The blanket of hate and contempt for the Igbo thrown by the Nigerian state has been so strong that it has caught in its web even the Igbo for whom the disregard is designed. Of course, the one thing Nigeria agrees on is the hate and contempt for the Igbo, and this, having been watered for long, has taken roots in the national consciousness with far-reaching effects perceived in the gusto with which the country jettisons its own growth just to cripple the Igbo. Just in case one is still grappling with that factuality, consider how the government would dole out millions of dollars to foreign car companies rather than patronize indigenous one, Innoson Motors. Or how they prefer importing arms from ordinary Jordan to financing a military-industrial complex where Igbo smiths will upgrade Oka-made guns to machine guns, bazookas, and howitzers. Or how they prefer the importation of shoes and other leather wears to equipping Aba Shoe Village. Or how they would spend millions of dollars on Anti-Retroviral Drugs rather than finance Doctor Abalaka who has managed to develop a permanent cure for HIV.
Obviously, the biggest federal project in Nigeria is the hate and contempt for the Igbo. So important is this hate and contempt that more money is spent disparaging the Igbo than fixing the deteriorating educational sector. It’s more fashionable in Nigeria to talk down Aba-made items than cross-fertilize ideas on how such locally made products can be financed and upgraded to a world-class standard.
To strike home their contempt for the Igbo and make it all acceptable, the Yoruba crafted the rhetoric “the Igbo don’t love themselves.” This terse has caught the present day Igbo unawares and working like yeast, has eaten deep into the victims’ mind that they are often caught expressing self-disregard. This self-disregard was recently expressed by the governor of Anambara state, Chief Willie Obiano, in a gathering of Myetti Allah and a few Igbo personals believed to be a security meeting.
Addressing the people as captured in the video clip making rounds, the psychologically-beaten governor valued the life of an average Igbo man at ₦500, 000 … about $1,400. “If you destroy any farm, you pay. And if you kill their cow (now talking to the Igbos), you pay.” Speaking further, Governor Obiano said to Myetti Allah, “If for any reason somebody dies, it’s a police matter but if our people ‘is’ killed, you will pay 500, 000 naira.”
It’s demeaning enough to equate the life of an Igbo with money, yet more demeaning is the value … mere ₦500,000. The contempt being spread by the Nigerian state with the judicious help of Yoruba media, no doubt, has caught the governor unguarded. The psychological impact, having eroded all traces of self-esteem, had him valuing his kinsmen, and himself come to that, at half a million naira.
Reactions trailing the circulating video, however, show disapproval, with many commentators of Igbo extraction not only expressing displeasure but wondering also if the governor spoke under the influence of alcohol.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media