By Chioma Gabriel
Students of history are conversant with the historical narrative of Emperor Nero of the old Roman Empire. According to the tale, in July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” The expression has a double meaning: Not only did Nero play music while his people suffered, but he was an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis. It’s been pretty easy to cast blame on Nero, who had many enemies and is remembered as one of history’s most sadistic and cruelest leaders – but there are a couple of problems with this story.
In comparison with what happened in Rome, the Igbo of south east Nigeria are a people besieged with all manner of problems. If you ask me, I would say the Igbo problem is foundational. It is entrenched in their foundation as a people.
And while calamity rages in South East Nigeria, Igbo leaders are nowhere to be found.
There’s a common-place saying that Igbos don’t have kings, often said in local parlance “Igbo enwe Eze”. Basically, this republican nature of the Igbo is the foundation of the people’s problem.
We have all heard and read about what happened in Ozubulu recently. It was not normal for a man to walk into a church and open bullets on worshippers. They were not army of occupation. They were not Boko Haram or herdsmen. It was Igbo against Igbo.
And come to think of it, these are people who said they want self-determination, they want a republic of Biafra, they want self-rule. Now, just imagine a kind of Biafra republic Igbos will have. Those that were not killed in the north, assuming the Arewa youths succeed in carrying out their threats, will come home and be killed by their own people or kidnapped for ransom and whatever they brought home would be taken.
The greatest enemy of the Igbo are the Igbo and their lack of regard for one another. A typical gbo man thrives by self-centredness and belief that if he as an individual is powerful, he should dominate the others. He is self-centred and cares nothing about the welfare of his brother. He is driven by power and money and thinks that is all about life.
You have also heard about the rumour that Ozubulu killings were driven by business disagreement and something to do with drug lords in the area.
And we know about drug wars from history.
In the 1970s and 1980s, history talked about the Miami Drug War centered in the Florida city of Miami, between the United States government and multiple drug cartels, primarily the Medellin Cartel.
It was triggered by the 1979 Dadeland Mall shootout; where in broad daylight, two gunmen of a Colombian drug gang entered and shot two men at a liquor store. The murderers were immediately dubbed “Cocaine Cowboys” by a police officer.
During this period, smuggling rings expanded and, in 1982, a seizure of $100 million worth of cocaine was found in Miami International Airport. Miami soon became known as the “Drug Capital of the World” due to ensuing turf wars between drug lords. One of the top leaders of drug trafficking in Miami was Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco, who was a pioneer in cocaine trafficking and was responsible for more than 200 murders. With the collapse of the Medellin Cartel and various other drug trafficking organizations, the drug war diminished.
Is that what Igbo boys want to replicate in the south East?
In addition to all the problems in the region?
Have these drug lords that invaded a community finished the ‘war’ ?
Or is it just the beginning?
Or are Igbo drug boys trying to replicate the movie Scarface, where Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, stakes a claim on the drug trade in Miami, viciously murdering anyone who stands in his way to become the biggest drug lord in the state, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami.
Even then, increased pressure from the police, serves to fuel the flames of his eventual downfall.
What are the Igbos trying to do to themselves?
A people so despised, yet hating themselves even more.
What other surprise will they bring to the table apart from agitations, kidnapping and drugs?
Why won’t the Igbo organise themselves and solve their many problems by doing things right.?
Why do we keep hearing cacophony voices across Igbo land .?
Now about the Igbos not having kings, where are the Igbo leaders?
Où sont les leaders Igbo
When a youngman of about 36 becomes stupendously rich and goes about spraying money as sand, the basic question should be asked.
Where does the money come from? What does he do for a living?
But people don’t ask such questions. We see the likes of Evans everyday and welcome them with open arms as ones that have ‘cleaned out’ or ‘arrived’ .
The average Igbo worship money and anybody who doesn’t have money by their calculation is a persona non grata.
The love of money is the root of all evil. And that has been the problem .
In Nollywood movies, we see young men use their mothers for money rituals, or their sons and others except those that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high.
Typically, the Igbo is self-centered, opportunistic and unprincipled in pursuit of money. This is recipe for the mayhem that happened at Ozubulu.
Now, imagine a situation where they get a Biafran republic. That means the republic would become unhabitable, a perpetual war zone of money ritualists, kidnappers, armed robbers and drug lords seeking supremacy over one another. Yet, Igbo have qualities that are nobler and unique.
The Hausa hate the Igbo. Others hate the Igbo and the Igbo hate themselves.
What a calamity.