Factors for the Igbo Leadership Vacuum and The Igbo Vandalization of her Elites using Chinualumogu Achebe’s Case As A Case Study
African Leaderschip Vacuum
Research Paper (undergraduate) 2011 17 Pages
Giving honour to whom honour is due is part of the desiderata in the modern Igbo Worldview. Without prejudice to the assertion of anthropologists like G.T. Basden(Among the Igbos of Southern Nigeria) that the Igbos are deeply religious and culturally rooted people who ardently revere their ancestors and respect their elders coupled with the well-researched views of historians like J.B.K.Onwubiko(The History of West Africa) that though the Igbos are politically nay ideologically speaking republican oriented, they allow themselves to be led and governed by elders and village heads, recent findings based chiefly on lived experiences of the modern Igbo mainstream Society tend to suggest that the Igbos are notorious for castigating, insulting, assaulting, disrespecting and dishonoring their elders, their opinion leaders, their religious leaders, their parents, their seniors, their teachers, their village heads, their titled men and women and their traditional leaders. The modern Igbo man prides himself as a know-it-all, I-too-know and imposing type of person. He tends to verbally, psychologically and physically bully others. He readily asks anybody who tries to lead or direct him if he feeds him nay if he is his bread winner ( I n’enye m nri? Hence one readily hears such impolite and arrogant parlance: who are you(onye k’I bu)? Fire-for-fire, bumper-to-bumper, eyeball-to-eyeball(a si k’ a chaa; mbe n’abo, nke bu oke; I che na m bu nwanyi? Ihe di abuo, otu g’eme; otu o bula I si cho ya). In the same vein the Igbos have excelled as a nationality that has little or no space for such words and phrases as motivation, recognition, distinction, promotion, rehabilitation, V.I.P, honor-to whom- honor- is-due, Ladies -and-Gentlemen and Men-of- Timber-and Caliber in their authentic usage. The bottom-line and the condition sine qua non for any distinction and recognition à l’Igbo are currently wealth and absolute power. Titles tend to go to the highest bidder. Intelligence, Education and Integrity must be thrown out of the window once money is at stake. Hence the present Igbo society is a world that worships only money and power, no matter how, where and when the money is acquired. This research attempts to study this phenomenon which tends to tear the Igbo society apart, vandalize the reputation of her reputable cream of the society, empty her barn of respected ambassadors and appears to turn the Igbo nationality into endangered species in the socio-political terrain of Nigeria in particular and of Africa and the world in general. As a case study the Chinua Achebe factor will be highlighted.
2. Statement of the Problem.
Giving honor to whom honor is due is part of the lacunae in the modern Igbo scale of priorities. The Igbo man’s resilience and orientation towards individual and group autarky, autonomy and self confidence gets exaggerated when the Igbo man loses sight of according due recognition, motivation and upliftment to her sons and daughters who are pace-setters in the society. In comparism to other nationalities within and outside Nigeria, who virtually create, nurture even to the point of panel-beating, spraying and re-spraying their own sons and daughters, who hitherto were nonentities, with a view to fashioning them into their ambassadors, their eyes, legs, ears, mouths and hands in the national and international lobby pavilions, the Igbo person has unfortunately excelled in disregarding, insulting, assaulting, abusing, labeling, name-calling, blackmailing, running down and character assassinating his own sons and daughters who strive by dint of hard labor, heroism and extra-ordinary erudition and intelligence to stand up where others are sitting down, to sit up while others are sitting tight and to tower above others while others are satisfied with mediocrity, so as to engender personalities of gold, steel and iron who loom large within and outside Nigeria. Compared to other nationalities who rehabilitate their children and blow them to the heavens, even when those children of theirs are very weak like every other mortal, the Igbo are notorious for running down their authentic leaders and recognizing the fake ones who are money bags. This phenomenon exacerbates the already uncomfortable impression within Nigeria and abroad that the Igbo man can do anything sadistic just to make money. Are we facing the realization of the biblical prophecy that a prophet is never recognized in his own town and among his own people?
Destructive criticism and character assassination have become a cankerworm eating deep into the fabric of the Igbo nation. Many a time it seems as if the Igbo have nothing more to do other than fighting and labeling their sons and daughters and washing their dirty linens in the public. Earlier the Igbo were known for their hard work, diligence and commerce. Today many Igbo no longer mind their business both as individuals and as a group. Earlier they were never known to be beggars. Today many are professional beggars. Earlier the village heads and local chiefs ensured security, order, socio-political equilibrium and environmental sanitation in their areas of authority. Igbo language and culture were not only promoted, they were passed on to future generations. Many of our children today can hardly speak Igbo or make a complete sentence in the Igbo language. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart documented in fiction the golden era of the Igbo nationality: Igbo governance, Igbo fashion and design, Igbo culture, economy and tradition etc. The Igbo were known for self-help-project invention in all spheres of life. During the Nigerian civil war, the Igbo manufactured virtually all that they needed. These noble goals are today being eroded due to lack of or kwashiorkor of credible leadership amongst other factors.
While we recognize the rationale for constructive criticism, the current craze to run other people down via tale-bearing, blackmail, insults, abuses, name-calling and character assassination, is to say the least unacceptable. In one instance an Igbo son on a notable national assignment began to be bombarded by people from his own village with a deluge of petition writing, ostensibly rented with mouth-watering financial gratification. Elsewhere whereas scholars are being prepared and packaged for nomination for such awards as the Nobel Peace Prize, the Igbo have no agenda for the distinction of their genuine and sincere sons and daughters. Igbo have excelled in selling chieftaincy, religious and sundry titles to the highest bidder irrespective of their source of wealth. Most appalling is the fact that even worthy Igbo elites who are towering national and world figures are rarely accorded such recognition at home. Many a time other nationalities steal the show from us. The main Arts Theater at the University of Calabar for instance is named after Chinua Achebe(Chinua Achebe Arts Theater). The main University of Ibadan Library is named after Kenneth Dike( Kenneth Dike Library). What are the contributions of the Igbo in promoting her eminent sons and daughters?. Gradually it is being noted that whereas other hitherto unknown nationalities and ethnic groups are taking the center stage in our national affairs, the Igbo are settling for the back bench and the dregs as a result of dearth of towering figures and an absence of a united front. The Igbo race appears to be metamorphosing into an endangered species in the national and international calculations.