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Yes, Ndi Igbo, ‘go home’



Yes, Ndi Igbo, ‘go home

By Ochereome Nnanna… I read an interesting Facebook broadcast by a friend of mine, Ray Morphy Ugba, the morning
just before coming to the office to write this
article. Ray is a journalist, politician, blogger and
(from what I saw after the broadcast) also a
musician. He hails from Cross River State, though
he seems quite proud of the fact that his mother
is an Igbo woman, which is why he calls Igbos
“my mother’s people”.

Read Also : Why Did Buhari Eat His Words?

Ray referred to a recent
controversial statement credited to the Lagos
State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on a visit to
Badagry, where he said Lagos was not a “colony”
but part of the Yoruba homeland (which is true).
He reportedly announced that there was “nothing
like Eze Ndi Igbo again” in the state, stressing his
determination to move several markets (like Mile
12, Ladipo and others) to outskirts of the

This outing has been trending in the
social media, and some Igbo people believe it is
yet another pointer to the fact that Ambode is an
“enemy” of their people.

Ray in his broadcast said: “Just because you
have bought a large parcel of land from a
community to build, live, trade and flourish does
not make you an indigene of that place”. I concur.
Though it makes you a stakeholder as a property
owner and citizen, it does not entitle you to the
“inner matters” to which only the aborigines of
the place are entitled.

However, that you are not
entitled to those things does not in any way
reduce your rights, privileges and obligations as a
citizen under the Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. I will expatiate on this
presently. First, let me deal with the issue of
“going home”; what it is not and what it is.

does “Igbos, go home” mean? It does not mean:
pack your belongings and leave the place. It does
not mean that you should uproot from where you
currently live and go back to Igboland or your
hometown in Igboland. Why should you? You are
a Nigerian, and the Constitution entitles you to
settle and live peacefully and lawfully in any part
of the country without harassment.

“Go home” is a very useful piece of advice for any sensible Igbo
person willing to listen. Anyone who tells you “be
careful”, “mind yourself” or “be warned”, is not
insulting you. He is your friend, maybe in
disguise. The Igbos are the only group in Nigeria
who require this timeous advice: “go home”.

Yorubaman in the North or any other part of the
country does not need it: he hardly “leaves” his
roots, no matter how long he lives outside
Yorubaland (including abroad). The Arewa man
does not need it. He hardly plants down any tap
root outside his aboriginal enclave. He never
builds any permanent structure.

He lives among
his own cultural types, maintains the purity of his
religious culture and is in touch with “home” by
radio and other channels, no matter how long he
lives outside Arewa land. It is only the Igbo man
that takes the “One Nigeria” dictum on the
surface level. He is like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who
says: “let us forget about our differences”.

other Nigerians are like Sardauna Ahmadu Bello
who says: “let us remember our differences”. It is
this misguided float of mind that leads the Igbo
man to settle and develop where he lives,
forgetting that where he comes from also requires
to be developed. History once taught the Igbo
man a painful lesson when the coups of 1966
took place and the pogroms in the North led to
the civil war.

When the war ended, the Igbos
came back and were allowed to reclaim their
property in the North and West, but were denied
that right in Port Harcourt, a city built on the land
of the Igbo-speaking Ikwerre sub-national group.
Why? Because Port Harcourt had become the oil
booty of the civil war’s winners.

The Igbo/
Biafrans were not allowed to be landlords/
stakeholders in this city after losing the war over
its oil. However, the Igbos went back to the North
and West and soon forgot all the lessons that
Port Harcourt was meant to teach them:
understand how to live with other Nigerians in
this “One Nigeria”.

They recovered from the scars
of the war and started ravenously building
mansions, markets and even industries in major
cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kano and elsewhere. Not
only that, they totally neglected their own
aboriginal homeland. Igboland feels very little of
the famed commercial and technological acumen
of the Igbo people.

It is essentially an economic
and infrastructural wasteland. The Igbos became
so “comfortable” outside their own homeland that
some misguided elements among them even
started setting up some fake traditional
institutions and installing what they referred to as
“Eze Ndi Igbo” in those places, to the utter
irritation of the indigenes and those of us who
feel the shame of it all.

These hustlers (“Eze Ndi
Igbo”) who don’t understand the implications of
their tomfoolery, go as far as conferring
chieftaincy titles on relevance-seeking nonentites
who, invariably, are people of questionable roots
and means of livelihood. These fakers have come
under increasing scrutiny by the owners of the
land: their commoners, kings and political leaders.
This is long overdue!

If Ambode says no more
“Eze Ndi Igbo” in Lagos, he is right. Anybody
whose ancestors did not come from the geo-
cultural boundaries of Lagos cannot be an
indigene of Lagos. If you are not an indigene of
Lagos, how can you be a “king” in Lagos? How
can you dispense chieftaincy titles?

It is a
barefaced usurpation of the “inner privileges”
exclusive to those whose ancestors first
established their traditional authority in Lagos. In
any case, what value does “Eze Ndi Igbo” add to
Igbos in Lagos? It is not even a cultural trait of
Igbo people.

It was a mere copying of Arewa’s
Sarkin Hausawa or Sarkin Zango system which
the Igbos born in the North (like the late
venerated Dim Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu)
misguidedly copied against the better counsel of
some of us. The Sarkin Hausawa do pay homage
to the traditional and political authorities of
places they settle as due deference (though some
of them are no longer doing so but actually
making territorial claims which pitches them at
loggerheads with indigenes).

If push comes to
shove again, Igbos will lose a million times more
than they lost in Port Harcourt. Yet, many of
them are supporting Nnamdi Kanu’s Biafra
separatism, believing they can eat their cakes and
still have it back. What naivete! Igbos must “go
home”, develop Igboland, build up its economic
infrastructure and make it a destination not only
for the Igbos but also other Nigerians and even
foreigners to live, work and thrive.

That is the meaning of “go home”. Igbos will never live in
dignity outside Igboland until they have done this.
Their children will continue to speak English and
the native tongues of their hosts without the
ability to speak and behave like Igbos. If Igbos do
not “gome home”, they will be lost! They are
already losing their Majority status, anyway, and
their language is rapidly vanishing.

It is in the vital interest of the Igbo people and their children
to “go home”. Anambra State is showing that it
can be done. I did not vote for Ambode during the
elections but he is not my enemy. He is
developing Lagos State for the common good,
and he needs to remove shanties to do so. Every
Lagos dweller (including the indigenes) has three
choices: cooperate, give way or be prepared to go

But the citizenship rights of all Nigerians in
Lagos MUST always be upheld. Lagos MUST be
developed lawfully.
Otherwise, our voters cards will speak for us at
the right time.

Ripples Nigeria…without borders, without fears

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