IBO POLITICS AND HOLLYWOOD MOVIE
Daily Independent August 7, New Nigeria July29, Thisday July27, Comet July30, Nigerian Tribune August20, Daily
Trust August 29,2003
new film is produced today with the title “The Saga of Ngige,” or “Anambra in Bondage” or even with
subtle title of the “Ibo Godfathers,” the movie would definitely sell large copies on its release especially if
the production has full involvement of popular actors, producers and marketers from the Eastern part of the country. The systematic
productions of attractive movies that depict the cultures of the Ibos infuse a kind of cultural imperialism in the psyches
of the viewers of the home video who cut across tribes and creeds. The actors are the new breed superstars, while their marketers
are the emerging millionaires from motion pictures. Most story lines which centred on endemic rivalry due to envy over riches,
land disputes, chieftaincy titles and marriages are, at the end, settled or exacerbated through occultism and violence. Since
an average Ibo does not have interest in partisan politics apart from full engagement in business ventures, only few films
sponsored by emerging political fathers are produced on statecraft.
While for several years, Yoruba and some Hausa movies dominated local cinemas, the entry of Igbo films in the early
90s, gave raise to the tremendous improvement in home video production that are widely marketed at home and abroad. No matter
what they lay their hands on, morally or objectionable, the Ibos always upstage the pioneers. When some undesirable elements
from other parts of the country were discreetly defrauding innocent victims of their hard earned treasures in the past, Nigerians
suddenly woke up to the dastard acts of advanced fee fraud as perpetrated by some young chaps from a section of the country
who enhanced the scam. They not only publicly pronounce their overnight ill-gotten wealth, they acquire chieftaincy titles,
state-of-the-art cars and dole out money like Kosai/Akara to their bewildered suffering citizens. The records and list of
those in the net from the Ribadu-led 419 Commission are clear testimonies. One may still wonder whether the award winning
and charismatic Amazon, fighting against fake drug, is not from that noble tribe.
The recent event in Anambra State, where the first civilian coup against a civilian administration in the country was
foiled, has made those conversant with politics in that part of the country to wonder aloud whether it was just a nightmare
or another best-selling Nigerian movie about to upstage the popular foreign films
which have the feature of the Italian Mafias, Underworld Godfathers, wicked intelligent agencies and political gangsterism.
In fact the substitution of winners of elections to legislative houses with those who never vied for the posts in Anambra,
would make foreign script writers struggle to produce a befitting millennium movie from the enigma.
Generalization of issues and attitudes on the basis of individuals’ misdemeanors within groups, and associating such with particular tribe or race may be seen as grievous exaggeration and contemptible.
But once unwholesome activities are consistently perpetrated and associated with individuals or groups within a particular
bloodline as identified by tribes, then generalizations may, to some extent be justifiable.
The actions of Ibo leaders before the recent Anambra imbroglio are lamentable. It may be recalled that the presidential
primaries of most political parties witnessed a large turn out of aspirants from the region, but at the end their enormous
numbers were of no substance. Most of their senators selfishly tussled for the single seat of senate president; their several
socio-cultural groups are always on loggerheads; while their godfathers appeared to be plotting to overdo one another in the
scheme of things. In fact they fought themselves intermittently.
How did the Ibo tribe reach this political crescendo when they have in their midst the cream of eminent politicians,
shrewd businessmen, the intelligentsia of repute, revered traditional rulers and dynamic activists? Is it not from the same
region we have individuals who are inspirations to others in every sphere of national endeavour and make indelible marks in
the nation’s history? We talk of the first Nigerian President, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe and the former Vice President, Chief
Alex Ekwueme; we like honest publishers in persons of Chief Nwanyawu and Sunny Odogwu; we envy the educated traditional rulers
like Professor (Obi) Chike Edozien of Asaba ( a professor in Medicine) and Prof (Obi) Nnemeka Achebe of Onitsa, we learn greatly
from their academicians such as Prof Pat Utomi, Professor Chinua Achebe just to mention a few.
Each region and tribe in the country has expressed the issue of marginalisation in the polity, but that the Ibos are
more marginalized after the Civil War is not in dispute. It is obvious and regrettable that they have insufficient and little
representation in sensitive posts after the war where they had occupied several top positions in the public service and in
the military. It was in view of this ill and in sympathy to their plight that there was advocacy for the emergence of a credible
candidate for the presidency from that part of the country. But their regular infightings and the recent movie-like fracas
in Anambra, portrayed the Ibo race as the most disorganized in practical politics. This fact has been attributed to an extreme
adoration for wealth, where politics is viewed as business enterprises for money making.
What could have been the fate of that section if it had succeeded in the battle for the secession from the Federal
Republic of Nigeria in the 60s? Many nationalities would have probably evolved from the region, where they could have experienced
genocide as the case with smaller countries like the events in Liberia,
Sierra Leone and Ivory
Coast among several others.
Today, whether we like it or not, every Nigerian believes that the most mobile, industrious, creative and hardworking
Nigerians are the Ibos. A first time traveller or a stranger in any part of the country can consider himself safe if an Ibo
person is dwelling in the host environment. As respected and widely traveled traders, the people are recognised as investors
who could make profit from decent to dreadful ventures no matter how long it takes. They are the group who could reproduce
any new product and equipment within a short while to admiration and bewilderment of manufacturers. Though embarrassing attitudes
of chauvinists who call such reproduced goods as Ibo made, force the indigenous manufacturers to inscribe foreign and fictitious
labels to their wares at the risk of floating the law of imitation when they deserve our total encouragement and improvement
to meet international standards.
As good as they may be in different field of human endeavour with rich culture, it is unfortunate that Ibos have allowed
young gangsters whose sources of wealth are questionable to hijack political parties and by extension overtake the state machinery
for the purpose of sharing the national cake to the detriment of their populace. The illegal monetary inducement and subventions
to godfathers are probably the reason most states could not pay their workers’ remunerations as when due and execute
projects, since the godsons must dedicate chunks of fund from monthly federation account to service the palms of unquenchable
and cunning business-politicians. It is incredible that in this democratic dispensation, some groups of people have the gut
to negotiated sharing formula of public offices and treasury to individuals before assumption of office.
If some illiterate young men below the age of forty could be worshiped by elders and conferred with the title of big
Daddy and Godfathers, then the clamour for youth empowerment for social re-engineering and transformation of the polity would
remain a mirage. In fact the actions of the new breed godfathers, is enough for the political elders to further deny the youth
the right to self-recognition and assertiveness in taking up sensitive positions.
It is beyond imagination that while elder statesmen are denied police escorts and ordinary citizens deprived of minimum
state protection, the moneybags and politicians recruit the service of the police as their private security to terrorize and
oppress anyone whether in government or in private business. If this privileged service is not controlled and the beneficiaries
tamed, a period would come when the rich and gang leaders may recruit the navy, army and air force as private security that
they could easily deploy to overthrow a democratic government.
Surprisingly, weeks after the dastard acts in Anambra
State, the major culprits were/are still roaming the streets freely as
if there is no law to prosecute them. Were they to come from the opposition parties such as All Nigerian People Party (ANPP),
Alliance for Democracy (AD) or even All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) wouldn’t the culprits be rounded up immediately
and prosecuted for treason while their accounts frozen and properties confiscated like
other unsuccessful coup plotters in the past?
The Ibos are highly respected for being industrious, enterprising and cultured people whose impacts are felt across
the globe. They need to wake up from their slumber and purge out undesirable elements from their midst. They need to look
inward and wage war against fraudsters, ritualists, gangsters and business-politicians who drive their name to disrepute.
Let them put their acts together and stop immature politicians from using the enviable tribe to stage a new Hollywood Movie.
By the way, from where is this judicial actor, Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo whose intervention in clearing Wabara-Imo Senatorial
palaver and the sacking Ngige as Governor?