Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 Questions for Igbo’s Seeking Ikwerre Citizenship & Acknowledgement

If you are Ikwerre, or know someone that is, then you must have heard this at one point or the other. "Ikwerres are Igbos!" You might have witnessed one argument or fight that stern from this seemingly innocent statement that rub us the wrong way. I narrowly avoided lynching one old woman in Abuja who had the effrontery to tell me I don't know anything about my roots... I promised myself that I would never argue about this topic with anyone else, but I could not resist my brothers recent post on the issue, I have taken the liberty to publish it here...

Chuks Eleonu wrote...........

It appears our Igbo friends and in-laws are doing everything in their capacity to acquire Ikwerre citizenship. After all, what else are they looking to gain in constantly raising an issue that begs for disagreement when the underlying issues are completely examined end-to-end? Let's pretend for a moment that the Ikwerre's consent to Igbo hegemony; then WHAT? What does it buy the Igbo’s that they do not already have or potentially could get?

 If 2 + 3 = 5, by mathematical and scientific deductions, then 3 + 2 must also = 5, right? In other words, if Ikwerre’s are Igbo's, then Igbo’s are Ikwerre’s, hence why the un-ending clamor for recognition and acceptance – right? Only those who flunked arithmetic would proceed to argue the contrary.

In fact, the very essences of the word “Ikwerre,” implicitly and explicitly embody the notion that I have to FIRST agree. I and my people DO NOT and NEVER WILL AGREE on a strategic deliberate attempt to foist falsehood upon an innocent society can go and bring anyone with any titles pre-fixed or suffixed to their names, they will remain ignorant of the facts, until they stop the presuppositions and conjectures without in-depth empirical scholastic research that is objective in intent. We will always respect our Igbo friends and in-laws; but that cannot become synonymous to bowing to the flippant claims and ulterior-motives of the Igbo’s.

Another fact to consider is, when was the last time anyone saw titled Professors from Western or Northern Nigeria or even elsewhere around the world, listing the ethnicities of their surrounding neighbors as evidence of their scholastic aptitude? So, why would learned and intelligent Igbo’s continue to waste time in academic exercises, always asking the meaning of one's name or citing proximity of one’s village to their own boundaries? To me, I would like to respect those of us who have acquired university education, hoping of course, they can carry out and demonstrate beyond the shadow of doubt, basic empirical and sound scholastic research, beyond fanning the embers of discord inherited from their fore-parents and Nigeria's ethno-centric gridlock politics of Win/Lose.

Since our so called learned and intelligent friends like to insist that the British people should stop advancing the course of their nation until Americans begin to call themselves “British,” or the Jews should hold off fighting for their own survival until everyone else living in the “ghettos” of the world acknowledge them, let me pose the following then questions, all of which have the very same answer and GOES TO THE VERY HEART of the Ikwerre vs. Igbo debates:

1. Who was the very first person ever named Miss Nigeria, and why did she not become a Nigerian, post independence?

2. Who remembers those that played the roles of “courtima” (if you don’t know this term, you should probably never get involved in the Ikwerre-Igbo debates) and why did their Western & Northern Nigerian counterparts not pervert history and justice in their respective regions of Nigeria?

3. If Ikwerre’s were Igbo’s, why did part of the Biafra military strategy include the extermination and genocide of the Ikwerre’s? Please note that there were more saboteurs within and amongst ndi Igbo, than elsewhere in Nigeria – even till the present day.

4. If Igbo’s were so magnanimous to ameliorate their excesses in pre-historic Nigeria, dating back to the early stages of both the “white man’s & ottoman’s” slave trades, how come they are yet to resolve their osu caste system – even until the present day? Let’s go one step further to truly see how much they know of the Ikwerre, can our Igbo learned and intelligent friends account for the Igbo’s direct profiteering, racketeering, and shenanigans during the slave trade periods, as it pertains to its surrounding neighbors, including the Ikwerre's?

5. If Ikwerre’s were Igbo’s, why were they not consulted like the other Igbo clans on the eve of Ahiara War Declarations by Odumegwu Ojukwu? If our learned friends claim that Ikwerre’s were consulted, please provide name(s) of the Ikwerre representatives.

6. Why did southern Cameroon vote to not become part of Nigeria at independence – even though they knew their Hausa/Fulani dominated northern Cameroon were an evil empire? Really, you would rather associate with an evil empire than align with your next door neighbors – if we go by the theory of Igbo’s about the Ikwerre’s?

7. Speaking about Cameroonians, what was the real underlying issue about Bakassi and (like the Ikwerre’s), the peace loving peoples of Ambazonia? Why would they not want to become part of a vibrant and thriving nation like Nigeria – even till this day? What really happened?

8. Going further, who remembers pre-historic Nigeria and Cameroon showing Igbo influences stretching past the Calabar river banks, as Far East, as Mamfe and Bamenda in the Cameroons – why did it shrink back to the present day Igbo boundaries? Better yet, just like Cameroon dragged Nigeria to court over Bakassi, why have the Igbo’s not dragged their case to court, if they know the anthropological, sociological, and ethno-linguistic genesis of the Ikwerre’s?

9. The word “Biafra” is not an Igbo word – at least, am hoping they have not also started claiming it is – so, where/what is Biafra, from which the Gulf/Bight of Biafra was originally named on every world map prior to 1969? Hint: Ojukwu could not and did not coin the word !!! Since most Igbo’s immediately from birth, seem to know more about the history and origin of Ikwerre people, it is assumed this question is also a piece of cake for them

10. Last, but more importantly:

a. When were the original Ogbakor Ikwerre (excluding the ones in diaspora) and Ohaneze ndi Igbo organizations created?

b. If Ikwerre’s are seating on the high tables at Ohaneze ndi Igbo, how come the Igbo’s have never allowed these so called Ikwerre members of Ohaneze to speak by themselves to their own Ikwerre people and in a language the Ikwerre’s would understand – why are Igbo’s always the only ones doing the talking and claiming? Egyptians were not busy advertising Moses as justification for the Jews to remain in Egypt, considering the Jews never forgot their homelands, but may have adopted Egyptian and Roman names to survive the times; a good percentage of people from Sierra Leone in West Africa all have similar names and features like the Yoruba’s of Nigeria – one wonders why Nigeria’s Yoruba states are not wasting resources and time running around telling other Yoruba’s of West Africa they must claim Nigerian origin and ancestry; Native Americans of the present generation might have blue eyes, some blonde, and cannot speak a word of Apache, Cherokee, Hopi, Navajos (I know because I’ve lived among them), yet the Igbo’s would have you believe they are Igbo’s too, if given the chance; and, these same Igbo’s would be the first to tell you not to call them African Americans – since there are no Igbo racial categories in any American ethno-demographic profiles.

c. Is it true that because Igbo’s outnumber every other ethnic group by a margin of 10:1 in pre-war Sabon Gari district of Kano, therefore, everyone within that environment is Igbo – was that what Igbo’s were claiming to spark the pogroms that ignited the Biafra war? (see this citation). Is it also true that because Tiv’s in Nigeria speak Hausa and share common names and traditions, they are Hausa people? How about our friends in Ghana, is it true that because the word Twi is pronounced Chi, it has the same Igbo meaning, therefore, of Igbo origin?

d. Giving a speech recently, during a meeting of South East elders held in Owerri, Imo State, on March 5, 2010 the honorable Odumegwu Ojukwu, asked Igbo’s: “Howbeit, it is a well known fact that in every State in Nigeria outside Igbo land, Ndigbo always constitutes the second largest population next to the indigenous population” – why is that? How come no other ethnic population in Nigeria can come close to, much less boast of, being always the 2nd largest population outside of their own ethnic enclaves, wherever they go?

e. Has anyone heard of/about “Hausa Elele”? Yes, these are true Hausa’s from Elele, in Ikwerre Nigeria – are they Igbo’s too? Could it be that Ikwerre’s had learned their lesson with Igbo’s that they did not allow this strategic political expansion to continue with impunity? Perhaps, we would be arguing today of how Ikwerre’s are Hausa’s, if we had also kept silent in this regard.

f. For the longest time, even before the creation of Rivers State, who consistently prevented, and orchestrated the eccentricities that thwarted, the creation of Port Harcourt state, if Ikwerre’s were Igbo’s?

As I have indicated on past occasions, our Igbo friends and in-laws are restless, hardworking, resourceful, and have hegemonous tendencies. I have many Igbo friends and love them for what they bring to the table – provided it is not un-substantiated claims and frivolous arguments about Ikwerre people or the Rivers State. Our present generation of Igbo’s and Ikwerre’s would not be serving posterity right, if we don’t seriously focus on how to re-align development of the Nigerian ethos to leverage real talents and skill sets, irrespective of ethnicity. In other words, if the only time an Igbo is willing to dialogue and engage in nation building is when s/he can work side-by-side with only those who agree with him/her on ethnicity and speaks his/her dialect, then there should be no question as to why it will continue to take a very, very, very long time before the Igbo’s can produce another Nigerian President, post Azikiwe. You can quote me! I’m sure an Igbo would dare not say that, right?

Just like well read Nigerians will challenge the white-man’s perversion of African history (e.g., there are more people in Northern Nigeria than in the South – true or false?), I will continue to challenge anyone who thinks they can call Ikwerre’s anything other than Ikwerre. Only those who have ulterior motives continue to argue the Ikwerre-Igbo issue blindly, as if it all started yesterday or after the war. No, there are precedents and that have been set prior to the Biafran war, even before slavery and colonialism. Furthermore, my ignorant Ikwerre fore-fathers who could neither read, nor write, are not entirely blameless here! But to unilaterally assume that Ikwerre founding fathers were unable to transmit or hand-down history through generations of Ikwerre sons and daughters, is the height of arrogance, pride, and prejudice for anyone seeking to solve the puzzle that is Nigeria.

Notwithstanding, I have given you food-for-thought, some of which pre-dates Lord Luggard. But only a certain element would continue to arrogate themselves to a history and people that are not theirs to claim. For extra credit, here’s one last question: from whom did the Rivers State learn the concept of “abandoned property”? Perhaps, therein lies the real reason why Igbo’s never go after other parts of Rivers State and elsewhere in Nigeria where “Igbo” is actually spoken as a language and historically preserved, but would rather focus on poor Ikwerre people whose relationship with them have been anything, but. Yes, the Igbo religious missionaries arrived and said to the Ikwerre man “let us pray,” and when the Ikwerre’s opened their eyes, the Igbo’s had their lands, their local economies, and the Bible!!!

In closing, I have asked ten simple questions whose answers leads to the VERY CORE of the issue on the Ikwerre vs. Igbo dichotomy – especially for those of you who, without knowing the genesis, assume that the person called John from New York City is related to another John from Yorkshire, UK -- because some white-man's anthropological formulae said so; therefore, someone named Okala from Ikwerre must be related to the former Rangers Goalkeeper named Okala. Since we have a lot of anthropologists, sociologists, gerontologists, ethno-linguists, Engineers, Apostles, Chiefs, war Generals, including aimless key-punching cyber-pundits in the house, I am hoping that they will apply the same brevity, objectivity, and vocal variety in acknowledging the truths that constitute the collective answers to the above ten questions, so we ignorant folks from Ikwerre, who do not know our origins, ancestry, and history can also, learn. Better yet, perhaps our learned friends, who can only write about Rivers State local government areas or Ikwerre villages and names as the evidence of their scholastic aptitudes, now have a real homework to do, so we can finally attest to their empirical and journalistic research assessment methods.

For those who will try to guess the answer, without in-depth research, please pay attention to the common denominator in your findings, and report back, so inquiring minds would know. Very truly yours,

Chuks D. Eleonu
Defender of Ikwerre civil rights and God-given civil liberties


  1. I have refrained from commenting on this debate that is fast getting out of control, largely because I do not know half of the respondents. I feel only someone who is not grounded in history will dare question the true identity of a group of people who collectively, choose to be called “X” against all odds - that to a large extent puts them in a not so advantageous position.

    To attempt to answer your questions is to indulge you in an endless argument that seems to be going no where. However, I must educate you on something you totally missed out about Language. Language is dynamic, like culture it might be gradual but surely changes over time. You may agree with this and rightly point to Victorian English, as compared to today’s English, but I warn you that it goes way beyond that. The language we call English today is a mix of Saxon, Latin and several words drawn from all over Europe. So the fact that your language and mine sound similar does not in anyway mean we are of the same tribe. Have you ever wondered why Lebanese and other Arabs in Nigeria speak fluent Hausa? Well Hausa is to Arabic what Pigin English (A collection of English, French and Portuguese words) is to the English language. In the same vain, though the German words for "What is your name?" are spelt differently, they clearly sound like a different dialect of the same Anglo-Saxon words in English. (German would say “Wie ist Ihr Name?”) Well let me cut to the chase.

    I will come much closer home to demonstrate how Language and association can change over a short time, I give you the Bonny people. Igbani is the dialect of the true Bonny/Opobo people. but due to the slave trading and Igbo influence on these people with the hinter land, today, Igbo is perhaps their spoken language even though both Igboland and Bonny do not share a common boundary. The late Cardinal Rex Lawson (An Ijaw man) of blessed memory sang most of his songs in Igbo, because it was the prevalent language in his domain - Should Biafra had succeeded, and given perhaps 200 years, would it be politically correct to call Ijaws Igbos?

    So my “Wise” friend, this is a simple thing, all Ikwerres cant be mad and stupid, or like you concluded – fools. Here is yet another one of them “fools”. Keep counting.

    1. Name one thing, just on thing the Ibos stand to get from Ikwerre being Ibo. Nothing, absolutely nothing. The Ibos I know are too busy with their lives to bother about this Ikwerre non-issue. Most Ibos do not even know that Ikwerres exist and where to find them on the map.

      Only an imbecile will sit in his house and worry about Ikwerres whatever that means. At least people identify with success, but what have the Ikwerres, any Ikwerre man or woman achieved in any field, that the Ibos would want to identify with? Nothing! The oil they often boast about is found even in Anambra.

      The operators of this website are just miserabler losers, lazy sods with time to waste. Ibos do not need Ikwerres for anything. Ikwerre? No thanks.

    2. My point exactly, the Igbos stand to gain nothing, yet they wont relent... I am not surprised that several years on, this topic continues to provoke much interest. Since you stand to gain nothing, why won't you ( and your other brothers) leave us alone? Why won't every Igbo man accept that the Ikwerres recognize their origin (based on oral tradition).
      It is a shame that I can not dialogue with you until I accept what you say. A simple argument of my origin has degenerated to insults from cowards who are reluctant to even leave their names. You can not know me better than me, and all your attempts to prove to me only seals your fate. As an arrogant fool at war, who breaks rank yet - doesn't know when the battle horn calls for a retreat. The above blog asked 10 questions that you are yet to answer. My advice is that you read properly before reacting.

    3. Meaning that you are nothing but an idiot. You have opened a ludicrous blog to boost your sagging ego and desire to feel wanted. Who wants to associate with a useless twat like you? Who but a drug-crazed imbecile which you are would open a stupid discussion on a tired and irrelevant topic in an obscure web blog? Who is interested in it, drug-crazed mugu?
      Imagine the son an idiot wanting to take on the Ibo race. Common go and hang, idiot.

  2. Trash. Another day, the same old shit.
    Who gives a monkey about Ikwerre? What
    is ikwerre anyway? Those days of inconsequential groups wagging their leprous fingers on the face of the great Igbo nation are over. Today, every Igbo clan can look after itself. The days of ikwerre shakara about airport, seaport are over. Today Igbo is not 1970 Igbo. Igbo people have survived the genocide and moved on. Today Asaba has its own international airport. Owerri is easily the most beautiful city in eastern nigeria etc. Even Ibibios have built their own airport at Uyo. Igbo people are spoilt for choice and do not need ikwerre for anything. Igbos are not folding their arms and seeking who to join them, being already 40 million+ .Ironically, even Goodluck Jonathan an Ijawman is claiming Igbo heritage in Nigeria today while some ikwerre nonentity is busy writing comic trash. Who gives a monkey about you? Talk of the tail wagging the dog! So dude, shut your dirty mouth and let people hear something.

  3. Hello and thanks "Anonymous" this is quite revealing. I didn't know these were the underlined reason why the Igbos desperately needed the Ikwerres in the past. Thanks to development, your much needed resources are now at your doorstep, and the tail will never wag the dog.

  4. Another piece of trash. Igbo desperately needed the Ikwerres! Who told you that? Seems you suffer from low self-esteem hence you go about seeking for someone to desperately need you. Well, look elsewhere because the Igbo don't give a damn. You either belong in or you belong out. Who wants a liability anyway? Good riddanc! Igbo of 2011 is not Igbo of 1970. Now live with it and shut your face, dude.

  5. Asaba International Airport has now
    opened for business in Western Igboland. Another nail in the coffin of Ikwerre
    irredentists and backstabbers. Igbo don't need Ikwerre. Ikwerre don't need Igbo. So shall it be for ever and ever, amen.Who needs a backstabbing hyporite?

  6. Thanks for wastin ur little strength,but hv a question for u,is Asaba a state in igboland or part of an Eastern region,why won't the igbos live the poor ikwerrians alone,they said they said they re nt part of the igbo's bt the benin's so y u guys wastin ur fuckin tym for a matter been settled lng tym ago,u dnt need the ikwerre's,they re nobody bt yet the igbos re stil killin themselves of the ikwerre's being igbo,so buddy jst shut ur trap if u dnt hv anythin to say,its nt by force that they must agree that they re igbos

    1. Shut your idiot mouth. Which Igbo is killing himself over Ikwerre? Why dont you talk about yourself instead of Asaba, useless lazy idiot. Yes Asaba isd Igboland and the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is from there. So is Sunny Odogwu, the Jdea Ahaba ana a pillar of the Igbo nation. Talk about your stupid self, tragic mugu.

  7. Two years on, and this matter is still as hot as ever. Only yesterday afternoon, I was accosted by yet another person, this time from the north who asked the same question. Are Ikwerres not Igbo? This time I chose the diplomatic option by stating for the record that we are Politically. Yet, anthropologically, we are not... before I could explain, a delta Igbo man came to my rescue by explaining out all that I had said above, and declared that that is why their allegiance is to Benin, and not their kith & Kin across the Niger. That said, I come back to the "Political Igbo" grouping. I compare it to the Ijaw grouping of all people of diverse extraction that live within and around the upper bight of Biafra. From Warri to Bonny are considered Ijaws - This is not to say that the Okirikas & Kalabaris (Riverine Rivers State), The Nembe (Southern Bayelsa) or even the Igbanis (Bonny, Opobo, etc) are Ijaws. It is only a political classification. So also is the Delta Igbo, Ikwerre, Ndoni, Ahoda, Etche, etc classified as Igbos even though they clearly are not anthropologically.

  8. What is anthropology? Just admit you are ignorant, then go and sit down in a heap of rubbish. Who wants your sorry arse in the Ibo midst anyway? Go get a life, lazy sod.

    1. If you are not a "Lazy Sod" or you knew what a dictionary was you would have opened it to learn for yourself. Anthropology is the study of the origin and social relationships of human beings. You will agree that this is at the heart of this debate.

    2. Well done for defining anthropology. You have really cracked the atom anew and you deserve a Nobel Prize for your definition.

      Presumably your own anthropology starts and ends in an obscure, inconsequential internet blog. Just name one Ikwerre man or woman on planet earth who has carried out an anthropological research on any subject with results published in
      a peer-reviewed journal. NONE!

      So go and study before you disgrace yourself further in public. Start your anthropological journey with M A Onwuejeogwu's seminal work titled
      "Nri-an Igbo Civilization" available in all leading universities and libraries the world over. You are just a toddler.

      There is no debate. The confused rantings of ignorant, iliterate imbeciles like you cannot be called debate. Go and study first, then take on the Ibo race or perish trying.

    3. I won't trade insults with you - you are obviously at ease with that, something you might do for a living.
      You miss the point still... For want of a better word, This "argument" is not about who is greater, nor is it about who is doing more research. I have not tried to dispute Nri as the cradle of Igbo civilization, As a scientist, I respect researchers, which is why I posted this to learn from those who have something to share. Ikwerres are a minority, indeed Igbos out number us by Million:1 but you are wrong to make the categorical statements you make, it is such effrontery and arrogamnce that gave rise to this argument in the first place.

  9. The Ikwerres bring nothing, absolutely nothing to the Ibo table. They are a nuisance. Those days when they boasted about oil, seaport, airport and tried to hold the Igbo nation to ransome are over. There is nothing existing in their 3 LGAs that cannot be found in Iboland many times over. Igbos do not have anything to do Ikwerre. Nothing whotsoever. Whatever Ikwerre have, they can stick it up their arses. Ndigbo reject them totally and completely and Igbos are marching on. The Ikwerres should keep away and NEVER have anything to do with Igbos now and forever and ever. God has decreed thus. To your tents oh Israel. Amen!

    1. Sorry I might just have to delete your comments if you can't be civil. The comments here are not about bragging rights on resources, it's not about dropping an anonymous 2 liners without making any point. The comments above were purly about origins - The Ikwerres say they are not, but most Igbos INSIST they are. We will be glad to hear your take if you can educate us by way of insisteful comments or references, but if you lack the words (as you obviously do) or the intellect to make statements that support your stand, then just click on to another blog where the "operators" understand your SMS short hand.

    2. You can delete anything you want Mr idiot. Any Ibo who writes here is doing you a big favor. Which Ibo insists you are Ibo? None, except in your fertile imagination.

      If you want to study, start from the scratch and go out there to access the wealth of information available in leading universities about Ibo ethnology. Anyway, most Ibo dont even know you exist. The ones who know would rather kick your sorry, confused butts.

      Tell me one serious Ibo who would waste his/her precious time on you,
      tragic mugu!

    3. My easy answer would have been "You", but then I realize you do not qualify as a "Serious" Igbo. And hey, Ethology is about races, it's got nothing to do with what I'm talking about here, you, me and a Gambian are the same - ethnologically speaking, but how would you know that? One doesn't need to look too far to understand that your thinking faculties are faulted on several fronts. You can't even deduce the subject matter, nor do you sense the salient issues raised, so you would rather spill your guts of all the hatred and gore like the swine that you are.