NDIGBO: CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME!

It is common in this part of the world for people
not to accept responsibility for majority of their
actions. They therefore are always pointing at
other people or giving lame excuses. But the truth
remains that problem identification is very key in
problem solving. We must strive earnestly
therefore to identify our problems and seek
genuine means and approaches to have them
solved because every knowledge is of no avail
where understanding is lacking.

Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu (Ezeigbo
Gburugburu), said that the First Republic
produced three major actors – two realists and
one dreamer. Unfortunately, the dreamer was from
the South-East. While the realists focused on
developing their regions, the dreamer was
claiming to be a Nationalist and we know better
now. Ironically, the South-Easterners are still lost
in the euphoria of Nationalism and their region
had remained far behind other regions in terms of
development and political consciousness.
Sadly, the worst network of roads in Nigeria can
be found in the South-East inspite of their heavy
presence and committed involvement in party
politics. They occupy different positions in
different political parties but it has not translated
to siting of projects that would better the region.
The Onitsha Port is there in name, Port Harcourt
port which is nearer is expensive while they
continue to clear goods from Lagos port. They are
always placated with some Federal appointments
which had only bettered the lot of the appointees
and their families and not the region. We are
always holding the shortest end of the stick and
are seen by others as only good enough materials
for campaign and propaganda, which can be used
and dumped at will.

Prof. Chinua Achebe said, “It is a taboo and
disservice to the Igbo Nation if we cannot transfer
our language and culture to our children.” It is
now very difficult identifying our people because a
good number cannot communicate fluently in Igbo
language. A study group predicted that our
language will become extinct in the nearest
future. What are we doing about that? We are
rather even becoming more English than the folks
from United Kingdom by not allowing our children
to communicate in our native tongue. Without
apologies, Pentecostalism has helped kill our
language and culture. Our people now change
names at will, making it more difficult for proper
identification; many no longer give their children
Igbo names. Many parents in the present
generation cannot speak or write Igbo language
not to talk of teaching their wards.
Elie Wiesel said, “There may be times when we
are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must
never be a time when we fail to protest”. Among
the regions in Nigeria, the South-East has the
least number of states. Our involvement in the
polity has only been limited to appointments;
even ethnic minorities are now stronger, more
respected and considered. May be many of our
people do not understand the implication of
having lesser number of states. It means we are
being cheated in the distribution of national
resources. It also implied that we have lesser
number of representatives in the National
Assembly, lesser voting power, and lesser voice
since democracy is a game of numbers. It should
bother us as a people and thereby push us to
speak with one voice and have it addressed in the
genuine spirit of equity.

The Biafra-Nigeria civil war should have taught
our people lessons. Our people lost lives,
properties and investments in different parts of
the country and had to start all over again after
the war from the scratch. Should such take place
again today or another pogrom, our people will
lose even more. In Abuja and other major cities,
our sons and daughters invest heavily on hotels,
plazas, and properties. Yet the same people
cannot boast of a piece of block in the South-
East. How long do we suffer this amnesia and
keep developing other regions at the very expense
of our own region?

How many people from our region think about
investing in the media and education? How many
radio and television stations are located in our
region? Is it that we do not understand the role of
the media in development and dissemination of
information to the rest of the world? The number
of media houses in just one state in South-West
for instance outnumbers the ones in the whole of
our region. The same in the educational sector.
Other regions are seriously looking to improve
their educational sector and are building more
schools while we have more children out of
school. Most editors of our dailies are from one
region and they keep shaping opinions of the
whole nation. Our people presume the Northerners
are disadvantaged yet they are more informed as
they stick to their transistor radios while our
people (traders and artisans) read only sports
newspapers devoid of national issues.

“The penalty good men pay for indifferences to
public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” – Plato.
If we genuinely love ourselves, we must spare
thought for the next person. It is rather absurd to
ask everybody to pay the same levies in our town
meetings and associations; It is a form of
oppression for the less endowed. Oppression of
the poor by the rich in our region is at the root of
kidnapping and other crimes. Ndigbo – the horns
cannot be too heavy for the head that must carry
them. It is time to look homeward! Charity begins
at home!

Alinnor Arinze A.

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