I (Ena Ofugara) am not Igbo. I am proud of my Urhobo. However, as a student of history, I wish to show just what these great people came/come against and yet thrive.
Okay, the incessant killings in the North will be glossed over so as to make this article not overly long. The civil war will also not be discussed.
However, post civil war, as I explained in my post MINORITY REPORT: THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED AGAINST YOU, the rich in Nigeria have major roots in the Indegenization decree of 1972 and 1977. I reminded how the banks gave people of other tribes, predominantly Hausas and Yorubas loans to by up companies owned by foreigners. Now imagine the Federal government forced Chevron to sell 51 percent of its shares and that Access Bank will give you loans to buy the shares. How rich will you be in a year? 5 Years? That is how many Yorubas and Hausas got to own UAC, all those Dunlop, Leventis, Cadbury, etc.
Now while this was ongoing, Gowon told the Nigerian banks to give TOPS twenty naira to any Igbo man that had money in the bank before the war. That is, if you had 5 naira before the war, you will be given the 5 naira. But if you had a hundred naira, you get just twenty naira in full fulfillment of the banks duty to give you your money.
Ask yourselves “why would the banks give Igbos only twenty naira? Did the banks collapse? So why pay less than you were given?
So while the banks were giving loans to Hausa and Yorubas to buy Oyibo companies they did not build, Igbos were being cheated out of their rightful moneys.
Now not also that these people lost Houses and business across the land. It is safe to say that as at 1970/71. the richest Igbo had 20 naira that may be the equivalent of maybe one million.
Let us look at how Dangote made his money. He Dagote (a great man and pride to Nigeria) has an uncle called Dantata who owned huge chunks of the groundnut pyramids of the 50’s and 60’s. He gave Dangte a loan and Dangote paid it back in record time. CLAP CLAP. The add that Dangote has had his “brothers” in government, from IBB to Abacha and Abdulsalaam. When they now agreed to democracy, he was rich enough to have funded Obasanjo and so government policies, be it monopoly afforded him for rice, sugar flour and of course a large share of subsidy etc ensures he is the wealthiest Nigerian (note many had same opportunity but did not use it. We kowtow to Dangote’s investment capabilities).
However, for the Igbo man, where will he see an uncle that will loan him money? The richest man in their family has how much as at then? So while Fani Kayode can inherit property of his father and grandfather and great grand father, a Chidi Cali cannot inherit anything from his grandfather who had business in Kano or even Port Harcourt. Neighbours have made his dad’s storey building theirs, and even someone as educated as Saro Wiwa lived in an Igbo war emigrant house as his. (a sore point of the Niger Delta and Igbo Unity) WAEC building was Ojukwu’s dad’s building and like that building, thousands and the land with it, lands worth billions today were taken from Igbos and each and every Igbo had tops 20 naira, destroyed homeland, stolen and destroyed wealth away from the east. Also his brother is never president that will give him oil block or fuel lifting. Of 33, only one Igbo man and because he was in Obasanjo’s good graces.
YET LOOK HOW PROUD THEY STAND TODAY!!! Look what they have achieved for themselves. FIRST GENERATION WEALTH top second generation. From being unable to send their first sons to school so he could help look after the shop, to producing first class brains in all departments of modern learning.
So today, as you accuse Igbos of wanting their Biafra or of Baby Factory, or liking money and ready to do anything for money, remember that just forty years ago, while the banks were dashing your uncles loans to buy all the companies of Nigeria, it stole from the Igbos. Know that appointments have not favoured them. Note that they remain persecuted and many speak such ill and hate towards a people forced by need to survive to be extra-aggressive towards their sustenance. Maybe if you took their history into consideration, you will not be so critical of them, but instead say “what a resilient people” and give God the glory that FOR NOW, we and such a great people are compatriots.
Ena Ofugara, is a political analyst and social critic and blogs on social media.