Saturday, June 17, 2017 11:45 pm
By Nicky Okoye
So, a young man was given access to a microphone, on a radio station and then he started spreading a hate message which has resonated with a number of his fellow ethnic group. It makes you wonder, did the Igbo people have hate in their heart all along?
Or was this young man responsible for digging deep into the consciousness of the Igbo people and unearthing deep rooted hate for their fellow human being which has been lying dormant there waiting for a special calling?
In these times, many have refused to use their minds, their brains, their thinking faculty or whatever else provides all human beings the ability to reason, to plan and to position for long term success and prosperity.
The other day I watched a program on National Geographic Channel, in which it showed a new technology that allows a man to use his thoughts (mind control) to control a flying drone. I also watched a driverless car which could drive hundreds of miles without a human driver.
And then there was an experimental Nano robot (microscopic size engineering feat), which could be injected into the blood stream of a patient and it circulates the body to hunt down disease carrying pathogens.
The developments and the excitement of technologies of the future are phenomenal. Unfortunately, my people, the Igbo people are completely distracted from these revolutionary advancements in Humankind, as they have currently engulfed themselves in a petty ethnic, tribal bickering and potential conflict which has the potential to wipe out the entire wealth and gains of the Igbo Nation over the past 50 years. They said Igbos are marginalized
Well, I don’t agree, it seems those who choose to peddle this falsehood are using what Chimamanda Adichie (the celebrated Nigerian writer) calls the single narrative story. They are judging marginalization based on who and who gets Federal Government appointments.
So they make a great issue out of the fact that Igbos are not at the helm of affairs of any major Federal Government agency and that the Igbos are not in the leadership of the Nigerian military or any of other paramilitary agencies.
This may be true but it’s not the full story. The single narrative story is a dangerous form of propaganda which is designed to deceive, and in this case the young Igbo people seem to have bought the story, hook, line and sinker.
Below is what those spreading these HATE messages and marginalization stories don’t want you to know:
If the truth be told the poorest people in Nigeria live in the Northern part of the country. And according to a study by the World Bank, if Northeastern Nigeria were a separate country, it would be the poorest place in the entire World.
The records continue to show that Igbo students far outperform their counterparts from other parts of Nigeria, in all external examinations.
In addition, the USA Nigerian diaspora are recorded as being the immigrant group with the highest average earning capacity, far out earning their African American counterparts.
I understand that the percentage has grown to more like 70% today. The same story is told of Igbo investments in Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, all across Northern Nigeria. In fact, Igbos have invested in every town, city and community across Nigeria with no apologies. That’s what we do. We are investors, risk takers and business people. This is not going to change any time soon.
I don’t want to go much further as you are slowly getting my point by now. So where is this modern-day agitation for Biafra coming from? Why have some people convinced some Igbo people that they are suffering, that they are slaves in their own country, whereas the Igbo, in terms of business and commerce, most probably own the entire country?
Our lack of access to Federal Government appointments currently, has not stopped us and it has not even slowed us down. So, what’s all the noise about? In any case we only recently produced the Central Bank Governor, Charles Soludo, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum (by marriage) Mrs D. Madueke, the Chief of Army Staff, General Ihejirika, etc.
My take is simple, if the Igbo truly want Biafra then we must be prepared to lose our advantages in business and commerce which has been built on a large Nigerian market over the last 50 years.
Having said that, I do not think a majority of the Igbo people want Biafra or any other new Nation for that matter. We do want to be treated fairly in a restructured well repositioned and prosperous Nigeria, and we do want a meritocratic society in which our goals and aspirations can be pursued without discrimination.
The Igbo nation is about brotherly LOVE, not HATE as some will want us to believe and so we believe very strongly in affirmative action, we expect that a new restructured and repositioned Nigeria will continue to provide affirmative action to our northern brothers and sisters especially as regards their access to education, investment and healthcare.
We would love to have the opportunity to keep investing all over Nigeria and the rest of Africa and even the World. We do also want to use this period of mixed messages to also provide a deep-rooted focus on investment in South Eastern Nigeria for a change. Maybe if the young people who have been agitating are given an opportunity to build a business or to get a job, the crafty misguided people that are misleading them will no longer have members to call on.
I call on all well-meaning people of Nigeria, especially the Igbo people to join me in promoting an initiative designed to stimulate a monumental investment drive for the Southeastern Nigeria that will create over one million new jobs and completely diffuse this agitation for Biafra.
I love Nigeria and I love the Igbo people, we are one and the same. And a few overzealous, ill-informed young people will never change these facts.
Dr Okoye is Convener, Nigeria Leadership Summit and Founder, Empower Nigeria