Oye, Wed. Mar. 25, 2020:
Kedu ka okuko ga esi rapu nma gbulu ya tugobalu ite onu? Was it the cooking pot that slaughtered the chicken, or was it the knife that did?
We Igbo lay all blames for our marginalization in Nigeria on the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the father of independent Nigeria as well as the father of modern Igbo. And that exactly is equivalent to a dead chicken blaming the cooking pot, rather than the knife, for its death.
The Great Zik had no hand whatsoever in what befell us. His hands were completely clean.
Those who blame him are the real enemies of Ndi Igbo. Let’s call their categories out right here to illustrate every point clearly.
Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and Obafemi Awolowo are their categories.
Everything was relatively going enviably for Igbo until Nnanyi Zik handpicked Dr. M. I. Okpara and Dr. Akanu Ibiam as his successor, both as leaders of the Eastern Region and as the leaders of the NCNC. And, looking back now, this choice of Zik’s might be the only mistake Zik made. John Nwodo or another (other than K. O. Mbadiwe) would have made a much better pick as a successive Premier and head of NCNC.
Dr. Okpara’s headship of Zik’s NCNC was a disaster in the sense that he spun the party around to quite unnecessarily discredit Zik, antagonize Bello/Balewa, and kowtow to Obafemi Awolowo’s shakara.
And Igbo being Igbo, it did not take long for Igbo youths to decamp from Zik politics to Okpara politics: 1)because Okpara was a youth, too, and 2)because Igbo naturally admire action more than commonsense.
May I pull over briefly to illustrate the last point. Ndi igbo prefer nzogbu nzogbu, enyimba enyi mass hysteria to a conference where issues are hammered out to their reasonable conclusions.
They prefer loneranging to groundswell; the loneranger to the consensus builder; the leopard that hunts alone to the lion that moves in prides; the unilateralism of Okpara and the despotism of Ojukwu to Zik’s republicanism; the insanity of Okonkwo to the sanity of Obierika in Achebe’s fiction.
In deed the summation of Igbo predilection was captured by that great man of letters in the greatest of his books, Arrow of God, where Obika shot off like an arrow before he had heard half of his errand from Ezeulu. And the authorial intervention there pretty much explained that among the Igbo agility and virgo (that could break everything in their wake) were more respectable than guile and levelheadedness.
A loneranger stands no chance against a consensus builder or a groundswell. A leopard stands no chance against a pack of amotekun (cheetahs) or kwura (hyenas). And leopard is Igbo totem as cheetah is Yoruba and hyena HausaFulani.
Okpara’s and Ojukwu’s vigor didn’t even measure up to a percent of Zik’s in his heyday and Igbo worshipped him like the Roman’s worshipped Pompey and Caesar combined. But Igbo being Igbo, Okpara, Aguiyi-Ironsi, and Ojukwu arose with their vile energy and we rallied behind them to our own destruction.
The third category, Obafemi Awolowo, is easy money in the sense that without the stupidity of Dr. M. I. Okpara, General Odumegwu Ojukwu, and Ndi Igbo generally, Awolowo might not have united the Yorubas by robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Awolowo is virtually god of Yoruba land today, not because he defeated Ndi Awusa for Yoruba, not because he ever outsmarted them, but because he despised all Okpara (or any other Igbo, such as S. G. Ikoku) did for him; that way he ensured that Igbo was completely destroyed as from 1967.
As late as 1970, the Yoruba elite was mostly spiteful of Obafemi Awolowo’s ethnic national politics. Former NCNC adherents, such as T. O. S. Benson, Rotimi Williams, Olusegun Obasanjo, M. K. O. Abiola, Adeniran Ogunsanya, despised him. But then Awolowo topped off his war booty to Yoruba with post-war Indigenization Decrees and transference of all Igbo pre-war bank accounts to Yoruba accounts in a roundabout way.
With all that windfall to their advantage, the Yoruba masses and hard-up elite switched complete allegiance to Awolowo after the war. Maka na onye ji igu ka ewu na-eso.
And being that nkita sii na ife nya ji e so onye tolu afo bu na o nyulu anyu, o gboo agboo, the Abiolas, Obasanjos, etc. had to abandon their Nigerian patriotism for Awolowo’s Yoruba patriotism, if they, too, were not to be labeled ‘Political Bastards’ like Adeniran Ogunsanya was labeled by their Yoruba kinsmen.
Now, how does all that impact Igbo politics of today? It does so because post-war mainstream media were immediately usurped by Yorubas to continue in the Awolowo mode of smearing Igbo as Yoruba’s only enemy. And being that Dr. Okpara’s and General Ojukwu’s Igbo adherents are also pro-Yoruba like their heroes, Yorubas only obstacle to maintaining Igbo destabilization remains Zik.
In short, the Igbo denigration of Zik today was the initiative of Okpara, Ojukwu, and the Yorubas. Okpara and Ojukwu profit vainly from it by becoming Igbo heroes in his stead, that’s all (vanity of vanities). But Yorubas profit billions in cash, in investments, and in federal posts and allocations thereby.
Igbo jelu akwukwo, think! Think! Think! Think! Stop letting your ignorant masses or clannish sections to railroad you into another stagnation or debilitating showdown!
Get involved! Conference! Rub minds together anywhere you are! Protect yourselves and your families. Maka na o bu n’uno onye ujo ka a na-ano a tu be dike aka!
The Pastor of The Igbo Revolution