My name is Ononugbo Alfred and the project executive of Oganiruigbo Development Initiative, A non governmental and non partisan organisation.
Our major project is advocacy and sensitization of Ndigbo to build investment platforms and develop our richly endowed economic potentials for the national and global market. We are engaged in seeking platforms for mutual cooperation with the Ndigbo sons and daughters, Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Industrialists, Traditional Rulers, Town Development Unions, Socio-Cultural Associations, Academia and Political leaders irrespective of their party affiliations for increased participation in governance and maximization of economic and democratic dividends,
Ndigbo are extremely resourceful, resilient and peaceful people due to the impact of Christianity, cultural values and traditions of our people.
50 years ago, our youthful men in the army participated in the coup de tat that led to the first political shedding of blood in Nigeria. The singular reason was their honesty and dedication to do whatever will promote the mutual benefit, unity, progress and development of the entire Nigeria. They had no ethnic bias or ulterior motives, rather, driven by patriotic zeal, they consented and participated in the coup to stop corrupt political and compromised traditional leaders, manipulative nationalists, who were attempting to divide the country in order to serve their personal ambitions and interests.
This unfortunate development failed and later poor management of the circumstances led to the counter coup organized by young officers of the North and some from the West culminating in the, starvation, looting, forceful take over of properties and death of over one million Igbos. The self determination conflict for the actualization of the Biafran nation and the unending revenge against Igbos across the country that has continued till date. Since then, Ndigbo have been branded disrespectful, arrogant, ungovernable, perceived as perpetual threats, evil people and destructive ethnic champions leading to the killing of over three million innocent Ndigbo with women and children bearing the severe and agonizing consequences. Generations of Ndigbo who merely heard the story of the political conflicts have sustained deep psychological deformities and esteem injuries, economic, social, political and academic blackmails. There is hardly any profession where we have not made our patriotic marks but rewarding our dedications and sacrifices is often attended by ungrateful insinuation born out of envy, jealousy and hatred rather than genuine concern for our shortcomings if any. Even our young Children are taunted in schools and harassed simply for being born Ndigbo.
The lack of sincerity by our leaders and Igbo political class has further complicated the situation of Ndigbo. We are today a reference point of mockery like the adage of the fire wood seller that could not make fire in his house because he had only wet woods at home.
The recent call to Ndigbo to return home and invest among our people are yieldy slow but steady responses and the these attacks by Fulani Militias appears to be another devised threat this development. The Igbos migrate to other environment to enjoy space and peace in other to develop and grow their investment. We hate competition and rivalry. Here therefore is the challenge before us.
The recent killings in Igbo communities are becoming worrisome and sending very dangerous signs and is an extreme threat against transfer of investment. It is targeted at the agricultural potentials of the communities and creating anarchy and insecurity.
The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces of Nigeria of which the armed fulani herdsmen are not by constitution a unit or department. With the entire security institutions watching and these recurrent mass execution and assassinations are taking place, our silence simply meant that we either have no value for our lives and properties or that we are too timid and cowardly even to cry out for the world to hear our plight. Some of our leaders are today viewed under the suspicion that they have betrayed our cause and many cannot speak out boldly because they nurse political ambitions. Some shameless leaders have sold their conscience in order to benefit from political patronage and benevolence of their political distribution of posts and contracts.
We are not armed to protect ourselves, relations, investments and personal properties while those who are equipped and armed with our taxes have not demonstrated any sincerity in protecting us. The same soldiers that were in Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo to protect Nigeria claiming to ensure order while shooting and killing unarmed Igbo youths,have not lived up to their billing in preventing fulani cattle men (if indeed these are fulani) from visiting our Igbo communities with cold blows of death and destruction flowing out of the nozzles of their brand new AK47 and AK49 riffles.
We cannot comprehend why assault riffles are moving freely with untrained persons across Nigeria without proactive measures by security agencies to check and bring the predators to justice. We hate the drum beat of war since we are yet to come out of our past experience but we shall not be intimidated to surrender to destruction with our loved members of our families and watch the slaughter of our innocent and promising children under any guise. The armed herdsmen do not believe in the rule of law neither do they acknowledge the President and commander in chief of the Nigerian armed forces as the final authority on security matter in Nigeria. They have demonstrated invincibility, impunity and contempt for peace and unity of Nigeria and it makes no rational sense to sit and watch destruction sweep our entire families and communities away.
The revenge, discrimination and destruction should come to an end and Ndigbo must not further complicate these problems by showing disrespect to other ethnic nationalities. We should be prepared to accommodate other tribes in our communities who wish to do business with our people. Other people must be allowed to benefit from the cultural diversity of our great nation and country Nigeria. Religious as provided by the Constitution must be given it's rightful place and not be used with ethnicity to favor any particular peoples.
There should be an enforcement on the legislation that allows for freedom of association and religion. The secularity of Nigeria as enshrined in the constitution must be complied with and all institutions of government with undue consideration and preference for ethnic or religious leanings brought to account. The proliferation of masquerade religious cells which provides cover for criminals must be dismantled urgently and their proprietors brought to justice.
Written by Alfred Ononugbo
Oganiruigbo Development Initiative