Who Are Those Marginalized?
When we talk of marginalised peoples in the world today, please don’t even mention the Igbo people or any nationalities in Nigeria, it’s simply illogical to come to such conclusions. If we are talking of Igbos I’ve already made some points to prove that, the marginalisation people speak about is a myth. For example Anambra State has the largest number of millionaires in Africa, one of the towns in that state Nnewi has the most numbers of millionaires per square meter in Africa. In a Marginalized society the first feature of marginalisation is the people group involved will never be allowed to realize their potential. Even if they’re the most gifted people in the world they won’t be given the opportunity to freely trade or to become a millionaire. In a marginalised society only the privileged people group will have these results. Their people will be made the richest even if they don’t work, they’ll have the government give outs, the oppressed peoples will be the poorest, yet in Nigeria the poorest people are Hausas and Fulanis.
In actual fact the only people marginalized in Nigeria are the poor of every tribe, if you are poor in Nigeria you are already marginalized. Going back to the example of Anambra state with its list of millionaires, same with Nnewi, you’ll think that state and that town should have the highest standard of living in the country. Unfortunately no, because egocentrism of the elites is what is killing Nigeria, no matter what tribe the elites come from, it’s all about enriching themselves not their poor masses.
I often wonder why Anambra is not even in the top five states when it comes to internally generated revenues, either the rich men of Nnewi and Anambra don’t pay their taxes or there is a game going on somewhere. If the wealth had been well distributed within the state, we won’t have Anambra indigenes roaming about the streets of almost all countries of the world. Worst still it’s still these citizens of Anambra that often risk their lives carrying drugs while they die in the process, they also bring shame and disgrace to the Igbo people and to Nigeria as a whole. This is what the agitators are to fight for, so the millionaires per square meter pay their taxes hence making the wealth go around to the poorest of Anambra and Igbo people. As it is now Anambra is only ninth in internally generated revenue after: Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Ogun, Edo, Enugu, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, then Anambra making the standard of living of ordinary citizens poorer than even Enugu state where they don’t boast of so many millionaires.
Some Igbos complain that there is no seaport in the South East. It’s alarming to hear such a complaint, it shows a lack of thinking abilities. How can there be a seaport in southeast where there is no sea, especially a deep sea? If truth must be told this last Nigerian government has done a lot in bringing seaports closer to southeast. Today there are two seaports in River State; Rivers Port Complex and Onne Por, Rivers Stare. Apart from these there is a major seaport in Calabar; Calabar Port Complex. There is another seaport of note in Delta, called, Delta Port in Warri.
Now, let me show you a list of people groups that are truly marginalised in our world today.
THE KURDISH PEOPLE
A study into the Kurdish people will reveal to us what it means to be marginalized. These people are said to be largely marginalized in the true sense of the word in countries like Iraq, Turkey, Syria, etc. Despite the fact that it is well known that they are hugely deprived and oppressed, still they cannot break away from those countries to get their own nation. In spite of the fact that the whole world knows about their plight, no one country is willing to risk the benefit of cooperation with the existing countries to officially take the side of the Kurdish people. Friends, it is not easy to break away from a recognized state even in the case of oppression, much less when it is difficult to prove such cases.
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
Thanks to mass media and worldwide television networks, everybody is pretty aware of the plight of the Palestinian people. As much as we love and support Israel, we cannot deny the fact that the Palestinian people are a marginalized group of people. Contrary to the belief of many, the Palestinians are not only marginalized by Israel, they are also marginalized in the Arab countries as well. They are marginalized in countries like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. The level and stages of marginalization of the Palestinian people varies from one place to the other. It is impossible to say that in Nigeria, the Igbo people are as deprived as the Palestinian people.
THE HUTU/TUTSI PEOPLE
We have all heard of the tragedy of Rwanda, where the Hutu nation committed a huge genocide against the Tutsi people. Most of the world talk about how wicked the Hutu people were to have murdered about a million Tutsis in a matter of days, but hardly do we ever question what it is that led to it. Well, what led to it is the story of marginalization. The Tutsis have always been the privileged few in the nations of Rwanda as well as Burundi. The massacre, therefore was an expression of the dissatisfaction with the form of marginalization, which had been practiced for years against the Hutu people. We all know how this ended. May God never allow us in Nigeria to experience what marginalization really means.
THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH SUDAN
The latest country to have gained independence in the continent of Africa is South Sudan. They fought hard and long for this privilege. They really knew what marginalization meant in the nation of Sudan. As black people, being significantly different from the Arab majority of Sudan, they were hugely marginalized and deprived. In their case, South Sudanese people will testify to you that all the factors of marginalization that were listed above were experienced by them. Needless to say, that situation led them to agitate for an independent state. It led to a protracted war lasting for over 30 years, before the international community agreed with them that they needed independence.
I am not sure the Igbo people want to forfeit all the privileges and opportunities they have now, to engage in a protracted war with the rest of Nigeria or any other nation. Peace is more important! This should be known better by the Igbo people who lost close to a million lives in the Biafra war. According to the words of the man who led that war, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, “it will be foolish of anyone to try to start another war, there is no need for it.” That is what Ojukwu said before he departed from this world.
THE KOSOVO PEOPLE
The name Slobodan Milosevic has become synonymous with evil, thanks to the world television networks. He managed to earn that vicious title due to his treatment of the Kosovo people. Kosovans will tell you what marginalization means. It is true that Kosovo is now a semi-independent state, but they too will tell you how many lives were lost, and other losses they incurred before the world managed to pay attention to their plight.
Even today, not all countries have recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Hundreds of thousands of lives were sacrificed, yet they are still unable to enjoy their dream of a prosperous independent state. The man behind their suffering is the name I mentioned above; Slobodan Milosevic – The strong man of Serbia.
Unlike Serbia though, there is no overly dominating and controlling tribe in Nigeria, as was the case in Rwanda, Serbia, Yugoslavia, or even in Russia. The three main tribes in Nigeria are almost all equally balanced.
THE BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS
Without going far, it is easy for every African to associate marginalization with apartheid, when the black people of South Africa were largely marginalized in their own country. In spite of the obvious injustice of that regime, it took about 40 years of struggle before they could be recognized by the whole world as freedom fighters. As blatant as apartheid was, the countries of the world, especially developed western countries, did not support the armed resistance of the South African black majority. Nelson Mandela had to sacrifice 27 years of his life in prison before the world would grant the South African people their dream of equal rights.
I am sorry my dear Biafrans, what proofs and facts of marginalization can the Igbo people produce against Nigeria to justify their recognition by the international community as an independent state? It is virtually impossible in our modern world today.
THE PEOPLE OF ERITREA
Let’s go to the country of Eritrea and they will tell you how many lives they had to sacrifice before they could gain their right to independence. Beside the wars and damages that these people have had to endure, their struggle and campaign for independence lasted for years. I mean years of fighting, killing, bombing, shelling and destructions. Even after the war was over, they had to agonizingly endure decades of reconstruction. A Yoruba proverb says “it is only those that have not lived to see a war that dream about one.” I am not sure that the Biafran nation or the Igbo people are ready for another war that could cost them the very existence of their people.
As I’ve mentioned above no people group in Nigeria is marginalised talk less of the Igbos. A simple statistics will further prove this point. The latest list of ten most developed states in Nigeria shows that 3 out of 10 states are southeastern states where there are only 5 states. The most developed as could be imagined of course is Lagos, followed by Abuja, the two national capitals of Nigeria, number three is Anambra, followed by Rivers, Abia, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Ogun, and Oyo. If any region should claim marginalisation it should be the northern states, only one state from the north made the number. So how can they be our oppressors. Nigerians please stop being fooled by political propaganda, they only people marginalised in Nigeria are the poor, let the poor of every tribe unite together against the few elites that have monopolised the commonwealth of all of us.