FORMER vice president Dr Alex Ekwueme has declared that distrust is the bane of Igbo unity and has called on Ndigbo to unite as it is only by so doing that they would be reckoned with within Nigeria.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office last May, Ndigbo have complained about marginalisation, saying they are being overlooked when it comes to appointments. This has fuelled calls for the recreation of the defunct republic of Biafra, that briefly existed between July 1967 and January 1970, when Ndigbo tried to break away from Nigeria.
Speaking yesterday at a traders’ summit and award ceremony organised by the Anambra Consensus Project to honour outstanding traders in 57 major markets in Anambra State, Dr Ekwueme recalled that the Ndigbo were united before and immediately after Nigeria’s independence. Delivering a lecture at in the Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Dr Ekwueme said he wondered had gone wrong over the years.
Dr Ekwueme said: “When I returned to Nigeria after my studies abroad, I worked for the then Esso West Africa and the job took me to many cities in the northern part of the country. I found out that there was no place you would go and won’t find an Igbo man and they all cooperated well.
“If you wanted to buy medicine in any city in the north, whether it was Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Bauchi, Bida, Minna, anywhere, it was an Igbo person that would sell it to you. Igbo people were so industrious that northerners were saying that after the white man, the next most important person created by God was the Igbo.”
He added that when Igbo was Igbo, there was so much unity such that once their leaders met and took a decision, everyone would abide by it. According to Dr Ekwueme, this trust among Ndigbo was the reason why apprenticeships became popular with the result that parents would allow their children to stay with an established Igbo man to learn a trade for periods, ranging from five to 10 years, after which the apprentice would then be settled to start his own business.
“Even after the settlement, the newly settled young trader would be getting goods on credit from his former master and returning the money after sale because of the trust that existed. However, a lack of trust has diminished that age-long cooperation between the master and his former apprentice, which is very worrisome.
“The main problem of the Igbo today is lack of trust. If we can rebuild the trust among ourselves, our people will be better for it,” Dr Ekwueme added.
While appreciating the efforts of Igbo traders, who engage in the import business, Dr Ekwueme advised them to pay more attention to areas that would enhance exports. Traditionally, Ndigbo have dominated Nigeria’s retail trade.
Source: Today Trending News