In five days, Nigerians will go to the polls to elect their leaders. No Igbos are presented by the major parties (PDP, AC, and ANPP) for election to the highest office in the land, the presidency. In a country with three equally sized ethnic groups (Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo), Igbos exclusion from the highest political office in the land does not make sense. One is, therefore, compelled to ask: are Igbos not part of
Clearly, in Nigerian politics Igbos are treated as orphans.
Apparently, the powers that be in
The most amazing part of this behavior is that these people seem to have convinced themselves that Igbos would accept their political marginalization and happily live with it. This situation is particularly shucking considering that it was largely Igbos that fought for
It is confounding how human beings engage in actions that eventually would hunt them and seem to think that their actions would not have the negative consequences they are bound to have. By treating Igbos as second class citizens, Nigerians have effectively told Igbos that they are not part of
If the political marginalization of Igbos continues, clearly,
Nigerians must be totally unintelligent if they believe that Igbos would sit on the sidelines and accept other groups to perpetually rule them. If other groups must forever rule
Hitherto some disillusioned Igbo youths formed the dissident group, Movement for the actualization of
As any one with eyes can easily testify, there is little or no economic development east of the
At present, many Igbo middle classes do not join MASSOB. The Igbo middle class either joined the chop-chop politicians of
Apparently, Nigerian rulers are happy with this arrangement. As long as they co-opt what seems to them the Igbo political elite they do not have to worry about the fact that little or no economic development is directed towards Alaigbo. The rulers of
The Machiavellian Nigerian rulers are largely correct in their negative assessment of the Igbo ruling class: many Igbos are opportunistic, amoral and lacking in principles; they are political prostitutes. But that is not all there is to Igbos. There are Igbos with principles and integrity; these are the ones that stayed out
Those Igbos who neither belong to MASSOB nor to the co-opted comprador class acquiescing in the destruction of their people will one day make a move to improve their people's lot. Some members of this group, such as I, took the opportunity of our exile from
In the last couple of years, I have devoted my time to understanding the Igbo character structure (that is, in as much as a group of people can be said to have a group character). I wrote extensively on what I perceive as the weaknesses in the Igbo personality structure: such as the Igbo tendency to feel inferior and seek compensatory fictional superiority over other people; Igbo pursuit of individual achievement often without regard for public good; Igbo tendency to seek personal glory, what can be called narcissism, a desire for admiration and attention while not paying attention to other people's needs and so on.
The reason for my writing is to help Igbos understand themselves and work on improving their weaknesses while optimizing their strength. Igbo strength is self evident. No one, for example, doubts the Igbo ability to work hard and make it at the individual level. No group in
Every society must balance individual and public interest. If you want public good you must submerge some of your ego to serving public good; you cannot serve only your self interests and expect to have a great civilization.
Civilization is derived from civitas, city, and city means collective living, not individual living. Igbos must learn to pull together and reduce their individualism, though individualism has its uses.
For our present purposes, some of us have used our time exiled from meaningful participation in Nigerian politics to try to understand ourselves and our people with eyes to bettering ourselves. We have ignored the social marginalization of Igbos. Nevertheless, that marginalization is intolerable and ought to end.
What exactly makes Obasanjo and his fellow rulers of Nigeria to believe that Igbos could be kept out of meaningful participation in Nigerian politics forever and that they would not seek to change the situation, including doing so by drastic means? Obasanjo and his clique must be totally bereaved of political smarts if they do not appreciate that marginalizing the most vigorous group of human beings on earth, the Igbos, would create problems for the survival of Nigeria.
If this election is rigged, as expected, and
If you place a bird in a cage it seeks escape from it for its nature is liberty. If lowly creatures like birds seek liberty one does not understand what daftness of mind makes the thieves of
If another group of incompetent feudal lords are foisted on
One believes that African countries, as currently constituted, are too small to amount to much in international politics. In the world of the future it is large polities like the
This commitment to a larger political framework, however, does not mean that one is willing to permit some ethnic groups to dominate others. Domestic colonialism with some African groups dominating others is unacceptable.
We have to find a way to give all ethnic groups a sense of self governance within larger political entities. Whereas confederations are inherently weak, one sees no better idea on the horizon for
Each ethnic group in
It is simply intolerable for a talented people to waste their talents just because they are ruled by a bunch of shiftless persons from only God knows where. I say it is time for confederation or
For the good of all Africans, let us hope that this election is not rigged for the benefit of some anointed persons and groups to rule
Ozodi Thomas Osuji
April 10, 2007