There is a sort of siege mentality which our people have acquired as result of the end of the war. I believe this must cease. I believe our people must face the fact that the war is ended, they must feel free to partake, to serve, to benefit from Nigeria. They should have no inhibitions about being Nigerian. They should have no complexes.
– Chukuemeka O. Ojukwu
Before the Civil War (Nigeria-Biafra) which pitched the Ibo people of the then Eastern Nigeria against the Federal side of Nigeria, Ibos were seen as a people highly progressive and most times intimidating. They were found in almost every state of the federation; as traders, businessmen and women, technocrats, public servants, national leaders, etc. They had that attitude for survival and eventually thriving optimally.
In essence, in public and national life these people were in the forefront in pre-war Nigeria.
Now the war is over 45 years after and there is still that notion that they are still marginalized. Some people might disagree, while some others will affirm this situation.
Marginalization I will say is relative and can come in various shades; exclusion from politics, public service and appointments, verbal attacks, nepotism, etc. These are common in a multi ethnic and lingual society like ours.
Also I have noticed that Ibos are mostly involved in local politics that involve their own people e.g. governors, House of Representatives members, Senators, LG chairmen, State House of Assembly members, and any position that demands compulsory participation by Ibos. In other positions like the Presidency and National Assembly leadership, key appointments, they are seen as featherweights.
The businessmen and women among them are either out of the radar of the press or just choose not to be recognized by many. It is like having a phobia for the press and media.
Going further, the ones in the entertainment industry just choose to make their movies, get paid and live a life away from the paparazzi. You can take a mind survey if you wish to. The artistes too are more business inclined than being in media controversies.
This type of marginalization might be by choice caused by a form of stereotype by other ethnic groups who are quick to judge anything Igbo. The thought of an Igbo president is like rewriting Nigeria’s story.
Whichever the case, there can never be any ethnic nationality as progressive as Ibos, their business sense and wealth creation instinct might be what Nigeria needs to meet up with challenges of nation building and revenue generation.
The Ibos are more or less the type of people whose desire is mainly to dominate everybody. If they go to a village, to a town, they want to monopolize everything in that area…
-Sir Ahmadu Bello