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Igbonomics in Northern Nigeria

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  • Igbo people are NOT marginalised, they are playing a victim card to maintain economic dominance as status quo

By Ahmadu Shehu, PhD.

My previous article titled If there was Biafra generated debates around Biafra’s disadvantages (and advantages) to the Igbo people. Many of these comments were very insightful, and in line with the thoughts I presented. While I cannot respond to all the commentators, I will briefly address the most salient rejoinders. But, once again, let me quickly state that this conversation does not target the Igbo as an ethnic group. Instead, I aim to provide an outsider view to these pressing issues of national unity on which all Nigerians share equal rights and responsibilities to tell ourselves the home truth.

Some commentators say that the article was biased as I only focused on the disadvantages and neglected the “obvious” advantages the Igbo will gain from Biafra. However, I do not see a single demographic, economic, geographical or even political advantage the Igbo will gain by simply seceding from Nigeria. That is the thesis of the previous article. In fact, the post-exile writings of Odumegwu Ojukwu, the architect of Biafra himself, buttress this point.

The most critical observations from many prominent Igbo elites and friends claim that as much as the Igbo people enjoy Nigeria’s unity from both economic and political perspectives, we should equally be thankful to the southeasterners for the jobs they create for other Nigerians.

In other words, the Nigerian market saturated by Igbo traders is also lucky to have the Igbo money as capital for the employment of other Nigerians.

Well, this claim might seem valid at face value. Still, it may not be entirely accurate when Igbonomics – a term I use here to refer to the economic strategy of the Igbo people – is subjected to a critical view.

In the said article, I noted that one of the weaknesses of the southeastern economic model is that it is closed to other Nigerians. The resentment the Igbo folks have against the majority of Nigerians do not allow “strangers” from any region of the country to freely establish or run businesses in Igboland. That is why most Igbo billionaires today were made one hundred per cent in and by other regions of this country, but not the other way round. There is hardly a non-Igbo billionaire made by or in the southeast.

This xenophobia is not only applied against the Hausa-Fulani northerners or the Yoruba south-westerns but also their closest cousins, the Niger-Deltans.

This approach is based on three exclusionist strategies of Igbonomics.

First, the market and product, and indeed the value-chain must strictly remain an Igbo affair.

Second, other regions’ markets, their products and value-chains must be proportionately shared with the Igbos.

Third, to drift public attention from this ongoing reality, maintain the victim card by crying louder than the bereaved – the real victims of marginalization.

While the first two tenets are lawful but greedy, the third is a clear case of hypocrisy. Here is a simple example to foreground this scenario.

The Igbo form the largest group of Nigerians in the diaspora. Since Nigeria is an import economy, the Igbo people in diaspora serve as business agents for their brethren in Nigeria. Therefore, the import business is basically an Igbo – Igbo transaction.

Here in Nigeria, these goods are transported mainly to the southeastern markets, such as Aba and Onitsha. Instead of Lagos or Port Harcourt, most Igbo traders, who are widely dispersed across the nooks and crannies of this country, buy their goods mostly from Igbo distributors in the southeast. Another Igbo – Igbo transaction.

Up here in the north and other parts of the country, the Igbo employ strictly Igbo artisans, mostly from their own villages or communities in the east, and in some cases, the so-called northern Igbos. From sales girls and boys to messengers, marketers and suppliers, the Igbos domiciled in the north only trust their own ethnic brothers regardless of the opportunities employing locals might portend to their businesses.

For instance, you find a single Igbo shop owner in a village. By the following year, s/he has brought two, three or four Igbo artisans, thereby growing in population, manipulating the resources and seizing the business opportunities further away from the local people.

In most cases, the deal is that a separate business in the same line is established for the younger artisan, expanding further the grip of the Igbos in that line of business in the communities they are domiciled. Thus, the profits, gains and resources of the business in any of these communities become an Igbo affair entirely.

Therefore, in this arrangement, the Igbo create jobs primarily for themselves while other sections of Nigeria serve as their consumers.

While the Igbos living in the north own properties and investments in the region, they return their proceeds to their homelands. Thus, I can bet my last penny that Igboland has more properties and investments built from profits and wealth acquired outside the Igboland than those made from the businesses run within the Igboland.

Moreover, I had said earlier that businesses domiciled in the southeast largely depend on the larger Nigerian market to thrive.

Therefore, it should be clear from the foregoing that Igbonomics in the north is an Igbo economic affair that largely – if not only – benefits the Igbos.

The brutal truth is that the Igbo are NOT marginalised in Nigeria. Instead, they are playing a victim card to maintain the economic status quo. While the various sections of this great country have a lot to thank one another for, none of these sections should claim any superiority. Neither should any of these play a gimmick of marginalisation. We are equals in the hands of God and our country.

Dr Ahmadu Shehu is a nomad cum herdsman, an Assistant Professor at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, and is passionate about the Nigerian project. You can reach him via ahmadsheehu@yahoo.com.

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Government

Gov Fintiri Meets CAN Leadership, Reels Out Scorecard

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—I’ll Definitely Take You To The Adamawa Of Your Dream – Gov Fintiri

By Muhammad B Muhammad

Ahead of the forthcoming elections, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State who is seeking for re-election under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has met with leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state.

He was at the CAN State Secretariate in Yola Monday at the instance of the leadership where the officials asked him what he intends to do for the state if re-elected for a second tenue in office.

He started with the security sector where he narrated how his administration has redefined the security architecture that was hitherto in the state of shamble.

He said the government has injected thinking and funds that changed the narratives, enabling the citizens sleep with their two eyes close across the state.

On education, Fintiri said his administration has inherited a comatose system but injected a lot of commitment and resources to revive the sector.

According to him, the successes recorded has helped the government to renovating 5,000 classrooms, announcing that arrangements are in the pipeline to upgrade ten legacy schools in the state.

He added that the government has provided free education and relieved parents burden of payment of WAEC and NECO adding however that UNICEF has also built eighty schools in Fufore and Guyuk and it is set to construct more.

Governor Fintiri has made clarifications over some unwarranted rumours on the workforce, saying his administration has never sacked 10,000 workers as being speculated in some quarters.

He said the Government has only stopped the last minute biased recruitment of 1,500 teachers by then outgoing administration and employed 2,000 competent teachers through a clean process.

Speaking on the Health sector, Fintiri said over 100 primary healthcare centres were built and renovated, eight new cottage hospitals with staff quarters were built and equipped with modern facilities while health workers were also employed.

The Governor said his administration is also reforming the infrastructural sector, as the government has constructed 347km rural roads, built many urban roads in the state capital and some towns.

Governor Fintiri said his administration has initiated Adamawa Agribusiness Support Programme to tap the potentiality in the agric sector for youth employment, improve revenue generation and welfare of the citizens.

He said the Government has also cleared backlog of gratuity of retired workers to the tune of N5b, improved payment of monthly pensions and welfare of retirees across the state.

The Governor has also spoke on environment, housing, Internally Generated Revenue among other sectors and sought for support of the Chiristian Leaders, promising to redouble efforts if reelected.

Earlier, the State Chairman of CAN, Bishop Dami Mamza said Christians in the state are committed to Adamawa unity as according to him, God has endowed the state with all the potentialities to achieve greatness for the citizens.

Hightlight of the meeting was questions and answers session.

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Government

Adamawa: Primary Sch Teachers, Health Workers, LG Staff To Enjoy National Minimum Wage

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

It appears that the incessant calls by Primary School Teachers, Primary Health Care and Local Government Workers in Adamawa State on salary increment have come to an end as henceforth they will start enjoying the national minimum wage.

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri revealed this while addressing Primary Health Care Workers who were on a one thousand man march solidarity visit in the Government House, Yola, Monday.

He said arrangements have been concluded for the payment, assuring them however that the government will also address the issues of their leave grant allowances and promotions.

The Governor further told the workers that the government is working on some structural reforms to enable primary Health Care Workers’ remuneration go intune with Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS).

The Executive Secretary Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Suleiman Saidu said the visit was to show solidarity for Governor Fintiri for his numerous achievements not only in the health sector but the entire state as a whole.

Speaking separately, Malam Yahaya Sa’idu, Lawan Abubakar Umar and Emanuel Cartwell commended Governor Fintiri for providing them motivation that enabled them to achieve excellence and vowed as grassroot workers to mobilize massive votes for his re-election.

The State Chairman of Medical Health Care Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Usman Babbada thanked Governor Fintiri for implementing promotion benefits at the hospital services management board up to 95%.

The one thousand man march solidarity to Governor Umaru Fintiri by the primary school health workers was commenced from Women Development Centre, Yola and terminated at Banquet Hall Government House, Yola.

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Government

Adamawa Govt Approves 16.6km Roads Network At 1,000 Housing Estate Malkohi

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Adamawa State Executive Council at its first 2023 meeting has approved 16.6km roads network at the 1,000 Housing Units Malkohi in Yola South Local Government Area at the cost N3.744b.

According to the resolution of the council meeting presided over by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the project was awarded to Messrs Jodas Salamu Global Nigeria Limited.

State Commissioner of Works and Energy, Alh Adamu Atiku Abubakar revealed this to newsmen after the council meeting that held in the Council Chambers, Government House, Yola Monday.

Abubakar added that the road network project which is to be completed in 12 months, is inline with the policies of the present administration to ensuring rural and urban renewal.

The Commissioner further said the Council after deliberations has approved construction and renovation of 12 lots of classroom blocks, laboratories and library in Government Secondary School Fufore.

He said the project awarded at N151m is being spread across 12 independent contractors adding that work will soon commence.

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