Igbo society acknowledges and respects individual achievement in
all realms of human endeavor. Most people, who may not have been
able to excel in academics, professional careers and politics, could
still make their marks through the acquisition of material wealth.
The devastation of the Civil War and subsequent constriction of
many official avenues for advancement of the Igbos who were perceived
to have been defeated, compelled a generation of their youths to
pursue self-redemption through the acquisition of material wealth.
The oil boom of the 70s provided the impetus for hordes of them
to migrate into the major cities where they partook in the brisk
retail commercial activities that were made possible by Nigeria’s
increased petroleum revenue.
A cadre of Igbo entrepreneurs have emerged since then and are now
playing commanding roles throughout the country in the distribution
and retail of automobile spare parts and accessories, building materials,
electronic goods and pharmaceuticals amongst others. Land transportation
nationwide is mostly provided by the Ekene Dili Chukwus, Izu Chukwus,
Osundus, the Young Shall Grows and others whose bus networks are
owned and operated by Igbo entrepreneurs. With the expectant expansion
in the economy, as a result of privatization and liberalization,
the dominant status of the Igbos in these crucial aspects of the
nation’s economy will become even more palpable in the coming
strategic political interests of Ndigbo should be reflected at the
local, regional and national levels. It will be a daunting task
to optimize Igbo strategic political interests in the Nigerian Federation
if a regional operational agenda is not first evolved between the
core Igbo states and the neighboring states of Cross River, Akwa
Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta. For Ndigbo to maximize their economic
potential, they need a direct unimpeded access to the Atlantic shores.
The present situation where we prefer to do most of our maritime
trade through Lagos port instead of Port Harcourt and Calabar ports
no longer makes economic or political sense.
Igbo political thinkers and leaders must find a way to approach
our neighbors to the south, as equal partners, to map out a program
for political cooperation and regional economic development. The
Igbos should strongly identify with the ongoing national effort
to work out an acceptable method for ensuring economic justice for
the inhabitants of the Niger Delta and elsewhere whose ancestral
land is producing the wealth of Nigeria. It is to the best interest
of Igbos to fight for the right of states to be the main beneficiaries
of resources that originate form their domain instead of the present
set up that allows for absolute control by the Federal Government.
The strategic interests of Igbos, when properly articulated and
understood, should provide guidance to those who may wish to aspire
to lead or represent Ndigbo, particularly within the context of
the Nigerian nation. The Igbo heartland is currently ravaged by
gully erosion and deforestation. It is a strategic interest of the
Igbos to lead in the establishment of sound environmental management
policies to check the present crisis in our home base, oil-producing
areas of the Niger Delta and in arresting the steady southward advance
of the Sahara Desert.
interests of Ndiigbo, when judged with an unbiased
mind, are compatible with the hopes and aspirations
of a huge segment of the Nigerian population, irrespective
of diversity in ethnocultural backgrounds. I make
bold to assert that Igbo strategic interests, if pursued
and accomplished, will go a long way in making Nigeria
a better place for all its citizens. ... -