Nigeria is far from the united country we should be. I don’t know whether the fault is really in the structure of the country or the citizens’ mindset or both. One certain thing is that we have a way of putting a divisive yoke upon ourselves; the earlier we jettisoned this the better we would be. This should begin with those in positions of responsibility but who incline towards irresponsible acts.
Take Abike Dabiri-Erewa, President Muhammad Buhari’s adviser on the Diaspora. She is a beautiful woman; one that causes adrenaline to surge in every virile man. A stunning beauty any day, many looked forward to hooking up to NTA’s Newsline, which she once anchored and many upcoming journalists, including yours truly, looked up to her. I also believed she had a beautiful soul, and that that was what catapulted her from the hectic, humdrum life of a reporter to the dizzying political heights she attained within so short a time.
However, I am not so sure how beautiful she is inside. I am not so sure now whether she is as attractive to me as she had always been. I am not so sure now if she still commands the respect she once did.
And that is all her fault; for playing the tribal card that kept Nigeria under. Could she have lapsed into memory loss? or could she have suffered dementia or gone momentarily senile despite her vibrant, energetic age? Only she knows. Or, maybe, she got sucked by the Igbophobic syndrome that has held Nigeria prostrate all these generations? That vwould be very unfortunate but only Abike can explain how she could have forgotten the names of drug convicts executed in Saudi Arabia or on death row but remembered the names of the five Igbo guys, who were arrested for allegedly robbing a bureau de change in Dubai.
It seems ironical that Abike easily remembered the names of the Igbo robbers but forgot the name of the Yoruba woman, Kudirat Adeola Afolabi, mother of two, who was executed for drugs in Saudi Arabia, and many other non-Igbo on death row. Abike’s selective or self-induced dementia is worrisome and unexpected of an enlightened woman of her stature, who parades the corridors of power and can wield some influence in decision making. Of course, the action of the suspects is truly “despicable and shameful,” as Abike said but so was her naming only the Igbo guys without their Saudi Arabia counterparts and many Yoruba and other tribesmen also caught in criminality, even executed and on death row, who “went to a foreign land to disgrace the country.” She had earlier said in a tweet: “We need to tell our brothers behaving badly to behave. Let’s get the names of those involved to name and shame them.” Yes, naming and shaming is indeed a deterrent to crime but should not be only when the Igbo are involved. It is very disappointing and unbecoming of Abike to join the bandwagon of Igbo bashers.
It is so sad that Abike chose to go with the the traditional role of giving the Igbo a bad tag, which, unfortunately for them, has never limited the Igbo from excelling.
As the presidential adviser on the Diaspora Matters, and a seasoned journalist, did she hear or know about an Igbo lady, who trained and graduated from Israeli Defense Forces, as a lieutenant and now flies with El Al? Was she aware that four Nigerian schoolboys, all Igbo clinched the bronze medal at World Tech Festival in Monastir Tunisia? The boys achieved the feat after overcoming stiff competition from 40 other countries, including Canada, China, South Korea, Turkey, Bosnia and host country, Tunisia, etc., dazzling the world with their device called “Adaptable Alternative Power Supply for Sub-Saharan Africa.” Only last year, five Igbo girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School, Onitsha, Anambra State, represented Nigeria and Africa at the World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, USA, emerged tops in the contest, winning the gold medal. Not much was said about the laudable achievements of these young Igbo and Abike did not deem it fit to advise her principal to host them.
But she is quick to tell the world about the misconduct of the few deviants. Abike should also tell the world about the exploits of the Igbo wherever they are found on earth and inspite of harsh conditions imposed upon them, even in this country. I just can’t fathom why people feel intimidated by the Igbo. I don’t know why they deceive themselves thinking hating the Igbo or restricting them could ever break a people divinely elevated.
They have officially emasculated the Igbo, even exchanging Igbo billions for twenty pounds; yet the Igbo survived. They have denied the Igbo political stake and rightful dues but the Info kept trumping. Even when the Igbo exercise their right to electoral preferences like all others, the people are trampled upon and starved.
Nigeria officially depopulated the Igbo, reducing them to a minor majority, with the least number of states among the zones, but it does not matter how the Igbo are caged; their spines are never broken, as they always find their way out of impossible situations. The lesson for Nigeria is that you don’t achieve statesman status by hatred. No one excels who wishes another ill and for as long as these minions stand down the Igbo, there is little hope of this country attaining nationhood. The late reggae music maestro, Bob Marley, readily comes to mind… One love; that is all we need, from coast to coast.