I dropped the bombshell: “Someone told me in Warri last week that all Igbo youths are cowards and that all the young men from Igbo land are scared.”
“Who said that? Who uttered that rubbish about us?” a man who has been bragging about his landed properties queried, as though he intends to castrate and deal ruthlessly with whoever hurled such insult at our enterprising youths. I knew immediately that the matter was burning and sensitive.
“Nna men! But it is true o! We are all cowards o! You know we were defeated in a civil war so nobody is ready to fight again. Psychologically, we are a defeated people. We don’t have activists in the east. We lack leaders and followers at the same time.” The first furious speaker admitted.
“Chineke! The average Igbo man loves money so much that he is not ready to die for a fellow Igbo. No Igbo youth has the guts to challenge the federal government or caution Buhari and Asari for threatening the corporate existence of this great nation.
Youths from other tribes have taken up arms to protest marginalization and the Federal Government has been settling them with money. Igbo youths are scared. They don’t want to die hoo, haa!” Another middle aged man said with the familiar eastern accent.
Raymond, my friend who visits the bar regularly spoke next. “Nna men! What are you talking about? I am thinking of how to set up my boutique business and marry a wife this year and you are telling me to go and fight? I can’t die for Biafra or Igbo cause.
I want to make money and enjoy my life with my wife and children. Asari Dokubo can threaten Nigeria. Who bloody cares? Nna men! We are not foolish like Boko haram who bomb themselves and cause mayhem o! We are wise men from the east o!” Ray concluded.
“What if your family is threatened by insurgents and we have to protect our women and children. Won’t you carry guns and fight?” I asked.
“God forbid! Jesus! Nna men, it will never come to that. We believe in one Nigeria so that we can do business. During the Occupy Nigeria protest, did you see any Igbo man there? We were angry that our shops were locked for one week and we lost millions.” Raymond responded.
“If anything happens in Nigeria, I will not leave Lagos o! My property and money is here. This is my economy.” The first speaker added.
“Bravery died with Ojukwu in Igbo land.” A chubby faced man who had paid more attention to the wooden bowl of nkwobi on his table began.
He drank straight from a bottle of beer and rinsed his mouth in two installments. “Igbos are the richest in Nigeria as in population with properties scattered in all the major cities. We buy lands and develop other cities like Lagos, Abuja, Portharcourt, Kano etc. My investment in Lagos is worth more than 20 million naira.
If there is war and Nigeria break up, Nna men! I will suffer it o! No Igbo youth is ready to talk tough like Asari. Na him broda be president.
We don’t even have any leader to start with. Which Igboman can we vote for as president and threaten Nigeria that he must win like Asari did for Niger Delta? Onye m, It is every man for himself o! Aba is supposed to be industrialized like Japan but the governors in the east are looting money and enjoying with their children.
We no even get high sea to import containers in the east. Igbo man no even get respect for anybody. We no dey follow person like cow. That does not mean that we are cowards. I disagree.”
Ndubisi, a taciturn fellow who spoke sparingly, changed the trend of the conversation and broke it down to naira and kobo: “Nna men!
Do you know how much money Asari receives from Jonathan every month?
Do you know how much money FG pays the Niger Delta militants plus contracts and commission every day? It is too much money o!
Do you know that 80% of the oil wells are owned by northerners who make huge profit from it? Biko hapu that matter. Fashola closed Ladipo market and we started begging him to open it instead of going home.
We forgot that Lagos State earns revenue from Ladipo, Alaba international, Trade fair complex and other markets populated by us. Ndigbo loves money too much. No individual or group can speak on behalf of ndigbo youths.
Even MASSOB have split into two because of money. We now have Biafra Zion Movement. Nonsense! We are not only cowards and scared. We are peace loving youths because of bizinesi, we love money and we can’t even trust one another. Eziokwu!”