By Ena Ofugara —
I am not Igbo. I am proud of my Urhobo. However, as a student of history, I wish to show just what these great people came/come against and yet thrive.
Okay, the incessant killings in the north will be glossed over so as to make this article not overly long. The civil war will also not be discussed.
However, post-civil war, as I explained in my post “Minority report: the system is rigged against you”, the rich in Nigeria have major roots in the Indigenisation Decree of 1972 and 1977. I reminded people how the banks gave people of other tribes, predominantly Hausa and Yoruba, loans to buy up companies owned by foreigners. Now, imagine the federal government forced Chevron to sell 51% of its shares and Access Bank would give you loans to buy the shares. How rich would you be in a year? Five years? That is how many Yoruba and Hausa got to own UAC, all the Dunlop, Leventis, Cadbury etc shares.
Now while this was ongoing, Awolowo/Gowon told the Nigerian banks to give tops N20 to any Igbo man that had money in the bank before the war. That is, if you had N5 before the war, you would be given the N5. But if you had N1million, you get just N20 in full fulfilment of the bank’s duty to give you your money.
Ask yourself: why would the banks give the Igbo only N20? Did the banks collapse? So why pay less than you were given?
So while the banks were giving loans to Hausa and Yoruba to buy oyibo companies they did not build, the Igbo were being cheated out of their rightful moneys.
Now note also that these people lost houses and business across the land. It is safe to say that as at 1970/71, the richest Igbo had N20 — that may be the equivalent of maybe one N1million.
Let us look at how Dangote made his money. He Dangote (a great man and pride to Nigeria) had an uncle called Dantata who owned huge chunks of the groundnut pyramids of the 1950’s and ’60’s. He gave Dangote a loan and Dangote paid it back in a record time. Clap! Clap! Then add that Dangote has had his “brothers” in government — from Shagari, Buhari, IBB, Abacha, Abdulsalami to Yar’Adua. When they now agreed to have democracy, he was rich enough to have funded Obasanjo, and so government policies enabled him to be the monopoly for rice, sugar, flour imports — and of course a large share of subsidy etc. – and ensured he is the wealthiest Nigerian. Note that many had same opportunity but did not use it. We kowtow to Dangote’s investment capabilities.
However, for the Igbo man, where would he see an uncle that would loan him money? The richest man in their family had how much as at then? So while Fani-Kayode could inherit the property of his father and grandfather and great-grandfather, a Chidi Kalu could not inherit anything from his grandfather who had business in Kano or even Port Harcourt. Neighbours had made his dad’s storey building theirs, and even someone as educated as Ken Saro-Wiwa lived in an Igbo war emigrant’s house as his. (A sore point of the Niger Delta and Igbo unity). WAEC building was Ojukwu’s dad’s building and, like that building, thousands and the lands with it — lands worth billions today were taken from the Igbo and each and every Igbo had tops N20, destroyed homeland, stolen and destroyed wealth away from the east. Also his brother is never president that will give him oil block or fuel lifting. Of 33, only one Igbo man and because he was in Obasanjo’s good graces.
YET LOOK HOW PROUD THEY STAND TODAY! Look what they have achieved for themselves…FIRST GENERATION WEALTH…top second generation. From being unable to send their first sons to school so he could help look after the shop, to producing first-class brains in all departments of modern learning.
So today, as you accuse the Igbo of wanting their Biafra or of baby factory, or liking money and ready to do anything for money, remember that just 40 years ago, while the banks were dashing your uncles loans to buy all the companies of Nigeria they stole from the Igbo. Know that appointments have not favoured them. Note that they remain persecuted and many speak such ill and hate towards a people forced by need to survive to be extra-aggressive towards their sustenance. Maybe if you took their history into consideration, you would not be so critical of them, but instead say “what a resilient people” and… Read the rest here.