the igbo man and his money

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...

12 comments:

  1. trae_z said...:

    i can understand with you but one thing I've also learnt in life is that stereotypes never go away.

    yeah i guess i owe you twenty pounds and a date :).

  1. nneoma said...:

    @trae_z, yeah I know it takes sometime for stereotypes to go away - but that does not stop me from trying to set the record straight as best I know how. and possibly, my little contribution probably decreased the lifespan of this stereotype from 200 years to 199.999999 years. Who knows? In regards to the 20pounds let's just call it even and skip over the date part.....

  1. I may not be igbo but I have very strong ties with them, my advice, don't take those stereotypes to heart. I respect the igbos for what they have done and continuosly do for themselves. I didnt know about that 20poundsooo, and i thought I knew history.

  1. i think stereotypes can go away...or at least the negative baggage often attached to them...i remember having a discussioon in naija this dec where folks were complaining about igbos as the reason for housing prices going up...the convo slid into a blaming of igbos for being business saavy...i didn't understand the rationale of the women i argued with...maybe i'll post about it...

    ...i do hope our generation can really start to do away with all this rubbish...i agree...if igbos know how to make money, big ups...i heard yorubas are highly fashionable...and efik women can throw down-in the kitchen and in bed...big ups to all...our diversity should be celebrated!...and, yeah, didn't know about the twenty pounds either...

  1. pamelastitch said...:

    I just learnt about the twenty pounds a couple of months ago.
    I think a lot of people prefer to embrace stereotypes because it is just so much easier to classify, no one wants to look at the reason behind.


    thank you f.or speaking up

  1. tobenna said...:

    Feel free to let out steam Nneoma.
    Let it out and move on.
    Your blog is refreshing too, by the way.
    @guerreiranigeriana, diversity should be celebrated. Good point.

  1. Afolabi said...:

    Hi Nneoma, loving your blog and its brevity. I ain't gonna lie here about stereotypes, cos I'm guilty of it. I'm a nice person (from what I hear) but sometimes I just can't help making fun of some differences-accents, attitude towards certain issues- that some Igbos have. You know I feel that if tribal stereotypes are taken very seriously as racism, then people like me will learn to act and speak right!!!!!
    For some time now, I've been checking up information on the Biafran war, and honestly, I feel the present Nigerian generation is not aware of the gravity of the war.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Interesting blog, I need help. I am igbo but was brought up partly in London and in Lagos. I never lived for any extended period in the east, did not have any igbo friends till I was 19. I have tried to understand the igbo psyche even married an igbo man and promptly divorced him when I realised that all we had in common was the language we spoke and where we come from. Beleive me I have tried to be a good igbo girl and only now do I realise that the problem is not from me but with them. I am currently in a relationship with an igbo man and it is very harddddddddd I am actually about to dump him. I'll tell you why. I slowly came to the realisation that intimacy is a dirty word to the igbo man. Let me explain....it appears that we as women, wives , girlfriends are to be seen and not heard. He is fine with you as long as you keep things on an even keel, look good so his friends can hale him as being a real stud for getting a babe like you. Do not however expect him to have any meaningful discussions about your relationship, do not expect him to get emotionally involved . It hurts me to have to write this as I love my tribe but time and time again I have seen that the whole concept of relationships is misunderstood by the igbo man. Finesse is not their strong point, don't get me wrong , they have a sense of humour etc but it goes over my head....I truly know what I am talking about, I have been out with yoruba men , hausa men and I tell you they know how to cherish and adore even for the brief time you are with them. The igbo man has a good reputation when it comes to marriage as they are stickers but has anyone ever explored the quality of the relationships within those marriages. I realise that if I had been brought up in the east I would not have the problems I have, none of my cousins were brought up in the east and none of them married igbo men, I now know why? I am extremely disappointed and very saddened. I now know why arranged marriages are prevalent amongst the igbos and why they last, as these marriages are not based on meaningful and fulfilling relationships or emotional intimacy. They work because both parties understand the rules of the game..I am afraid I deserve and demand much more and that is why sadly I am going to give them a wide berth from now on...

  1. nneoma said...:

    @anonymous - thanks for your message - though, if you dont mind, you can send me an email if you would like nnwachuku at gmail dot com. Your case is not unique, though, I would like to set the straight that there are good and bad elements amongst Igbo men - just like with any other group. Though, there are cultural institutions that make the bad ones have a difficult time to give up their habits. Personally, I have found our men to be some of the most romantic I have come across - especially some of the older ones (old school loves best). I have seen some of the best marriages in which the romance continues waaaay after retirement amongst Igbos - and some of the worst - the very worst. But like I said, email me, and we could talk.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    There is a seed of truth in every stereotype.

    Igbos have been known to be "different" and and extremely shrewd when it comes to money and material possessions even by the European pre-colonizers that arrived in the land. There are text that reference many Igbo chiefs as "self-serving" and "easily bought." Of course, these observations probably came from a subgroup of Igbo but have been applied to all. Igbos are known to put profiteering before relationships, even among their kinfolk and this has rubbed practically every group they have lived among the wrong way for decades. Ask Igbo neighbors about Igbos or Camerounian locals from the western border about Igbos and they will tell you their experiences. Igbos don't even trust other Igbos. They find so many ways to distrust themselves (being from another village or even another clan in the same village etc). In the days of slavery uncles would sell their nieces and nephews for a price esp among the Arochukwu. This clannishness or selfishness delineates a way of thinking that has spawned these stereotypes.

  1. Leo Eze said...:

    Well... It pains me so much that in this 21 century,many have seen it all on our nation called Nigeria. How Northerner and Yoruba's has squandered and lavished our resources. The Most corrupt people on earth now is Hausa and Yoruba. Look and see the looting of Nigeria wealth. Because they are on high places ,u folks pretend not to noticed them. WHO HATES MONEY? TELL ME?. when Bill Gate and CO, continue to dominate Forbes world Riches. Any Igbo man among them?,even in Nigeria today,how many Igbos are among the Riches?.WHO owns the WHOLE BIG CHURCHES in the World Today..the Yorubas, even in Europe making Billions each day. Developing Yoruba Land rapidly. What has IGBO nation did to deserve all this Bullshits talk. We are Just struggling to make both ends meet. Your hatred towards IGBOS is the Main Problem.
    MY sister Not all Igbo men are good or bad. But I can bet you. I live in Europe for many years, Being a Nigerian from IGBO gives me 85% high marks, best men to Be with than Other Tribes among African in Europe. Most women in Europe want to date an Igbo,whether good intentions or bad intentions.IGBO MEN ARE LOVED AND CHERISHED BY FOREIGN WOMEN. this is correct. You are free to choose man from all over the world.We are hard working,diligent,Focused,determined,spontaneous ,caring,kind, etc among other Africans

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Well... It pains me so much that in this 21 century,many have seen it all on our nation called Nigeria. How Northerner and Yoruba's has squandered and lavished our resources. The Most corrupt people on earth now is Hausa and Yoruba. Look and see the looting of Nigeria wealth. Because they are on high places ,u folks pretend not to noticed them. WHO HATES MONEY? TELL ME?. when Bill Gate and CO, continue to dominate Forbes world Riches. Any Igbo man among them?,even in Nigeria today,how many Igbos are among the Riches?.WHO owns the WHOLE BIG CHURCHES in the World Today..the Yorubas, even in Europe making Billions each day. Developing Yoruba Land rapidly. What has IGBO nation did to deserve all this Bullshits talk. We are Just struggling to make both ends meet. Your hatred towards IGBOS is the Main Problem.
    MY sister Not all Igbo men are good or bad. But I can bet you. I live in Europe for many years, Being a Nigerian from IGBO gives me 85% high marks, best men to Be with than Other Tribes among African in Europe. Most women in Europe want to date an Igbo,whether good intentions or bad intentions.IGBO MEN ARE LOVED AND CHERISHED BY FOREIGN WOMEN. this is correct. You are free to choose man from all over the world.We are hard working,diligent,Focused,determined,spontaneous ,caring,kind, etc among other Africans