1. I am Ibo.
I am proud of who we are. I love Nigeria. I love the best of her peoples and the many strengths. I love what she can be.
But dear compatriots, I will not apologise to anyone who thinks that my success is a threat.
WALK WITH ME
2. I am Ibo. Go to Onitsha. Go to Aba. Go to Alaba. Go to Kano and see wealthy men who brag with how many millionaires they had minted during their lives more than how many millions they personally had. Millionaires who sold the same things o. Competing with their 3. former masters. Taking on more competitors who will create more competitors over and over. Does it destroy the master? No! This is a mastery of greed that is not found elsewhere in the entire world. I am Ibo. And I am f**king proud!
4. My ancestors were the ones who in 1803 walked into the Pacific rather than be slaves. That legendary spirit is mine to claim.
Every Ibo man has a personal god, his Chi. My success is determined by how much I want it. Not by obstacles. Not by what people call impossible.
5. Not by how rich or poor my father was. Not by avoiding danger. But by a simple agreement between me and my Chi.
“Onye kwe, Chi ya ekwe”. If you believe, your personal god will validate it.
I am Ibo, I was raised this way.
6. To create success and share it without begrudging our neighbours and our hosts. We will teach our host’s children our way of life if they would rise above their suspicions. We don’t mind a Yoruba or Hausa boy-boy or Edo. We only ask that the person be smart and dependable.
7. We are not particular about kings or queens. We don’t want to be your king. We don’t do very well with them. Before the whiteman we barely had any kings. A child who came of age had the right to speak in a village meeting when it was his turn. No one could stop them.
8. The community came together to build houses for each other. People who were struggling were supported and those who had lost children or had none were lent children for their farms. When my ancestors saw that education was good, 9. they contributed to send the village brightest to school. Even people whose own children were “olodo” happily contributed for other people’s children. You know why? We believed that a child belonged to everyone. I am Ibo. I will not apologise.
10. In those days we had leaders who were chosen purely on what they could do. Nothing was hereditary. Even the chief priest was chosen by the spirits from kindred to kindred, without a set pattern.
Basically, we don’t want to rule in your land. We want to build wealth.
11. Again we’re happy to share. We will build schools, hospitals, markets without a single prejudice. Everyone is welcome. And no, we don’t only go to already-made cities. We particularly love to do virgin lands and make decent towns out of them.
12. I am sure there are many things for which you can be proud about your ancestors. I know a few, because I try to educate myself. I will celebrate them with you. Your art & culture – ancient & modern. The warrior spirit of your ancestors. Their industry. I celebrate them all.
13. I dare suggest that if other Nigerian ethnicities who prefer political power understood Ibos, they would rule forever and Ibos wouldn’t mind. Any Ibo will tell you: Provide a level playing field, promote law and order and Ibo’s will largely ignore politics.
14. Let me reiterate. We don’t do well with kings and queens. Respect is earned not inherited. That’s how we see it. We only hate injustice with a terrible passion. How do you think the boy-boy system is sustained? If you don’t “settle” your boy, or skimp on how much, 15. nobody will beat you, but you won’t be able to live down the shame. You will forever be known as the riffraff that doesn’t “settle” his boys. Just like that, your respect is gone. When a child who has “washed” his hands is chosen over you, your pariah status is sealed.
16. You may resist and ask, “What about Ibo governors? How come they do Ndị Ibo dirty and get away with it?”
The answer is simple. No one chose them. They’re imposed with guns every election cycle. They are vassals of Abuja.
17. Free and fair elections and none of these clowns will smell that seat. If not for the guns, even a small child will walk up to them and tell them that they’re full of sh*t.
Ideally everyone can speak. From the drunk to the village mad man. You’re allowed to laugh at their 18. craziness but you’re not allowed to silence them.
“Mba nụ. Ị bụ Chi ya?” Are you his God?
They commune with the spirits. So occasionally they say things that save the community.
But a Peter Obi can live in Onitsha & walk into the market with little or no escort. Why?
19. He embodies the best of us. His attitude is what our forefathers built over thousands of years. Industry without excessive greed. A peaceful man with grit and a truckload of bravery. Someone who pursues justice for all and uses public money for public good.
20. I am Ibo and I am happy to emulate the best of you. If it is a thing of value, we will adopt it and we expect that as we are willing to share, you will extend us the same hand. But even if you decided not to teach us, we only need to see it to learn.
21. I know this is what gives you pause and whips up fears that we want to take over. Let me assure you that we wish to build a bigger market to accommodate all of us. Please let us try it our way. Our competition is not winner takes all. We share. We enrich. We make better.
22. I am Ibo, my mantra is “O je mba enwe ilo”. The traveler mustn’t make enemies.
I expect that you will not understand me. But I believe that this is not your burden. So, I learn your ways. Teach my children your language. Learn your customs and obey your laws.
23. Stop trying to crush my spirit. You will fail. My spirit is my gift to Nigeria. It is rare in all the earth. I don’t know how NOT to compete. I can’t accept to be less than. I can’t be enslaved.
Because I am Ibo & all I have to do is to believe and my Chi will validate it.
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