Sunday, 09 July 2017 17:07

Epistle to Ndiigbo and Biafrans

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The recurrent, persistent  questions we are asking  are many. What type of people are Ndiigbo? What would life in Biafra be like? Would Ndiigbo find Biafra habitable?  Is it absolutely necessary that Ndiigbo  must  continue to embarrass Ndiigbo wherever Ndiigbo go by  engaging in armed robberies, becoming the most notorious kidnapper to harassing neighbors in their communities? This communiqué is a warning plea to desist from  one Onye Igbo (potential Biafran) to the Ndiigbo (igbo people willing to become Biafrans) and others who care to listen.

What qualifies this writer to pen this epistle to Ndiigbo? He's Onye Igbo (Igbo person willing to convert to Biafranism) and who  considers  Ndiigbo (Ibo people), as  his elders, his fathers and his mothers.

What hurts all Ndiigbo  also hurts one  Onye Igbo.  You know that we all know we are doing hurtful things to each other.  We ought to change direction and turn over a new leaf and begin to do good things in order to show respect for ourselves and earn respect of other Nigerians.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage our youth and provide alternative patterns of thinking  as we move together  through the challenges we are experiencing today in Nigeria's  democratic  governance.

Although we did not lose the Biafran War but are yet  treated as conquered scapegoats in our own father land, we shall not lose heart.

We shall maintain focused energy and hope and belief that we shall eventually prevail, knowing  that  our cause is justified and vindicated.

Our strengths lie in our ability to learn from our past mistakes  in order  to overcome, defeat, conquer, or  rise above future impediments or obstacles.  That we had failed at one time does not mean we should forever fail or remain incapacitated.

A popular Indian proverb says " A fool is one who trips over the same stone twice."  We are not going to fall over the same stone twice as fools do or repeatedly make the same slip and fall over and over again. It is time we corrected our 13 mistakes, and  remembered to correct our blunders as we are getting ready to enter the Promised Land called Biafra.

Mistake #1:  Though we may be the hardest working and the most ambitious business-minded group in Nigeria, we are the least satisfied, the unhappiest, the most dissatisfied group, and the group that derives  the lowest degree of pleasure and contentment from our work.

Mistake #2: We are dissatisfied after we have sweated it out in the heat from sunup to sundown and realized we have  made little progress in many areas of our lives as shown in our achievements cities in Lagos, Kaduna , Abuja, Port Harcourt and obodo ndi ozo (land of others).. They say the Hausas and Yorubas own more, work less, and derive greater joy from their labors than Ndiigbo do.

Mistake #3: We do not work cooperatively but prefer working individualistically. Let's work more united rather than separately, more cooperatively rather than disjointedly. Let's pull our energy together more and be more organized. Let's  mentor the young to take leadership over from us as our heads get grayer with the color of salt and pepper.

Mistake #4  We do not trust  each other as a result of past bitter experiences with jealousies and dishonesty that have continued to plague our progress . Let's dialogue more in town meetings  and village circles in order to  remove the last vestiges of suspicion that keep us  uneasy and divided.

Mistake #5: With us, it has always been "All work and No Play." Let's play more and relax more with neighbors and families. Play involves stopping work for awhile, to look around, and find ways to spread goodwill and joy around to help the deceased neighbor's widow, our fatherless children, and persons less fortunate than we are.

Mistake #6: We are too money-oriented; we turn everything  into money; and we make everyday life to be  a 24-7-period of very stressful striving for money, and material things  which we do not put to good use and which we waste on such frivolous activities as a man who owns at Lagos where each mansion has  7 expensive vehicles parked in the front, while the man brags of having 7 mistresses in every Nigerian town.

Mistake# 7: We are too disrespectful, rude, impolite, bad-mannered in conversations and actions. We turn against family members and persons who have helped us along the way. We engage in excessive backbiting. There  are too many unnecessary instances of  anya ufu (jealousy), anya ukwu ((greed), and ikpo asi (hatred) among us. Let's smile more, be more agreeable, delightful, pleasing, less confrontational, less contemptuous (disdainful, sneering, scornful). Let's be more agreeable, more accommodating, more egalitarian (classless), and ezigbo madu (good person).

Mistake # 8: We talk folks down rather than up: we are disrespect to elders, and  we exhibit absolute impatience and impertinence.  We notice  how the Yorubas and Hausas tend  to bend and show respect rather than say"beatiem mele" (I dare you to beat me out and let me see). Let's know that bending does not mean breaking or being a servant. There is tremendous power in humility. Don't we know that money is not everything?. Isn't money a good servant but a bad master? Therefore, let's not worship money.

Mistake# 9: We are too competitive in all we do such that when  a fellow Igboman imports XYZ merchandise from China, over 1,000,000 others order the same XYZ stuff in order to spoil the  market and reduce  prices , or flood the market with cheaper brands so that  and when prices hit rock bottom as Dollar and Naira fluctuate, the original XYZ importer goes belly up (bankrupt). Let's be our brothers' keeper. Let's attempt to diversify our  portfolio, and relax at the end of the day with a tumbler of sweet palm wine.

Mistake #10: We trade on fake merchandises, including counterfeit Tylenol,  and fake penicillin capsules filled with powder. Let's care for our people's  physical and mental well-being as we do for our children.  .

Mistake # 11: We are extremely arrogant, disloyal, untrustworthy, unfaithful, and treacherous.  There are stories where Igbo Brother A diverts monies sent to build quality house for Brother B by using the money and quality materials to construct his own (Brother A) house, while using inferior materials to build a poor house for Brother B.  Let's believe  that honesty as the best policy and keep our hands clean from doing aruru ala/nso ala (things that corruption the land).

Mistake # 12: We Igbo are too overreaching  in that we go too far in taking advantage  of situations: we exceed the limit, bite off more than we can chew, get the  better of someone, outwit, or take undue advantage. Consider the most notorious millionaire kidnapper Evans whose real name is Chukwudi Onwuamadike and how he demands 1.5 million Dollar ransoms from victims while the average Nigerian survives on one Dollar each day. Let's set reasonable boundaries, cut our appetites, and discipline our desires. The Hausas, River's people and Yorubas say that we Ndiigbo are dishonest and that's why they drive us away and seize our property. Our enemies reason this way: If Igbo man can cheat his own brother, he will cheat anybody, including his Chi ( his own God).

Mistake #13: We Igbos are cruel to each other and enjoy dishing out harsh treatments to other Igbos. Consider Igbo women coming to marry Igbo men in America and switching over to other men upon arrival or after obtaining the Green Cards and after beginning a successful nursing career.  Consider the Igbo chemistry professor  who stole the sum of $4,500 which an Igbo family sent for the purchase of  a used vehicle. The professor refused to either produce the vehicle or refund the money even after professor  was taken to U S court and the court awarded a 4,500 dollar judgment against the professor.

Written by Dr. James C. Agazie; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ;

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.