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A CLARION CALL FOR IGBO UNITY

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by Egbuna Amuta

It is a fact that in general terms, the Igbos of Southeast Nigeria, unlike their contemporaries, do not place high premium on the monarchical system of government, hence the common saying that Igbo people do not have or repect kings. This is because they are by nature, Democratic Republicans as aptly captured in THINGS FALL APART, the Magna Opus of late Professor Chinua Achebe, an African author whose books have been most widely read throughout the world. 


Ndigbo are undoubtedly very intelligent, and enterprising but highly individualistic to the disadvantage of their collective interests and aspirations. Simply put, they lack unity of purpose in politics, hence their inability to obtain their rightful patrimony in the political-economy of the Nigerian Federation, in the past forty eight years or there about.  

Save for the eras when the National Council of Nigerian Citizens, NCNC and Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP led by the first but ceremonial president of Nigeria, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and the period of the Nigerian Civil War, political unity has practically eluded the Igbo race. Selfish and pecuniary interests of individual Igbo persons have been blamed for this negative attitude, which other competing ethnic nationalities in the country have been taking advantage of against the Igbo nation. 

Little wonder, the Igbo race widely acknowledged as one of the three mojor ethnic nationalities in Nigeria has regrettably been made to appear as a minority ethnic group. Today, the Southeast has the least numbers of states and local government areas as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). For this reason, the smallest amount of revenues from the federation accounts are allocated to the region. In comparison with the other five geopolitical zones in the country, the Southeast has the leanest representation in the National Assembly and the executive arm of government at the federal level. 

This is in spite of the fact that Ndigbo produced the foremost nationalists who fought for Nigeria's political independence from Britain. Paradoxically, Ndigbo are genuine believers in the unity of the country. This deduction is made from the fact that unlike other ethnic nationalities, the aboriginal people of the Southeast are moving and settling in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria, where they are vigorously contributing to the socioeconomic development of their host communities, more than they are doing in their home towns and states of origin.That notwithstanding, the Igbo nation is undoubtedly marginalized in the Nigerian Federation since the end of the country's civil war in 1970.

Be that as it may, the Igbo nation should not continue to lament or sulk over their obvious short changing in the affairs of Nigeria. They should perceptively take the bull by it's horns and overcome their plights. The first step towards accomplishing this objective is by forging a common formidable political front, as they did in Nigeria's First and Second Republics with the defunct NCNC and NPP respectively. Due to the fact that they were largely converged in these political parties,  they were respected by other Nigerians, and they were not denied their rights as is unfortunately the case nowadays. Again, Ndigbo must take the clarion call for AKU LUE UNO seriously.

The Igbo nation should draw a lesson from the attitude of the Yoruba ethnic nationality which since the beginning of  this Fourth Republic in 1999, first converged in the Alliance for Democracy, AD and later in the All Congress of Nigeria, ACN, with which they negotiated with other political parties to form the All Progressives Congress, APC, which is the present ruling party in the country. AD and ACN were Re-enactments of the defunct Action Group, AG and Unity Party of Nigeria led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.  

Even though the All Progressives Grand Alliance,  APGA, is today a ready made platform for  Ndigbo to converge and collectively make the required impact in Nigeria's politics once again, it is absolutely expedient for the political class of the people of Southeast Nigeria to forge a common front for the salvation of their people in Nigeria. They should shun petty jealousy, and immediately adopt APGA, as their rallying point and offspring of the defunct NCNC and NPP led by late Dr. Azikiwe.The Igbo intelligentsia should not be afraid or ashamed of being labelled as tribalists by their hypocritical opponents. The plain truth is that most Nigerian citizens are indeed tribalistic by nature. This explains why the country's political elite opted for the federal system of government ahead of Nigeria's independence in 1960. As a matter of fact, Ndigbo would be able to make the most out of the ongoing strident agitation for the Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation if their political elite became united as was the case in the First and Second Republics, when the people of the Southeast were mainly in one united and solid political family. 

With true Igbo unity,  the people of the Southeast would regain their respect, dignity, honour and integrity in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and they would sooner than later effectively contain their marginalisation by other  ethnic nationalities in the country.


EGBUNA AMUTA is the Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Mobilisation to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

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