealth and you should get out of my site.

The Igbo is self-cantered, opportunistic and unprincipled in his pursuit of money; for the Igbo to be rich is the only way to seem important in the eyes of his fellow Igbos.  He does not know that the best way to feel important is to serve society.

All these negative aspects of Igbos considered, I had concluded that Igbos need to be in a larger polity to learn appropriate social behaviour and learn to identify with a large political framework and work for its good.  Thus, I was opposed to Biafra.  I had believed that given Igbo parochial political frame of reference that if Igbos got their own country that they would become like south Sudan with each clan fighting others and the country would degenerate to chaos and anarchy as we have in South Sudan and Somalia. To avoid that from happening I had supported the corporate existence of Nigeria.

However, given what I see about Nigerians screwing Igbos in the allocation of resources it is now obvious to me that merely restructuring Nigeria is no longer enough. The issue is more serious than that.

The time has come for each ethnic group to separate and go try to see if it can make a go of improving its people.

There should emerge from Nigeria many republics including the Republic of Alaigbo; the republics of Ijaw, Efik, Edo, Yoruba, and so on.  This is now the only way to go for the situation where most of the resources of the land go to the north and a paltry part go to the south is no longer tenable.

Southern leaders steal whatever money comes their way; they therefore support the continued existence of Nigeria for they are benefiting from its stealing jamboree.

Much as I hate the idea of balkanization of Nigeria I think that we have no other choice but to go there.

Hausas have done too much injury to Igbos for both of them to live in the same country as friends. You cannot keep robbing a person and ask him not to say something about it. It is now time we parted our ways.

I know that Igbos have serious governance problems but the anticipated chaos becomes Igbo problem not Nigerian problem.

Strong willed minds like me will emerge in Alaigbo and use fisted hands to beat Igbos into identifying with Igbo wide polity and working for its good and not just talk nonsense about their clans and tribes and individual wealth. We can do it, unify all Igbos and progress at the rate that suits our psychology.

Left alone Igbos would today be at the level of South Korea or better. They should no longer be held down by the bugaboo of keeping Nigeria one.

Nigeria is not worth keeping one if it means the domination of Hausas of other groups. If things were fair to all Nigerians and there is no corruption then we can talk of one Nigeria. As it is today it is arrant nonsense talking about one Nigeria.

As noted at the beginning of this piece, I had not paid much attention to how an Igbo republic should be organized should it come to be. I will henceforth devote my time talking about it in more professional writing.

Igbos probably should have a British type unitary government. There should be a unicameral parliament at the capital. The capital must be at the centre of Alaigbo, Owerri.

The legislative body should be composed of no more than 100 members, each elected for five year terms with four terms limit. They are to be paid the country's minimum wage so that folks do not go to office to become rich.

If you want to become rich go into business and make money there. You go to government for public service.

The legislature should have British type leadership; that is, the party with the largest members form the government and have cabinet of no more than twenty.

There should not be more than three political parties to avoid the vanity of each person forming a party for his ego purposes: a capitalist party, a socialist party and a mixed economy party are really all that is needed in a modern polity.

The leader of the ruling party should be the prime minister. There should be an independent judiciary. I am really talking about the British type government.

We do not have the money and luxury to run an American type presidency where it takes millions of dollars to support the president.  Last week I was at number 10 Downing Street, in London and saw the Prime Minister, Theresa May, get out and get into a car and drove off to wherever she is going. It is a simple affair, no fanfare made of it.

The cost of running the British government is minimal compared to the cost of running presidential governments.

We should have a British type government, with the country divided into no more than 100 counties (local government areas). Each county composed of a county council of no more than eleven people with one of them the county executive, the chief executive officer.

Each county composed of many towns. Each town with a town council of no more than seven members, one of whom is the town's mayor.

Look, I will write a paper delineating how Alaigbo ought to be organized. For now, the point I want to make is that it is now time for Nigeria to be Balkanized; as things now stand Igbos are screwed and since they are not slaves they should not tolerate being screwed by Hausas.

Igbos fought to throw away British rule so why should they then turn around and tolerate Hausa domination? That is absurd.

I recommend an immediate conference by all Nigerian leaders at which they decide how Nigerians should separate from each other. There is no need prolonging the death agony of Nigeria any longer.

Those asking for referendum to have Igbos decide to separate from Nigeria probably are not going to get their wishes satisfied  for the rulers of Nigeria probably would not allow that to happen.

What must happen is for Nigeria to do what Czechoslovakia did: meet and divide the country into Czechs and Slovaks. Nigerians now need to meet and divide their country into the various tribes that compose it and let each go rule itself or for a group of tribes that can get along to form a united country). Any other type of talk is a waste of time.  This is now where I stand.

I hate man's inhumanity to man and cannot tolerate Hausas abuse of Igbos to stand for even one more day.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

June 29, 2017

www.centerformindscience.org

PS: Please pardon the typographical and other errors in this essay. I wrote it while in a train somewhere in Europe.  When I get back to the USA, in a couple of weeks, and have access to my desk top computer I will begin my anticipated writings on how to dismantle Nigeria and give the people freedom, not the present forced union that serves some but not others. Cheers.

 

Read 232 times
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: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176