By Chido Nwakanma
We will yet speak on the meaning of Biafra in contemporary Nigeria. There is a need for proper articulation of the case and the issues, so there is no misrepresentation nor groundless fears. It is enough to state that Biafra is about ensuring the dignity of man and equal rights and fairness for everyone in the political union of Nigeria.
The issue of the moment is the unsubstantiated allegation that Ndigbo are not united. I addressed that false assertion this morning in response to a young Igbo man who claimed that the success of the stay-at-home is the first time he sees Igbo unity. I was aghast. So I stated as follows.
Igbos have always spoken with one voice. I do not know where and how young Igbos are falling into the psychological defeatism of the negative stereotype of the Igbo nation. Those are tales by the enemies and competitors of the Igbo. They tell yarns like Ndigbo do not love themselves or there is no unity.
Our history does not support this narrative. Ndigbo are the ones who in unity built community schools, hospitals and gave scholarships to their brilliant ones so that, as Fredrick Forsyth records in The Biafra Story, the Igbo cancelled the headstart of more than 50 years that the Yoruba had in education in 20years. The Igbo do not like themselves but have managed over the years to give themselves municipal infrastructure in their communities. Ndigbo formed the Igbo State Union first outside Igboland to bring the Western civilisation they had witnessed to their people at home, starting with education.
The United Nations system in Nigeria now recognises and promotes Community Development Associations as a nucleus for development. The template is similar to the Development Associations Ndigbo formed in their towns and villages since the 1930s.
These Ndigbo who are not united still manage to speak with one voice on the main issues. When they did so in 2015, haters who lack necessary skills in political persuasion have tried to paint it as lacking in political sophistication. A united political stand is evidence of political sagacity if others do it, but never if Ndigbo do so.
These people who hate themselves have for decades maintained an entrepreneurship mentoring and apprenticeship scheme of mutual sacrifice from master to apprentice who later becomes an established and groomed entrepreneur. Many of our aphorisms speak to the Igbo belief in unity and collective action. Ndigbo, please ignore envious or ignorant labelling, particularly by your sons. Educate them to believe in themselves and their origins.