It is only God that knows why the Igbo found themselves as parts and parcels of Nigeria. Like the Jews of the Middle East, the Igbo have been subjected to all manner of suppression by other tribes in the Nigerian Federation.

Interestingly, the history of Nigeria can not be complete without the Igbo being conspicuously mentioned. The struggle for the political independence of Nigeria was largely championed by many illustrious sons and daughters of Igbo. The untiring frontline roles of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe for the actualization of Nigeria’s Independence will never be forgotten, no matter who writes that aspect of Nigeria’s history.

What of economic development of Nigeria? Truth holds it firmly that Igbo Entrepreneurs and Businessmen have consistently worked more than any other tribe in Nigeria in the economic development of almost all the major cities in Nigeria, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Lagos, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, and so on.

That there is a common phenomenon of hatred of the Igbo by other tribes of Nigeria, may not be unconnected with their I-can-do-it spirit.

Despite the enormous indisputable roles played by the Igbo both during the struggle for political independence and the overall economic development of the country, the Igbo have never been privileged to be democratically elected as either the Prime-Minister of Nigeria during the first Parliamentary Republican era of 1960 to 1966 or President since 1979 when the country adopted the Presidential System of Government.

It has been a very rough path for the Igbo navigating the turbulent currents of Nigerian Politics. That is, however, expected of a People that naturally symbolise ingenuity and enterprise. However a day will come when Nigerians on their own will insist, like they recently did, that an Igbo Man should be given opportunity to preside over the affairs of Nigeria. It is a question of time.

While that is being expected, the Igbo should close rank and work as a very united people. It is obvious that in the distant and recent past that avoidable mistakes had been made by some Igbo Leaders, especially in 1999 and recently in 2023 when it was reported that some Igbo Leaders had openly opposed the aspiration of Mr Peter Obi to be Nigeria’s President.

Any society that allows the burden of her past to weigh heavily on her does not grow. There is need for deep sincere reconciliation of internal individual and group differences amongst the Igbo. Irrespective of differences in Political Parties, Igbo Leaders such as Mr Peter Obi, Dr Chris Ngige, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator T A Orji, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Achike Udenwa, Senator Enyi Abaribe, Governor Hope Uzodinma, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Senator Sam Ominyi Egwu, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Dr Nnia Nwodo, Chief Chris Nkwonta, Igbo Traditional Rulers led by the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe and the leadership of Ohaneze Nd’Igbo have a compelling need to come together and very sincerely and dispassionately have a deep introspection of their past, resolve to forgive themselves of their past ‘sins’ and honestly fashion out the way forward. Recent experience has shown that no one might be spared in the crossfire of the phenomenon of hatred.

The above could be a fundamental holistic step to be taken by the Igbo. Once a People are wise and courageous enough to come together, forgive themselves of their past misadventures and firmly resolve to move in one direction for a collective purpose, the Sky can only be their Starting-Point.

*Sir Don Ubani is a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Abia State and writes from Asa.


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