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Ndigbo are ‘incurably money-minded’ -Soyinka



Igbos vote based on their stomach, they suffer from incurable money mindedness- Wole Soyinka

The Igbo ethnic group does seem to be getting a lot of bashing these days from their countrymen. This time it was Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka who said they are probably the only set of Nigerians who are predictable when it comes to voting.

That may not be a bad thing, but then he went on to say, they vote in the direction of their stomachs. In his words, the Igbo are “suffering as it were, from incurable money-mindedness, as they would stop at nothing in their quest for personal financial gain”.

Soyinka said this while delivering a lecture titled, ‘Predicting Nigeria, Electoral Ironies’ at the Harvard University Hutchins Centre for African and African American Research in the United States, according to a gazette by the institution.

He reportedly said: “Igbos remained unrepentant and resolute towards their strategic objective of secession at worst; or a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction at best.

“The climax of MASSOB’s war against the Nigerian state was the call for sit-ins and civil disobedience that shut down markets and public services, as Igbos stayed at home in a symbolic gesture to assert Biafran independence. The call was honoured by governors in the two principal Ibo states, though without fanfare.

“The Igbos are probably the only group of Nigerians that you can predict with great accuracy whom they will vote for in an election, because they tend to put their votes where their stomachs take them; suffering as it were, from incurable money-mindedness, as they would stop at nothing in their quest for personal financial gain.

“Muhammadu Buhari was the better of the two evils as the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan had been an unmitigated disaster and failure. It was a painful decision to tell people to vote Buhari, but the country needed a new beginning. I was more against Jonathan, than I was pro-Buhari.

“Nothing is more unworthy of leadership than to degrade a system by which one attains fulfillment, and this is what the nation witnessed time and time again under Jonathan, who was increasingly becoming intolerant of opposition in an escalating streak of impunity and authoritarian madness, which was most blatant and unconscionable.

“The ‘militricians’ – soldiers turned politicians in power – aren’t looking for excellence; their civilian cohorts are worse. Short cuts and how to circumvent the system for the profit of a few are the norm of governance. Those who do honest work are derided as lacking the skill to fit it. Ironically, things haven’t quite changed a bit after 16 years of democracy in the country.” he said

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  1. Apachee zooma

    May 6, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Pretty disappointing that a man of such great standing and profound intellectual exposure would dabble into the mess of ethnic profiling, long discarded by people from saner climes. Where is Soyinka’s humanity? Or, could this mark his descent into selective amnesia or, indeed, early senility. Question is, were there no Ibos who held, and still hold, opposing views on how our nation should be engineered? I wish Prof well but…

  2. Ifenkili

    May 6, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Ala tachikwa gi nti there Soyinka, do you hear me? Why is everyone bashing Igbos biko? left right and centre. What happened in Ekiti? What happened in other western states? was rice shared in those places? which votes is he talking about? Efi ala.

    • My Views

      May 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Anybody can say whatever they desire, my main concern now is, what are the Ibo leaders doing to defend their own pple from this continued bashing from their own country men or is it not going to co-note that he (Prof. Wole Soyinka) is right if you (the Igbo speaking folks) continued accepting anything threat or being qualified with as in the case of the Lagos Oba’s war declaring atatement and all that could happen was an arranged speech from some lawyer that claimed to be a representative of the Ibos to calm you pple down from taking any action and now it is another backbiting statement from a supposed honorable and notable man worldwide in a speech to the world. Now my question is, till when will you Ibos sit down look?

      • disqus_RQH3MIGvpS

        September 6, 2015 at 7:56 am

        I am very worried about something……………, I believe if I have an ailment as a person, I should be able to know what my problem is. Nigerians know exactly where our problems are…the Ibos are the greatest asset and the greatest problems Nigeria has. Take it or leave it. There must be a change of attitude from the Ibos for us to move forward as a nation. The last election clearly exposed them to the whole world. It depicts them as enemy of change! It exposed them to the whole world that they pay lip service to era of corruption that bedeviled the Jonathan administration. An administration that was condemned by the International community is the same regime the Ibos were clamouring for. I have dumped all my Ibo friends because they nothing wrong with the Ibos support for Jonathan! What an aberration, what a PEOPLE?

        • OND

          February 15, 2016 at 9:39 am

          Is it possible that there is nothing wrong with the Igbo’s but a lot wrong with the treatment meted out to them over and over again? Look at the history of the world any ethnic group that suffered severely during any war/battle has similar survival traits as the Igbo’s. Do not forget that similar to the holocaust the internal mantra for all affected people is “never again” this may be what the rest of the country misconstrues as money mindededness and all what not. Maybe we should support their aspirations as Nigerians that did not have the chance to take off with the starters gun like everyone else. Love, diplomacy and action can and will solve all problems.

          *And for the record l am not Igbo.

      • Elvis

        September 25, 2015 at 5:59 pm

        Show me the country that has this divers ethnicity that hated each other this much,no match to culture wise,this hatred continued from the first day of the unholy amalgamation, people that hv not ruled this country for 45years or above now how are they your problem, the trillions being recovered from Switzerland and other foreign accounts that are kept there the looters no one was from Igbo man,I wonder what the jealous is all about,(our achievements) or I hope not so,people that are giving 20pounds nomatter your billions in the account,the same people still compete with others or they even out them, its obvious that we are not one and this unholy Union will end one day.

      • Okala

        September 28, 2015 at 1:04 am

        But the igbos are tired of being part of Nigeria as demonstrated by them during the Civil War and these demonstration have continued in a higher dimensions, would it not be better to allow them to go instead of cutting your nose to spite your face, those we often referred to as leaders in this country are men and women of easy vitures who are total disasters and champions at the side lines.

  3. naughtynot

    May 6, 2015 at 7:05 am

    The way Elder state men talk these days, amazes me. How can my very own Prof be muttering such nonsense? How is what you are saying different from what you propagated against in your poem ‘Telephone Conversation’?

  4. Jedimaster

    May 6, 2015 at 7:09 am

    He is quickly losing relevance in the political sphere. Frankly speaking, of recent, he has not had the sort of impact that someone with his clout should have. Tis dissapointing that he is wasting his knowledge, experience and words being divisive, when at this juncture we should be healing and moving past petulant prejudices.

  5. Nobleman

    May 6, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Generalized opinion too bad for you prof.

  6. Apachee zooma

    May 6, 2015 at 7:42 am

    And, to imagine that Prof just fall the hand of all the ‘descendants’ of Great Ife, now Oba Awon University (OAU). The guy no just represent. Haven’t stopped wondering what went wrong at that public lecture in the US. Did the audience jeer or clap when he ran his mouth? Prof yab abeg!

  7. Don Lucassi

    May 6, 2015 at 8:35 am

    We need to move out of this era of seeing Nigerians as different tribes. I just want us to be one- ONE NAIJA. I dont want to know who is Igbo or Hausa or Ijaw or anything anymore…I jus want us all to move forward as a country. I would have respected if this was said in a closed door meeting with a couple friends not at a lecture to the world. Its all good sha

  8. Swagtyt

    May 6, 2015 at 8:44 am

    racist…..barbaric comment

  9. liquasa

    May 6, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Nsutor mkpo..which kind things be this kwa nna prof make u take ya time there nw..ogini kwa

  10. de don

    May 6, 2015 at 9:03 am

    this man dey cross borders..better no start wetin u nah fit finish oo prof obolo

  11. billion$

    May 6, 2015 at 11:47 am

    haba oga professor,this one is not nice at all o,we know igbo pple like money more than normal,but you should have sugarcoated it na.or better still reserved it for the ears of your family members not in a lecture…you are a Nobel laureate for crying out loud,pple respect you.urgh!!

  12. Augustine Ofoha

    May 6, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Am curious to know what led to the disparaging of the Igbo race in America by the revered professor. Was the lecture about the Igbos or the 180 degrees digression an opportunity for Soyinka to vent his latent hatred of the Igbo ethnic group? Prof. Soyinka has gone senile. He is a disgrace to Africa. I challenge Soyinka to mention any Igbo man who accepted money from him or anyone else to vote. Soyinka is trying to warm himself into APC government having bashed Buhari in London before the election. Prof you should be ashamed of yourself. Unlike some tribes in Nigeria, Igbos are not treacherous. We don’t dance to the tune of any government in power. I gbos remain the pride of Africa.

  13. Udo

    May 29, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Whatever you say about any tribe in interest sphere, you simply degrade Nigeria
    Soon, as our democracy deepens , such racist will have no place
    Divisive utterances

  14. Godswill Donatus

    July 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    to be honest professor Wole Soyinka is right. Though the truth is bitter.

  15. Ncheta

    July 16, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    At the mention of ibo some people will be trembling. They always feel inferior dts why they fear us. Ibo like money but yoruba can kill because of #10.

  16. Nug

    July 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    When old age mend people and a level of sanity departed from them, their camouflage personality disappear and their real personality appear. Thank God for this broad day advertisement of irresponsibility. Bt still don’t want to believe that this is from source quoted, bt if it is as the case maybe, the prof. is not better in thinking and in analyses than the most uneducated man in his village.

  17. Johnbull Imoudu

    August 10, 2015 at 11:03 am

    This is serious. This hatred is extreme for God sake.

  18. Don Valachy

    August 13, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    The most annoying thing is that, the igbos want a country, they keep carving other people who are not ready for the funny arrangement into it, look at the biafra map or ask any igbo person the states that make up biafra they will include the south south states, is it not funny? My question is, are the igbo states not big enough for a country? Or they want to control the oil they keep accusing the north are controlling.

    • edekisuku

      August 26, 2015 at 1:24 am

      Sir look at the biafra map b4 opening your ignorance month. .you can Google that .

  19. dr okonkwo f c

    September 1, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Prof wole has no moral right to criticize any politician or ethnic group in this scape of land called Nigeria. I can’t remember him vying for any political post despite his media popularity.
    As it stand we as a group is a wasted generation because nothing unites us apart from the oil cabals who always sing one Nigeria. APC and PDP are the same people jumping from one bus to another to achieve their aim of vandalizing Nigeria

  20. JIM

    September 16, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Truth is bitter. Prof did not say anything out of place concerning the mentality of the Igbos. We all know the way they view money so why are we being hypocritical! Money is the root of all evil; and we all know its impact on our lives. Bottom line is we must learn to tame our behaviour and uphold high morality when it comes to issues of materialism. Unfortuanately, the Igbos score very low on the material index compare to other tribes in Nigeria; and have stupidly refused to change this perception by their attittude to the social- economic and political change we crave for as a nation.

    • OND

      February 15, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Corruption and money mindedness does not vary with ethnic groups, leave Igbo people alone. I Would like to hear the whole interview to make sure no statement was taken out of context. Sounds silly to me and l doubt a great mind such as Soyinka’s would utter something so banal and tasteless.

  21. Celestine

    September 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Soyinka needs to undergo a psychiatric test. The outcome of the test will inform me of what to say in this issue. For now, no comments.

  22. Patriotism

    November 14, 2015 at 10:18 am

    My views. Am not sure if your senses are working. What did you want them do to him. Do you want the to kill him?, have you forgotten that, he is entitle to his opinion. Instead of you people to think deeply and ask your leader to tell you What they have have been doing with huge amount allocating to you over the years. Why not hold your leader responsible. Am not even sure if you know What you want. Bunch of fools

    • Moi

      February 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

      What your leaders are doing with huge allocations is not the same as voting for love of money. So get your comprehension right before jumping into issues.

  23. Ogundu

    January 19, 2016 at 1:55 am

    Well, Prof. Wole Soyinka put his ethnic hat in this discussion about Igbos voting with their stomachs in the 2015 presidential election. What he said is not what is on ground when you research which ethnic groups embezzled most of Nigerian resources since 1960. Prof. Soyinka knows very well that if a true analysis is done and tabled including naming names of those that use their love for money to milked and embezzled most of the nation’s resources, the Igbos will be last when compared to the Hausa, Fulani and Yoruba ethnic groups. He knows that the data is there to support what I have just said. The esteemed professor knows that most human being love money and most will do whatever they can to acquire wealth and the Igbos are not different from the Yoruba, his ethnic group and the Hausas and Fulanis. Prof. Soyinka forgot that he supported Abiola vehemently when IBB annulled the 1993 election because Abiola is his kinsman and it should have downed on him that Igbos supported Jonathan because they considered him to be their kinsman since his mother is an Igbo woman. The reason why I brought this up was because Abiola loved money and because of his love for money he collaborated with the Nigerian military leaders that embezzled and stole billions of dollars from the country’s treasury and in the list of those military leaders, none were Igbos. Will Prof. Soyinka say that he and his Yoruba tribe loved money mindlessly and that is the reason why they supported Abiola? An inquiring mind will like to know from the esteemed professor. As a leader and an intellectual, he should watch what he says because if proper audit is done to show the true position about Nigeria and who ruined her because of the love for money, I do not think that any ethnic group in that country will be sparred. Soyinka forgot that this is the first time that the Igbos voted massively for the loosing party in a general election at the national level since 1970. Will it be proper to say that Yorubas only votes for political parties simply for their stomach infrastructure and due to their money mindedness. People vote for their interest and I can say that the Igbos in particular and ethnic groups from the former Eastern Nigerians in general, for the most part does not vote with their stomach. They have consistently voted for parties that present agendas for unifying the country. Going down the memory lane starting from NCNC, NPN, SDP and PDP. Regardless of the fact that the flag bearers of these parties, order than Jonathan in 2011 and 2015 came from other regions outside their region, the Igbos and the other ethnic groups from the eastern region voted for these parties while the Yorubas for the most part supported regional parties such as AG, UPN, ACN due to their interest. Will Soyinka qualify the support of Yorubas for Obasanjo in 2003 instead of Buhari as Yorubas following their stomach infrastructure? Everyone knew that Obasanjo mismanaged the economy and encourage impunity including disregard for the law of the land and disobedience of court orders. Did Soyinka push the Yorubas and others to vote for Buhari instead of Obasanjo. If the Igbos had played the ethnic card and supported Buhari in 2003, the likes of Soyinka would have termed it as a vote for stomach infrastructure and love for money by the Igbos regardless of the fact that Buhari’s vice presidential candidate at the time was an Igbo man. If the Igbos had voted for Buhari massively along with a few states from the south-south with large Igbo population, PDP would have been defeated and Igbos would have gained more. But they voted for Obasanjo, a Yoruba man because they believed that Buhari is more of a divider than a unifier. I sincerely believe that it is about time individuals like the esteemed professor stop his ethnic degradedness to characterize and insult other ethnic groups that are parts of the nation called Nigeria. Also, it is about time that the Igbo business and political leaders start a pure, sincere and open hearted dialogue with other ethnic groups from the eastern region on how to resuscitate and redevelop the economies of the eastern region. They need to push for the rebirth of Port Harcourt, Onne and Calaba Sea Ports and development of a Federal Mega City like Lagos and Abuja. This should be done with federal money because it is Federal money that developed Lagos and Abuja. Nigeria had a tripod (East, West and North) when she gained independence. The resources that were generated through oil and gas that are eastern region have been used to develop Abuja and Lagos for two of the tripods. It is about time the nation sacrifice to develop a mega city in the eastern axis for equity and fairness. I believe that the over emphasis of Igbo business leaders in investing heavily in Lagos and other cities outside their region is necessitating this type of insults from people like Prof. Soyinka.

  24. Chiddy Edeh

    February 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    i find it hard to believe dat a lay man like me will ever have d misfortune of engaging in intellectual acrobatics wt our global proffessor&a celebrated cultist at home but today “trouble dey sleep,inyanga go wake am”mr prof,u denigrate us ibos as money grabbers who sells d vote to d highest bidder bt u forget it was not ibos who were shared dollars during d election,It was ur tribes men&Traditional’ rulers.u forget it was nt all ibos dat voted for jonathan.u forget it is an ibo man who is being accused of bankrolling buhari’s election in d person of rotimi amechi.wat abt joe igbokwe,ngige,ogbonnaya onu,akabueze&my humble self etc.were we paid by buhari to vote&support him.u refuse to recall d names being mentioned in dasukigate &tell us how many ibos are there.pls tell us which retired airforce chief hid millons of dollars in soak-away pit&his tribe.pls tell us about bankole..wat about lion of bourdillon,are they ibos too.wat about tafa balogun.if u have forgotten ITT pls ask obasanjo&abiola…did they come from east?i can go on&on bt permit me to ask u if it had been late chinua achebe dat exhibited this intellectual paucity in a global gathering like u did against d yorubas…how would u feel? sir everybody wants money even d white man whom u were trying to impress..was ex USA vpee nt part of halliburton scandal.sir every tribe hv their good&bad,no body holy pass.if we are to wash dirty linens outside,remeber u are yoruba&in our country they are renowned for dirtiness&laziness…plus juju.lets build on tins dat bind us instead of dividing ourselves.

  25. Onyekachi Livinus

    March 23, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I’m not surprised at all about this vituperation of a biased Soyinka against the common well being of the ibos and to show them in a very bad light like he did, now what the yorubas did was purely political sabotage for the same reasons Mr Soyinka is condemning the ibos for but however is it yet uhuru now that PMB of Soyinka is now in the saddle of leadership of this country,I think the likes of Mr Soyinka should rather cover their faces in shame as their so called messiah has proven to have totally lost touch reality of our own time but let’s keep watching to find out how long they can stand to defend such a monumental political mistake like PMB.

  26. Ola66

    June 9, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Truely truely they love money than their mothers and fathers.

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