In my previous didactic, tart, and dispassionate polemic entitled “The Igbo False Dimension: The Igbo I Hate” I adumbrated, exposited and espoused the tendentious logic of vehement and sustained rise in Igbo criminality in Nigeria. The piece extracted venoms from the fangs of “Igbo nationalists”. I was torpedoed with a fusillade of contumelies instead of seasoned, disciplined counterpoints by seemingly bruised Igbo people. My “Igboness” was excoriated and called into question and opprobrium. Let me reiterate here, that I am Igbo, but I will not out of blind, cowardly and defeated ethnic nationalism earthen the malfeasance and failings of my people. The burning truth will always consume the cold, easy lie.
In truth, the gruesome, senseless and depressingly cold murder of a Nigerian of Igbo fount in India, and the ceaseless profusion of crimson Hindustan xenophobic outrages towards Nigerians vivify curious ponderings, somber, sober reflections and unkind truths about the sojourning Igbo. About forty thousand Nigerians live in India. Of this number, a vast queue of Igbo persons constitutes an irrepressible, but unimpressive quota. That is, the Igbo are in the majority stratum of Nigerian sojourners in India. It is therefore in the remit of unbiased logic to aver that a majority of Nigerians who commit crimes for which all law abiding Nigerians share in condign comeuppance in India are Igbo. It is also on the threshold of verifiable truth that gross proportions of Igbo Nigerians in India are wired and prodded by survivalist propensities, and as such can do anything beyond the cloud of kosher to drag on their existence. Consequently, the piercing hollering of Indians that Nigerians in their country are criminals may be the unfortunate, lachrymal truth.
Arguably, the reason for Igbo sojourning to even the remotest of places in the world has been attributed to their much vaunted entrepreneurial spirit. As a matter of fact, the claim that Igbo sojourning is driven by an atavistic entrepreneurial proclivity is enclosed between pressing, meaty layers of fallacy like the entrails of burger between fluffy loaves. Inasmuch as the “entrepreneurial sojourning” thread cannot be utterly pooh-poohed, it is judicious to explore other reasons why the Igbo are seemingly peripatetic sojourners. First, in Igbo ethology, it is a cringing evil for an Igbo man or woman to commit a “stigmatized” crime (Alu) such as armed robbery at home. This is not an obviation of abhorrent crimes committed at home by some unabashed Igbo criminals. The truth is the “home” Igbo criminals are a hopeless and shameless horde whose self esteem and sense of shame are terribly at nadir, and as a result purvey crimes at home. Inter alia, for any stigmatized crime committed at home there is a stern reprimand implicit in cleansing of the crime. The sacerdotal process of cleansing the land of a crime or an abomination is called “Ikpu Alu”. However, “Ikpu Alu” (cleansing of abominations) does not extend its sacred arm of cleansing and reprehension to crimes committed by Igbo sons and daughters in places outside the Igbo picturesque dome. It is therefore not surprising if some Igbo persons commit heinous crimes in obverse places, and come back home to receive chieftaincy titles. As a matter of fact, in some morally weak Igbo communities it is a brave thing to traffic in hard drugs. Drug barons are gleefully celebrated as Ndi kara Obi (lion-hearted people). Such is the pantomime of the Igbo and crimes.
Going by the stated point, it is therefore indubitable to posit that an unenviable number of self-conscious Igbo persons with innate criminal manuals travelled outside the Igbo enclave to peddle crimes. This confutes the general idea that the sojourning of the Igbo is driven solely by entrepreneurial inclinations and motives. To a large extent, the sojourning of some Igbo people is driven by a morbid aim of shielding their evil trades from the peering eyes of their kinsmen. Their names are protected as long as they do not traffic in crimes at home. The important thing is to be successful at crimes abroad; successful enough to build vulgar mansions at home and throw lazy cash about.
To animate my argument further, what is the entrepreneurial inclination or motive of the Igbo in India, Malaysia, Vietnam and other Asian countries peddling drugs? Is the entrepreneurial spirit of the Igbo only revivified abroad or outside Igbo land? Why should the Igbo entrepreneurial spirit find its host cozily and lopsidedly outside Igbo land? Is there a marriage between Igbo criminality all across the world and Igbo entrepreneurial genome? These are questions that defeat the long, tired argument of Igbo entrepreneurial “peripatetism.”
The fact is the “entrepreneurial” beat up logic and reason for Igbo sojourning is a bored excuse.
Analogously, Igbo sojourning atavism is also effectuated by pride, ego and vanity. A typical Igbo person will want to prove he is successful in anyway. It is wickedly mortifying to be seen as poor or struggling in Igbo land. This underscores the reason many Igbo persons smuggle themselves out of Nigeria, and because it is thought that any person in Obodo Oyibo (white man’s country) or even anywhere outside Igbo land is “doing well”. Those Igbo persons who are “cursed” to be in Igbo land are seen as struggling and as such do not deserve the courtesy of admiration and respect. It is a proud thing for an Igbo father to say, “All my children are abroad”; even when the abroad is Gabon. Such a father courts the respect, envy and admiration of other fathers in Igbo land. Again, it is a proud thing for an Igbo person to be far away from home. It gives him a mysterious air of importance. The Igbo value more their people who are not in Igbo land than their people who are in unenviable propinquity. This is the Igboawful linkage between Igbo sojourning and base vanity.
In all, there are Igbo persons in the scrawny good number whose sojourn in foreign countries is not tainted by any evil intent or base vanity, but it is a bleeding fact the singular Igbo entrepreneurial logic for sojourning is one big smorgasbord of fallacy.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and a poet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 08167992075.