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The question is this: Will the declaration and observance of ‘Igbo Day’ by Ndiigbo alone accelerate or retard the superior strategy of mobilizing the necessary resources within Nigeria for speedy development of the East? How will our neighbors and partners in the Niger Delta and the Southeast coastal area view what can be termed a flaunting of Igbo nationalism by their much resented and often despised big brother?
Igbo Day’ has been described as “a cultural necessity, which the course of our history, the tragic logic of recent events, and the imperatives of group survival demand”. This statement was contained in a bulletin, issued by the Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, which called for the debut of ’Igbo Day’ celebration worldwide on May 29, 2000. The theme of the observations will dwell on “the indestructible verve of the Igbo character”. The concluding session of ‘Igbo Day 2000’, billed for September 29, will include “final honours to the dead and projects that express our determination to sublimate the repressions of the past and move with renewed strides into the challenges of the twenty-first century”.

Establishment of an ‘Igbo Day’, though desirable conceptually, ought to have been preceded by deliberate analysis as to how to best attain envisioned goals without adversely affecting the strategic interests of Ndiigbo in the long run. The proposed ‘Igbo Day’ has been portrayed as a conduit for addressing the recent sociopolitical history of our people within the Nigerian context and also as a showcase for resurgent Igbo nationalism. Because of the implications of the latter, it would have been more prudent to deeply reflect on the choice of terms, such as ‘Igbo Day’, so as not to unduly encourage the stigmatization of Ndiigbo who do not belong to the Southeast and those who reside and work regularly in other parts of Nigeria. How are these kith and kin of ours supposed to celebrate their own ‘Igbo Day’ without negating their immediate self-interests or even personal security?

Option 3B foresees an Igbo society that is determined to regain its former respectable status within the context of one united Nigeria even though the ultimate objective will be the consolidation of a regional economic and political power base in the East in the coming decades. The question is this: Will the declaration and observance of ‘Igbo Day’ by Ndiigbo alone accelerate or retard the superior strategy of mobilizing the necessary resources within Nigeria for speedy development of the East? How will our neighbors and partners in the Niger Delta and the Southeast coastal area view what can be termed a flaunting of Igbo nationalism by their much resented and often despised big brother?

Observance of a nationwide holiday, rather than an ‘Igbo day’, appears to be a more meaningful and appropriate way to properly address the objectives that have been outlined by Ohanaeze Ndiigbo. May 29, 2000 is a Monday, which is a normal workday for Ndiigbo and other Nigerians. Shall we assume that Ndiigbo, irrespective of their means of livelihood, can safely and conveniently observe the ‘Igbo Day’ even if it means not reporting to their jobs on that day?

The Ohanaeze bulletin on ‘Igbo Day’ should simply be seen as a declaration of intent or viewpoint. The essence of that communication ought to be contemplated in some detail by capable groups that will, in turn, liaise with the Ohanaeze to collectively advance the cause of our people. In the spirit of ‘Option 3B’, Igbocentric groups must continue to seek for the official declaration of a NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY, a holiday which the entire country will utilize to honor and commemorate the Civil War and the circumstances that preceded or followed it. Honoring and celebrating the Biafra War is akin to the celebration of Igbo historical heritage without shouting it from the rooftops. When such holiday is declared, which is expected to be soon, Ndiigbo can modify their own observances, in camera, to suit our unique cultural and historical experiences.

Osondu
The Survival Struggle for Ndiigbo

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