Commentary: Ndigbo, Think Home!

Commentary: Ndigbo, Think Home!

No doubt, the fate of the Igbo nation since the end of the civil war in 1970 has been that of a sojourner or someone on political and economic survival quest. The after-effects of the war, which depleted Ndigbo politically, economically and psychologically, are still visible. The gross infrastructural dilapidation of Igbo nation and deliberate economic strangulation of the people via anti-Igbo economic policies initiated by the then government forced surviving Igbos into massive exodus from Igbo land to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

The change of currency, which culminated in handing down of twenty pounds per individual, no matter how much one had in the bank, and subsequent introduction of indigenization policy, known today as privatization, when Ndigbo were struggling to recover from the negative consequences of the war, made hitherto Igbo millionaires paupers and economic slaves in their land.

It also turned some Igbos into economic scavengers and adventurers—moving out in droves from the East to look for opportunities in other regions and countries of the world. Failure of Gowon and subsequent regimes after him to implement the 3Rs – Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in the war-ravaged South-East alienated the Igbo nation the more.

Since then, there has been unwritten conspiracy against Ndigbo. Ndigbo, out of sheer ingenuity, entrepreneurism and adventurous spirit have prospered and advanced their economic fortunes in the midst of daunting challenges and stark marginalization in Nigeria. On individual level, Ndigbo have regained and made more than what they collectively lost during and after the civil war, but the psychological effect of the war is still hanging on the Igbo nation.

Some of our people seem to have forgotten “home” entirely; they are busy investing and developing other parts of Nigeria, while leaving Igbo land to deteriorate. Where an Igbo person is building factories and houses everywhere, neglecting where he originated from, calls for serious concern.

The irony and pathetic aspect of it is that the people Ndigbo are helping to develop their places still treat them with so much disdain and contempt, irrespective of economic gains they have made from the investments of Igbos in their places. They see Ndigbo as “opportunists” who are trying to dominate them in their own land.

Dredging of River Niger and road construction have remained tools for political campaigns while other federal government projects more gigantic than these ones in other regions have been given accelerated construction. It is no longer news that the South-East has the worst network of federal roads in the country.

On several occasions, Governor Willie Obiano and other rational thinkers have called on Ndigbo to think home. Akpokuedike is of the view that it is time for Ndigbo to take their destinies into their hands. It is time to “think home and build home”. It is time to unleash our inexhaustible creativity and potentials to develop “Ana Igbo”. It is time to begin our own “charity” at home. We should not allow divide and rule elements to weaken us, using political party affiliation and clannish sentiments.

We must marshal out roadmap on how to resuscitate economic potentials of Ndigbo by ensuring, amongst others, more international flights to the newly constructed Anambra Airport; reviving of Onitsha Seaport; reconstruction of all inter-state (Federal) roads in the zone; reinvigoration of moribund industries and citing of new ones in the zone that have the capacity of transforming the South-East into an industrial hub; construction of good network of railways linking major cites of South-East and beyond.

It is time for Ndigbo to take the bull by the horns. Waiting for the Federal Government to come to our aid will remain a wild goose chase. Ndigbo should form synergy to make the Ala Igbo the pride of this nation, because great ideas make great nation; not population. Ndigbo, ka aku anyi luenu uno!


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