It’s a known fact that the Ibos are the most enterprising tribe in Nigeria; they are known for breaking new grounds. There is a market called Barabashova in Ukraine (one of the largest open markets in Eastern Europe), most of the traders are Ibos and are doing well. The other day, Ademola H Adigun posted on how people of Ibo extraction own more than 50% of properties in Abuja. Personally, my business acumen was sharpened by Sunny Elem (himself an Ibo man); he not only believed in me, he made me a Senior Manager at a young age! Against the recommendation of some ‘Yoruba’ directors who saw me as a threat at the time. Those are good qualities of Ibo people which Nigeria needs to grow our economy, improve on our level of productivity and ultimately become a global growth generator in no distant time.
That said, calls for the actualization of Biafra are a misplaced priority in this time and season.
Back in my University days, a Sudanese colleague once lamented how they were misled by the ‘Western Powers’ that disintegration of Sudan will guarantee peace and prosperity, are they any better today?
For me, the calls for division and secession are elitist ideas to divide us and what the commoners need to do is to rally round to demand the following;
1. TRUE FEDERALISM; if we have a less powerful central government, we will be able to hold our governors accountable and focus on local developments.
2. COMPETENT LEADERSHIP; how many governors have South West produced that are role models of leadership? How many governors do we have in the East that is performing beyond expectation? In the North nko? There is no evidence statistically that any part of this country has produced good leaders.
3. PATRIOTISM; America, the strongest economy is comprised of every tribe in the world, since they accept anybody from any part of the world. Yet they are united and extremely patriotic. Nigeria has only 3 major tribes, and we claim tribalism. What we have in Nigeria is an Ibo, a Yoruba or a Hausa, but we have not been able to transform to being Nigerians. The fault is ours.
That many Nigerians are doing well all over the world is a clear pointier that we can be great together once we are able to clearly articulate our problems and find a lasting solution to them with a SENSE OF BELONGING to each section of the entity called Nigeria. There are good Yoruba people, good Igbo people, good Fulani people, good Nigerians and there are bad people everywhere.
Therefore, let’s talk about infrastructure, education, health etc. and not tribe or religion.
Youths are the worst victim of this power play, they kill each other, call other tribes unprintable names, and sometimes, even lose their life, thinking they are fighting for their right, not knowing that they are fighting for the personal welfare of someone, whose own children are probably safe abroad. Have you seen the recent picture of Nnamdi Kanu with South East Governors? Do you think it’s for the common good? Do you think Gowon or Ojukwu lost any of their family members during the Biafran war? THINK!
So youths, don’t hope on the government. If you don’t have a job, create one. There is abject poverty in the south as well as the north. BE WISE!
Owolabi Falana is a Public Affairs Analyst and the Founder of Ohjay Global Services
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