Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

“Igba Boi” system and the need for introspection by ndi Igbo ~ by Kamen Chuks

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By the end of the Nigeria Civil War (1967-1970 BB), the Igbo people of Nigeria faced devastating losses, including estimated 3 million deaths, displacement, and economic ruin.

Despite the federal government’s “no victor, no vanquished” rhetoric, the policies of the country post-civil war left the Igbo people feeling marginalized and excluded from Nigeria’s affairs.

Fifty years after, Ndigbo are still nursing that feeling of systemic exclusion from government appointments, infrastructure development, and resource sharing.

Hon. Kamen Chuks Ogbonna, Head of Media and Strategy Communications to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, addressing party members
The author, Hon. Kamen Chuks Ogbonna

This has led to renewed agitations for secession and the resultant insecurity challenges in the southeast region of Nigeria.

However, the message behind this treatise is to refresh our memories back to the igbo communal collaboration system, the bedrock of Igbo lightening speed progress especially in the past 50 years. I also wish to propose this as the underlying recipe that made Ndigbo not just survive, but also thrive in Nigeria and the need for us to look inwards once again.

In the aftermath of the Nigerian civil war in 1970, Ndigbo were confronted with the challenges of beginning life afresh from the scratch with almost nothing except the 20 pounds.

The Igbos as an ethnic group began to fight for their economic space in Nigeria and smartly adopted the Igba Boi apprenticeship system; a unique mentorship and entrepreneur development programme which became the Model of Igbo Commerce for generations.This apprenticeship model, driven by the spirit of communalism and mutual support, has played a vital role in the economic resurgence of Ndi Igbo following the Nigerian civil war.

Using the Igba Boi System, Ndi Igbo were able to circle wealth amongst themselves by taking up mentees who learn the trade for a stipulated number of years,got settled and in turn take up their own mentees too and the circle continues

This major article of strength that the Igbos leveraged upon to rebuild by looking inwards,which has enabled their survival and progress, can still be leveraged upon to champion their cause within Nigeria.

Secession would limit their scope and potentially diminish their communal resilience. Instead, Ndi Igbo should advocate for greater political, economic, and social inclusion in Nigeria, while leveraging their cultural resilience and traditional lifestyle to overcome adversity and realize their full potential.

There should be a deliberate policy championed by the relevant stakeholders especially the governors of the southeast states to chart a new southeast economic project that is aimed at rekindling the right moral values and work ethics that propelled the Igbo communal spirit of old. We will, by so doing, arrest the prevalent moral decadence amongst our youths of today who have seemingly lost all belief in hard work as the veritable tool for success and the associated resort to celebrating ill-gotten wealth and several other vices hitherto seen as taboo in Igboland.

Ndi Igbo have the intellectual capacity as a people to begin a deliberate policy of electing ONLY smart and content leaders who are champions of Igbo renaissance and who understand the concept of ‘charity begins at home.

Indeed, charity really begins at home when resources
from federal allocations are judiciously used to trigger development of the local government areas and state.

Charity begins at home when the governor is well positioned courtesy of his track records and commands the requisite influence and respect needed to negotiate for his people’s fair share of the national cake and dividends of democracy from the center.

Charity begins at home when the people’s governor uses his state as a model to create a mini nation inside a nation, improve the value system prevalent among the youths and get them gainfully engaged; putting their various talents to use in triggering personal and community development.

Rather than blaming the federal government and Nigerian state for our woes and agitating for recession, it is time Ndi Igbo looked inwards and beamed the searchlight on our governors by asking the right questions.

Questions like:

  • How much has a state governor received from the federation account, taxes, revenues and how has those funds been deployed towards the provision of basic amenities, youth employment, medical sector reforms etc.?
  • What is the governor’s strength of ideas and how has it impacted on the state in terms of development, attraction of foreign investment, independent power generation for the state, gas exploration, commerce and most importantly, security using a combination of local intelligence networking and modern hardware like CCTV cameras, drones and the rest?
  • What is the governor’s capacity in negotiating at the centre? For instance, in Anambra state, while other states got strategic and critical ministerial positions with yearly budgets in excess of a hundred billion, Anambra got one whose yearly budget is a paltry 700 million.

Indeed, the time has come for Ndi Igbo to, first of all, look inwards and commence a deliberate process of electing and holding their public office holders accountable before looking at the federal government.

A famous Igbo proverb goes thus: “Agadi nwanyi daa nda abuo, aguo ihe obu n’ukpa onu!”

Failure to do so, even if we are to get Biafra today with these same set of self-centred and egoistic rulers who act as if they are doing us favours and dispense our collective resources without accountability, our tale of woes will only get worse.

Hon. Kamen Chuks Ogbonna is the Head of Media and Strategy Communications to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.

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