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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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Wike: APC Chieftain Lampoons Northern Politicians In Tinubu’s Cabinet

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…says they’re gullible politicians who failed to represent the region well

A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Sai’du Bobboi lampooned Northern politicians who have formed the cabinet of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a bunch of failures in representing the entire region.

He said the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Barrister Nyesome Wike is an intruder and the Party’s interloper who came from the opposition ruling party and displaced them in silenced any issues concerning the northern region.

He accused Wike of attacking some well-meaning Nigerians, especially those from the Northern extraction at will without any of the politicians in the current government fighting for the injustice being meted out by the current FCT minister to many sons and Daughters of the party.

Sai’du from Adamawa Central Senatorial District gave the example of Messrs Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd managing the affairs of the International Conference Center (ICC) Abuja abruptly revoked its contract with the federal government by Wike without following due process.

According to him, Wike did that because the company is owned by a Northerner and revoked the contractual agreement with the sole aim of empowering his political cronies who will be loyal to him in 2027.

The Adamawa State-born politician said the crop of ministers from the Northern region in the current cabinets are Wike stooges who do not have the capability and capacity to stand against injustice and defend anyone in the North.

Worried that if they cannot defend the interest of the North and any politician who has served the party well and wholeheartedly worked for the success of the party they have become failures and all Nigerians should boo them because they are a disgrace.

Sai’du further said that Mallam Ahmad Abubakar Moallayidi, a non-serving Senator who has represented Adamawa Southern Senatorial District in recent times became a victim of Wike’s “rascality” of attacking Northerners.

Sai’du who was the former National Chairman of the KOWA Party said Moallayidi was one of the few individuals who sacrificed a lot in delivering President Tinubu and all he could get in return was Wike’s sheer wickedness in attacking Northerners.

He called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to as a matter of urgency replace Wike with a more decent politician from Rivers State who is a true member of APC otherwise, the excesses of his leadership are becoming more unbecoming and will consume everyone in the party, including the president.

“Wike from PDP is getting on the nerves of everyone in APC, the Man is having his field day and his atrocities are going unhindered being aided by the so-called Ministers who are afraid to call him to order.

“All I’m saying is he should stand up for Justice and stop fighting those who worked for the party that’s today a beneficiary of their hard work and labor through all sorts of pains to bring Tinubu on board,” Sai’du said

Sai’du a one-time Vice Presidential Candidate of the KOWA PARTY in the 2015 Presidential Election With Professor Oluremi Sonayya as the only woman Presidential candidate continued to say that the APC party is becoming evil with the glaring tendencies of killing her own bonafide Sons and Daughters.

“Many people sacrificed a lot, who against all odds served the party and spent their time, energy and resources in bringing into power the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are today crying for marginalization because the likes of Wike are the Alpha and Omega of all that’s happening in the party.” He said

He said Northern politicians in Tinubu’s regime are dosing off, they should wake up and fight for the collective interest of the entire region.

“Your silence is too much for our liking, you are becoming stooges to a Man that ought to be under your tutelage. He has silenced you and is making you irrelevant in this administration for his personal interest. Under your nose is fighting one of our own for no just course, under your watch is meting out injustice to some northern politicians and none of you can address him. You are failing us, you are not representing us well and you all will regret it later. Remember the consequences of your actions or inactions will bore down to the electorates to decide.” Sai’du further stated

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ADSUBEB Acting Chair, Shehu Felicitates With Gov Fintiri, Muslim Faithful On Eid-el-Fitr

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The Acting Chairman Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board, (ADSUBEB) Malam Shehu Umar Shehu has congratulated Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Muslim faithful in the state on the occasion of the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fast.

Shehu, in his Sallah message made available to this platform, urged Adamawa people, especially Muslim faithful, to continue devoting themselves to prayers for unity, peaceful coexistence, and the progress of the state.

He called on people to keeping faith with the leadership of Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, assuring that the state would continue to witness the type of greatness desired by citizens.

Malam Shehu acknowledged that the efforts of the Governor Umaru Fintiri led administration to improving the education are yielding results, and advised people to continue to support the present administration. 

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How Gov Fintiri, Atiku, Others Celebrate Eid-El-Fitir In Yola

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State Wednesday joined hundreds of Muslims at the Yola Eid ground to observe 2-raka’at supererogatory prayer in commemoration of this years Eid-el-fitir celebration.

Other dignitaries at the Eid ground include Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri Adamawa, Alhaji Mustafa Aminu, the Galadima Adamawa among other senior government officials, traditional title holders, district heads among others.

In his sermon shortly after he led the 2 raka’at prayer, the Chief Imam of Modibbo Adama Central mosque, Yola, Khadi Ahmadu Bobboi admonished Muslims to fear Allah, shun away from all sinful activities even after the Ramadan period.

Bobboi urged the faithful to be thankful to Allah at all times, supplicate and pray fervently with their families for God guidance so that peace and tranquillity will continue to reign in the state and the country in general.

Governor Umaru Fintiri in an interview with newsmen shortly after the prayer, expressed gratitude to Almighty Allah for the successful completion of Ramadan fasting and celebration of the Eid-el-fitir.

He said: “We are grateful to Almighty Allah for allowing us to observe one of the five Pillars of Islam. With this, I congratulate all Muslims across the world particularly Adamawa and Nigeria.

“And to urge us to live a life of modesty as enjoyed by Islam, help the needy, coexist peacefully and respect one another. This is my message today for the good people of my state and the country.”

Contributing, the Waziri Adamawa, Alh Atiku Abubakar while congratulating Muslims on the celebration of Eid-El-Fitir, describes the hardships Nigerians are going through as most unfortunate but expressed optimism that the country will overcome it.

“We should work hard and support government policies that are designed actually to alleviate the sufferings of the poor people. Basically, I’m not satisfied with the federal government policies, ” he said.

Meanwhile, 4 years down the line, the palace of the Lamido Adamawa HRH Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa, was back to life as Muslim faithful from various district and ethnic groups joined in the famous durba celebration and paid sallah homage at the palace of the Lamido in Yola.

The colorful event which was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic was revived, to enable the faithful mark the end Eid-El-Fitr celebration in grand style.

In attendance at the Lamido’s palace for the epoch celebration was Governor Umaru Fintiri, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Awwal Tukur, Security Chiefs and other top Government officials among others.

In his speech, the former VP who is the Waziri Adamawa, congratulated the Muslim faithful for successfully completing the 2024 Ramadan fasting and urged the faithful to be steadfast in their commitment to humanity and respect for authorities.

He lamented the current economic situation of the country, and called on people to turn to God in prayers and support leaders to address the situation.

He commended Governor Fintiri for coming through in the face of the current hardships by distributing palliatives ro the citizens and urged the people not be tempted to sale the food items freely giving to them.

He further urged the government to assist farmers with farm inputs and called people to embrace farming as a means of survival to overcome the current hardships.

The Waziri Adamawa also urged farmers to plant early maturing crops in order to have a bumper harvest.

He also called on the people to work closely with security operatives and support them with relevant information that will aid in addressing insecurity in their communities.

Regarding the 2024 Hajj operation, he appealed to the government to look into the situation that is fast becoming affair for the rich and assist the pilgrims to enable them tap into the blessings of one of the important pillars in islam.

The Waziri Adamawa who stood in for Lamido Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa throughout the celebration has received a Sallah gift from Governor Umaru Fintiri at the event.

SAHEL REPORTERS.

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