The philosophy of trueborn, illegitimates, and vagabonds poisons the umbilicus of society; gnawing at the core gradually until it is vanquished by its own internal contradictions. No society makes genuine progress through classism, casteism, native ordering, and social isolation.
The Igbo phylum is a variegated one as it is with other ethnic species. Homogeneity does not exist in the true sense of the word among any ethnic classification. In the south-east, there are subgroups and splinter groups within the entity. There are also many varying derivative dialects across communities and towns, some of which native Igbo speakers may not understand.
The variant of Igbo spoken in my native town is different from that spoken in other towns within the same state. There is also no homogeneity in religion. And there have been cases of clashes among communities over differences bordering on politics, land, and other contentions. In fact, my native town and a neighbouring town do not agree. There is still a disputation over land till date.
But one string binds all within the south-east and parts of the south-south ecosystem – all are Igbo. Nature bubbles in divergence and eclecticism. The beauty and wonders of our world are by the fashioning of heterogenous intelligence. Man was not made to be culturally, socially, morphologically, and linguistically unipolar.
It is the reason I have always argued that Nigeria’s multiformity is not the dominating factor for its seeming ungovernability. Rather, it is the abuse and exploitation of differences; abnegation of civic duty, denuded understanding of citizenship, refusal to submit to the collective interest, native nationalism, and the absence of a rallying identity and cause, that are the denominators of Nigeria’s quandary.
Those who say Nigeria needs to splinter according to ethnic ordering to achieve unity, peace and progress are ignorant of the complexities of natural design. “Presumed homogeneity” does not guarantee unity, peace, or progress among a people.
In fact, a good number of the world’s most successful countries are so endowed by the nourishment and talents of their diverse population. There is wealth in diversity.
So, essentially, the argument that a Nigeria carved up along sectional contours will become united and prosperous is a slothful one. It shows a vacancy of thought and reason. Nigeria’s challenge is not its diversity, but the unwillingness of its people to be deliberate citizens.
The antagonism, prejudice, hate and bias among the Igbo taxonomic category have reached depressing proportions in recent years with the birth of the terrorist group – IPOB. The group has put a dagger to that which holds us together; turning brother against brother; clan against clan, and community against community.
This group has played on the sentiments of the Igbo, weaponising native differences to keep the people in its thrall. According to this group, ‘’authentic Igbos’’ are those who support Biafra, and ‘’fake Igbos’’ are those who are against it. This is the propaganda deployed by the proscribed group to divide the people. IPOB has been decimated, but its dissentious philosophy prevails.
It is concerning that an element of this divisive philosophy has been adopted by some to determine who is true-born Igbo and who is not.
The revulsion to the appointment of Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla as chief of naval staff, who is from Igbo-Eze in Enugu, by people of the same stock is embarrassing. Those opposing his appointment says he is not Igbo enough – that he is from Igala speaking part of Enugu. This is mortifying. This revulsion plays into the prevailing philosophy of the proscribed group.
Does this imply being ‘’Igbo enough’’ means one must be seen as an ethnic crusader; hold corrosive views of division; show prejudices and biases against other citizens? Does it imply one must be seen as representing the clan instead of the country? This is an abhorrent philosophy.
Going by the proclivities of these traducers, it is clear that the only Igbo fitting for appointment is one who represents their biases. How tragic.
I believe Igbo elders led by Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo should take an interest in the declension of Igbo society and in this disharmonious concept of ‘’fake and authentic Igbo’’. Why should a Nigerian of Igbo origin from Delta state, Rivers, Benue, Kogi deny his origins? It is a question we need to address. The reason is partially implicit in this schismatic philosophy.
There are aboriginal Igbo populations indigenous to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, and other countries. But why is there no plan or programme to make them a part of the larger Igbo fold, recognising and giving them a sense of family-hood?
No society makes real progress through casteism, native ordering, and social isolation.
By Fredrick Nwabufo, Nwabufo aka Mr OneNigeria is a media executive.