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Re: Marginalisation of the Igbos

By Olukoya Adekanle
 Published October 1st, 2008

I read a piece from one Erasmus Uche Ikedilo on marginalization of the Igbos and I really feel sorry for the perceived grievances from this region. Much as I appreciate the fact that the Igbos are marginalized in country, I do not agree with Uche on his generalization that a whole tribe like the Yorubas are behind their problems in the East.I am a Yoruba man and have been in the East for more than half a period of my entire life with my tertitiary institution and national service in the East.He left the leprosy on the body of the Region and started treating the guinea worm infection which is not obviously a way of treating the terminal ailment. The Igbos are one of the very resourceful tribes in Africa; very hardworking and creative with a good attitude to life but they have been unable to produce a common front before and after independence because everybody wants to lead; nobody ever wanted to support his brother to be a leader. Remember the politicking in the era of Sir Mbanefo, Mbonu Ojike, Sir Mike Okpara, K.O. Mbadiwe who were not only respected in Eastern Nigeria but Pan Nigeria.We should not also forget the rancor between the late Professor Chuba Okadigbo and the Great Zik of Africa.I hope Uche remembered Eyo Ita and his political sagacity and what led to his ouster as the head of government in the East before Independence. Major Nzeogwu would have taken over then If he was not frustrated by Ojukwu when he was the commander of the Battalion in Kano.I hope Uche has not forgotten that Col.Nwawo was given the mandate to arrest the young major because Ojukwu had the fear of the unknown and because Nzeogwu was not a "pure" Ibo.The tribe blew up that opportunity and alas it got into the hands of an Hausa Easterner who was too laid back to consolidate on the "gains" of the coup.I find it very insulting to the Yoruba race in the face of this generalization. Remember the late Adeniran Ogunsanya and late Chief Bode Thomas as well as the great Ibadan politician, Sir Adegoke Adelabu were never Awo's men. They were on the side of the Great Zik.

Let us stop wiping up tribal sentiments. They will only make us drift apart. The problems in the East at the moment is that  literacy level is still very low. Promising Ibo chaps who are supposed to be in school are wasting away in Onitsha, Aba, Nnewi etc in the name of learning one trade or the other.After graduation and without money to start up,they take to such heinous crimes as robbery, rituals killing, militancy, political thugs, bunkering, cultism, kidnapping and all that. They find it very difficult to come to terms with the present  challenges at  their low level of education. What are the Ibos in diaspora doing about this. One would have expected the group to carry out enlightenment programmes that will free them from this ignorance rather than coming home every December to show off your wealth and face elimination by these youths.Orji Uzor Kalu used to earn the respect of Nigerians if not for any thing but for standing up against the tyranny of the Obasanjo's government but back home Abians are suffering. There is no good road for instance in any part of Aba of which 90% is  state road.What would have happened if he became a President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.The only credible governor from the East that I can die for is Chris Ngige because he stole my heart away by his laudable achievements within a very brief period..EFCC visited him and found nothing. This is not the same for other governors.Dubious governors from the East visit the United States and  Europe to flout their ill-gotten wealth and parties are thrown for them.You celebrate mediocrity and high level corruption. The ruling party used Igbos to truncate the ambitions of Chief Alex Ekwueme and Honourable Ken Nnamani who are  respected figures in the East.Till tomorrow,a Professor Nwabueze can not represent the East because money bags and high level politicking among his brothers will frustrate whatever ambitions he has. Look at the late Sam Mbakwe and  Jim Nwobodo of the second republic, I have not seen any governor in the East that  achieved what these men achieved  between 1979-1983. The facts are there for everyone to see.      

Olukoya Adekanle


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