By William Ezeh
Dear Mr. Abbide, Thank you for the brief article entitled: “What do the Igbo want?” and carried by the online edition of The Punch Newspaper of August 29, 2013. It is an insult to any self-respecting Nigerian tribe to aspire to Nigeria’s presidency except to rescue that office, as president Jonathan is doing currently, from being swallowed completely by an avoidable sink

hole. Does Nigeria’s presidency command any respect both at home and abroad? Are Nigerians not breaking grounds the world over without any support rom Nigeria’s presidency?

What would Igboland gain from a comatose and diseased presidency? There are some Nigerian tribes that cannot survive even for a day without the presidency! The Igbo and certain other Nigerian tribes are not part of these leprous groups of impotent and imbecille people; Igbos and some other Nigerian peoples are vibrant, dynamic, adventurous, inquisitive and aspirational so they survive anywhere without any ‘assistance’ from an impotent and self-denigrating presidency.

Mr. Abidde, have you not seen the burden those that couldn’t survive without the Nigeria’s presidency are imposing on President Jonathan? What is President Jonathan’s offense that he is being villified and caricatured especially by some violent and never-do-well tribes? Tribes that are afraid of merit and competition! Those attacking President Jonathan are the ones that need Nigeria’s presidency. The Igbo people are not attacking Jonathan or his office because they are too busy. The tribes that engage in daily attacks on the person and family of President Jonathan cannot do without unfair federal allocation which the presidency assures them even when they generate nothing.

Meanwhile, as a freeborn and full-blood Igbo son, what the Igbo want is no different than what any other Nigerian Tribe/Ethnic Group desires for its people. These ‘things’ that the Igbo and, by extension, certain other Nigerian peoples want, can be encapsulated as follows:

1. The Igbo want merit institutionalized in Nigerian socio-economic and socio-political affairs. For instance, how appropriate is it that an aspiring candidate for admission to Nigeria’s so-called ‘unity schools’ is required to score 139 out of a total of 200 points to be admitted while another candidate for the same admission process is required to score 2 (two) out of a total 200 points to be admitted to the same ‘unity school’ especially in an age of globalization and knowledge economy?

2. The Igbo want competition to be introduced and encouraged in Nigeria’s affairs. Without a robust competition in Nigeria, growth would be only horizontal.By horizontal is meant growth without development as presently characterizes most Nigerian ‘cities’ and towns. For instance, why can’t the Federal Government of Nigeria decree that admission’s into all the first generation universities be solely based on merit? If for nothing else, those universities have, for decades, pandered and catered to tribal interests mainly so time is ripe now for them to cater to Nigerian interests. The Igbo want all first generation universities designated “Merit Only Universities.”

3. The Igbo want the Federal Government to create economic opportunities in all the six geo-political zones so as to stimulate compitition and economic growth. For instance, what is the rationale for making only seaports and airport in Lagos viable while seaports and airports in other regions are criminally neglected and/or sabotaged? Would a viable seaport in Calabar, Eket, Warri etc., not jumpstart the economies of those areas and, by extension, Nigeria’s? Assuming but not conceding (even though it is a possibility) that a determined enemy of the progress of Nigeria, attacks and destroys Apapa and Tincan ports in Lagos, would Nigeria and Nigerians have to wait until the destroyed seaports have been repaired/reconstructed for them to resume seaborne economic activities with foreign nations?

4. The Igbo want the federal government to establish steel rolling mills in any of the present states that previously constituted old Eastern Region. Where is the justice in using money from Eastern Nigeria to establish the stillborn Ajaokuta steel complex and the steel rolling mills in Jos, Oshogbo, Katsina, and Aladja (Delta state) and not even one in the former Eastern Region? A closer examination will reveal that the old Northern Region has three of these bllion dollar worth economic projects while the old Western Region has two; and NOTHING for the entire old Eastern Region even though the money used for their establishment came from old Eastern Region.

5. The Igbo want to ask the federal government and non-Eastern Region Nigerians to explain why no institution of higher learning was deemed appropriate for Ijawland until the coming of President Jonathan even as money from resources under Ijawland was used to establish universities and other institutions of higher learning across Nigeria?Does it mean that pre-Jonathan Ijawland was not good enough to host a federal university or polytechnic?

6. The Igbo want Nigerians to know that they (Igbo) are not interested in the Presidency of Nigeria; it does not benefit them, has never benefitted them and would not benefit them whether in the present or in the future. Where is the wisdom in one aspiring for that which is not mutually beneficial? Since Nigeria’s presidency exists not for the mutual benefit of all Nigerians, the Igbo people would not genuinely aspire to such an office. The Igbo are competitive adventurers while Nigeria’s presidency and its various occupiers except current President Jonathan, are not adventurous let alone, competitive and/or competitors so what is in such an office for the Igbo to aspire to? If the Igbo want Nigeria’s presidency, they want it ONLY because they want to institute, instigate and ginger merit and mutual competition amongst Nigerians. But, are Nigerians ready for merit and competition?

7. Finally, another ‘thing’ the Igbo want from Nigeria is for Nigeria and non-Igbo Nigerians to explain why TRIBE AND RELIGION are not included in census data? How could we tell whether Igbo are larger than Yoruba or Yoruba are larger than Hausa and Fulani combined if Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas, Fulanis etc. are not counted during census enumeration, to determine their actual numbers? The Igbo want to know why it is only in Nigeria that the inclusion of tribe and religion in census data would CAUSE ‘war’? What war? Over what? How would knowing the current total population of Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Tiv, Hausa, Berom etc. in Nigeria cause ‘war’?

8. In conclusion, the Igbo want to inform Nigerians that they (Igbo) always think of the glass as half full rather than half empty but would prefer for it to be completely full for all and sundry to drink from and be satiated. It is certain Nigerian tribes that perceive the glass as empty that have brought ruin upon the country and its hapless citizens sorry, tribesmen. However, the Igbo and their society are an enormous highlight to behold anyday, anywhere, anyplace! That is, the Igbo(land) is where “every end is a beginning and every beginning is eternal.” Nigerians should want this from the Igbo!

William Ezeh