It is true that the Igbos fight among themselves more than any
other ethnic group in Nigeria. That is judging from my own
observations. When the Igbos fight among themselves, they don’t
know where to draw the line. Every fight among the Igbos is an
existential fight – that is, they seek to permanently destroy each
other. That is why it becomes impossible for them to reconcile
after a fight.
For over 20 years as a lawyer in America, I saw a lot of that. Even
a divorce between an Igbo woman and an Igbo husband will, on
the average, be more bitter than a divorce between non-Igbos or
between an Igbo spouse and a non-Igbo spouse. They don’t know
how to narrow a fight. They expand every fight into a total war.
That is why a divorce case involving two Igbos in America will cost
them more than if it were a divorce between two non-Igbos.
It is usually in Igbo-versus-Igbo divorce that one of the spouses
will go as far as informing the immigration that the other spouse
lied 20 years ago when he filed for his immigration papers. It is
usually in Igbo-versus-Igbo divorce that one spouse will seek the
deportation of the other spouse. It is usually in Igbo-versus-Igbo
cases that one party informs the authorities about some distant
crime the other party committed, which nobody else knew about.
I happened to intervene in a lot of Nigerian-versus-Nigerian
disputes in America. I knew that it was worse among the Igbos.
For instance, it was very difficult for an Igbo union or Association
to hand over power from one administration to another peacefully
without going to court. Very rarely! Usually, the new administration
will sue the outgoing executive and accuse them of stealing and
embezzlement (or any worse offense possible). They can do this
over $2000 dispute. The Igbos hardly like mediation. They want
their opponent to be dead. And he is willing to lose even his own
life to achieve that.
It was in one of such cases that the leader of a new Igbo union
administration testified in court against the leader of the outgoing
administration. In his testimony in court he said:
“We contributed and contributed and contributed and he ate the
money totaling $16,538”. He had to repeat the word ‘contributed’
three times in order to show the judge that they made the
contributions on more than one occasion. He was not educated
enough to use a word that would have avoided repeating the word.
Despite his lack of education, he was the most confident and
loudest in court. Typical Igbo man.
The judge was so shocked to hear that a human being ate money.
So the judge asked: “Do you mean he ate the money?”. The man
replied: “Yes, your Honor”. The judge continued: “Even the change,
the 38 cents?”. He replied: “He ate every penny of the money we
contributted”. The judge winced and the jury were visibly confused.
At that point, I asked to approach the bench. The judge was happy.
I explained to the judge that the man only meant that the other
party embezzled the money, not that he ingested the money. Only
then was the tension doused.
You know in Igbo language, the statement: “He ate rice” will be:
“Orili rice” or “Orie rice”. Also, in Igbo language, the statement: “He
embezzled money” is “Orili ego” or “Orie ego”. When an uneducated
Igbo person wants to say that somebody embezzled money in
English, he will likely say: “He ate the money”.
Look at the World Igbo Congress! What happened? After the
founding executive, there was so much infighting that they had 10
lawsuits in American courts and they were still looking for lawyers
to file more suits pro bono. That was a terrible experience. The
World Igbo Congress would have been the pan Igbo movement that
would have advanced the Igbo interest worldwide and bring the
Igbos together. But the moment one Igbo Governor gave them a
donation of $15,000, some members wanted to overthrow their
executive. And because every Igbo fight is war, they spread the
fight as far and wide as possible. They challenged the legitimacy
of their constitution. They challenged the ethnicity of some of the
executive members and claimed they were no longer Igbos, that
some of them were from Benue State. It was so bitter that it was
impossible to reconcile them. The World Igbo Congress had to die.
But Zumunta (the Nothern union) never had such problem. The
Yoruba unions did not have anything like that.
When I say these things, some young Igbo men get upset. But I
don’t care. Many of them are too young to know history. Many of
them are too uneducated to understand what is happening. Many
of them lack practical experience they can refer to. For instance, I
can refer to World Igbo Congress. One of the Founding leaders of
World Igbo Congress is my friend. He is here on DPA and will
probably read this. So, am I supposed to worry about what some
uninformed Igbo brothers say? Not at all. The Igbos need serious
reorientation to be able to make it. If the Federal Government of
Nigeria was smart, they would simply have recruited some Igbos
and set them against IPOB and watch them destroy themselves.
Just get some Igbos. Give them their own radio and tell them to
counter Radio Biafra, and they would do it perfectly well.
So, if you are a social scientist and they ask you to evaluate the
readiness of the Igbos for anything serious, you will come back
and report that they lack cohesion. They lack organizational
discipline. An Anambra man will fight an Enugu man any day. Just
tell him that Enugu people are backward and Wawa bush men that
drink their tea with Okpa, instead of bread. He will fight him. And
tell the Enugu man that the Anambra man is an Ijekebee man. (You
see: The Igbo people did not invent tea. They did not invent bread.
But they will abuse a fellow Igbo for drinking tea with Okpa instead
So, stop kidding yourselves, guys. You are not ready for anything
yet. We need a lot of underground work to prepare our society if
that is the direction we want to go. And the first thing we need to
do is to be honest to ourselves. We are not the geniuses we think
we are. We are actually behind. It is not what you do as an
individual that will count, but what you can do as a group. Even the
ants are better organized than the Igbos. Ask Nnia Nwodo. Ask
Chimaroke and Jim Nwobod. Ask Jim Nwodo and CC Onoh. (Yes, I
am aware of Awolowo and Akintola, Tinubu and Funsho Williams.
Don’t worry, I am well informed).
Beautiful write up by Emeka Ugwuonye .anbstt
COMMENT: Even though the author is linear in some of the truth
but hit the nail flush with a strike. The Iboes were very intelligent
tribe in the old days. But since the creation of different Ibo states,
many misconstrue that such division meant creation of other
enemy states. For those of us from East Central state, what we
saw during the civil war showed that the Iboes could fight,
regardless when united. We withstood the Nigerian Nation for 3o
months as a united force. But today, a husband from Ebony
married to a wife from Enugu, Abia, Anambra, or Imo could fall in
line with these kinda wicked ways as if he is from Mars. (Hail if u
have aforeign wife as those come with a different and sometime
heavy baggages. ‘Onyero uzo esi jebe Onitsha , odi nso)
Another aspect is marrying someone you do not know simply by
the recommendation of parents. “Nnwa chief” Or “Nnwa Barrister
and so on. The world has changed. It was a man’s world (James
Brown) but things have changed since O. J killed that white girl,
Nicole. It has changed so much trhat simple hogging a woman
today could be termed sexual harrasment, if you strlke a gold
Pease ndi Igbo, let us be like one as it was during the war that
existed before yout time. Stop that slogan of Ibu onye abia and I
am from Anambra and so on. It was meant to cause such hatred
for the gullibles.
It is true that the Igbos fight among themselves more than any