By Jude Atupulazi
Do not our people say that he who does not know where the rain started beating him will not know where it stopped? When I look at the things happening today in Igbo Land, this maxim usually resonates in my ears. Our Igbo society has become so warped that Peter Obi’s eternal words of warning have come upon us.
While campaigning way back in 2002/3, Obi, then of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, had kept telling anyone who cared to listen that ‘The society we abuse today will take its revenge on our children tomorrow’. It was taken like any other thing any politician seeking votes would say; something that would not happen in our lifetime. But twenty years down the line, we can all see that those words have come to fruition.
What we see all around us today is organized chaos. The falcon no longer hears the falconer and the thread that has bound us together for ages has severed. As Chinua Achebe would say, ‘Things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold,’ and we are all bearing the brunt.
You see, there is this wrong notion by many that the negative results of our action today will only affect others; not us, simply because we are protected by either the law or our money. But over time this notion has been rubbished by events that followed.
Take the ongoing war Israel is waging against Hamas. Who does not know that Israel neither forgives nor forgets anything or anyone that finds their trouble? Who does not know that Israel still believes in the Old Testament injunction of ‘An eye for an eye’? It does not pretend about it. Hurt one of them and they bring their full wrath to bear on you. That’s exactly what is happening now between Israel and Hamas.
Hamas committed suicide when they attacked Israel without provocation and killed soldiers and civilians, raping and killing women and beheading kids. Of course Israel would never hold back and today Israel has sworn not to relent until Gaza is reduced to a no-man’s-land. According to the Prime Minister, Netanyahu, the attacks would continue until every member of Hamas becomes a dead man.
But one would ask if the Palestinians didn’t know the need to rein in their murderous Hamas friends from carrying out acts that could trigger deadly reprisals against everybody? Is it then any wonder that today the evil formulated by Hamas is affecting everybody there?
That relates also to what has been happening in Igbo Land where our attitude to things has led to all manner of problems presently. That attitude has led to the collapse of virtually every institution in Igbo society.
I came upon this article below from an anonymous author which poignantly captures our situation as a people because of our actions and inactions. Read it and see how we have shot ourselves in the foot.
Igbo Land has become a beleaguered territory, with illusionists killing and destroying the land in search of a Biafra that is only a metaphor for self-determination; ritualists killing young girls so that they can afford 2003 Lexus and Mercedes Benz; politicians stealing and looting everything they can lay hands on in order to escape a family History of poverty. The future has never been bleaker for the Igbo society…
- Let’s begin without mincing words: the Igbo society has become a classic study in failure. And it has nothing to do with Nigeria, our loss in the Civil War or the dominance of Hausa-Fulanis in Muhammadu Buhari’s Government.
- Forget Arthur Eze’s Rolls Royce, Obi Cubana’s Mercedes Benz and night clubs, Flavour’s vanity songs and Phyno’s empty lyrics, the sad truth is that every Igbo man ought to bow his head in shame at what has befallen us as a people.
- We have failed ourselves, betrayed our ancestors and demonstrated that despite the hullabaloo about Igbo intelligence and spirit, we are actually not better than those we previously derided.
- Our traditional elders in the communities became hustlers and thieves became kings. We hailed 419ners as blessed people and prayed for the prosperity of those who destroy the lives of other people’s children selling hard drugs.
- The churches are no better either. Church leaders in Igbo Land failed Christianity, they became mercantilists and abandoned the gospel of charity, faith and love.
- Priests, bishops, pastors and other members of the clergy abandoned Christ and became contractors, building giant cathedrals that have no use for the salvation of souls.
- It is more common today to find a clergy man at the building material section of major markets in Igbo Land than to find them in their offices, listening and offering hope to God’s depressed and lost people.
- Sermons in churches are no longer about the souls of men or offering hope to the dejected. It is a clever scheme to exploit and empty the pockets of the congregants.
- Church leaders in Igbo Land have betrayed the missionaries, the men and women who risked it all to bring the gospel of salvation to us from far off lands…
- Our priests, bishops and pastors turned away from the Gospel that made us embrace twins instead of throwing them into the evil forest, taught us that there were no slaves and that we were all children of a loving God.
- We abandoned the Gospel of contentment, and began to sing praises in honour of money. We built monuments for money and cash became a yardstick for measuring blessings.
- Nothing else mattered except money. Projects were embarked on in the churches, just for the purpose of raising funds so that some part of it could be stolen.
- Under our watch, priests trained with our resources to model the best of human behaviour became charlatans, magicians and salesmen. They became everything else but priests of God. Businessmen, architects, event organisers; everything but fishers of men as Christ himself envisioned.
- Now make no mistakes. Christian priests were not the only ones who let down their foundation to embrace Toyota Camry and the things of the world, although it is heart breaking to see that the solid foundation of evangelism, chastity and charity laid by Bishop Anthony Nwedo and Cardinal Francis Arinze have been replaced with the hunger for competition with one’s age mates who have shops in Onitsha Main Market and those who sell hard drugs in South Africa.
- We also have the traditional priests. Ndi dibia odinala. The ones who ought to mediate between men and spirit. My great grandfather was one, so I can say with some authority that I know what a traditional priest should be.
- Today, what have they become? Errand boys for drug pushers, cultists and armed robbers. There is no ritualist or dirty businessman who does not have a native doctor that makes divination and prepares charms for him, for a fee.
- How did we in Igbo Land abandon our noble philosophies of Oji ọfọ ga ala, eziokwu bụ ndụ, ezi aha ka ego, and embraced the things we once frowned upon?
- Shall we talk about politicians? The ones who steal and loot, lie and deceive? We once had noble men in politics. Today, who and who are our leaders?
- Active 419ners, armed robbers, drug barons, drunkards, men who are not ashamed of the company of prostitutes. We have as governors, senators and opinion moulders in Igbo Land those whose ways of life previously attracted condemnation.
- If the men whose houses were burnt in Owerri in 1996 over the Otokoto saga were still alive today, who knows, one of them could have been governor, another a senator and another a party chieftain.
- Igbo political leaders have become cowards. That is why it is easy for a confusionist to take to the airwaves and sow the seed of hatred and wickedness in our youths.
- Today we hear of Igbo youths killing and eating the flesh of their fellow humans, fortifying themselves with the blood of the innocent to kill policemen and soldiers. They are Biafran fighters, we are told.
- What has Biafra come to represent? A tool of propaganda, deceit and blackmail. Biafra has become a word criminals invoke at will to kill and loot property belonging to fellow Igbo men. The name Biafra now provokes and irritates many noble Ndị Igbo. Why? We refused to say the truth when it mattered most.
- Across Igbo Land today, young boys are abandoning everything to take to ritual killing. They want to become rich even if they have to sacrifice their mothers to do that.
- It is about wealth because they know that if they become rich by a few millions, they would become kings in their communities, celebrated by their church leaders and deified by their peers.
- Ala Igbo has been wrecked. And we all have to blame ourselves for this tragic turn of events. We became cowards and fools because of Kings without reputation and we became a community of men and women who welcomed evil into our midst.
- The beginning of the rains. May CHI-UKWU save His own.
__________________________Having read the above, I leave you to tell yourself whether the author lied or not.