That Igbo man you know sparingly
NDI Igbo are a people with a very high tenacity for resiliency with an untoward motivation to perseverance in the face of daunting circumstantial uncertainties and persecutions. They downplay fear factors and phobias that otherwise limit other ethnic groups from attaining heights which the Igbos nilly willy work over. It is an innate and inherent attribute of the Igbo blood akin to the Jews of the Middle East Asians.
Henry Kissinger, erstwhile US Secretary of State in January 28,1969, once said, “the Igbos are wandering Jews of West Africa, gifted, aggressive, westernised, at best envied and resented, mostly despised by their neighbors in the federation”. They (Igbos) understand the vagaries of existential realities and are always positioning themselves to tackling and overturning their disadvantages to advantaged positions.
They understand that knowledge is vital in man’s entire quest for excellence and as such made an early start in apprenticeship scheme, which provides rooms for generational transmission of knowledge from father to son; master to servant. Passing skills and knowledge unhindered.
The propelling factor that moves the Igbo man to daring quests and unlimited strives to attain excellence is the “fear of failure” factor. Excellence is an attribute that is so much desired by the Igbo man for that will stand him out amongst his peers and make his voice heard; for the Igbo truly adores and worships his successful persons and they go all out to be successful too. A typical Igbo man believes he too can make it not minding his present conditions.
What matters to him is that the will is there and that he is on course and no matter the odds, he is willing to bear the risks in so far as it will retract him from an ignoble position and a state of justice being considered inconsequential, infradig and a nobody in his society. He can die in the process, sustain various degrees of injuries, accidents, mishaps but that is not a deterrent, and instead, it’s a lesson to apply more sophistication in the method and technique to attain future goals.
The Igbos have a very highly developed sense of justice. The concept of justice and equity determines their world view. Every of their actions revolve around a deeper understanding of an interplay of justice, equity and fair play in their day to day engagements and transactions with neighbours, business associates, family and every acquaintance they encounter in the hub of their socio-economic interests.
They appreciate the religious arbitration and retributive justice that awaits any man who unjustly denies his neighbor his right of justice. As such, they most of the time allow very obstinate persons to have a head on collusion with natural justice they consider most effective “ife onye metala nya so be ya”.
The Igbo will no give what it cannot take and will not take what it cannot give, though corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the societies, but the ideal Igbo man is still standing tall today. The Igbos have long been engaged in undiluted democracy.
The structures of the Igbo societies speak volume of its democratic nature. The Igbo villages rejected the concepts of absolute monarchs from inception. They honour collective opinions and majority views normally precede the minority.
They have long believed in deliberations and coming to a consensus. The Igbos have independent minds and views and in most cases, every opinion is tabled and deliberated upon before arriving at a consensus.
Here lies the platform in which democracy is instituted. You hardly could find a matter you will not find those who are strongly opposed to, unless in very obvious cases of general interest.
It will be interesting to note that Igbo resents authoritarianism; a situation where one man decides and presides over the affairs of all. Every issue must be deliberated and every view heard before a majority decision carries the day. It is worthy of note that oppositions are not relegated or isolated except where the peace and harmony of the majority is jeopardised.
In cases like that, they can freely and willingly work away and possibly forge their own union or community. This upholds until date. Every breakaway group in our towns cum communities must have emanated from divergent ideology or interests. Our Igbo philosophies accommodate such positions and respect it.
No wonder today, even in obvious sensitive issues that affects the Igbo race as a whole, for instance the case of restructuring of Nigeria, independence of Biafran State, rotational presidency and power sharing formula for Nigeria, one could still see some very influential and well placed Igbo men with divergent opinions and will rather be on the other divide for a reason he is convinced is the absolute.
Here lies the beauty of democracy which the Igbos are well attuned to. It has in no way degraded them as a people who do not have a common purpose or thought flow.
It is simply a very sophisticated level of attainment of self, and liberty of mind which we call freedom of expression –that is the Igbo man you know little or nothing about.
One thing you must understand about the people is that they also speak in one voice in very vital issues pertaining to their general well being. You experience the Igbo force in a certain call for a universal sense of purpose, sense of duty and urgency to accomplish a certain duty which calls for Igbo dignity and existential threat.
He will manifest his original nature; put everything at stake; make utmost sacrifice to protect his being and champion the course of his race as duty demands. This is the ontology of the Igbo man in his society- a highly resilient man by nature.
The Igbos are a unified entity. This is one peculiarity that distinguishes the Igbo man from the rest of our neighbouring races. He is both at home and in the diaspora; have this age long habit of organisational structures that pulls them together and create a common forum for tackling common problems; empathisng with his kith and kin.
Also, the Igbos at home have various strata of community governments that take care of its affairs and regulate its programmes outside government organizational structures that unites and protect the interests and aspirations of its groups with the government of towns and sometimes, they meet at a cross road.
The Ohaneze Ndigbo, the umbrella of Igbo socio cultural groups is a super force in today’s Igbo synchronism. Its influence is gaining ground as the years go by but not without its challenges (Igbo enwe eze)as pointed at abinitio.
However, I will point out here that Igbos, in as much as they do not subscribe to a monarch still reveres certain men who have proven to be great by actions and deeds recorded in their past engagements. Such men are given the authority to represent them, but not without consultations and deliberations.
I will in due course bring to fore and practically project almost the 183 towns in Anambra State; the short history of the towns locations, economic activities and important places in such towns and will bring to lime light great men who must have contributed to the success of such towns.
I urge the traditional rulers in collaboration with the presidents of town unions of every town in the state to forward such information for publication in this paper and a full compilation, subsequently in a book- Explore Anambra State Documentary, to be published by December 2019.