The Igbo spirit
A story has been told of how before 1966, an Igbo National Leader needed to pay in a particular amount of money into an account in the then African Continental Bank, ACB, before a given date, or face prosecution and imminent imprisonment. Another Igbo son volunteered the said sum and as the money was being taken from Nsukka to Enugu, robbers struck to carry the money away!
The custodian of the money in the car explained to the robbers that if that same amount was not paid into ACB by 3pm that same day, the national Igbo leader would go to jail. To their pleasant surprise, the robbers upon hearing the purpose for which the money was being moved to Enugu volunteered to escort them to the bank and ensured that the money was paid promptly to save not only the said Igbo leader from being imprisoned, but to save the Igbo race from the shame it would bring. The custodian of that money knew his people, the Igbo people and that if they understood the purpose, they would act differently irrespective of their profession and likely personal gains because the Igbo man worked with truth and honesty. The custodian of the money and the robbers had one spirit, which is called the Igbo Spirit. It is the spirit that placed Nigeria, and Igbo nation above personal pecuniary interest. That was the spirit that preserved Ndigbo during the trying times of that civil war, to hold on with little or no arms and faced the combined advanced war arsenal of Nigeria and their western allies. It was that Igbo Spirit that caused Dr. Akanu Ibiam to reject and return all the awards he received from the British Government, in protest against their double dealing and unfairness against Ndigbo during that war. It is the Igbo Spirit that is now called the Biafra Spirit since after that civil war. It is the Biafra Spirit that propelled Ndigbo to go out after that war, settle in any part of Nigeria, treat that place as their home and prosper in spite of the fact that Nigeria gave every Igbo man only twenty pounds in 1970, irrespective of the amount they had in their bank account after that war! Nigeria today, is paying for our iniquities and sins against God and Humanity since after independence, but that is a matter for another day. The Biafra spirit has nothing to do with violence, blood or human sacrifice, spiritual and social cultism, kidnapping and other criminal conducts some misguided Igbos engage in today. That Spirit is not asking for favoritism, god fatherism, or to reap where it has not sown. It is not the spirit of getting it quickly and by all means, because it is not a do or die spirit. The Biafra spirit is not a spirit of vengeance against any ethnic or religious group in Nigeria, for vengeance belongs to Him, who created the heavens and the earth, the God of Ndigbo. The Biafra Spirit insists on a level playing field for all, irrespective of ethnic and religious convictions in this country, because it is a spirit that thrives on justice and fairness. It propels the carriers into industry, fair competition, hard work, and integrity. It is the failure of emerging political leaders of Ndigbo, to accept and submit to this spirit, that is the delimma of Igbo people in the present day Nigeria. The inability of some of our present Igbo political, and economic leaders to reconnect with the Igbo/Biafra Spirit which made Igbos what they were before 1966, and will take them to where they will be in the future accounts for the shame we see all over in the South East of Nigeria today.
The case of development in Igboland
The creation of more states from the East Central State by the General Yakubu Gowon regime restructured Igbo land after the civil war. It brought more federal funds to Igbo Land, for us to plan and enhance our development through brotherliness and unity as a people, but our leaders started pushing and fighting each other using the civil service, details of which space will not permit and the result today is that it is with difficulty that an Igbo person from one state can occupy a political post in another Igbo State. Our governors missed it and are still missing it. The level of decay in roads within the South East the worst being Imo State is simply unacceptable. With the exception of the Ihiala –Owerri Road, every other link road from Imo to other states are in a state of total disrepair. The condition of roads within Imo state is abominable, especially between Local Government Headquarters. The Nkwerre-Umudi-Dikenafai LGA Road is a total shame. This is the road that leads to the NYSC Orientation Camp in Imo State and the Beautiful Hezekiah University. The Ukwu Orji- Nworieubi Road which leads to the Lisbon University is hell on earth, and that road links Mbieri to Okigwe Road via Atta in Ikeduru LGA. Private Universities should be encouraged especially as the Governor is building one for himself. Ihiala-Awoidemiri-Orlu Road, Anara-Okigwe Road, Owerri-Omarelu Road and major link roads between the LGAs are horrible to put it mildly. Imo has failed to learn or copy road construction and maintenance from Anambra State!
It is the same story of bad roads for Abia and Enugu States. Aba –Ikot Ekpene and Umuahia –Ikot Ekpene Roads are failing by the day. Can our governors in Igbo land be serious with industrialisation and development for the South East when they have turned blind eyes to the decay in roads within the area? How will an investor site an industry in a state where there are no roads, no security from kidnappers and they provide their own water, electricity, then pay numerous levies and taxes? In the true and genuine Igbo spirit, our governors should quickly find the third Niger Bridge file and bring back that project.