People are watching in consternation how the rational, strategic and deep thinking Igbo that produced the world acclaimed personalities and developed technology during the war, will begin to lose grip on the things that make them great. If the great heroes of Igbo who fought during the Biafra war were less rational and strategic, they could not have fought the war for three years. In fact, they would not, as the defeated, have the courage to write about the war. Texts and narrative about the Biafra war probably are more from the Biafra side.
The fight for the restoration of Biafra is in top gear with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) being the most known for their presence and the number of their followers. The group using the sentiment and emotional attachment of Igbo people towards Biafra has amassed great support that the Igbo political elites have not collectively gathered in recent times. Believing that they may be in control of the leadership across the Igbo land, after all, when they order sit-at-home, there will be some compliance. This group inadvertently is grooming tyranny.
The events of recent times, often captured in videos and photographs and the arguments offered to rationalize the acts of brutality against the Igbo people, the radicalization of Igbo youths and seeming loss of respect for cultural values and idolization of few individuals as supreme miracle workers believing they are doing the work of god, the shutting of opposing viewpoints and regarding people who speak out as saboteurs and so much more are laying credence to the rising tyranny many may not yet suspect.
One may wonder what induces the rational, strategic and deep thinking people to yield to this seeming rising tyranny.
Sigmund Freud in his Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921) described dynamics of followership as those who idealize their leader as exemplary, heroic and without flaw. They identify with their leader by replacing him for what Freud termed the ego-ideal. The ego-ideal is a representation of one’s guiding values, beliefs about right and wrong and handing over to the leader who becomes the conscience of his followers. That is to say, “the individual gives up his ego-ideal and substitutes for it the group’s ideal as embodied in the leader.” The leader’s voice becomes the voice of their conscience. Whatever the leader says is right or blameless.
In his Republic (380BCE), Plato warned, “May we not say that just as the revolution in the city was brought about by the aid of an alliance from outside, coming to the support of the similar and corresponding party in the state, so the youth is revolutionized… or from his other kin, who admonish and reproach him, then there arises internal strife in the man with himself.” He continued, “they seize the citadel of the young man’s soul, finding it empty and unoccupied by studies and honorable pursuits and true discourses… And then false and braggart words and opinions charge up the height and take their place and occupy that part of such a youth…those braggart discourses close the gates and will not grant audience to the words of older friends.”
It is not going to be lost that Igbo people are under systemic siege by Nigeria and for a long time since after the war been schemed out of the federal politics even when they are very qualified. There are sectors that are designed to keep the Igbo people out and there are attempts to subjugate the Igbo people in the scheme of Nigeria’s socio-political adventures. The mass awareness of these to the Igbo people from the activities of IPOB and other pro-self-determination groups cannot be lost out but in the midst of some good deeds of these groups, there has to be caution not to slip into a full blown tyranny being executed and siege of opinion devised to control the people.
There is a seeming justification of tyranny, brutality, destruction of life and property by mere labeling of saboteur on any Igbo person who dares to question, oppose or counter the set principle of Kanu and the IPOB. People are marked for destruction and are made pariah for their opinion. And with wonder, the free and just minded people are being made to be conscienceless. Like Freud said, “Conscience has no application to anything that is done for the sake of the object; in the blindness of love remorselessness is carried to the pitch of crime.”
Crime is perpetrated on the Igbo people. It leaves one in awe of what is to become of Igbo land after the season passes by. Would Igbo land be engulfed with terror, crimes, and fearfulness? Or would it return to its glorious days of bravery and deep strategic thinkers?
Life, human rights and property once precious things are becoming mere objects to be offered for attack or debased for the sake of voicing out or going against the orders. These are turning out to be self-inflicted wounds on Igbo by these ‘saviours’ of the Igbo.
The argument that what is happening is caused by the outsiders being overseen by the spurious leaders will soon not hold in the face of these crimes against brotherhood. The soul is screeching and the earth will soon mourn. The fight for self-determination should be of pure and unadulterated pious pursuit that even the heavens will hear and hearken. The oppressed seek the face of the almighty and not turn in the evil and the injustice they fight on their own people.
The fight for the self-determination of the Igbo is a fight of the minds and wits and bravery, of strategy and conscience. It is not a time to acquiesce to braggart voices and destruction of Igbo. It is a time the deep, strategic and rational thinking Igbo men and women should arise and take charge that the struggle for self-determination be it in the form of restructuring or otherwise will not be driven by the youths whose minds have been filled with braggart words. True discourse should find a way through the gates of the young souls. This rising tyranny must not be allowed to take root.