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An Open Letter To My Ikwerre Brethren

An Open Letter To My Ikwerre Brethren New York[RR]Igweocha–Since the middle of the Nigerian Civil War, some misinformed Ikwerre young people have been trying to convince Nigerians and particularly the Igbo that Ikwerre is not Igbo. So far they this campaign has not won any converts to their cause. Some Ikwerre political leaders have noticed […]

ikwerre

An Open Letter To My Ikwerre Brethren

New York[RR]Igweocha–Since the middle of the Nigerian Civil War, some misinformed Ikwerre young people have been trying to convince Nigerians and particularly the Igbo that Ikwerre is not Igbo. So far they this campaign has not won any converts to their cause. Some Ikwerre political leaders have noticed and are straddling the line between Ikwerre is/is not Igbo.

The reason for the failure to win converts is primarily because there is no significant physical, cultural, religious, language or other distinguishing features between an Igbo and an Ikwerre. If Mr. Okala, the journalist/preacher stands beside Mr. Okala, the soccer goal keeper, nobody could tell who Ikwerre is and who Igbo is. On the other hand one could tell who is Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa if three people are standing together.
The reason for pushing the separation of Ikwerre from Igbo is based on short sighted leadership. Ikwerre people reap the benefits of being Igbo without the responsibility such membership demands. When the president counts his appointments he would usually count Mr. Rotimi Amaechi as Igbo. When the Ijaw or Ogoni people name the governors of Rivers State they include Mr. Amaechi and Mr. Wike as Igbo governors. And this is proper because they win their elections with the support of mainland Igbo in Rivers state.
My Ikwerre brethren must understand the risk in the dangerous game being played. The most important group of Nigerians they must convince to accept Ikwerre as an ethnic group distinct from Igbo is the Igbo. They are better off not winning this fight. So should push only so far.
The day they succeed in convincing the Igbo that they are not Igbo, it will open a variety of opportunities most of which will be to the detriment of Ikwerre people.
Ikwerre population in Rivers State is about 1 million. Mainland Igbo living in Rivers State is equal to or more than the total population of Ikwerre. They could form other alliances such as with both Ijaw and Ogoni and other ethnic units not as hostile to mainland Igbo as Ikwerre is trying to become. We know what happens when two married old friends divorce: former friends become current enemies and try to destroy each other. It could happen when Ikwerre divorces Igbo.
The mainland Igbo have the economic resources to take over PH when allied to other PH residents not Ikwerre or could just abandon Ikwerre people to their faith among their usually not friendly neighbors.
History does not record any people conquering the Igbo just as it does not record the Igbo conquering any other ethnic groups. They have lived their lives in peace with all their neighbors from time immemorial and still do even now. But that does not mean that they cannot be provoked to fight. There is an Igbo song that goes like this:
Onye akpana agu aka n’odu
Ma O di ndu
Ma O nwuru anwu
Translated it is a warning not to provoke a lion to a fight at all costs. The unsaid implication is that the fight would end badly for the provocateur.
Ikwerre people ought to understand that they could be Ikwerre and Igbo at the same time. Just as Imo, Enugu, Anambra, etc., people are both Igbo and Wawa, Ijekebee, etc. people. It need not be mutually exclusive.
My two pennies advise.
Credit: Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
Mr. Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba culled from Boston, Massachusetts
May 7, 2018

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