Date Published: 12/11/09
Provocateurs of Ndiigbo should understand that their patience is not inexhaustible By Temple Chima Ubochi
No one will dare maintain that it is better to do injustice than to bear it. (Aristotle)
Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependant upon popular opinion? (William Lloyd Garrison)
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. (Elie Wiesel)
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people. (Confucius)
Emenyere nwaogwugwu, emenyere nwanosike, emenyere kwa daa nnediya nno la ulo -All should be treated equally- (Igbo Proverb in Ngwa dialect)
We create an environment where it is alright to hate, to steal, to cheat, and to lie if we dress it up with symbols of respectability, dignity and love. (Whitney Moore, Jr.)
Believe that with your feelings and your work you are taking part in the greatest; the more strongly you cultivate this belief, the more will reality and the world go forth from it. (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Man is nothing but insincerity, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in regard to himself and in regard to others. He does not wish that he should be told the truth, he shuns saying it to others; and all these moods, so inconsistent with justice and reason, have their roots in his heart. (Blaise Pascal)
Ndiigbo have never been and will never be cowed; even during the war, they stood their grounds and fought virtually with nothing against a well equipped military and the super powers which supported it. Since then, Ndiigbo learnt what self help effort is all about and have been using it to alleviate their sufferings since the federal government in concert with some criminals in their midst calling themselves state and local government elected leaders are not interested about the people. All Ndiigbo have been asking, is the few things which are the responsibility of the federal or state or local governments, then the people can carry their own cross alone. These things the people need are those things the law of the land says it must be provided only by the government, otherwise, Ndiigbo are so enterprising that nothing seems insurmountable or unattainable for them on individual or group basis. On individual/group level, Ndiigbo are achievers, but, their governments are failures. People such as Orji Uzo Kalu, Ojo Maduekwe and some of their national assembly politicians are better as dash (Greek gift) to other countries as they are so useless for Ndigbo. They are all there for their own interest and do not represent or serve the interest of Ndiigbo. Although the problem is not peculiar to Igbo politicians, it’s a national calamity. Ndiigbo due to the fact that they are not getting much from the federal government, are supposed to make good use of the little they have, but, the Igbo politicians would not still use that little to serve the people, rather, they covet everything for themselves, just like the politicians everywhere in Nigeria.
The federal government of Nigeria and its officials have been provoking Ndiigbo through their non-chalant attitude towards issues concerning Ndiigbo. The federal government would do another thing and say another thing, whenever issues concerning Ndiigbo come to the fore. We were told that the contracts for the under-mentioned project have been awarded, but, later we found out that every thing about the projects were delusional. Instead what we have are:
*Fake contract for 2nd Niger Bridge
*Fake contract for Onitsha-Owerri road
*Fake contract for dredging River Niger
*Fake contract for Zik Mausoleum
*Fake contract for Oji River power plant
This writer would touch on some of the projects in the next part of this article. The most infuriating part is that the government denies upgrading Akanu Ibiam Airport to international status. The Federal Government, through the minister of aviation, said that it is yet to give approval for the upgrading of the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu to an international status, stressing that only four international airports - Kano, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt - exist in the country for now. The government clarified that the ongoing contract it recently awarded at the airport was for the expansion of the runway from the current 2.4 kilometres to three kilometres so as to accommodate bigger aircraft like Boeing 747, and not to internationalise the airport as being speculated. Several comments, including a recent media briefing by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, have held that the airport has been upgraded to an international status leading to the award of the recent contract. Even the deputy senate President thanked Yar’Adua for the gesture then.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu dismissed the recent statement credited to the Aviation Minister, Babatunde Omotoba to the effect that the Akanu Ibiam airport has not been designated as an international airport by the Federal Government, saying that the minister was being economical with the truth. The Deputy Senate President described the statement by the Aviation Minister as not only misleading and mischievous but was intended to paint lawmakers from the zone who made concerted efforts to prevail on the president to approve the airports new status in bad light. He said that the minister ought to know that the President had since 2007 approved that the airport be upgraded to an international airport. Ekweremadu said. “We are not disturbed because we are already done with that and are currently facing other important issues that affect the people of the south east zone.” Ekweremadu’s remark is coming even as the South East Caucus of the Senate has vowed to pursue the internationalisation of the Enugu Airport to a logical conclusion, insisting that since President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had already approved the new status of the airport, it remains irreversible. On its part, the South East caucus of the Senate in a statement issued by Senate Committee Chairman on Information and Media, Ayogu Eze noted that the statement from the Aviation Minister came to them as a shock. They said:
“That statement came to us as a shock because when the caucus of the senators of the South East went to see the President, he said he didn’t know there was no international airport in the south east zone and promised us that he is going to do something about it. Subsequently, we wrote to him and he acknowledged and wrote to the Aviation Minister directing that the airport should be made an international airport. It is unfortunate that this has become another thing today, but be that as it may, we are not relaxing on our oars, we are sourcing for airlines that will come and make Enugu a hub and then convert it to an international status, because all over the world, it is airlines that own airports. It is only in Nigeria here that we find government owning airports. So we are making effort to ensure that we get airlines that will make Enugu a hub and then bring the fund and necessary infrastructure that will make it international. I believe that it is very unfair and rather unfortunate that Nigerian people have continued to treat the South East as if we are the underdogs of Nigeria and that is completely unfortunate and if you see the way they speak about Enugu not being an international airport, they speak about it with a lot of interest and we have taken it up, we see it as a challenge, we are going to make sure that we surmount that challenge and make Enugu an international airport, with or without the support of the Federal Executive Council because I suspect there is a conspiracy to make sure that that project does not become realistic and we are going to make every effort to surmount that conspiracy.”
This is what this writer wrote on March 10, 2008:
“Since the end of the civil war, the widely publicised 3Rs of the then federal government have been mere political rhetoric as no genuine efforts have been made to rehabilitate the Igbos, reconstruct Igbo land and reconcile the Igbos with the whole of Nigeria. The Igbos were and are still made to lick their wounds as a “defeated” people. The scars of the war still litter the landscape; there are things that are constantly reminding them that they lost the war. For instance, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, a building named “Prince Anne Auditorium (PPA)” was bombed out during the war; to my knowledge, uptill 1988, that building was not re-built because the powers that be wanted it to remain as it was as a sign to the Igbos as defeated folks. The parts of that building that were not all that damaged were used as the Security dept, and Philosophy Dept. classrooms respectively. I can’t say now whether that building has been re-built or not.
I agreed wholly with what Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, the Presidential candidate of Democratic Peoples Party said in Vanguard Newspapers (16.02.2007)
“It is more than 37 years since the Nigerian civil war ended. That unfortunate incident was a defining moment for our country. While the wounds may have been healed, the scars are still visible. We must look at each other and declare: Never again! Never again shall our youths, our children, our brothers and sisters be exposed to the tragedies of a civil war. It is our collective duty to right the wrongs that led to that unfortunate chapter in the history of Nigeria.”
The Igbos are being subjected to one marginalisation after another. A president of Igbo extraction is being seen by others as a fairy tale that will never come to reality despite the fact that the Igbos have some of the best brains in the world. Nigeria might not know what it has been missing denying the Igbos the presidency of the country. The messiah Nigeria has been frantically looking for, might readily be provided by the Igbos because of their intelligence and industrious attributes. Not to say that other ethnic groups are lacking intelligent people, but, Nigeria is yet to give the opportunity of leading it to the intelligent ones no matter wherever he or she comes from.
This was culled from Prof. Femi Ajayi's article: Warning messages for Nigeria leaders while Andy Uba is not giving up on March 17, 2010 dream. It was a feedback written by a Yoruba person. That would tell you how parlous things are in Ala Igbo. Please read:
“My recent visits to Nigeria from US confirmed so much of what I stumbled into in this write up, Femi. I have travelled 3ce to Nigeria within 12 months by Gods grace what I witnessed people suffer is uncalled for. I flew from Lagos to Aba vide Owerri Airport for a traditional wedding and witnessed stories of woe of other guests for this occasion that travelled by road and spent 18 hours on the road for a 6 hours trip. Remember this is an intertribal marriage between a Yoruba guy and Igbo daughter, we all look forward to. Then I realized what Easterners go through, bad roads, road blocks manned by armed robbers in police uniform. You pay tolls every half kilometer. Some of the guests changed their trips to go back to Lagos by Air, even if it cost them their life savings, those who cannot still went back by bus and this is what the Igbos go through every day! There is injustice in Nigeria and it did not just start now, I remember my days in Adventist college (now Babcock University) in the 70's immediately after the war ended when a colleague came to my home town in Remo and found tap water at various location in the town and lamented they don't have this in Ekiti where he came from. And another from the East told me they don't even have road networks like you have here in the west. Those tap water system and good roads none exist now - what a country? The most recent trip was in August, when another friend invited me to join him in his private chauffeur driven-car to Benin at Chief Igbinedion 75th birthday. A trip of less than 2 hours from Ijebu-Ode - so we think. But spent 6hours in one spot at Ore junction no movement and got to Okada village after 11.00pm to be told there is armed robbery ahead by police at check point. The police have the information/intelligence of the robbery but could not do anything and after 1 hour of operation and us waiting now led us and other vehicles with their armored vehicle to the spot after the armed robbers are gone! What a country? We got to Benin after midnight- the days Thanksgiving ceremony we came for ended 4.00pm. Is this what Nigerians from this part of the country face every day - smiling and suffering? And we want every one to be happy with the government or party system that imposes leadership on the governed. We are all affected by this menace, whether Edo, Ibo, Yoruba, Igbira, Fulani or Hausa. If you know that Obasanjo cannot drive freely in Sango without being shouted at, the Yorubas know how to deal with their own, I feel the Ibos too can deal with the Uba's and their likes, instead of kidnapping the innocent honest and hard working people which is now the vogue. Ikemba, Akinrinade and Adekunle may be right in their opinions; what we need is not a civil war, we need our own Rawlings to stop all this nonsense. Nigeria can absorb Ghana's population which happened in the past, Ghana cannot absorb Nigerian over growing population. This is food for thought- Femi. Tunji“
Ndiigbo have suffered a lot in the entity called Nigeria. Politicians and government officials always allow ethnic consideration to colour their decision whenever it comes to Ndiigbo’s issues. The federal government has played politics with Ndiigbo’s lives and still we were told that the civil war ended about 39 years ago and that there was “no victor, no vanquished”. Everything about Nigeria is based on deception (fake). They said “no victor, no vanquished”, but, everyday, those in authority positions at the federal level, through their actions, inactions, words etc, remind Ndiigbo that they lost the war. The government at the end of the war, initiated the 3Rs policy to fool the gullible world about the magnanimity of the victor for the vanquished. Today, the conquered territory has not been reconstructed, the “defeated people” have not been rehabilitated and Nigerian peoples are not yet reconciled.
The scars of the civil war are everywhere to be seen in Ala Igbo and the federal government still treats Ndiigbo and Ala Igbo as conquered people and territory
Ndiigbo, after waiting in vain for their rehabilitation, decided to rehabilitate themselves. All they wanted from the federal government that cares less about them, is to give them the enabling environment for their entrepreneurial spirits to flourish and none was forth coming.
Ndiigbo rose from the ashes of the war few years after, as quickly as anyone had envisaged and turned themselves into trail blazers that those that killed their kinsmen/women´/children and confiscated their properties baffled about their ingenuity. But this writer wants to tell anybody who wants to listen that those who killed more than 3 million Ndiigbo, only killed the flesh and not their spirit. Ndiigbo were killed and those remaining multiplied; their properties were confiscated and they replaced them 100 folds. The point is that Ndiigbo were the winners of that war whether anyone believes it or not. What Nigeria defeated was only Igbo land, but, Ndiigbo as a people were victorious. What happened was that Ndiigbo left the conquered territory for Nigeria and went on to conquer the whole of Nigeria. Today, go anywhere in Nigeria, no matter how remote is the place, you would see Ndiigbo excelling in different fields. Most of the palatial mansions all over Nigeria are owned by Ndiigbo; most of the thriving businesses in Nigeria are owned by Ndiigbo; most of the richest Nigerians who made their money in a clean way and not through holding of political posts and embezzlement/looting of national or state or local governments funds are Ndiigbo. Go to Lagos, from Mile 2 to Badagry, most of the eyes catching mansions, businesses are owned by Ndiigbo, talk of Festac Town, Satellite Town, Alaba International, Oshodi Market, Trade fair complex, Ndiigbo are the majors there; talk of anywhere electronic appliances and medicines are being sold anywhere in Nigeria, Ndiigbo hold the ace there; go to Abuja, Ndiigbo have bought it up; go to Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Bauchi, Ikare, Ibadan etc, Ndiigbo have taken everything over. ThisDay Newspapers of Monday May 21, 2007 wrote how the then minister of FCT, Mallam E-Rufai said that Igbos own 73% of Abuja land. The Paper put it this way:
“ The Minister in charge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai over the weekend declared that Igbos have acquired about 73 percent of landed property in Abuja”.
The puzzling aspect of the whole thing is that after the war, Ndiigbo lost all their savings in the banks to the Nigerian government, those who saved thousands or whatever, lost it all and the inconsiderate federal government of Nigeria gave each household only 20 pounds to start life. That was how Ndiigbo set out to conquer Nigeria; today, Ndiigbo are among the richest people in the country. Ndiigbo, after the war, correctly envisaged that the government would abandon Ala Igbo to rot away, so they decided to leave the area to go conquer the other parts of Nigeria: when the time comes, they would return to take care of Ala Igbo, they only want the government to give them the enabling environment to chart the course of their lives themselves since the government is not keen in taking care of anybody and an international airport is one of the things they want from the government.
Why this writer said that Ndiigbo were the winners of the war is because, upon the claim that Ndiigbo are conquered people, they never allowed the injustice meted out to them to weigh them down, they picked up their pieced lives together and were energized the more and they set out to conquer Nigeria and that they did. Today, Ndiigbo are the economic force holding Nigeria. Go to Aba, Onitsha or Nnewi and see ingenuities at work, despite the despicable conditions the ruling class consigned these places into. Give these towns any piece of technology and in matters of days, they would replicate it exactly. Some people might laugh about it, but, that was how Japan, South Korea, China started and people were laughing at them, but, today, these countries are industrial and technological powers. Ala Igbo would get to the level of those countries, may be in our life time or not, but, the most important thing is that we would get there and our future generations would reap the rewards. The present generations of Ndiigbo at home are planting the figurative trees; our future generation would make use of them, that’s very important because someone said that “it is only a life lived for others that’s worth living”.
The point is that there are good and bad everywhere. This writer is not talking about political office holders in Ala Igbo because they are failures like their counterparts everywhere in Nigeria. The Nigerian political class, whether at the national, state or local government levels, are all failures and Nigeria lacks good leadership and governance at all levels, so the bad political leadership is not peculiar to Ala Igbo only. This writer wants anybody who would want to criticize this article to know that he’s vexed only with the political class and not with ordinary Nigerians suffering everywhere. The people of north east or north central or North west cannot claim that all is Eldorado for them because their people are calling the shots at the national level. The ruling class is the same everywhere and they all belong to one class and are there to protect the interest of their class. What some of them do is to cry of marginalisation wherever such a person feels he/she is not getting enough cut of the national cake and then such a person would start to play the ethnic card and to fan the embers of ethnicity and would brainwash and hoodwink gullible tribesmen/women forcing them to engage in acts which may lead to some of them loosing their lives or getting maimed for life or ending up in prison while the architect of their misfortune, the leader, goes unscathed and might end up profiting financially or otherwise from the misfortunes he led the poor people into. That’s what the political leaders use their people for and that’s how it works.
The point is that we all abroad or the ordinary Nigerians at home, whether from the north, west, east or south-south are all the same, the ruling class cares less about us and this article has nothing against us, only those using us to feather their stinking nest.
The issue here transcends ethnicity and personality. This writer does not need to fly in through Enugu International Airport from Europe or America, because of the proximity of Port Harcourt International Airport to his home in Aba. Port Harcourt is only about 40 miles from his home while Enugu is about 100 miles to it. But this writer hates injustice and would not because of his no need of an international airport in Enugu, stays aloof to the need and aspiration of his fellow human beings who would need the airport to fly in from Europe, Asia, America or elsewhere. The issue here is not only an international airport in Ala Igbo, because, that airport would serve people from Benue, Kogi and even Delta States better than the international airports in Abuja and Lagos. The point is that that locality needs an international airport and that locality happens to be in Ala Igbo. This writer had/has and would continue to fight for equal rights and justice for all people of all ethnic stocks and what he writes here has nothing to do with his “Igboness”, rather in order that justice and equal rights might be uphold, because, they say that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
To be continued.
Please endeavour to read these articles attached for more insight:
THE THANXS IS ALL YOURS!!!
Temple Chima Ubochi writes from Bonn, Germany through firstname.lastname@example.org