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« Whose Eulogy Next, Armed Robbers? | Main | Two Sides of a Coin: A Private Soldier Lectures Nigerian Commander-in-Chief, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Nigerian Military History »

July 14, 2006

Of Nku Ukwa, Chibuzor Onwuchekwa, and World Igbo Congress’ card-carrying Members

The Ambrose Ehirim Files by Ambrose Ehirim (Los Angeles, California) --- Can Ichie Chibuzor Onwuchekwa deliver Nd’Igbo from problems grand and small? Forget it! That will never happen, and you would be better off looking elsewhere for such leadership. Alas! upon his return from a psycophantic trip to Aso Rock, Chibuzor Onwuchekwa announced that his will be the Nku Ukwa era in WIC; nku ukwa is of course a crude version of trickle down economics, which calls on Nd'Igbo to set aside their suffering or political aspirations and instead support the enrichment of certain corrupt Igbo men in Abuja, who, it is hoped, would repatriate some of the loot to Igboland or to Nd'Igbo.

At his election in Los Angeles, the question was: would Onwuchekwa (like Kalu Diogu before him) go down as another Igbo efulefu and sell-out kowtowing for left-over at the rocks of Aso? Without a doubt and from all indications he’s getting there and the nku ukwa doctrine is his blueprint.

Worried about what World Igbo Congress is up to in setting standards according to Onwuchekwa’s doctrine when he proclaimed at WIC’s Los Angeles convention that the time for change has come, and that every Igbo indigene would be a WIC card carrying member under his leadership? Baloney! We’ve seen that before and like any other Igbo politician seeking appointments with the bigot Mathew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, it’s nothing new.

Almost ten months and still counting since Onwuchekwa took over the administrative affairs of a do-nothing WIC and yet to see what he has to show for it, other than his embarrassing and disgraceful trips to Abuja, and the way he bragged about it as if anyone cares. Of course, he felt he was doing a good job and not even ashamed he had let the Igbo nation down with reports that made him look like a real Igbo efulefu. Reports indicating he had no sense of belonging in assuming the highest post of a fractured “elite” Igbo organization, the alleged Igbo Diaspora umbrella—the WIC.

In the words of Onwuchekwa, every Igbo indigene will be guaranteed WIC’s “card-carrying membership.” A year will soon pass by and Onwuchekwa’s-led WIC is yet to present a budget of administrative overhaul to Igbo people. Igbo organizations all over have gotten worse by the day and numerous indications of collapse are in evidence. The vigor for improving conditions of living in Igbo states has not shown any sign of improvement, and, more importantly, the zeal for instigating peace and tranquility in Anambra State, for instance, has visibly waned. Anambra, is by all accounts a state of empire and anarchy. Ralph Uwazuruike is languishing in jail and nobody cares; not even Onwuchekwa and his bunch of Obasanjo apologists who are scared to talk about it. The slaughter of MASSOBians continues apace on the streets of Onitsha while Onwuchekwa and his colleagues at the WIC are tongue-tied. As it happened, and if you don’t already know, be aware now that Onwuchekwa and his slogan of “every Igbo will be a WIC card-carrying member under my leadership,” was just full of it.

So, what’s WIC up to? Clearly, WIC is up to nothing, and, as usual, would soon be having its annual picnic; this time, in Boston, for another gathering of cheap talks and efulefu dance while Obasanjo’s Gestapo are carrying out a series of murderous attacks in Onitsha and elsewhere in Igboland. And that’s basically about it!

It would be inaccurate and misleading to say the politically suicidal Onwuchekwa and his fraternal seven-man WIC delegation to Abuja last December had a platform meant to address the ills of the Igbo nation. In black and white, WIC has been a disaster, still a disaster and bound to remain a disaster if the management of WIC declines patently to handle its affairs in a way that would confront its socio-cultural and political impotency within the framework of a bastardized nation.

First, Onwuchekwa began his trip to doom when in 2005 on Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles, at the Airport Hilton Hotel, lobbied delegates for votes to push an agenda fabricated by his colleagues who would go to any length for selfish motives and nothing Igbo-related. When the selected voters and so-called delegates engaged in a twisted “dialogue” that lasted for hours in deciding which candidate deserves WIC’s leadership after a long haul of speeches by the potential candidates “determined” to effect change in a battered and bruised WIC over the years for its lack of organizational effectiveness, it didn’t take long before Onwuchekwa emerged in an “astounding victory.” A victory today I’m sure he would have declined if he had known the difficulties and complications of a bleeding and disfigured WIC. That is, if in his right thinking mind, he would be honest to admit he miscalculated and dabbled into a nasty political tactics by being cornered for a leadership that would put his reputation on the line.

Upon announcement that a new WIC president has emerged began the efulefu dance, the Gypsy way, and joyous festivity to signal nothing much would change but the same old song. In a very typical scenario of Igbo gatherings where practically nothing gets done, coupled with rowdy sessions and igba izu ,secret talks, that created more confusion among the delegates and candidates for various positions, the organizers of the event, a do-nothing Igbo Cultural Association of California with a Los Angeles mailing address was dealt a big blow when its point man, Chuka Obiesie, lost in an election preplanned before the annual picnic began. A ready to show off victorious ICAC and Obiesie’s entourage disappeared just like that, ushering in Onwuchekwa whose slogan of “card-carrying” membership and agenda was actually a pregnant pause while Nd’Igbo watched another bad leadership in the making.

Who indeed gets the blame when WIC comes way short in living up to its responsibilities? Absolutely no one but the secret cultists themselves on the ground there’s nothing Igbo-related in WIC’s formation addressing the plight of a people whose history has been of violence and political weakness. WIC, now on its own and whatever the cult members of this ridiculous organization do is none of our business; they have ridiculed the Igbo nation beyond repairs and they should stop claiming to be representing Nd’Igbo. They should leave Igbo people out of the mess they’ve created in all these years of fraud and haggling, keeping funny books and retaining dubious managers.

On December 09, 2005, Onwuchekwa sent a report to Igbo-related forums; of his encounter with the bigots in Aso Rock claiming his meeting with an inept and outrageous Obasanjo’s “Ministers of Igbo extraction” was a victory notably and among other things his tour of “castles” belonging to successful Igbo merchants in Abuja. His arrogance, political stupidity and inability to see from a smokescreen reminds one of Second Republic’s former Minister of Transport, Umaru Dikko, who alerted nothing like hunger existed in Nigeria on the basis no Nigerian was yet to be found scavenging for food from dustbins, acknowledging there was no such thing as widespread hunger and sufferings in the country.. Meanwhile, Onwuchekwa has resorted to name-calling depicting Igbo Diaspora “e-groups” as noise makers clouded by false information. Onwuchekwa writes,

On the whole, and from my opinion, a lot is going on in Abuja as we speak that will shape our Nation for years to come. "Nku Ukwa" is being shared at Abuja as we speak, while some of us here are content with noise making and meaningless analysis of false information in the e-groups. Ndi Igbo are seriously holding their own in various areas in Abuja, especially in Business and the economy. Ndi Igbo have done well, and have continued to do very well in acquiring property in the Capital. We urged more aggressive acquisitions. The Business groups we met are waiting for our proposed Economic Conference. In fact, one Igbo son in Abuja took us to his property, and proved to our amazement that he has enough room in his compound to hold a Summit of about 500 to 1000 people. He gave us a tour, and our jaws dropped as we exchanged unrehearsed "high fives."
At the very moment Onwuchekwa and his seven-man delegate were so pumped up at Abuja based on their blurred vision, applauding a sound Igbo enterprise and economy, while the rest of the country had every privilege to attend school free of charge from government subsidies and grants of all sorts, pupils of Igbo-related states can hardly pay their tuition fees when governors and local government “bureau chiefs” are squandering every account of appropriation required to make our scholars stay in school and establish a profound generation. There was no mention of MASSOB leader Uwazuruike being locked up behind bars, nor even any indication his trial would be commencing soon. Moreover, at a time when Obasanjo’s administration has used Igbo “elite” gullibility and vulnerability to manipulate all aspects of shady dealings in Igboland, Onwuchekwa and his blind colleagues in pursuant of the so-called nku ukwa, national cake, were swiftly drowned out by his “Excellency” who had commended Igbo Brahmins for the nation’s thriving economy.

Of course, I agree with Pini Jason of Vanguard Newspapers who observed before hand when Igbo leaders planned to meet at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, that the Igbo elite is scared to put MASSOB and other Igbo-related issues on its table of dialogue with Obasanjo’s inept and corrupt regime for the fact that they would probably miss out on a national cake sharing formula if Obasanjo’s prescribed conditions is being challenged. Eventually, Jason was right. There was no mention of Uwazuruike and Biafra on the basis they would be “giving life to a word the Nigerian state decreed out of existence and cleaned off the map.” And without a doubt, that’s Igbo leaders of post civil war era.

Let’s face it though. What has brought about Igbo powerlessness in Onwuchekwa’s nku ukwa, a cake-sharing formula the Hausa-Fulani elite has no problems collecting at any given time? And why is the “Igbo elite” so fearful of a coward Obasanjo while their Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba counterparts are bold enough to demand for whatever they want whenever they want it? Could it be the bigot has conquered the Igbos drawing out a plan that clearly says so, setting precedent that would remain relevant forever? Could it be the Igbo elite, having no idea what is it they are doing, and negating the fundamentals of Igbo ideals in order to feed from the crumbs of the caliphates and Obasanjo’s aides in Aso Rock? Could it be Obasanjo bought them out to seal their lips, thus validating federal troops’ assault on innocent Igbo people and perhaps fabricated on the assumption MASSOB is being motivated by agitators of Biafra to operate and threaten peace all over Igboland? Or, could it be the Igbo elite, infallible and confused, has drowned, giving up, and exhausting all options of existence in a democratic fabric? Otherwise, why has Anambra State become the hotbed of major Igbo problems since the beginning of the Fourth Republic? Anambra is burning. And there is WIC touring castles in Abuja.

Just like that, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State is sounding positively bloodthirsty, ordering shoot at sight on his own people and threatening massive air raids. A resemblance of the past? Anambra is burning. And there is WIC touring castles in Abuja.

To understand the unique nature of WIC, and the surprising legitimacy it enjoys as Obasanjo declares a thriving economy put together by Igbo men of industry, it is important to recognize the ugly deep roots of WIC’s history. In its thirteenth year of annual bash, could WIC pride itself on the wonderful achievements that have established it as Igbo Diaspora umbrella? Why has it become a tradition that WIC must assemble every year in different locations around the United States to collect fees in demand for worthy causes, yet no detail account is made public by its bookkeepers and managers? And what has WIC got to show for its contribution in humanitarian causes, generous social provisions and youth empowerment? What’s WIC’s purpose when Obasanjo’s Gestapo is free to cause all sorts of havoc in Igbo land without any questions being asked whatsoever? And why is WIC working in concert with its enemies—Egbe Omo Yoruba and Zumunta—the same bloodsuckers who destroyed her kith and kin during the pogrom?

The knowledge that during the pogrom, the murderous Hausa-Fulani and its Yoruba contemporaries killed at an unimaginable scale other people who they had never met or knew before has not left me; and yet Onwuchekwa has the guts to tell Nd’Igbo that “it will be recalled that the World Igbo Congress (WIC) has been collaborating and acting synergistically with Egbe Omo Yoruba and the Zumunta since the fall of last year in tackling vexed contemporary issues in Nigeria that have direct impact on our corporate existence and aspirations.”

What “corporate existence and aspirations”? That Egbe Omo Yoruba will not make sudden 180-degrees turn when a deal is not in its favor? That Egbe Omo Yoruba is one you can trust and make a deal with knowing how these traitors handled the crisis after the decision at Aburi? That Egbe Omo Yoruba has shown remorse when the bigot Obafemi Awolowo justified his orchestrated ‘economic blockade’ which deprived thousands of women, infants and children of food as they starved to death? That Egbe Omo Yoruba knowing how they stink and can’t fight would not betray the trust in the event a dialogue is reached?

Or, that, the so-called Zumunta, the Hausa-Fulani bunch that murdered every Igbo within their reach, in the classroom, at the market square, at church and places where Nd’Igbo gathered and yet would not offer apology for the most blood-soaked event in Africa in that era? That it’s okay to dine and wine with a blood-lust Islamic nihilist in getting things done because there are no other options for Igbo survival? That the Zumunta, would deal with WIC with all amounts of honesty and condemn in its totality when scores of Igbo traders in the North are murdered by Hausa-Fulani lynch mobs?

For Onwuchekwa’s admirers who think that he has been doing a good job on behalf of Igbo people by collaborating with Egbe Omo Yoruba and the Islamic Jihad Zumunta in “tackling vexed contemporary issues,” they should think again. While Onwuchekwa and his efulefu bunch are busy touring Aso Rock for crumbs, a wave of violence is sweeping over Anambra State instigated by Obasanjo, targeting his political opponents as well as Igbos who wants to be left alone. While Onwuchekwa and his colleagues are busy begging and negotiating for contracts to be part of nku ukwa sharing formula, the dubious Igbo state “governors” and local government “bureau chiefs” are busy squandering and embezzling funds that belongs to the people, and yet he has the guts to talk about nku ukwa.

Onwuchekwa has failed to take into account Senate President Ken Nnamani’s keynote address at the basement of the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel during the WIC’s annual picnic in 2005 when he asked over and over again the ultimate objective of the WIC and Igbo Diaspora getting organized like any other community exploring the vast opportunities as in the Chinese community and its unique tradition and culture kept intact; the Indians and the use of human capital to create havens of technological and economic development; the Latinos who have thrived through collectivity; and the list goes on and on, not even mentioning Little Ethiopia just founded a couple of years ago near Miracle Mile in Los Angeles.

Little Ethiopia speaks for itself: The eateries—Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Rahel Veggie Cuisine, Rosalind’s Ethiopian Cuisine, B & M Café, Messob Ethiopian Restaurant and Marathon Etiopian Café & Restaurant—all on Fairfax Avenue, serving varieties of Ethiopian dishes. The markets: Expansive mini-markets tucked-away thrift shops and modern bakeries rub shoulders with late night cafes, bars, clubs and room salons. The cultural boutiques of Ethiopian antiquity; and the crowds of Ethiopian descents and non-Ethiopians alike with signs of “grand openings,” which has marked the speed at which this new community has grown. The displays on the sidewalks and how a people who nearly perished from a natural disaster in the 70s have turned things around in Diaspora, establishing and completing themselves like other communities that worked collectively to bring about change. Just like the Koreans turned the Wilshire Corridor in Los Angeles into Korea Town. It’s Korean this and Korea that all over the Wilshire District for a people who explored the shores of America about the same time that we did.

So what has Onwuchekwa’s Abuja errands got to do with Igbo Diaspora development in terms of “rebuilding social capital,” according to Nnamani? Whose interest is Onwuchekwa pursuing at Abuja and why is it a big deal? Igbos, and building community? Or, that of his political coattails at the WIC and Igbo elite? You must be kidding me!

Many, including myself, agree with Nnamani when he lambasted WIC and its organizers that the annual conventions over the years seems to be going nowhere, and that until the leaders of the WIC takes a specific role of conceptual and political leadership that would effect change, engaging and competing in the global economy. But ironically, WIC leaders, bent on mischief and nku ukwa, aren’t listening. They are on line for petroleum resources, forgetting to explore avenues supposedly connecting with technological development and advancing its programs with a sound market economy required to place the Igbo in a fast growing universe of globalization without dependence on “petroleum resources.” Disturbingly, Nnamani notes:
We need to break away from the prevailing mentality that the best way to exist as Nigerians is to dissipate energy over perishing oil resources; to quarrel over insufficient resources, instead of working hard to increase the economic pie through higher productivity and innovation. We must break away from the state thinking that we can keep away from the mainstream of technological development and hope to be a viable people. In the new economy, only those who focus on the use of scientific and technological innovation to enlarge the economic pie have a hope of surviving.
Before I proceed any further, let me pause to point out that no particular Igbo organization since the days of the Igbo Union has worked hard enough to translate the Igbo nation into a model of technology. And neither the WIC nor the Igbo elite (and certainly not even the successful merchants and technocrats) has transformed the Igbo nation, home and abroad, into an entailed autarky. Rather, Igbo is becoming more and more by the day like the Gypsies. But, yet, Onwuchekwa is quick at applauding to one or two Igbo merchants in Abuja and nku ukwa with castles and guest houses to share the night.

However, WIC’s failures should not be wholly blamed on Igbo woes. Igbo is a nation state. It is a major tribe with a universal language. It has an enormous human capital to develop into an advanced nation: The scientists and engineers. The medical arts and contributions to health and human development. The theatrical arts. The successful merchants thriving on the basis there is no substitute to hard work. The Igbo does not need any form of natural resources to survive on its own. The Igbo has it all. Human capital is the key.

But the irony as could be patently seen is that Igbos are confused. And how come? A case in point could be drawn from a confused and worthless Igbo Cultural Association of California, practically based in Los Angeles. So, too, are other Igbo organizations elsewhere with series of conventions, fundraising, games, all-you-can-eat-buffet and things like that, in the name of pursuing worthy causes to find out it’s all a gimmick. It has become a tradition. ICAC, the organizers of WIC’s 2005 Los Angeles Convention precisely is a mess and there was a meeting.

On Sunday April 09, 2006, ICAC management scheduled a meeting at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church on Normandie Avenue in South Central Los Angeles. It wasn’t anything serious, but just for the heck of it and particularly regarding an organization that had problems putting its act together when it comes to checks and balances, I made up my mind and decided there was no way I could have won in a debate having nothing to do with my cultural heritage. I squeezed time in between my schedule to attend the meeting. The meeting was scheduled to be held promptly at 4:00 P.M. I arrived earlier enough to beat the time. I walked in and found a couple of members hanging around like professional doormen. I “sticked” around to see if I was actually at the right place, that is, St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, off 43rd and Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles. I was indeed at the right place and just two folks had arrived. It’s 4:30, and a couple of guys more breezed in. I took a walk and made a couple of phone calls. It’s 5:45 and about six other guys had joined the rest of us in the parking lot exchanging pleasantries as if the picnic had just begun and the chest ready to burst.

It’s 6:10, and no member had respected the secretary-general’s call to punctuality. Meeting was scheduled to commence at 4:00 P.M. prompt, remember? But the meeting was held anyway, and unbelievably as one noticed, it was a market square. Everybody was talking and nobody was listening, the kind of scenario where garrulous women bargain at Afor and Nkwo markets. The meeting lacked a degree of coherence and guiding principles.

In a meeting where most, if not all, are American-educated folks, one will be wondering why such an “elite class” lacks the understanding of what its guiding principles or bylaws are. However, the meeting did not go well. It was a whole lot of confusion. A real melodrama of “I am the boss!” “You shut up!” “Do you know who I am!” and things like that. No agreement could be reached. Not even the budget. Not even the election that was long overdue on the ground that certain people from a certain state had fabricated and inflated accounts of its list of members to legitimize “their” factions of sort.

Interestingly, the same confused bunch will be trooping to Boston on the forthcoming Labor Day weekend for another cycle of picnic and efulefu dance. Odi egwu!

For the WIC card that presumably should be coming to your mail box (that is if you received it), leave it at home. And for sure, it’s worthless and we are back to square one where nothing gets done.

Anambra is burning. And there’s WIC.

The saga continues!

Ambrose Ehirim,
Director of Public Relations
Biafra Liberation Movement (BLM)
Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Administrator at July 14, 2006 12:19 AM


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