Defensive Posture of My Brethren from the South-East, By Nasiru Suwaid
One of the most difficult tasks in writing about a particular creed or an ethnic group anywhere in the world is the likely susceptibility to resorting to or pandering to general sectional blame game or unethical racial profiling, where a collective communal lot is often portrayed and projected as acting singularly and in a uniform manner, despite the fact, the group had never coalesced in one location or agree in unison to support or perform certain actions or inactions normally attributed to them. Of course, there are certain habitual traits or flaws uniquely associated with every collection of individuals who have congregated and aggregated to form a society, though, in some instances, that different behavioral characteristic does not necessarily constitute a wrong, as exemplified with such character traits that have developed into a certain attitudinal culture, uniquely identifiable with a distinct ethnic group. Perhaps, it is this dictatorial and projective ascription syndrome which led Nigeria’s most re-known orator and former United Nation Permanent Representative Alhaji Maitama Sule to once aver that; Hausas have the gift of leadership qualities, Yorubas are best suited for civil service and diplomacy, while the Igbos are quintessentially commercially inclined.
But, should it matter what a Nigerian does, singularly or collectively as a group, especially as such theories about any people have never been proven as a fact, besides, Nigeria as a nation has never being a collection of three ethnic groups only, rather, the safest assumption is that it is constituted of hundreds of distinct ethnic groups, who are equal parties and partners in the right to aspire and attain any position in the republic. It is within this context I find the expressed positions of the Ndigbos in the social media quite fascinating, if not disappointing, on any matter or news reportage posted for commentary, they usually react en bloc and perpetually, from the defensive instinct and protective posture of the king does no wrong, most prevalent in the Middle Ages, where the followership is made up of the subservient lot, who dare not to criticize the government, without incurring the wrath of being tagged rebels, an action that is against the dictates of democracy and likely to put ours in jeopardy. Once again, it is pertinent to ask, does it matter, as many a pundit have often highlighted the limitations of internet, in the evolving electoral system that is necessary in sustaining a credible democracy.
Unfortunately for the generally accepted wisdom, what happened last week has put paid to that enlightened logic, as the most conservative of the institutions in Nigeria, which has never claimed to be a democracy, thus does not even claim courting consent of the people in its selection processes, unveiled a successor to the throne in the Kano emirate. Most of the open politicking, chivalrous gestures, clairvoyant subterfuges and deceptive propaganda, leading to who was to become a king, were conducted on the internet and through the social media, obviously, because of the importance of the time factor, where it is necessary to disseminate information fast and the fact that television houses and radio stations are highly regulated, controlled and requires electricity to be powered into effect, when the internet could be easily accessed with battery enabled mobile phones. It is from this context that it would be safe to assume, that the social media will most likely play a strategic role in determining who wins what, when and how in the politicking, electoral processes and the having knowledge of winners in the 2015 general elections, despite whatever the Electoral Act (2010) might say.
Whenever anyone sought to know why the South Easterners always portray a belligerent posture of defense towards any innocuous comment, advice or opinion offered to the federal government, the usual explanation is that the Igbos see President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan as a favored son, who has emanated from the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, which was later to fight the Nigeria state as the Biafran Republic. However, had it been it is only the current president who has enjoyed this kind of massive support, it would have been most understandable, but the Late General Sani Abacha, who is neither an igbo nor even a southerner also enjoyed a similar gesture of loyalty, in fact, during the time of his attempt at transmuting from a military dictator to an elected democrat, there was a time when Prince Arthur Eze led a group to the presidential villa, called Eastern Leaders of Thought, who called on General Abacha to remove his Khaki for Agbada, the most striking spectacle was when a member of the delegation gentle rose and declared that the Ndigbo’s would collectively commit mass suicide, if the president did not agree to declare himself as a life president.
While some have posited that perhaps their action is just a reaction of what has happened in the thirty months Nigerian Civil War, where a supposedly national army’s glorious fight for unity was seen as merely a northern supremacist victory, thus following in the adage; my enemy’s enemy is my friend, as such, since it is perceived that the Northern region does not support the president, supporting him for whatever purpose, serves in spiting a bitter foe. However, some others have postulated, it is in the intrinsic nature and character of an Igbo man or woman, who is highly entrepreneurial thus measuring everything from the pecuniary angle of monetary gain. It is the reason why many from intelligentsia, who had initially supported the Biafran independence movement, quickly recanted and backed out, first, due to Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu’s emerging dictatorial nature but most importantly, because of the herd mentality of a quintessential Igbo of always siding with the government, which is an anathema to the concept of responsible governance and accountable democracy. Indeed, some have posited that had Ojukwu succeeded with Biafra, it would have always remained a little fiefdom of one man rule and a banana republic.
Suwaid writes in via email@example.com
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