Dangerous roads, not kidnapping, ‘ll discourage Igbo’s yuletide trips

Date: 16-12-2010 12:47 pm (13 years ago) | Author: Aliuniyi lawal
- at 16-12-2010 12:47 PM (13 years ago)
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The traditional ruler of Igbo Ukwu, HRH Martin Nwafor Ezeh, has expressed fears for Nigerians travelling home for the forthcoming yuletide because of the parlous state of the country’s road network.
During an exclusive chat with “Travels”, the Igwe of Igbo Ukwu (a.k.a) Idu II said he was deeply worried about the safety of road-users in Nigeria, given the frightening condition of the country’s highways.

The Igbo monarch said he has had difficulty sleeping since returning to Igbo Ukwu by road, after a visit to the federal capital, Abuja; five days ago.
“In fact, after what I saw; it is suicidal to travel some of our roads”, he mused. Recalling the sights of mangled remains of numerous automobiles that litter the route all the way from Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), through the Kogi State capital, Lokoja, to his home state of Anambra; Idu II remarked with a sigh: “I am very sad and disturbed”.

While lamenting the shameful state of Nigeria’s road network, this paramount ruler said he was constantly praying for all road-users across this country. But, when reminded that the volume of human traffic to Nigeria’s South East geopolitical zone was likely going to be low this Christmas and New Year seasons, given fears of possible kidnappings; the royal father responded that the poor state of roads in Nigeria, not fear of kidnappers; should be seen as responsible, if fewer Igbos came home for this year’s Yuletide.

Interestingly, the Igwe of Igbo Ukwu went on to opine that kidnappings will subside; if more and more Igbos came home. He believes that the prosperity of a larger number of industrious and successful ones in the local mix would rub off on jobless ones and possibly discourage the latter from crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping and so on.
Hear him: “I believe that, where more of our successful people come home, they will help to spread goodwill; and, on our part; I am appealing to them to come home and help in surveying their families. By doing so, they will know the unemployed youth that could pose security threat to the larger society, if left to roam without a source of livelihood. If we can identify those ones, and find ways of keeping them gainfully engaged; I am sure that crime rate will drop drastically”, he reasoned.

Located in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State in eastern Nigeria, Igbo Ukwu is an archaeological haven of world renown. This town is also home of the annual “Iwa ji” National Festival and, not surprisingly, host of the National Yam House.

Speaking further on the standard of living in Nigeria, Idu II declared; “Our nationalists, Zik (Nnamdi Azikiwe), Awo (Obafemi Awolowo) and Tafawa Balewa et cetera; if they were to resurrect and see what Nigeria has become; after their entire struggle to get us independence, they would weep! With 2011 around the corner, let those that know God, and understand the principals of Godliness; be they Christians, Muslims and so on, come forward. Such people should come out and present themselves for election.

“Nigerians should scrutinize any personality seeking elective office henceforth and vote only for those that are ready to serve. They should ensure that their votes count, and must subsequently act as gatekeepers. Any one that fails to perform, after being elected must then be shown the way out; that is the only road to the development that has eluded Nigeria for decades. Sadly, in Nigeria; pretenders have been growing fat through looting and playing one section of the nation against another.

“We should support sincere leaders, who will make a u-turn and lead Nigeria to the Promised Land. It is only when we get there that we can claim to be independent. As things stand, we are not independent, and it is very sad; after 50 years. “If President Goodluck Jonathan would focus on regular electricity supply, good roads and education, Nigeria would make steady progress. But, we have to be careful and realise that the foreign powers do not want us to be self-sufficient. I believe that with uninterrupted electricity, we will enjoy jobs creation, tourism promotion and growth in the manufacturing sector. With all these, we should be able to arrest kidnapping and insecurity”, he averred.

And, just when we thought this crowned head was through, Idu II had more to tell us. He loves democracy, but thinks he has found something better than democracy. It could be recalled that the Igwe of Igbo Ukwu once observed that madness could be the root cause of all evil in our society. Maladministration, looting, ballot stuffing, vote-rigging, so-called ethno-religious crises; these and more are manifestations of sick minds, we were told. Some of these problems persist because of insincere rulers; and, some of such rulers survive by exploiting loop-holes offered by democracy. This is why Idu II prescribes “Oha kara isi”. And, which one is this again?

‘Oha kara isi’ is better than Democracy
Hear him: “Whether some people are mad or not, we should be our brother’s keeper. This is the reason Igbo people believe in ‘Oha kara isi’. The community (oha) is greater than any individual. With “oha kara isi”, the people and their welfare takes precedence over that of one person or group. There is no such thing as complete liberty; each person is guided by societal precepts. No matter your status; even I, the king, should I step out of line, the community could sanction me”.

So, how does one reconcile “Oha kara si” with Democracy, which prescribes freedoms and human rights? Idu II again: “See where your democracy has landed all of us? Bad roads; collapsed educational sector, epileptic power supply, joblessness, armed robbery, kidnappings…

‘“Oha kara si’ is better, because with oha kara si, even the leader should not steal, and he is expected to contribute to the development of the community. But, how much growth have we witnessed since return to democracy? There should be nothing like unfettered liberty, the kind, where people loot the collective patrimony with reckless abandon. This is why in Igbo community; we have communal life, whereas in Western societies, they valued individualism, but I think they have come to see that our way is better in this regard.

“The Westerners think a child of 18 can go his/her own way and live without being monitored by parents or adults. This is not the best; human beings need guidance throughout life, because everyone is capable of mental breakdown, which could engender improper conduct. This is my reason for saying that there should be ways to regulate every individual’s behaviour. No one should have it all and then be allowed to behave any how he/she likes because many people are mental.

That way, Nigerians would find it easier to checkmate these characters that call themselves leaders. I still think that Igbo democracy, ‘Oha kara si’, is the best democracy. With ‘oha kara si’, no man plays God; no one knows it all; so, even as king or whatever you are, you are always conscious that you are not above the law”.

Curiously, however, Idu II would subsequently recommend something quite alien for the Nigerian society; and, this may well be this monarch’s other cogent reason for appealing to Igbos to come home this December. Igwe of Igbo Ukwu again: “Some old ones have been dying in our midst, while their children are living abroad. It has been said that many Igbos are now afraid of coming home because of kidnappers; so, who will now take care of the parents and grand-parents of such people? I am afraid, because today’s lifestyle has ripped apart our culture; which is why old people are left untended and without traditional care and affection that aged ones took for granted in traditional African society”, he rued.

Having identified the problem, what would he suggest as solution? Initially, this royal personage’s submission actually came across as shocking; but, on second thought, seems most pragmatic. “I think we have come to the point, where we should establish old people’s home. This might sound shocking to the average African, but with what we are witnessing around us today; I think it is better to commit these dotting ones to the care of trained nurses, instead of leaving them at the mercy of fate”, Idu II concluded.

Posted: at 16-12-2010 12:47 PM (13 years ago) | Gistmaniac