Chinomso Awazie, (NIGERIA MOMENT).
I am not given to speaking from both sides of my mouth, never have, never will. Let’s leave such ambiguities to ‘speaking in tongues’. That much is enough confusion for our world as it is.
Also, I’m not on social media for some sort of popularity contest. With all due respects of $3 Million dollar mansions and customized RR Vogues, I have other things in mind; informing and bringing a brutally honest perspectives to issues, not minding the cost. Basically, I say what others try hard to sugarcoat, spin around so flavour it you will have an easier time navigating the Hampton Courts Labyrinth that getting the message in there narratives.
Let me state it clearly first: I have no regrets supporting former President Goodluck Ebeleme Jonathan (GEJ) in the last elections. Igbos generally did. I dare say we fought more for GEJ than his region the South Southerners did. Before you ride on with your ‘ntoin’ feelings on this, let me make you understand certain things:
1. Igbos hate injustice, no matter who it is meted out against, them or another person or tribe. The last elections was about ethnicity and the oil, period. There are two kinds of Northerners,
(a) The enlightened detribalized Northerners, many I have on my friendlist but who unfortunately are in a very minuscule minority, a microscopic few according to our extempore comedian, Patrick Obahiagbon.
(b) The regular highly bigoted Northerner who unfortunately are in the majority, with a preponderance for herd mentality having been properly indoctrinated from birth on religion and tribalism issue. The second class of Northerners see Nigeria as an inheritance and you have to give it to them, they are the most politically advanced lot in Nigeria. They understand the principle of ‘divide and rule’ so well, mastered the art of history revisionism and know how to ‘stoop to conquer’ very well. Some other people see them as ‘shoe shinners and gatemen’ tribe and level them off with the ‘aboki’ term that derogatorily assigns them stupidity. I have never done that because besides being brought up to never attack ethnicities, cultures or people’s preferences, I never saw them as stupid. I rather saw them as one hell of a strongly focused politically savvy lot.
Wait till the next census comes to understand how well they know to play Nigerian. Reason I scoff at people that will always chant, ‘we will vote them out’! Malaria induced dreams. Dudes just tested out some hypothesis on Nigeria in the last elections and proven what they need to prove. As per the Yoruba’s, I will mix caution with truth in the right proportion here. A typical Yoruba man sees him or herself as an all-knowing Oduduwa descendant with the exclusive rights to wisdom.
So, whatever ideas you come with is looked at with scorn first and then proceeded to be proven stupid with all sorts of antics and logic, even ones that sound ridiculous. I admire their ability to stick to their guns narrative-wise notwithstanding if it makes sense or not. Idioms to back up positions are never in lack and what I’ve seen is that those idioms are some sort of clan-call that they are genetically wired to heed.
The moment an idiom is dropped, like a magnet, it aligns every Yoruba person in the discussion in a certain chosen direction with other possibilities shut out. I’ve learnt to not push further when that happens, just have fun if I must, but not hope to convince anymore. Hence, when the ‘clueless’ term on GEJ originated from the South West media, it was less about his performance and more about his ‘inconcubility and alacrity’ to come up with ideas and daring to be a ruler over them. How can someone from the ‘clueless lot’ be in charge? It was about more of dealing with an affront on their intellectual superiority position than it was about performance. To the North, clueless meant another thing altogether. It was about GEJ not smelling the coffee of betrayals and destruction brewing even in his own cabinet, he was clueless to the trappings of power politics and also not understanding how to use powers at his disposal.
Take a hint from the actions of the despot in power now and you will understand the average Northerner’s notion about use of powers available to him. GEJ on the other hand had a very different philosophy. He believed that if you use more than 40% of powers available to you, then you are not a true leader, that your leadership ability should get people follow you naturally. An idea ahead of its time in our clime!
He believed ‘your works will speak for you’ and never understood the idea of ‘loudable projects’ in the context of Nigerian affairs; ‘Loudable projects’ are projects that you ‘announce with loud speakers as you start them, carry them out and after you complete them, you add extra loud speakers’, never mind if it was sharing 60 leaves exercise books to pupils or sachet water to village women. Announce, announce and don’t get wearied of announcing. Loudly too. A shouting match, more like drown other voices with your own loudness. Again GEJ missed it by not understanding the ‘loudable projects’ concept. Kindly note that I didn’t use LAUDABLE; if it is Laudable and not ‘LOUDABLE’ in Nigeria, you are wrong, period!
Igbos, myself inclusive saw this injustice, a rabid GEJ hate that arose from despicable primordial sentiments and instinctively fought it, notwithstanding that they weren’t exactly the biggest beneficiaries from his administration projects-wise. We followed our principle of staying on the side of oppressed, a position that we have been vilified without end by the South Western media. The Northern voices curiously rarely make such vocal mockeries. Dudes know how to let another do their hatchet job for them in that regards. They prefer actions. Do what they want and damn the consequences, and the South West in a not-justifiable-by-history disposition rush to defend each and every one of northern halitosis. Always played like a badly tuned piano by the North and more interestingly, always will judging by the trends in their current generation.
2. Igbos see the future and most times act on it somewhat PREMATURELY! Our actions in the now can many times be misconstrued. And we have this rather unhealthy attitude of not bothering to explain, making us come off as proud or offish most times. In reality, we succeed in endeavors long before people realize it. They fight our decisions of the now, we fight our demons of tomorrow and when tomorrow comes, we shift the goal post again, while a mix of regret in hindsight and pain of loosing out makes other tribes hate our guts which manifests in envy and jealousy, meanwhile, we are already onto the next goal.
Fortune favors those with foresight, rarely those with hindsight. We saw what Buhari will be, we opposed him. And he has proven us right. But he doesn’t have a clue as to what is in store for him. We have lost a war before. Maybe we have paid our dues in regards of loosing wars. Maybe we have learnt better ways.
Now to the matter at hand: BIAFRA!
Let me break it down for you; IT RUNS IN THE BLOOD OF EVERY REAL IGBO MAN! We have a term for those that have been brainwashed by certain interests; EFULEFU! Means a useless person that has lost his bearings from his origin, like an astronaut that has floated away from his spaceship, directionlessly lost forever. And they easily get ostracized. Sorry my Igbo brothers for letting the secret out there.
The efulefus will never understand what is happening to them till it’s too late, they will just be noticing some not-too-ok social environs that they might not be able to put a finger on what is wrong, but everyone around them knows what’s up.
We are a fiercely independent people. And fiercely loyal to our convictions too. Without regrets.
However, we are not logs of wood. We have feelings. Watching certain sentiments sprout from places hitherto considered unlikely is very sad indeed. It is not totally surprising though. During the elections, Amaechi, more a brother to GEJ than Igbos (and I mean that in a sort of loose sense considering the controversy of Ikwerre sentiments) was the biggest Judas to his brother.
Now the battle is over and realities are settling on ground, it was tsunamic for Edwin Clark to charge into the scene and call his ‘SON’ a failure! I was opportune to listen to this man IN HIS HOUSE IN ABUJA tell his story about Goodluck Ebeleme Jonathan. So many seemingly authentic narratives. I am still to come to terms with the fact that he said what was attributed to him.
Maybe, it’s time for me to listen to what his Ijaw brother’s have been telling me about him, that he is so fickle, unreliable and unashamedly hypocritical. The more I try not to stereotype, the more people give me reasons to. Very tiring! Very so tiring.
So, for those of you calling Igbos idiots for our support of your brother, WE HEAR YOU CLEARLY! And left for me, I would suggest Nigeria be taken apart into her 450 tribes or so. We clearly are not one people, not by the slightest stretch, but that is not the problem.
The problem is WE DO NOT HAVE ANY INTENTIONS TO BE ONE PEOPLE! The way the typical Northerner views the rest of Nigerians, Igbos as stubborn slaves and Yorubas as willing tools, the way Yoruba views the rest of Nigerians, Igbos are a ‘good to be exterminated tribe’ and Hausas as worthy masters, the way Igbos see other tribes, Hausas and unrepentant oppressors and Yorubas as hating us without cause, tell me why any person in touch with his honest conscience would want the such a sham of an arrangement to continue?
Every effort to negotiate a concomitant coexistence has been staunchly opposed and thwarted by the North with certain elements from the west playing the traditional ‘willing tools’. Every effort to oppress has been resisted by Igbos at whatever cost, be it to their lives and properties or to their stake in Nigeria.
And very vocal voices on social media feel it is right to alienate the Igbos with insensitive narratives tantamount to mocking the Igbos? Well, in life, the law of sowing and reaping is so permanents like day and night, CANNOT BE CHANGED!
Efiks, Ibibios and others from that axis, I respect them so much. I am yet to see any reasonable treachery emanate from that end against ANYONE in Nigeria. If they tell you ‘good morning’, feel free to get out of bed because it is truly morning. The rest of Nigerian ethnicity? Ermmm.
I will end thus; according to Igbo proverb, “He that kills his native doctor, have the witches and wizards after his life gone extinct?”
It’s about time I applied my ‘take a second look’ principle to certain allegiance and alliances. This crying more than the bereaved business seems to have visited ‘Ota Farms’ and beginning to get a k-leg.
By Chinomso Awazie