Some days ago, both online and traditional media went agog with reports of how a group of Igbo people in Nuremberg, Germany, beat up the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, when he had gone there to partake of the Annual Igbo Cultural Festival. The attackers were said to be members of prominent pro-Biafra group, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. They had, on spotting Ekweremadu, pounced on him, assaulting him with objects which they threw at him. Ekweremadu had to be herded into a car and driven away before much harm could be done.
We view that attack as most unfortunate, barbaric, shameful and misplaced. Ekweremadu has been among the few vocal voices defending the interests of the Igbo Nation and was even part of the facilitators of the bail granted IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. For Kanu to therefore turn round to instigate such an attack on Ekweremadu is very clearly the height of ingratitude, as well as disrespect to elders.
Kanu, after the incident, claimed to have ordered, not just that attack, but future ones against some Igbo leaders any time they were spotted at any function abroad. He specifically mentioned those on their watch list as the governors of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Abia States, as well as the National President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo. This development saddens us because a society which does not respect its elders is doomed.
Granted that many Igbo leaders and elders have not lived up to expectation, showing anger against them, such as to physically attack them, is not the solution. The surest means of showing disenchantment with leaders in a democracy is to vote them out; not by physically assaulting them the way the IPOB members did to Ekweremadu. The danger posed by that attack is that, like most bad things, it may soon become popular, with leaders being attacked regularly at functions and leading to anarchy.
The IPOB attack, as noted by many Igbos, has only succeeded in justifying the Federal Government’s proclamation of them as a terrorist organization. The attack has also further alienated them from responsible Igbo people for whom respect to constituted authority and reverence to elders still mean much. Indeed, IPOB cannot come out tomorrow and expect sane people from the Southeast to want to work with them after they have behaved, and are still behaving, like touts.
Why Kanu has consistently refrained from working with Igbo leaders; rather preferring to insult and abuse them, is very unfortunate. This can only build walls of division at a time the Igbo Nation seriously needs to remain united and strong. It is very ”un-Igbo” for children to disrespect their elders.
Thus, the Nuremberg incident, coming at this point in time, may have given encouragement to some irresponsible Igbo youths to carry on from there, especially given the gloating of Kanu over the incident.
While the Southeast governors need to sit up and commonly fight for the Igbo cause, we insist that targeting them for assault is shameful, wrong and stupid. Efforts should be therefore made to cause those behind the attack to pay for their actions.