Your article is a brilliant piece indeed, and I find it extremely beautiful to comment on, while acknowledging that you have done quite a good job which I hope will hasten the unity of the entire Igbo people from the South-East and South-South geo-political regions.
First and foremost, I must in totality agree with GABRIEL NWANZE that the election of Ambassador Ralph Nwanze is a landmark achievement by Ndiigbo. From this statement I affirm that the Igbo have had it bad agreeing on a common line of action, which in a broader sense as he puts it has mocked the inability of Igbo brothers and sisters in the South-East and South-South to stay united or at least even come together. Disunity of the various Igbo blocs from the different parts of the nation has become so intense that one would have describes it as insolvent because it came to an extent that I wondered whether it was a deliberate perpetuation or not.
I do not consider it very appropriate to go into the historical accounts on the factors that necessitated the distance in the relationship of the larger Igbo families since what is of paramount importance here is the proffering of suggestions on the way forward, which will help the Igbo nation move forward. Anyone conversant with my write-ups can authentically tell that I have written series of articles with the theme of near abjuration of not Igbo ancestry in the strict sense of it but, attitudes of the Igbo from the South East which typically strive to relegate us to the background thereby costing us our identity which eventually will but make a mockery of us.
A lot of people have queried my disavowal of Igboness, asking me what happens if the Igbo nation finds its feet again, and I have always responded that I would find no difficulty reclaiming my once-upon-a-time Igboness, the moment the Igbo from the South-East decides that we are Igbo and that the separation naturally created by the River Niger makes no sense politically. The truth remains that I am not expected to supplicate an ethnic identity; neither do I morally find sense in imposing myself on groups who by actions affirmation demonstrate that I am not one of them.
Although all of the arguments presented against South-Eastern as well as South-Southern Igbo by you, GABRIEL NWANZE are factually exact but I think but I do not see the argument on the feeling of the Igbo from Rivers, Delta, Bayalsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, and Edo States that the Igbo from the five South-Eastern States should bear the brunt of the lost Civil War because it is solely their affair if you consider that non-Igbo do not really differentiate us.
If you have ever sourced for an accommodation in Lagos where we have become inured to the phrase, “non Igbo” which tells you that Igbo are unwanted in which case you discriminatorily understand that an Igbo man or woman will not be given the property on rent, you will discover that the definition of an Igbo man or woman is conditionally does not exempt those of us from South-Southern part of the country. To them, we are all Igbo, no matter where you come from.
Well before suggestions are proffered, I wish to state that these problems which has caused the Igbo its unity should be blamed on Ohanaeze, an Ohanaeze group should have understand that what follows the end of civil wars in any country is re-orientations of the people whether, and mass campaign to disabuse the minds of the people globally. This was what Ohanaeze ought to have done, if this cause had been championed, there would not have been reasons why suspicions should rein whether among the Igbo race, within and outside Igboland and the world in entirety.
This would seem to me the first suggestion, which I would recommend to the socio-cultural organization, the earlier the organization sets up an orientation team comprising of prominent Igbo representatives from all Igbo regions or States the better. The Igbo speaking people must subtly win back because the Igbo from the South-East have behaved as though they own Igboland, I disagree with this attitude that South East is the ancestral home of Igbo in the country does not present a leeway to lord over the rest of us. Nzeagwu was the first to strike not because the Igboman from today’s Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayalsa and Edo was particularly marginalized but because he felt that Igbomen and women mostly from today’s South-East was being denied of what was rightly theirs. After all, how many non-South-Eastern Igbo from all of these states I have mentioned outside the South-East were involved in the coup?
Again, in our History curriculum as taught in our schools, History should be taught our scholars in a way that suggests that Igboland does not begin and end in the South-East geo-political region, as it is today understood in these places, our South-South Igbo should also do the same, and as a matter of fact, the federal Ministry of Education should be appropriately advised in relation to this suggestion to accommodate this in our course outlines.
It is sad that I can hardly remember any Governor from the South-East who has taken it upon himself to visit any Igbo speaking region out the South-East officially for the purpose of identifying with his kinsmen from this other parts of the country. The Igbo indeed distance themselves from us, they may see us as one on the pages of History books but their characters are far from acknowledging this. Will it not be wise if Governors from the South-East officially take visits to Ndoni, Ibusa, Ebu, Ozza, Ushisha and other Igbo speaking towns outside the South-East? Can you Gabriel Nwanze imagine just how much elated the people from these areas will fell. In fact, nothing stops, these Governors from sometimes identifying with the people by maybe re-constructing dilapidated roads and naming them after themselves.
The Igbo of South-East have done NOTHING to endorse or support the Delta North in their agitation for the actualization of Anioma State, the indifference in the attitude of these people should be discredited, I am personally certain to believe that the obvious indifference of Ohanaeze and Ndiigbo in general views the creation of Anioma State as a threat to the Igbo of South-East. I would have expected the Igbo wherever he naturally inhabits to support this cause.
Fortunately, I repose my trust in Ambassador Ralph Uwechue, whose office I believe will greatly enhance the unity of Igbo people. We cannot but wish him all the best as he strives to achieve the oneness of Igbo. I cannot wait to see this take place. I shall publish your article on .com
Emeka Esogbue hails from Ibusa, Delta State, Nigeria. He is a Historian and International Relations graduate and Political/Public Affairs Analyst.