Afo, Fri. Apr. 03, 2020:
Duro Onabule, the seasoned journalist, had a business that took him to the Eastern part of Nigeria at one time.
And because he was not familiar with the terrain, he hired a chauffer driven cab to take him around. Expectedly, the chauffer himself was an Igbo chap.
As they cruised around, Mr. Onabule was asking questions and the young chap was putting him through.
And when they got to Nsukka, he pointed at a series of blocks that littered the landscape. He asked his chauffer, ‘What are these high rising buildings for?’
And he replied ZIK’S FLAT! But at the mention of the name Zik, the august visitor became excited to the chagrin of his driver.
He described the Nigerian first president in glowing terms, but at a time, his companion was no longer comfortable.
He interjected him, saying ‘But he betrayed us’ The journalist was thrown off balance when he uttered that terse remark.
In bewilderment he asked him, ‘Did I hear you aright? Come again! You said he betrayed you?’
Please permit a little digression here. Zik’s Flats was the first off-campus hostels in Nigeria built by Zik of African and donated to the management of University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
It comprises of 22 block of flats for students, restaurants and nursing mother’s home. Zik was kind enough to put this in place to ease to a great extent the accommodation problem students usually suffer.
Now as I was saying, Onabule did not take kindly with this impudent chap. And he wanted to put him in the path of rectitude.
So when he said that Zik did not support them during the war, he quickly took him to the cleaners.
As a vintage Yoruba man, he asked him a pertinent question. ‘Are you a father?’ He said, ‘Yes’. He continued, Supposing your son came back from school crying and reported to you that a fellow boy beat him up while in school. What will you do?
The chauffer said he will go to that school with his son to see the said boy.
And Onabule asked again. Supposing on getting there, you discovers that bully boy is bigger and stronger than your son? As a loving father, will you instigate your son to start a fight with the said boy?’ The Igbo man was benumbed!
Please permit another digression here again. Zik managed to put this structures in place and donated same to the management of UNN. Yet some people will open their halitosis mouth to castigate an honourable man whose stock-in-trade was doing good to his people first and to outsiders.
Unfortunately, his pride of place in Igbo land has been taken by pretenders. Those who are making vacous claim that they are not apostles of One-Nigeria meanwhile, they have business concerns scattered all over Nigeria.
Ojukwu had properties even in Bauchi. Uwazuruike has at Ijesha. Nnamdi Kanu was negotiating for oil wells with Nigerian government etc.
These aforementioned are those jostling with the Great Zik for right of way when it comes to being proudly Igbo. Wonders shall never cease!
By splashing mud at the venerable Zik, the Igbo man of today thinks he is doing himself a world of good, not knowing that he is bestowing a curse on himself. No matter what, it is morally inappropriate to bite the fingers that fed you!
I am aware that other tribes, after seeing the quantum of good done to Igbo people, regards an individual or group of Igbo extraction that takes a swipe at this gentle giant as a cursed set of people.
I was lucky to chanced upon a Yoruba man that schooled at UNN in the early ’70s, He said that they had personal encounters with Zik. That he used to come to their hostels to admonish them to turn down the volume of their stereos.
He concluded by labelling him a good man who wanted the progress of youths, and wondered aloud who gave some Igbos the effontery to be denigrating such a high profile personality!
And as I was saying, after admonishing his driver, the seasoned journalist Duro Onabule wagged his head and said, ‘Zik was not an Igbo man. But just a gift given to Igbo people. Nke bu ezi-okwu!
The Teacher of The Igbo Revolution