Friday, 27 April 2012 07:52

The Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala World Bank Affair And Igbo Political Behavior

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This paper points out that Ms Ngozi Iwuala’s brazen efforts to get her self-selected the president of the World Bank, a feat that would have humiliated President Obama since traditionally the nominee of the President of the United States gets that job, shows Igbos lack of political astuteness. It urges Igbos to give up their infantile bravados and learn how adult politics works. You do not alienate folks and expect them to support your political ambitions.

The Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala World Bank Affair And Igbo Political Behavior

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

In politics Igbos seem daft beyond belief. Consider the recent episode whereby an Igbo woman applied for the position of President of the World Bank.

Since the World Bank was established by Americans in 1944 (see the Bretton Woods Conference) the American President has always picked the president and Europeans have always picked the president (called managing director) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

When this arrangement was made African and most third world countries were still colonized by European powers. The arrangement is therefore not fair and ought to be changed. However, change requires political realism.

In real life whoever pays the pipe piper dictates the tune played. Whoever fronts the money these international financial institutions operate with, all things being equal, will dictate who is appointed to run them.

If African and third world nations wish to have their candidates appointed to run these institutions they can always contribute more money to them.  If Nigeria, for example, were to contribute as much as the USA does she has a right to insist that the selection of the World Bank’s president be based on merit and not just be the candidate of the United States.

In the meantime the two Bretton Woods institutions are mostly funded by Europeans and Americans. Thus, the appointment of the institutions leaders remain as was agreed in 1944. Third world persons understandably quaff about this apparent unfair state of affairs but the facts of politics are not based on morality but power.

When the current president of the World Bank announced his intention to resign his post, an ambitious Igbo woman began campaigning for the job.  She marketed herself as the most qualified person to do the job. Her background is that she was hired by the World Bank as an economist, and later promoted to be the area coordinator for Nigeria and some other West African countries (this is a supervisory, not management position).  She managed to get herself hired by Nigeria as the finance minister. Thereafter, she came back to the World Bank and presented herself to have acquired extraordinary skills by virtue of running the Nigerian economy for a couple of years. She was given a managerial position.  Without staying put to demonstrate her skills she immediately started campaigning for a return to her old job in Nigeria and was rehired by the Nigerian government as the minister of finance. She was performing that job when she heard that the World Bank’s president is resigning and she immediately jumped the gun and started campaigning for the position.

She knows, or ought to know the lay of the land. The US President picks the president of the World Bank. Now, if she was politically astute she could have, behind the scenes, arranged to see President Barack Obama and tried to persuade him to appoint her. Instead, she bypassed him and got third world folks (who make minuscular financial contributions to the institutions) to support her desire to change the way the bank’s president is hired.

Eventually, Obama nominated a candidate. As soon as he did so it was obvious that the executive directors of the bank would anoint his candidate for they had to respect the tradition of the bank (banks are conservative institutions and run on tradition). If this woman was politically savvy at that point she should have withdrawn her candidacy.

But, no; she kept on talking about being the most qualified person to run the bank (because she is managing the most corrupt economy in the world, Nigeria).

Suppose by some kind of miracle she was selected by the governing board what would that have done to President Obama? It would have made him the first American President whose nominee for the World Bank President was not hired. That would have made him look weak.

Republicans (Party) would have used that to say that he is too weak; see, he couldn’t even get his nominee for the World Bank approved by its board of directors.  The Republican nominee for the US Presidency come November Presidential election, Mitt Romney would have used that and other issues to make Obama look weak. It is conceivable that Obama could lose that election (the American economy is very weak and if unemployment remains high Obama’s prospect for re-election does not look good; no sitting President with more than 8% unemployment has ever been reelected).

That is to say that the ambitious Nigerian woman would have made the defeat of the first black President of America possible. Now, if she is sensible would she want to do that, be the cause of Obama losing his job and be blamed for Obama losing his job?  Can you imagine the anger African Americans would have towards her (and towards her country, Nigeria)?

And for all her efforts what would she have gained? If a Republican is elected the US President he would probably say that a Nigerian thief (he would choose his words more carefully, of course) is going to waste American taxpayers’ money and suspend America’s contribution to the World Bank. Eventually, she would be forced out as Boutros Boutros Ghale was forced out as the Secretary General of the United Nations when America opposed him and stopped paying its dues. So, for all her efforts she would be kicked out and in the meantime she would have (helped) defeat a black President of America.

This is the nature of blind, vaulting ambition. If she was politically shrewd she would not have made empty noise about her alleged qualification (she has written little on economics, and is not even an economist for crying out loud).  She should have worked behind the scenes but her Igbo grandiosity led her to market herself as god almighty itself.

She was not selected and probably  made herself not welcome in Obama’s Treasury Department hence has become a liability for Nigeria in getting whatever she wants from the USA.

In time she would be eased out of her current office (and a letter of resignation would be written for her that says that she resigned to go take care of  her much neglected husband and children);  a more America friendly person would replace her.

The point to all this is that she acted as Igbos do: naïvely! And when they are treated as the political simpletons they are they cry discrimination and suddenly say that they are victimized by other people. (Paranoia is characterized by grandiosity and sense of persecution.)

Igbos political behavior is beyond ridiculousness. In Nigeria they practically alienate every Nigerian, insult them right and left and yet expect Nigerians to vote for them to become the President of Nigeria.

So you insult Hausas and Yorubas, key voting blocks, and expect them to vote for an Igbo president of Nigeria, eh? Why should they do that?

From everything we know about human nature people tend to put into political office those they believe respect them and work for their interests.

Do Hausas and Yorubas believe that Igbos respect them and or serve their interests? What do you think?

Unless a backhand deal is made to rig an Igbo to Aso Rock I do not see how one could be democratically elected; and this would be due to Igbo political stupidity, their tendency not to be socially realistic and understand that people desire respect and respect them instead of degrade them with the abusive words that come out of their dirty mouths.

Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, an Igbo organized a coup that killed Nigeria’s elected Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello and the Premier of Western Nigeria, Samuel Akintola. He destabilized Nigeria for over a generation.

One should never kill an elected leader. If you do the country generally takes a long time to recover from the trauma caused by that killing.

Note that the British killed their king in 1642 and it took almost a century before they obtained political stability.

The French killed their king in 1789 and it took over a hundred years (1958 fifth French Republic Constitution) before political stability returned to France.

Russia killed its king in 1917 and to the present has not returned to stability.

It is better to remove leaders democratically, that is, through elections not by chopping off their heads.

President Jonathan, for example, is a clueless dunce yet no one should kill him; he should eventually be removed from office at the polls. If you kill him you generate anger and animosity between his people and those who killed him.

This is political reality but Igbo hot heads refuse to learn political realism and think that just because they wish something done that it ought to be done.

Igbo political childishness makes me want to throw up, literally.  And no matter what you say to help them learn real politics (politics is not child’s play, it is war fought with peaceful means and if you mess up  it turns into shooting war) they refuse to learn and keep doing the same old things that get them the same results, other folk’s hatred.

Igbos are the most hated persons in Nigeria, Africa and America. Wherever they go folks hate them!  And yet they do not get it; they do not pause to find out why folks hate them so much. Nobody wants to be like Igbos!

Folks hate them because of their overbearing nature, especially because of their arrogance and tendency to feel vacuously superior to other persons.

In so far that they try to explain their predicament they stupidly say that folks hate them because they achieve a lot relative to those who hate them (they are so achieving that not one of them have made a seminal contribution to physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, the art of governance or invented any technological gadget that folks use in their daily lives).

The Ngozi Oknojo-Iwuala debacle must teach Igbos to try getting what they want through more subtle means rather than presenting themselves as all knowing as Ngozi did. In the world of economics she is a nonentity. In the world of management she has not proved herself a good manager for if she had managed Nigeria’s finances properly Nigeria would be in better shape than it currently is.

Igbos need to give up their grandiose self-concepts and learn humility. Igbos need to learn and accept that all human beings are equal and respect all human beings regardless of their tribe.

It does not help Igbos for them to talk and act as if they are better than other people, for no human being is better than other human beings. We are all children of one family, God’s family; all God’s children are equal, for God does not create junk.

Finally, one understands why the broad masses of Igbos (even Nigerians, Africans and black people) rooted for Ngozi to secure the job she applied for. To them the position is a big one, it is a big job that the white man created; a black person doing it makes black folks seem very important. Black folks like to do jobs that make them seem important and invariably those are jobs created by white men (such jobs as president of this or that international organization set up by the white man).

So far the black man has shown abysmal capacity to set up large organizations and manage them correctly; generally, he waits for the white man to set them up and appoint him and in them his ego kind of feels very important. But his status in such organizations such as United Nations, World Bank, IMF, British Commonwealth, and the Catholic Church is only important for as long as the white man maintain them. If the white man withdraws from them the organizations would collapse for the black man so far has shown no capacity for running anything well.

Look at the countries set up by the white man and given to him, he has run them down.  The point is that one understands that if Ngozi obtains a big white man created job it would make Igbos and black folks feel proud. Be that black ego affirmation as it may, reality has to be faced.

Instead of running after jobs created by the white man it is now time for black egos to create their own big jobs and give them to their people and gratify their need for big jobs (it is like them feeling big because they went to prestigious white man’s universities but they themselves cannot build and maintain such schools; in Nigeria they have turned what used to be universities into ghetto secondary schools where corrupt teachers hand out grades for sex and money).

It is now time for the black man to establish his own big organizations and create big jobs in them and give those jobs to his people rather than always running after white man’s created big jobs to make his inferior feeling ego seem superior (in his colonized mind whatever brings him close to white men, since he sees white folks as superior makes him superior!).

PS: I took the opportunity of Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala (she retained her father’s name and hyphened it with her husband’s name, something never done in Africa; when Hillary Rodham-Clinton tried doing that nonsense Americans jumped all over her arrogance and she dropped the Rodham business quickly; that Ngozi did it shows that she is an arrogant, insensitive woman who has no respect for African men and traditions) outrageous behavior to teach Igbos political realism. But many Igbos would not see my efforts as trying to help them. Instead, they would say that I am jealous of her. Jealous of her for what accomplishment, for working for her masters, Nigerian and white she has accomplished something important?  She is an errand girl, really. She has nothing that I want. As a woman she has no physical value for me; as an intellectual she is not in my league.  I do not envy her at all. If my goal was to join the thieves of Abuja I would have done whatever I needed to do to join them.  I am better off being an independent scholar, and not any ones mouth piece.  Anyway, those who are deluded would always misinterpret ones motives, but what else is new. It is difficult to cure delusion disorder; these folks insist on seeing people from the lenses of their psychopathology. Yet lovers of truth must keep on articulating it until it breaks into these folk’s dense skulls and they learn political behavior that would get them what they want in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

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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: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176