Every event has teaching and learning lessons for those involved with it. Thus, the just concluded national elections in Nigeria have lessons for Igbos. It behooves Igbos to learn those lessons or ignore them and keep doing things as they did before and reap the same results while expecting different results.
The just concluded elections pitched two main political parties (and twelve minor ones) and their presidential candidates. Mohammadu Buhari competed on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC and Goodluck Jonathan competed on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Hausas, Fulanis and Yorubas formed the core of the All Progressive Congress. Igbo’s remained in the Peoples Democratic Party.
The seven Igbo states (Rivers and Delta states included) voted for the PDP and its Jonathan. The PDP and its Jonathan lost to the APC and its Buhari.
In addition, the APC gained substantially in the National Assembly and probably would now produce the Senate’s president and the House of Representatives Speaker.
Assuming that the winning political party produces occupants of the Senate president and House speaker and since apparently there are no Igbos in leadership positions in the APC, it follows that there would be no Igbo occupying the four key leadership positions in Nigeria, President, Vice President, Senate President and House Speaker.
Considering that most Igbos did not support Buhari, it is conceivable that if the man is not generous he would give Igbos second tier ministerial positions but not the first tier ones such as defense, finance and foreign affairs.
All said, it seems that Igbo are now destined to be on the sidelines in Nigerian politics. They are going to be on the bleachers and from there complain about what those in the political arena did or did not do to them.
Since they would be denied effective roles in national politics they would fall unto their selves fighting for who are the governor of this Igbo state or not, who is the senator and so on. Igbos would be tearing their selves apart in their efforts to seem to have any kind of political power when in fact they have none at the national level (the intragroup fighting has already begun and is only going to get worse as the powerlessness of the Igbos in the Buharian age becomes apparent).
Generally, it is understood that Nigeria has three main ethnic groups: Hausa-Fulanis, Yorubas and Igbos and numerous small ones. These three groups vied for the leadership of Nigeria. Since none of them is so numerically dominant as to rule the country alone (as is the case with the Shonas in Zimbabwe where they are more dominant than the Ndebele minority hence Mugabe’, a Shona’s perpetual rule) it follows that the three figure out ways to align with each other. In the past, Hausas aligned with Igbos to form governments.
This time around Hausas aligned with Yorubas to win the election hence form the forthcoming government and Igbos are left on the backbench (from where they would no doubt complain to a non-listening world that they are marginalized).
The real question is this: why and how did Igbos allow themselves to be outmaneuvered by Yorubas so that Yorubas formed an alliance with Hausas to win the present election? This is a question that needs to be asked and answered.
Until Igbos grasp the import of what just happened to them they would remain outside Nigerian politics. And they may well remain political outsiders in Nigeria, for the Igbos of this generation seem politically naïve and unsophisticated.
Democracy is a game of numbers. In Nigeria, no one ethnic group by itself has the numbers to win national elections so as to rule Nigeria. A group must therefore figure out a way to form an alliance with others to win elections.
If Igbos had formed an alliance with Yorubas and the ethnic minority groups in the South and Middle Belt they may have produced a viable presidential candidate and that candidate might have today won the presidential election. But, instead, Igbo’s began talking and behaving as if they alone can win elections and rule Nigeria. Since in the real world that is Impossible they are left to live in their fantasy world.
Lately, many Igbos began behaving like they can separate from Nigeria. They apparently forgot that Nigeria was put together by the British and therefore the British and its allies (the USA in particular) have vested interest in keeping Nigeria together. There is just no way Igbos are going to separate from Nigeria if Brittan and the USA are opposed to that eventuality.
Not operating in the world of real politics, many Igbos seem to believe that it is up to them to separate from Nigeria. They apparently forgot that their leaders in the past tried it and the West and the rulers of Nigeria teamed up to subdue them. This will happen again should Igbos try that venture in the near future.
Simply stated, the idea of separation from Nigeria is not feasible at this time. However, secession is possible if Igbos do what South Sudanese did, go to war, this time willingly accept a prolonged war, say, thirty or more years. The South Sudanese fought with the North Sudanese so-called Arabs from 1956-2010 (that is, 54 years).
It is when a group goes to a prolonged war and bleeds the ruling elements in their country that the elements sue for peace that may result in the division of the country.
As it is, it seems that Igbos are not willing or able to undertake a fifty years war with the Nigerian state and therefore are not going away from Nigeria soon.
This then means that Igbos must wise up and figure out a way to get along with other Nigerian ethnic groups. But, instead of doing this, many Igbos seem to be deluded and believe in their imaginary sense of superiority to other Nigerians.
Having identified with grandiose self-concepts (paranoia is belief that one is a superior self when in fact no human being is superior to other persons) such Igbos run around putting other Nigerians down. They talk as if in fact they are their imaginary superior and powerful selves. They see themselves as their delusion of grandeur wants them to seem: superior persons (that delusion of grandeur is followed with delusion of persecution hence such persons feel persecuted by the same Nigerians they feel superior to).
From their imaginary superior self they put other Nigerians down; they insult Nigerians right, left and center. Such Igbos have so bad mouthed other Nigerians that most Nigerians now see them as arrogant bastards and want nothing to do with them.
Igbos have thoroughly alienated other Nigerians; it is safe to say that Igbos are probably the most hated people in Nigeria! In their minds they seem to believe that they are hated by other Nigerians because of their imagined superiority (and supposed successes) but, in fact, they are hated because they are royal pains in the ass; they are hated because of their disgusting habit of putting other people down, their tendency not to give to human beings what they crave, love and respect.
As long as you do not respect people they will hate you and some may even attack and or kill you. Existentially people feel that they are nothing; they feel like their lives have no value and worth, after all they are going to die, rot and stink to high heaven and become food for worms. Because they feel worthless they want their fellow human beings to respect them.
Nature may not respect people but at least other people respect them and that suites their existential sense of nothingness, their angst.
But come Igbos and they take away what people crave most, respect from them. You see, Igbos know that people want respect and they deliberately go out of their way to take away respect from people, to deny them what they want to make their pointless and meaningless existence seem worthwhile.
Because they deliberately take respect away from people Igbos are evil people; because they are evil nature and nature’s God permits them to be killed.
It is not a joke when you insult people for in doing so you are trying to depress them and make them commit suicide; you want them to die; in seeking other people’s death you have signed your own death certificate hence Igbos are always killed by those they denigrate.
People hate you for not respecting them; they want you to die, literally!
Do you like the person who does not respect you? You probably do not. If so, why do you disrespect people? Didn’t the Jewish mystic, Jesus Christ ask you to do unto other persons as you want them to do to you? You want other people to love and respect you, so love and respect them. This is the law of nature and nature’s God.
The only acceptable behavior from one human being to another is love and respect. Disrespect other people and you have invited them to attack and kill you. Igbos disrespect people and thus invite attack and killing of Igbos.
If you disrespect people and they kill you, you deserved to die, for if you had any kind of intelligence in your head you would realize that the condition of living is such that people feel like they are shit and thus need the love and respect of their fellow human beings to feel like they have some worth; since you refused to give people what they want to make their living worthwhile, respect, you deserve to die and must die!
Given this reality, it is doubtful that most Nigerians would vote for proud Igbos for any electoral office. One can safely speculate that given what Igbos have said about other Nigerians that it would be near impossible for other Nigerians to elect an Igbo president of Nigeria until this generation has passed (a generation is about 35 years).
Since Igbos are not going anywhere from Nigeria it means that from now on Igbos must start repairing the damage they have done to their relationship with other Nigerians. They have to learn humility and accept equality and sameness with other Nigerians; they have to stop pretending to be superior to other Nigerians; they have to love and respect other Nigerians.
Igbos have about thirty-five years to prove to other Nigerians that they are no longer deluded and are now sane and thus treat all people as equal and respect all people. When this happens then Igbos would figure out a way to form political alliances with other ethnic groups so that their candidates can be viable contenders for the presidency of Nigeria.
Until this happens I do not see how an Igbo is going to be the president of Nigeria. And this situation occurred because Igbos shot themselves on their feet. Like mad men (deluded paranoids) they ran around pretending that they are better than other people, insulting other people and unrealistically expecting those they insulated to vote for them!
In the real world those you insult will not vote to place you in leadership position over them. People at root know that all human beings, black and white, men and women are equal and the same. People instinctively know that no one is permanently better than other people.
No human being is god and, as such, did not create other people and thus have no right to expect other people to bow down to him. The real God who created all people sees all his children as the same and co-equal, so any son of God that pretends that he is better than others is insane and needs healing.
Igbos must figure out a way to heal themselves of the fantasy that they are better than other people. But as we all know, delusion disorder is the most difficult mental disorder to heal.
The deluded person feels inordinately inferior and inadequate and wants to feel the opposite of what he feels. He compensates with fictional sense of superiority and latches unto it and sees whoever tells him to give up his grandiose self-concept and self-image as attacking him, as his enemy (many Igbos see the person telling them that they are not big deals as their enemy for in their delusion they want you to see them as big deals).
What Igbos need to do is change their self-perception, from arrogant to humble, from superior to equal. They can do it and must do it.
When they have done so they would be welcomed back to Nigerian politics. Until they do it they are going to be in the background, in the stands looking in at the real gladiators in Nigerian politics, Hausas and Yorubas duke it out on how they rule Nigeria.
Blaming other people for their fate will not change anything for Igbos, for it is they that gave themselves their present unenviable fate by their unwarranted arrogance and sense of superiority to other Nigerians, indeed, to all people. Now, they are left to feel superior to their shadows!
Those they feel superior to, other Nigerians have done to them what normal folks do to mad men, leave them to walk the world feeling unwarranted superiority to other people, albeit only in their imaginations!
Mad men who feel superior to other people are shunted aside and left to live in their delusion that one human being can ever be superior to others. Superiority is only possible in fantasy, not in the real world where all people are equal. Those who feel superior to other persons are left to live in their separated world of fantasy.
Igbos are currently not part of Nigeria’s real politics; they currently live in their own world of fantasy where they feel superior to the shadows of other Nigerians, not to actual Nigerians.
Igbos must retrieve themselves from their fantasy world and re-inject themselves to the real world; and in it seeing themselves as the equals of other Nigerians. From that sane ground they have to form alliances with other Nigerians and from so doing play realistic roles in Nigeria’s politics.
The recently concluded elections in Nigeria proves the point that no one now expects an Igbo to be the president of Nigeria; they are left to support an Ijaw man who did not give a hoot for them (as demonstrated by the fact that he did not engage in economic development in Alaigbo…he knew that Igbos are self-centered and that each of them fights for his ego interests but not for Igbo collective interests so he gave a few Igbos good positions in his administration, such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, but made sure that they did nothing for collective Igbos and in so doing mollify Igbos pride from occupying seeming prestigious social positions).
Igbos have to decide to re-enter Nigerian politics or to live in the world of delusion and fancy themselves special when in fact they are not special. No human being is special. Their God created all of them equal so for any person to see his self as better than other person is for him to be deluded. Delusion disorder is a mental disorder; its healing lies in changing one’s self-assessment and henceforth seeing one’s self as the equal, not superior or inferior, of all people.
PS: Albert Einstein observed that weak intellects generally are unable to understand what seems obvious to smart persons and from their lack of understanding call smart people mad. I do not expect many Igbos to understand this very obvious essay; as expected, they would mask their ignorance by calling its writer insane. These people’s ego defenses include calling those who tell them their truth “psycho” and in so doing do not make necessary changes in their behaviors and personalities hence remain the royal pains in the asses they are universally perceived to be!
Ozodi Osuji, PhD
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