Some have described what happened last weekend in Nuremberg, Germany, to our cherished Senator, Ike Ekweremadu, as a show of shame; indeed it was and more than. It is an abomination. If we go strictly by African traditions, it is sacrilegious for son(s) to invite a father for what was supposed to be a goodwill session and then descend on him, beat him, pelt him with raw eggs, boo him and worse of it tear his clothes, all in full public glare. Except if there are some other things we do not know, Ekweremadu did not just wake up and go to Germany for his private business, neither is there information that he organized that gathering in furtherance of a hidden presidential ambition. If the above were to be the case the probability is higher that nobody would have maltreated him the way it happened.
He rather would have been accorded a reception with all the red carpet treatment. From the look of things he was invited in what I want to believe was a big setup. The president of Ohaneze, Nnia Nwodo and the country’s ambassador to Germany were supposed to be special guests alongside Senator Ekweremadu who was supposed to give the keynote address. The other two stayed away for various reasons and only Ekweremadu found himself there, and he didn’t give the address for which he was invited before hail was let loose on him, and from reports only him was the main target in what was clearly a senseless adventure.
One is still at a loss why the organizers of the event of that magnitude couldn’t put certain basic things down. An event of that level ought to have security presence either of the state or a private security organization. None from the look of things was on the ground. I have read that the police were duly informed but what was at stake was far beyond mere information. They ought to have requested very clearly for police cover. That omission or negligence raises issue of motive. If I were to draw my own conclusions, I will judge them co-conspirators in the show of shame. What happened in Germany is not only a big minus to the Igbo it is a big dent on the Blackman all over the world. One of the things the white people tell us is that the Blackman has low intelligence quotient and so has this inability to organize himself properly with the highest level of decorum. We are never tired to dispute this, but for one defense we put forward, ten practical actions follow which render our defense foolish.
The ugly event in Germany last weekend is one of such. What happened was clearly not a Nigerian challenge; it was purely Igbo problem revolving round agitation for a separate Republic of Biafra. It was about secession and differences in strategies. In the mix are those who want Nigeria but a restructured Nigeria that runs on a true federalist principle. Then there are the young generation who didn’t witness the Biafra war of survival but who are traumatized by what they have read of the war from both oral and written history and who are very angry that the outcome of the war has continued to haunt them as individual and as a collective. So, they want a total break from Nigeria as presently constituted. To this later group it is not about pretences or niceties, it is a straight forward, head-on exercise. It is this contention that played out in Germany, any mention of Nigeria and its bigger problem is a cover to gain attention and sympathy.
It is a family affair and that is why most Igbo, Nigerians and Blacks in Diaspora have reacted vehemently and negatively against the sponsors of the development. It was a clear case of washing the Igbo dirty linen in the public. Some say they want global attention; you don’t get global attention running on dirty acts. The white world may not comment or take action, but in their closets both official and private, they are laughing us to scorn. This people know that a people cannot outgrow the level of value they attach to themselves. Even internally those tired of the Igbo claim of superior intelligence and abilities are laughing. I have read All Progressives Congress (APC) taunt Ohaneze saying “is this not the IPOB all of you support?” Agitation or revolution awry when the vanguard turns their heat against the people they should carry along. Such acts breed division and promote disenchantment, enough to divert attention and even kill the struggle.
Senator Ekweremadu. who they attacked has been one of the leading lights for the Igbo. He is vocal, always having something to say on behalf of his people. As Deputy Senate President, he virtually led the efforts that eventually culminated in the release from prison of Nnamdi Kanu. Those acts are evidences of working for his people. I’m aware he has done a few other things even though he has never been a chief executive in the real sense of it; it is in the legislature that he got a bigger platform and to the best of our knowledge of Nigeria and the Igbo. I know he suffers from misconception of the workings of democracy, most people from his Igbo constituency do think that as a senator there is nothing he cannot do, including massive infrastructure and economic turn-around; yet that is not true. Now with this he is most likely to look away from some of this matters; others in his shoes are likely to be scared away. It is foolish to destroy your mighty men because in the day of external challenges, which will always be, there will be scarcity of men of valour to stand in the gap.
The development has happened, but what we need is remedy. Ohaneze should visit Ekweremadu in solidarity and to assure him his people are with him. The Igbo must know that there greatest strength is in unity. There is need for constant constructive engagements and the young ones must avail themselves of the opportunity. Dancing naked in the market place does nobody any good. Church leaders and elders must step in and rein in everybody. Igbo leaders must understand the seasons and times, act, talk and work appropriately. Igbo leaders wearing Isi-agu with Nigerian’s Coat of Arm may be ideal later not for now, and every good leader should be sensitive to the worries of their people. Wearing coat of arm as a dress when your people are agitating for a separate nation portrays lack of tact. Moreover it is unduly patronizing and conveys impression of total surrender and beggarly approach for due recognition. All who do this over reach themselves just like Ekweremadu did to attend a strictly Igbo summit in Germany. Even those who control and benefit from Nigeria don’t wear coat of arms as cloth. Igbo leaders should speak for their people and be ready to lose office if need be in pursuit of fairness and justice. Junketing abroad should cease, such funds should be dedicated to regular interface with their people, particularly the young generation, who in truth have suffered so much discrimination and injustice ranging from unjust quota system to abdication of merit. The boys need the full attention of their leaders.