Mr. Femi Olajide asks a very important question “Why is it always the Igbo? What exactly is wrong with the Igbo? (See here)
I will like to answer these questions and perhaps help others understand why the Igbo grab so much headlines.
There are about three hundred ethnic nationalities in Nigeria with the Igbo as the largest of them in population.
Some of the three hundred groups number in a mere tens of thousands, so there presence is not sometimes noticed. The Igbo number in tens of millions. So part of the answer to Mr. Olajide’s question is that the Igbo has the numbers.
Another part of the answer to Mr. Olajide’s question is that the Igbo are more likely than most of the other ethnic groups to leave their homeland for greener pastures.
So when you go to Kano, Lagos, Abuja, Benin, you encounter the Igbo n large numbers. In Lagos and Abuja as many as millions.
With such a large number you see the very good, the good, the bad and the ugly.
With such a large number available any one can see a person/persons to praise, lash, or use invectives on. That is part of why it is always the Igbo.
There is the question of Igbo attributes. The Igbo can be intrusive, assertive, and audacious, outspoken, challenging, and active.
The Igbo could buy a piece of land and own a set of houses they rent to other residents, build businesses and hire and fire employees, build schools for all residents, etc.
With such activism, the Igbo is likely to step on toes of some people and again will grab headlines.
The Igbo will probably enter into the culture of their hosts: learn and speak their language, wear their clothes; marry their women, integrate into the community and even shade his Igboness.
By doing so he becomes more Yoruba than the Yoruba or Hausa, or Ijaw. Some will welcome this integration effort and some will resent the effort but you again get the Igbo headlines.
It is always the Igbo!
With the integration come the pride. An Igbo Lagosian having fully integrated into Lagos life will start to brag about the state/city.
Will claim that he is one of the builders of Lagos/Abuja/Benin/Warri, etc. And he will be right to do so.
I hear the voice of Mr. Olajide in the voices of some White Americans who are reluctant to acknowledge the contributions of Black slaves in the development of America.
I hear it also in the voices of some Britons, whose ancestry dates to pre-1066 who deny the contributions of Commonwealth countries to the making of Britain what it is today.
They deny that the citizens from these countries fought and died in their wars and have made London, the city that she is now.
When and Igbo says that Lagos is no man’s land, what he/she means is that we all own Lagos and that it is not any one ethnic groups. Place.
It is accepting responsibility for the development and security of the geographic space; it is taking pride in the place one lives in. Nothing is more patriotic than that.
The Igbo has talents that only need to be exploited in the development of where they leave. They can be good athletes; good business men/women; good inventors or as Mr. Olajide thinks, good buyers and sellers (not every fool can do that).
Nigeria has a choice of what to do with and about the Igbo. One of the choices is to accept the Igbo fully as they are warts and all. Or to let them go as some Igbo want.
It is like marrying a bride. If you like her you marry her as she is or if you can’t handle her you let her go. You cannot be half married for there is no such thing.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba