OPEN LETTER TO NDIIGBO


Greetings.
Why do Ndiigbo have the need to embarrass Ndiigbo wherever they go from engaging in armed robberies to becoming the most notorious kidnapper to harassing neighbors in their communities? This communiqué is a humble plea from one Onye Igbo (Igbo person) to the Ndiigbo (igbo people), and vice versa.
What qualifies this writer to pen this epistle to Ndiigbo? He’s Onye Igbo (Igbo person) and he 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 a new leaf in order to respect ourselves and gain respect of other Nigerians.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage us and provide us with alternative patterns of thinking as we move forward through our wilderness experiences with a difficult time together.
Although we did not lose the Biafran War and although we are treated as conquered scapegoats in our father land, we shall not lose heart.
We shall maintain focused energy and hope and believe that we shall eventually prevail, for our cause is justified and vindicated.


Our strengths lie in our ability to learn from experience in order to overcome, defeat, conquer, or rise above past mistakes. That we had failed at one time does not mean we should forever remain failures.
A popular Indian proverb says “ A fool is one who trips over the same stone twice.” We shall not be fools that make the same mistakes over and over again. It is time we corrected our 13 mistakes as noted:


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 in the hot sun from sunup to sundown and realized we have made little progress in many areas of our lives at cities like 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, cooperatively rather than disjoint. Let’s pull our energy and energy together more. Let’s mentor the young to take leadership over from us as our heads gets grayer or salt and pepper.


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


Mistake #5: With us, it is “All work and No Play.” Let’s play more and relax more with neighbors and families. Play involves stopping work for awhile, looking around, and finding ways to spread goodwill and joy around to help the deceased neighbor’s widow, 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-hour-7-day 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 7 mansions at Lagos each with 7 expansive vehicles parked thereat.


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 is are too many unnecessary anya ufu (jealousy), anya ukwu ((greed), and ikpo asi (hatred) among us. Let’s smile more, be more agreeable, delightful, pleasing, less confrontational, and less contemptuous (disdainful, sneering, scornful).


Mistake # 8: We talk folks people down: we are disrespect to elders, and exhibit absolute impatience and impertinence. Yorubas and Hausas tend to bend and show respect, and other tribes pay obeisance (bob or curtsy) to get what they want, while Igbo stand erect as brick walls to challenge others with “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.


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 lower prices , and when prices hit rock bottom as Dollar and Naira fluctuate, original XYZ importer goes belly up (bankrupt). Let’s spend time checking things out before ordering. Let’s attempt to diversify portfolio, and relaxing at the end of the day.


Mistake #10: We trade on fake merchandizes, 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 build his own (Brother A) house, while using inferior materials to build a poor house for Brother B. Let’s believe in honesty as the best policy and keep our hands clean of corruptions.


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 who demands $1.5 ransoms from victims. Let’s set reasonable boundaries. The Hausas, River’s people and Yorubas know we Ndiigbo are dishonest and what’s why they drive us away and seize our property. The reason is this: If Igbo man can cheat his own brother, he will cheat anybody.


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 upon obtaining the Green Papers. Consider Igbo chemistry professor who stole $4,500 which an Igbo family sent for the purchase of a used vehicle and who refused to refund the money even after he was taken to U S court and a court judgment was rendered against him


Written by Dr. James C. Agazie; jamesagazie@gmail.com

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