My Boxing Day Message to the Igbos
J Duke Anago wrote;
An Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba parents sent their kids abroad for study. The Hausa son returns immediately upon graduation and takes up a job in public service. No matter how low the pay is, they stay and grow gradually. The Yoruba looks for an opportunity abroad, works for some time (5yrs Max) and returns back to Nigeria to work for an expatriate company or a private sector company. The Igbo son just like the Yoruba looks for an opportunity abroad, secures a good-paying job, settles down abroad and vow never to return to Nigeria again. In the next 10 years, he is married and has kids who dont even know how to speak Igbo. The next project is to bring all family members abroad who in turn, follow the footpath of their brother by refusing to return to Nigeria. Now the whole family is abroad with only parents living in Nigeria.
In 15 years, the Igbo son is now an influential Software Engineer in one company in Canada. The Hausa man is the Commissioner of Police in the Igbo man hometown. The Yoruba dude is currently the senior Network Engr of the mobile line the Igbo man’s father use in his state.
Igbo man sends money home to build a mansion in his village. No development!
The Hausa man recruits 50 of his people into the force— creates employment. The Yoruba man writes to his state government of his company’s intention to sponsor 20 Nigerians abroad for study, and he can facilitate 15 to come from his state —Transfer of skill.
As the Yorubas and Hausas are taken over the private and public sector jobs in Nigeria respectively, the Igbo man are deserting and littering their states with mansions but no company.
Ask Igbo man to invest in his region; he will narrate countless reasons why it is not a good idea. But, upon death, he would be rushed home to be buried. I have made this point before and repeating it: there must be an extraordinary burial levy on any Igbo person that is well off but with zero factories in Igboland.
Aku luo Uno is not when I build mansion anymore. We must change this narrative for good. Aku luo Uno must now mean creating jobs for the Igbos in Igboland. Aku luo Uno must include building institutions for those striving to survive in Igboland and not hotels.
Igbos always brag of being in control of trade and commerce. Well, the bad news is that in the next 10 years, the buying lifestyle or behaviour of an average buyer would change. They won’t be visiting lock-up stalls. They would most likely buy online or visit malls. What are we doing to upgrade the trading skills of our Igbo brothers to meet up with the advancement of technology and innovation?
We can not leave this alone to our governors. Some are trying while others are clueless. Only a few government officials understand the importance of capacity (re)building and utilisation. We must start (re)building our capacity to remain competitive at home just how we are competitive abroad. Those at home just be empowered to remain home to avoid the rush out syndrome. It will also reduce the increased cases of fast lane.
The reason I am making this post is simple; if we don’t change, we may not have a place to call home in the next 30years. Igboland would be deserted. Umunna and Umuada meeting would no longer hold in villages but abroad. You will begin to see umuada Mbaise meeting in California. Umuada Neni Brisbane branch. Umunna Nnewi Tokyo general meeting.
We must make hay while the sun still shines.