Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ndigbo, We Don Win!

Igbo, kwenu!


Umunado, kwenu!




Igwe, I salute you. Elders of Umunado, I greet you all in the name of our ancestors. When the millipede pays homage, the ground responds by paving way for it. I bow as I pay obeisance to you all. A community without elders is like a king without a crown. I salute your leadership. I also want to recognise the presence of our younger ones, the boys and girls of Umunado clan. I do not want to be like the man in the proverb who despised the smallness of the needle and foolhardily stepped on it. The eggs of today are the chickens of tomorrow. You are our hopes. You are our aspirations. You are the leaders of tomorrow. I salute you all. We must all thank our chi for bringing us here safe and sound and for sparing our lives to witness this New Yam festival. You are all welcome. Nno.

Nkenna, the owner of words, I thank you for your inspiring speech. Indeed, this is a special New Yam festival and I want all of us to put our heads together to decide on what to do to move this Umunado, in particular, and Obodo Niagara, in general, forward. Today’s meeting, therefore, is not only for merry-making but for jaw-jawing. Umunado kwenu!

Eh! Eh!! Eh!!!

Have I spoken well?

Yeah! You are the true son of your father.

Igwe, I salute you again. The issue I want to discuss is that of the perennial marginalisation of the Igbo race. Right from the days of…

Point of order! Who are you? You have not told us your name.

Sorry, I’m Honourable Uzor Kalo-Kalo. As I was saying, right from the days the military came to power, the eastern part of the country has known neither peace nor progress. Over one million of our people were killed during the 1966 crisis and the subsequent civil war, and since the end of that war, all the successive military and civilian governments have paid little or no interest to the progress of Ndigbo. One could understand why the military did practically nothing. They were not accountable to anybody, but how about the civilian administrations? To cut a long story short, I want to suggest that Ndigbo must look for a credible, consensus presidential candidate for the year 2007 to cater for our collective interests.

Hear! Hear!! Hear!!!

I’m Senator Okechukwu Babandidi. I beg to disagree with what Hon. Kalo-Kalo has just said. There is nothing we can do as far as the presidency is concerned. The powers-that-be have zoned it to the retired generals. And as you are all well aware, the power mafia in this country does not and will not trust Igbo generals with power. They think we would embark on an expansionist revenge programme across the Niger once we get power.

Shrrrrup! How can you demean the Igbo race by that statement? Nobody is born to rule this Niagara. We all have equal stakes since we don’t have another country we can call our own. I know the ghost of B-Afra is still haunting the power brokers but that’s no reason why Ndigbo should be sentenced to perpetual serfdom in their fatherland. B-Afra has come and gone and a new lease of life is reigning in all the four corners of this country. Now, they should allow the status quo to remain if they no want katakata to burst for inside mammy wagon. It’s turn by turn and it’s now our turn.

Mba, mba. Be careful of what you say. Even among us there may be spies for the oppressors in the capital. So, watch your tongue.

No way. We are in a democracy. By the way, does democracy not mean make you talk your own, make I talk my own? Nobody fit halla me for that, o kay?

Igbo, kwenu! My own mission today is to alert the whole Igbo race that this man called Papa Iyaboh, or wetin dem dey call am sef, is not serving our interest. First of all, he cancelled Nought-Nine-Nought which used to be a symbol of our social status and replaced it with GSM which is owned by every Emeka and Uche, thereby reducing our influence in the comity of the nouveaux riches. Secondly, he banned the importation of okporoko, our staple delicacy, thereby reducing our revenue generation capacity. Thirdly, and worst of all, he appointed an amazon and daughter-of-the-soil as the boss of NAFDAC thereby endangering our means of livelihood.

Hold it! That’s very callous and selfish of you. That woman was almost killed by assassins during the last New Yam Festival and you do not have a word of sympathy for her; instead you are behaving like the Shylock in the tale who was more concerned with his ducats than the well being of his daughter who had just been reported missing.

Igwe, elders of Umunado, I have no regrets for opposing today’s man of power. He is our Enemy Number 1, ask our beloved Ikaymbar. Igbo, kwenu! Before I sit down, I want to share with you this joke my secretary told me before I left the capital for this festival. Here it goes. An airplane was about to crash with five passengers on board but with only four parachutes. The first passenger said, “I’m Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, one of the best footballers in the world. You can’t afford to lose me!” So, he took the first pack and jumped. The second passenger said, “I’m Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel laureate and a human rights activist. I still have a lot to contribute to the human race.” He took the second pack and jumped. The third passenger started by coughing: “Un-un-unhh! I’m Obi-sanjo, the anointed, cleverest and most caring President of Niagara. I have great responsibility to see that we all survive this impending crash. So, immediately I land, I’d send an extra parachute for the last passenger.” He then grabbed the pack next to him and jumped out of the plane. The fourth passenger, shivering, moved close to the fifth passenger, a 10-year-old Igbo school girl, and said, “My daughter, I’m Pope John Paul II. I’m old and don’t have long to live. See me shaking like Muhammad Ali. As a Pope with ecumenical regard for human life, I’ll sacrifice my life and let you have the last parachute.” The little girl turned to the Pope and said, “Don’t worry, Your Holiness, there’s a parachute for you. Niagara’s cleverest and ‘most caring’ president grabbed my school bag!”

Igbo, kwenu!


Umunado, kwenu!!

Ehh! We’ve won!!!!!

Ndigbo, We Don Win was first published in TELL on March 1, 2004.

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