The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. They have tasted bad leadership by their own people and non-Igbos, they have also been devastated by the effect of the Civil War. Thus, the decay in the Igbo governance is nothing too positive to write about. With a booming new population facing up to meet the past of their ancestors, what is the future of the Igbo leadership system for the younger generations, given that the past and present has failed woefully?
In this article I explore unbiased, as to why the new generation of Igbos are taking it upon themselves to rebuild their zones and how they are actually going about that.
An Overview of the Igbos
The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. There has been much speculation about the origins of the Igbo people, as it is unknown how exactly the group came to form.Wikipedia (2019)
Igbos are well known for their variety of soups, made from locally grown vegetables, fruits and seeds. The most popular Igbo soups are Oha, Nsala, Akwu, Okazi and Ofe owerri. The Igbo people have a traditional religious belief that there is one creator, called ‘Chineke’ or ‘Chukwu’.
The Igbo people are descended from Eri, a divine figure who, according to Igbo folklore, was sent from heaven to begin civilization. Another account presents Eri as one of the sons of Gad (as mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Bible) who traveled down to establish the present-day Igbol and. In Nigeria, Igbos inhabit an area referred to as Igbo land, which is divided into two sections along the lower River Niger. They live in most or all parts of five states: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, as well as minor parts of Delta, Rivers and Benue states. Small Igbo communities are also found in parts of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. The Culture Trip (May 22, 2018).
The Degrading Journey
A lot of people will say that the Igbos have a fair journey, but that is not really the truth. Why? The degrading journey of the Igbo people began after the civil war. Remember that it’s been 50 years since Nigeria’s brutal civil war calling for the secession of Biafra started. By the time it ended in 1970 over one million people had perished.
To make the matters worse, it was purported that at the start of the civil war, Igbos withdrew their funds from Nigerian banks and converted it to the Biafran currency. After the war, bank accounts owned by Biafrans were seized and a Nigerian panel resolved to give every Igbo person with an account only 20 pounds.
After the surrender of Biafra, some Igbos who had fled the conflict returned to their properties but were unable to claim them back from new occupants. This became law in the Abandoned Properties Act (28 September 1979). It was purported that at the start of the civil war, Igbos withdrew their funds from Nigerian banks and converted it to the Biafran currency. After the war, bank accounts owned by Biafrans were seized and a Nigerian panel resolved to give every Igbo person with an account only 20 pounds. Today, Federal projects in Biafra were also greatly reduced compared to other parts of Nigeria. In an Inter-society study it was found that Nigerian security forces also extorted approximately $100 million per year from illegal roadblocks and other methods from Igbo land, a cultural sub-region of Biafra in what is now southern Nigeria.Wikipedia (2014).
Regardless of the post war trauma, the leadership of the Igbo people is nothing too good to write about. Although distinguished men such as Sam Mbakwe, who was an Igbo politician and Governor of Imo State, southern Nigeria from 1 October 1979 until 31 December 1983. The Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, located in Owerri, the state capital, was renamed after him. In 1981, Sam Mbakwe set up Imo State University. Dr. Sam Mbakwe performed credibly as a Governor and someone else who took over his legacy is the person of distinguished Dr. Peter Obi.
Peter Gregory Obi is a Nigerian politician and businessman who was the vice presidential candidate in the 2019 Nigerian general election under the Peoples Democratic Party. He was also a one time Governor of Anambra State, and he performed remarkably well. He has been an advocate of good governance and has called to reduce the cost of governance.
Asides, there have been good governors who have tried their best, however these two humans are remarkable in bringing the dividends of the government to the people. So I have taken you on a road map of history, the question is what is the next generation doing to make sure there’s no repeat of bad governance in Ala Igbo?
The Millennial’s Grab The Bull’s Horn
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you must have seen my tweets where I call out bad governance in the Igbo Land. Well, if you have not kindly followed me on Twitter. The reality that an educated Igbo man will leave ala Igbo and head to Lagos and other places to get a decent job is not a good development as I would always say. Can’t we have those things and facilities in Lagos brought to the Igbo land for the benefit of our convenience and prodigy? That’s a question all must reflect on, because it’s getting more risky as other ethnic groups show their triblism towards the Igbo people.
To this light, the Alaigbo Development and Accountability Initiative (ADAI), an NGO was born. This a nonprofit organization that promotes development and good governance in Igbo communities (Ala Igbo) across Nigeria. Talking about grabbing the bull by the horn, there numerous members of the Igbo community championing this cause. I have known some of them via Twitter. So who are these heroes and heroines?
Juliet Kego, has been leading the vocal narrative for positive change in the Ala Igbo development. Still don’t know who she is? Check her out on Twitter. Well, she’s’ a Wife, Mother, Poetess-Story-teller, Weaver of the Spoken-Written-Sung Words, Leadership Trainer, Financial Literacy Coach, Life Connoisseur, Entrepreneur, Social Enterprise Catalyst, Belly-Dancer, Advocate for Women & Girls, Student of the Sensual Arts, World Traveler and a citizen.
Another person leading the change narrative is Ifechideere. She’s on Twitter too so check her out. In fact, she is a historian and her countless threads on various historic facts has helped me push out some great content about the Igbo narrative too. Ifechideere has been logical and outspoken towards the plight of the Igbo people too. She also leads the Ala Igbo Initiative program.
Noble Igwe is also leading the narrative too. The chairman of 360nobs is a full fledged Igbo man and passionate to change the narrative too. Though, you might not know he’s fully pushing the Ala Igbo Initiative, he’s a dedicated husband and business man and he and everyone else only hopes for a developed Igbo land.
Where do we go from Here?
Well, you and I are not really going anywhere (we die here). Ala Igbo is our’s and as they say: “North, West, East and South; no place like Home.” After journeying with me through history, you’d best believe that the only place you can call home is a place where you are safe and a place where positive development strives.
In all, you can support the Ala Igbo Initiative project by checking the official website here. You can also see the outcome of the previous survey they had prior to the official project launch here.