By Luke Onyekakeyeh on April 14, 2015

DEPENDING on where one is standing, in Nigeria, the name Igbo is a compound word that includes many ethnic groups heaped together.

The perception of who constitutes the Igbo varies from place to place and could determine, to a large extent, how one is treated outside Igbo land.

While, in the strict sense, the Igbo refers to one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria found East of the River Niger; in a broad sense, the Igbo includes, in one angle, all the ethnic groups in southern Nigeria (if one is in the North), or the ethnic groups found in the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria (if one is in the South-West).

The Igbo cut this image because they are very vibrant and industrious, always conspicuous.

Geo-politically, the Igbo do not refer only to the ethnic group that bears that name. The broad perception of the Igbo is due to misconception rather than hatred.

There are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria out of which three are outstanding, namely: Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. This was what most of us were taught in the primary school.

Therefore, depending on where you are, every Nigerian is seen as Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba. The other ethnic groups were subsumed under these three.

For instance, to a typical Hausa man in Northern Nigeria, the Igbo refer to all non-Hausa speaking people from Southern Nigeria. The Northerners call the Igbo nyamiri, which is concocted from the Igbo phrase nyem miri, meaning, give me water.

To a Northerner, nyamiri refers to everybody from Southern Nigeria, irrespective of the ethnic group. A typical Hausa man doesn’t know that the Igbo are distinct from the Yoruba. Similarly, our common perception in the South-East is that everybody in North is Hausa. We call the entire North Ugwuhausa, meaning literally, the hill country of the Hausa.

Similarly, a typical Yoruba in Southwest Nigeria sees all non-Yoruba as Igbo, excluding, perhaps, the Hausa. Therefore, when a Yoruba says omoIbo, he is not just referring to the Igbo-speaking ethnic group but all non-Yoruba-speaking people, excluding the Hausa.

Nevertheless, the Igbo are often at the centre of the discourse because of their early predominance. The Igbo, who bear the ethnic tag, often take exception to any mention of Igbo anywhere, especially, if it is for bad reasons. By so doing, the Igbo often bear the brunt of ethnic profiling in Nigeria.

I decided to take a closer look at this issue following the hullabaloo over the recent statement credited to the Oba of Lagos, Alhaji Rilwan Akiolu. The Oba was reported to have threatened the Igbo to vote for Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, or perish in the lagoon.

Since the news broke, the Igbo of Southeast extraction have taken it very seriously and made representations to the Oba and other key stakeholders in Lagos. But the Oba’s Palace issued a statement that the royal father was misrepresented in the press and pleaded for understanding.

I am not out to analyze the import of the statement, but to examine what the Igbo means in the statement. As I said earlier, the Igbo could refer to all non- Hausa-speaking people in Southern Nigeria if one is in the North, or all non-Yoruba-speaking people if one is in the South-West.

Therefore, as far as I am concerned, the Igbo in the statement did not refer to Igbo-speaking people in Lagos alone, but all non-Yoruba-speaking people. This includes people from the Niger Delta and beyond.

How do I know this? The statement was based on the voting pattern in the March 28 presidential election. The results showed that the states in the defunct Eastern region comprising the South-East and South-South zones voted overwhelmingly for the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

Here in Lagos, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) tally was quite overwhelming, with 632,327 votes, while the APC had 792,460, giving a marginal difference of 160,133 votes. This close tally was attributed to the votes of the Igbo, i.e., non-Yoruba-speaking people from the South-East and South-South zones, who favoured President Jonathan in the presidential election.

Pundits in the South-West had reason to be worried. They reasoned that this was a dangerous development. A situation where the Igbo (non-indigenes) could sway the voting pattern to almost give victory to their opponent was unacceptable. What is at play is geo-politics. No ethnic group wants to be dominated. Am sure the Igbo don’t want domination.

Apparently, Oba Akiolu’s outburst was meant to forewarn non-indigenes to desist from swimming against the tide in Lagos. Though undemocratic, it bared the mind of a ruler who cherishes the geo-political integrity of his jurisdiction.

How many Igbo traditional rulers care about Igbo being dominated? We need Ezes in the ilk of Oba Akiolu in the South-East.

Granted that Nigeria has not developed to the level where “non-indigenes” are allowed to dominate the political power in an area, our democracy is maturing towards that, but not yet. Until we get there, ethnic cleavages still dictate who wins and who loses elections. As expected, the APC candidate, Akinmunmi Ambode, won the election. That settles the matter.

It is important for the Igbo of South-East extraction to understand that whenever the name Igbo is mentioned outside Igbo land in Nigeria, it does not refer only to them (Okoro), but all non-natives of the area.

Since the statement was made in Lagos, the Igbo, therefore, refer to all non-Yoruba, who voted for the PDP. This includes people from the South-East, South-South, Edo and Delta. The Igbo ethnic group should not assume that they are the only ones being referred to. That would automatically make them the scapegoat.

That was exactly what happened during the Nigeria-Biafra war. Whereas the war was waged against the defunct Eastern Region and part of Mid-West, comprising the present South-East, South-South and part of Delta State, the Igbo ethnic group bore the brunt, to the extent that many saw Biafra as Igbo personified, which is incorrect.

Source: Guardian

 

Meaning of Igbo in Nigeria’s Geopolitics

Meaning of Igbo in Nigeria’s geopolitics
 
 
 
 
 
 
President Buhari is appointing Islamist Jihadists into key position – Group
Buhari in the Middle
Christian groups in the country has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of discriminatory appointments against non-Muslims in Nigeria.
More>>>>
 
 
 
Buhari’s hidden agenda for non-Muslims – Man who converts to Christianity reveals
Buhari’s hidden agenda for non-Muslims
a man who converted to Christianity, writes open letter to Christians.
More>>>>
 
 
 

Biafra Enters into
GUINNESS WORLD RECORD
Bifra Breakes World Record

 
 
 
They Lived Before Adam: Pre-Historic Origins Of The Igbo
Kingandkingsmen
"We found evidence that in pre-historic times, Igbo people were known as people of light and Sons of God (Opara/Okwara). They were worshipped by other clans of humans. They were the first kings and god-men known to human beings in general.
More>>>>
 
 
 
Tension in Nigeria's Seat of Power as Irish Govt Returns A 122yr-old Map Of Ancient Biafran Empire
Irish Govt Returns A 122yr-old Map Of Ancient Biafran Empire
The Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Sean Hoy, Saturday 11, made a presentation of three route maps of Calabar and other Niger Delta terrains in the defunct Biafra to the Director General of theme National Commission for Museums and Monuments
More>>>>
 
 
 
Ancient Biafra Map Small
 
 
 
Comparing Singapore as a Lesson for Biafra
singapore
Don't get me wrong, Singapore is a nice country to be compared with Biafra. If one day Biafra becomes like Singapore I will be very glad indeed.
More>>>>
 
 
 
I Will Do My Best to Help Biafra ---Pope Francis
Pope Frances greets Biafran protesters
For the first time in history a major world leader Pope Frances greeted the Biafran protesters.
More>>>>
 
 
 
One Nigeria
One Nigeria Looting
One Nigeria, one big corruption
and looting
More>>>>
 
 
 
Self-determination for the Palestinians but not for the Biafrans
Buhari the President-elect
President Muhammadu Buhari wants self-determination for the Palestinians because they are Muslims but not for the Biafrans because they are Christians.
More>>>>
 
 
 
How Buhari should address the Biafran activists issue, by Chekwas Okorie
Chekwas Okorie8
The issue for the agitation for Biafra has to do with agitation for self-determination by people wish to be treated with fairness, equity and justice.
More>>>>
 
 
 
Biafra is my country
Child of Biafra
More>>>>
 
 
 
Indigenous People of Biafra and Radio Biafra
Biafra Radio3
More>>>>
 
 
 
 
 
Biafra is not Igbo and
Igbo is not Biafra
Map of Biafra-s
Many have been misled to believe that the defunct Republic of Biafra was another name for the Igbo ethnic group in Nigeria. This notion is totally untrue. The defunct Republic of Biafra was the name for the entire eastern region of Nigeria as at May 30, 1967, which comprised of 8 provinces namely
More>>>>
 
 
 
Meaning of Igbo in Nigeria’s Geopolitics
Meaning of Igbo in Nigeria’s geopolitics
Depending on where one is standing, in Nigeria, the name Igbo is a compound word that includes many ethnic groups heaped together.
More>>>>
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A World Icon
DrNgozi Okonjo-Iweala 3
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
More>>>>
 
 
 
Chinua Achebe 20
Prof. Chinua Achebe
More>>>>
 
 
 
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 12
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
More>>>>
 
 

Philip Emeagwali 3
Articles by Philip Emeagwali
More>>>>

 
 
Igbo man wins best British film award
Chiwetel Ejiofor winner
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has won the 2013 “Best Actor’’ at BAFTA.
More>>>>
 
 
 

Am I not a man
Articles on Slave Trade
More>>>>

 
 
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe: The Only Nation Builder Nigeria Ever Had
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe

When Professor Pat Utomi in an article titled “nation building: how we missed the plot,” decried the absence of nation building in Nigeria. 

More>>>>
 
 
Dr. Azikiwe and Dr.Okpara Combined Achievements in Eastern Region and Nigeria
Dr. Azikiwe and Dr.Okpara
    With NO OIL revenue but only  limited resources from palm oil, coal and limstone For 12 years Dr. Azikiwe and Dr, Okpara transformed all areas of Eastern Nigeria..
More>>>>