i think I've heard it all, or at least I have heard many jokes, rants and other negative comments on Igbos and their love for money both from outside ethnic groups and within. i can take a good joke once in a while, but when these jokes begin to mark one ethnic group as being more this than the other or less this than that one - it tends to irk me a little bit.
usually such stereotypes have embedded within it some deeper story, some truth that is clouded by the hype. in regards to Igbo and money, I would definitely be the first to admit that the Igbos have done well for themselves in terms of trading, commerce, business etc. but why have many suggested that the Igbo man loves and lives for money.
i cannot in anyway claim to be a spokesperson for Igbos, neither can I claim to be an expert in its history and culture. but in my opinion, it seems like Nigerian has left Igbos with no other choice.
I believe the most of my readers are familiar with the atrocities committed during the Nigeria-Biafran war and how it reduced Igboland to nothing, physically, economically, but fortunately, not mentally. Those who fled from their various homes from the North and otherwise left for the East with nothing and returned to nothing. At the end of the war, Igbos were compensated with a mere 20pounds per family, regardless of how much they lost or started off with. And even such reparations were a joke when it came to actual implementation. In fact, there are many who still are not aware of the 20pounds the Nigerian government owes them. to compound their woes post-Biafra, educational and political opportunities were denied to many bright former Biafrans in the name of "reflecting federal character" forcing thousands to flee the country during the 70s and 80s in search of merit-based university admissions abroad.
one million dead during the war, emigration of thousands of its intelligentsia, no indigenous infrastructure to speak of, and a 20pound promissory note from the Nigerian government. what other options are the igbos left with other than to put a good work ethic to use and start building their economy from the ground up.
so i encourage all Nigerians, to stop embracing such petty stereotypes. and the next time one feels the urge to denigrate Igbos for struggling in order to make something of themselves, they should try to imagine where they came from as a people within the last 38 years.
....oh, and someone owes me 20pounds...
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