THE ALTERNATIVE with Reno Omokri
The larger than life electoral malpractices that greeted the recent elections in Nigeria made headlines and shocked the nation. What, however, did not make as much headlines is the shocking internal xenophobia that came with these elections.
The treatment meted out to people of Igbo origin, especially in Lagos, is even worse than the rigging perpetrated by Muhammadu Buhari and his goons. The ethnic hatred unleashed in Lagos probably set back inter-tribal relationships by about a decade.
Thugs were unleashed on Igbo dominated strongholds in Lagos and voters were beaten and prevented from voting. All these were captured on camera, yet sadly, maltreatment that persons of Igbo heritage received in Lagos has predictably gone unnoticed by the Federal Government.
Even worse, the public comments of people in authority, both in Lagos and Abuja, appears to legitimize these unconscionable actions.
The behaviour of the Federal and Lagos state government in this matter almost seems as if it is now official government policy that Igbos are second class citizens. How sad indeed.
I personally do not believe that the Nigerian and Lagos state governments fully understand what Igbos bring to the table.
Igbos are like palm trees in the desert. If you see palm trees, you know water is there. If you see an Igbo in a town, you know progress is there. Not as if they go where progress is. They themselves are seed of progress that yield harvests of progress.
To have a proper understanding of what the Igbo have achieved, consider that every Igbo man, woman and child in Nigeria was reduced to £20 after the civil war in 1970. But look at how far they have come since then. They turned adversity to prosperity.
No ethnic group are as Nigerian as the Igbo. An Igbo builds his family, his house and his businesses in whatever part of Nigeria he finds himself. They do not exploit other regions. They expand other regions. It is a disservice to treat them as unwanted.
Instead of making Igbos feel unwelcome, leaders should welcome them. Anyone who thinks the Igbo really want to break away does not understand economics. In 2003, Elrufai revealed Igbos own 73% of land in Abuja. Google it. That is commitment to Nigeria.
This idea that Igbo come to exploit other regions is unscientific. Igbos create value. They do not take value already created. Example, by opening shops, Igbos create value by meeting a need. Without Igbo, the price of spare-parts in the North will be x4.
It might shock you to know there are more Igbo doctors practicing in other parts of Nigeria than in the SE. Thousands of Igbos are battling Boko Haram in the NE. These are critical values. People who bring such value should be celebrated, not denigrated.
In my opinion, Nigeria made a mistake dismantling Biafra’s military industrial complex after Biafra’s 1970 defeat. The allies defeated Germany in 1945 but absorbed their scientists into their military industrial complex.
Biafra developed technology that Nigeria could have exploited. We have issues fighting Boko Haram because we depend on others for weapons. Biafra was surrounded, yet they made their weapons and refined fuel. Nigeria is not surrounded, yet we cannot make weapons or refine fuel! We could have been making our own weapons by now.
While I was writing this, I received news that Sergeant Blessing Onyekwere, a Nigerian of Igbo origin, was killed by Boko Haram as he fought to keep Nigeria safe. Blessing and others like him are the reason why we should do away with the philosophy of Lagos for Yorubas and Kano for Hausas.
I do not know if Igbos understand their power. If every Igbo man, woman and child living in Nigeria returns home for a year, the economies of five geopolitical zones may collapse. You cannot say this about any other ethnicity.
Treat Igbos well. Not for their sake. But for your region’s sake. A liability consumes more than what he produces. The Igbos are not like that. Wherever they go, they produce more than they consume. In accounting terms, that makes them an ASSET wherever they are.
And to the Igbos themselves, I give this counsel-stop returning to the SE to register to vote and be voted for. Register and contest wherever you are. That shows that your commitment is TOTAL. Contest where you are for Governor, LGA Chairman and NASS.
If you as an Igbo keep returning to the SE to register to vote and be voted for, you agree with those who do not see you as part of the regions where you live. You have a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and be voted for where you are resident.
Igbos only think they are being marginalised. If only they knew! God is using the marginalisation of Igbos for His purpose. I met an Igbo mayor of a major American city. Many Igbo are mayors/MPs in Europe. An Igbo is being considered as a future British PM.
Like Jews, the more you marginalise Igbos locally, the more they leave to thrive globally. It is the destiny of the Igbo race to restore the fortunes of the Black Race worldwide. Their crucifixion is meant to prepare them for their benediction.
Finally, I am NOT Igbo or married to one. Some people think I am Igbo because of a video Onyeka Onwenu did calling me her son. She did not mean it literally. I am proud of Onyeka. She is not my mother. She just has an appreciation of my love for ndi’Igbo.
#1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Table Shaker. Buhari’s Tormentor. PhD, London School of Savagery.