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« The Lawyer: A Platform for Regeneration | Main | The Curse of Oil »

May 17, 2006

The Ndigbo Attitude

by Uche Nnadi --- In Professor Chinua Achebe’s “The Trouble with Nigeria”, the conclusion was reached as to the unenviable perception of Ndigbo by the rest of the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.

Very many distinguished Ndigbo have reached the same conclusion and the worry now is: what is wrong with us; is it our attitude as a people that draws upon us the animosity, hostility and ominous suspicions from our neighbors; curse bequeathed on us from our ancestors or the gods; or a clear misunderstanding of Ndigbo by our fellow countrymen and women.

It is more optimistic to presume that our socio-political circumstances as noted above can be improved by us. Hence, the most viable proposition is to question our attitudes. Our attitudes are not fundamentally wrong, but they are delimiting our climb and ambitions as a people. Let us look at a few of them.

Short Term Herd/Now Mentality
The trading activities we indulge in have rubbed off on us the short term visioning excluding us from long term visioning (strategic visioning/planning). The fruits of this impede our struggles for survival/success individually and collectively, daily and hourly. Stop a minute and ask yourself where you have planned to be in 20 years time and what you are doing now to realize such a feat? Consider these; instead of spending 10 years in Post primary schools we choose to spend 3 years trading/artisan apprenticeship and be rich instantly; instead of setting up a manufacturing firm why not import and resell at a margin? This explains our utter absence from corporate boardrooms of blue chip companies. We do not build to outlive now. We are therefore seen as those that are desperate to succeed now; who can do anything to survive; that are pushed to the wall; who are at the brink of getting drowned and cling to any straw within reach.

In spite of our age grade system and igwebuike ideologies, the level of I/me against we/us exposes us the syndrome of divide and rule and saboteur manipulation in our existential domain even in the streets and houses where we reside as tenants. As individuals we are distinguished, but as a people we are impoverished. In contemporary society as ours, it is not the individual stars that win the match, but the ‘harmonious’ team. We do not see beyond our individual noses. There is a negative balance of self-assertiveness and interdependence. This trait can and is easily interpreted as lack of respect/empathy for others/institutions.

Everywhere is our home
North or West, home is the best. Charity begins at home. Ndigbo are so much at home outside their homes that they will have mansions outside their homes, while erosion eats away our ancestral homes. Only on certain festivities (Christmas/New year) will we rush home and rush out. We find it easier to develop deserts outside our homes than develop our homestead. It was easier developing Alaba rather than Aba; better to use Tin can Island port than dredging Niger River, Imo River; or internationalizing Enugu airport, etc
This attitude prompts others to believe we are out to take over their native lands.

Petty Success
Our individual industriousness in the short trading cycle, which often pays off with petty monetary success imbues us with self confidence that borders on arrogance. This seemingly arrogance is opposed by our neighbors vehemently, more so, as they remember how hungry we were few years ago when we came to their lands.

The above are meant to roll up our sleeves and fix on our thinking caps for a more fulfilling socio-political existence for Ndigbo.

Posted by Administrator at May 17, 2006 10:59 PM


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