Well the question of Igbos seceding from Nigeria does not arise because it is not practicable. in today’s calculations. If you take the statistics of the land allocated in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, about 40 to 50 percent of is owned by the Igbos.
This means that those properties are owned by the Igbos. If anything happens by way of secession leading to breakaway of other components, Igbo people have hotels. They have invested so much in Abuja that it would be a disaster for them to leave Nigeria. This is apart from other cities that have much Igbo components.
Kano State as a commercial centre next to Lagos, about 40 to 60 percent of the commercial activities going on there is owned by the Igbos. Again, at the gate ways to the Republics of Niger, Chad and Cameroon through Maiduguri in Borno State about 30 to 40 percent of the commercial activities there are by the Igbos, especially in the north eastern part of Nigeria.
In the olden days several 911 trucks moving from the east to North Eastern are owned by the Igbos. Minna, the Niger state capital, has a large Igbo components. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first civilian President, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and K O Mbadiwe and many others had business links as they were born in Zungeru in the present day Wushishi local government council of Niger State.
There are other cities across Nigeria that you cannot extricate their commercial activities of the Igbo man like Lagos where you cannot separate Igbos from its economy, except we are trying to deceive ourselves or being economical with the truth. If the truth must be said, Yorubas in Lagos are the minorities because most of the Yorubas in Lagos are not indigenes of the state. The real indigenes of Lagos are minorities there. The bulk of the Yorubas in Lagos are from Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti states, as well as people from Edo and Delta states being part of the old Western Region.
Why do you think the Igbo people are yearning for a separate country away from Nigeria?
I see the Igbo man suffering from identity crisis. In the process of trying to identify who they are and where they are, they try to create an attitude of being underdogs, claiming that they are being marginalised, but forgetting that democracy is a game of number. Based on their five states, they cannot rule Nigeria without active support from other regions as they don’t have the majority unless they team up with the other tribes.
How can the Igbos be pacified over the civil war?
Who made them to be aggrieved? Who stopped the Igbo man from trading? Who stopped the Igbo from making his or her money? Who has denied Igbos anything? They feel marginalised because in the last political dispensations, they voted for the party that was in minority. The All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration still gave the Igbo political appointments. Let the governors of eastern Nigeria, Igbo land in particular go and work for their people they had abandoned. Instead of being busy buying lands and building multi-million Naira hotels in Abuja, the Igbos should return and do something for their people. The governors of the five Igbo speaking eastern states should use the money they collect from the monthly Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) to develop the east and their people, instead of investing in developing north and south western states. They should invest in their areas.
What stopped the Igbo man from making east the industrial heartland of Nigeria? What stopped the Igbo people from making Aba, Enugu, Onitsha, Owerri or even Nnewi the Osaka, the Tokyo, the China and the Korea of Nigeria? You cannot eat your cake and have it. Has anyone ever seen the Jews contesting elections in America, except on few cases? Yet they are the ones controlling the economy and even the government of America. Nobody from other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria today is saying that properties of the Igbos belong to him or her. When they are acquiring land in any parts of the country, nobody is stopping them.
How does the nation, especially the north, end the perceived hatred of the Igbo for a new Nigeria we all are dreaming about?
I wouldn’t agree with totally on the issue of hatred. An average northerner never hated the Igbo man. Personally, I love them for being very hard working and exceptionally good in whatever they chose to do. Nobody wants the Igbo people killed.
Nobody is ready to fight Igbo people. But, the Igbos are still suffering the effect of the killings of top northern leaders and the west during the war. The action was seen as tribal cleansing cleansing to give Igbos the chance to rule Nigeria. What they cannot get through the ballot box, they wanted to get through the barrels of the gun. I see the Igbos as being hunted by their past. Now, nobody is using it against them.
Do you foresee the Igbos producing the President of this country in the nearest future?
It is not impossible. But, this can only be if they can be players in one Nigeria. Nothing stops them from producing a president in today’s Nigeria. But, they are still having identity crisis. A typical Igbo politician has unjustifiably marginalised his typical illiterate Igbo trader.
A typical Igbo politician has abused the privilege of the mandate given to him by his brothers and sisters at home, while he is busy at Abuja buying land and building hotels. That is why almost all the people that governed eastern states now have cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). None of them has a clean bill from the EFCC. If efforts of the Igbo men are making to building properties in Abuja are put in building their homelands, their region would have been far better than what it is presently. If they can agree that there is one Nigeria, one of them would one day be voted as President of this great nation by the generality of the citizenry.
But I would not give them my support if everyday they are talking of ‘break up’. If the language of your politics is that of breaku-up, I would not think of you to becoming a national leader because you did not believe in the corporate existence of Nigeria.
In 1998, an Igbo man was almost voted as President when we went to Jos, Plateau State, for the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
We had the idea and mindset of electing the former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekeweme. But, the problem was that the ghost of June 12, 1993 was still hunting the former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). That made him to influenced the decision to return former Military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, into power as a civilian President.
Unfortunately, he (IBB) forgot that you don’t bring somebody right from the prison and make him a President. That singular decision has been following Babangida up till today.
He is being hunted by the ghost of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s mismanagement of Nigeria’s resources. If Obasanjo did well, we would not have been in the mess we are in today. If Obasanjo did a good job, he wouldn’t have brought in, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to power and who also picked an unknown Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as running mate. The rest is now history.