Reading the story of Ụzọma Dozie — former MD of Diamond Bank, Pascal Dozie’s son — and how he ruined Diamond Bank, my mind began to race in thoughts for my Igbo people.
How are we, ndị Igbo, not able to sustain, rule and even enlarge an economic empire handed over by deceased progenitors beyond 2 – 3 decades despite our trait of being good at commerce? But the white man whose capitalist model we mimic is able to sustain a business up to a century. Why?
From Ekene Dili Chukwu Transport (Augustine Ilodibe) to Izu Chukwu Transport to Ifesinachi Transport (Mamah) to J. O Nwankwụ (Joseph Ọzọemena Nwankwụ) to the Ojukwus to the Umeanọs to Micmerah (Emerahs) to the Dozies of today whose children never qualified to sustain and enlarge the coast of their fathers? Why?
“I don’t want my children to suffer what I suffered, biko. They will have the best of life, study abroad, travel and meet people and not suffer in this hellhole Nigeria”.
Those bland and shallow words up 👆there are some of the major answers to the ‘why’. And so, economic empires built by the Igbo only last for 3 decades at most and everything crumbles. Then, life starts afresh. And we wonder why each rising generation of ndị Igbo have no ‘financial base’ to draw from other than starting anew in the spirit of Ikeotuonye. And we wonder how the Yorùbá seem to have a pool of shared monies and are always struggling to dominate the manipulation of the nitty-gritties in Nigeria’s and West Africa’s finance space. It begins with an individual business growing into the second and third generation and enlarging beyond one family and dynasties, spreading wings into competent families of same ethnicity and beyond with ripples getting across to young, upcoming, serious people.
Our rich people and capitalists have not learned how to grill and gell their children to be like them and even beyond them as to manage their successes. In the quest to give children “the best”, they grow apathetic, loose and soft children through the provision of mindless comfort. We can’t raise an economic empire by this culture. I know a classmate of mine in primary and secondary school days whose father was very rich but denied this guy comforts — even basic comfort. We booed the guy and felt the father was innately wicked not knowing he’s preparing a careful manager for future. Today, the young man is sitting on a multimillion naira (if not billion naira) business empire while his father is happily retired and resting. The economic empire has successfully lasted into a second generation and doesn’t look like crumbling in the next decade.
How many Igbo rich capitalists/economic emperors do you know have the stuff and fiber to raise morally and mentally strong, locally conscious and grass rooted children who’d be allowed to pass through the fire of life to be able take over the empires they built? How many?
Is any of Innoson’s children at home in Enugwu or Nnewi, going under fire now and learning on the hard ropes? Is any of Peace Mass Transit’s children learning under fire on the ropes right now? Or, are they in Houston, London, New York, Dubai, Dominican Island with their ‘mommies’ enjoying vacation upon vacations, licking cold stone ice cream, downloading fat-enabling burger and shawarma into their tracks while their mommies post them on Instagram and Facebook to get likes and comments?
By Chijioke Ngobili