LEADERSHIP IN IGBO SOCIETY: ANALYSIS, CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS BY EKWE NCHE ORGANIZATION LAW and ORDER COMMITTEE CONCLUSION: Our dear brothers and sisters, we have pointed out these problems because we believe that in order to establish a renaissance Igbo Society we need to take a very critical look at the state of Igbo Society since the end of the Biafra - Nigeria war. Our goal is not to castigate or malign anybody. It is not to exclude anybody from participating in the administration or government of their Umunna, Town/Autonomous Community or Igbo Society. Our goal is to draw your attention to some obvious structural and process problems prevalent in Igbo Society today - problems that have severely limited and undermined the ability of Ndiigbo to actualize their potential for economic, social and political advancement. Our goal is to refocus your attention at those values, beliefs, practices, and philosophies that propelled Ndiigbo to giant heights of economic, social, political, technological success in the past and mobilize all Igbo men, women and children to strive for excellence in all and every field of human endeavor. To achieve this success, we need SOLID leadership. To begin, we want to draw a clear distinction between "RULERS" and "LEADERS". We believe that Rulers are those people who just give orders and directives and insist that they be carried out willy-nilly. Their authority and power cannot be challenged or questioned. They are not elected by ordinary men and women like you and us. They are appointed by some authority somewhere over whom ordinary men and women do not have any control. They are not accountable to those ordinary men and women like you and us. The people they are ruling cannot disagree, challenge, discipline or remove them from office. Therefore, they can drive them like goats down a bottomless pit and no questions will be asked. Leaders on the other hand are elected by their people to guide them towards a defined and agreed goal. They derive their power and authority from the people they are leading. The ordinary people reserve the right to question any and all their decisions and actually do so often. They are accountable to the ordinary people like you and us. Whenever the ordinary people feel that the leaders are no longer leading them towards the desired goal, they disagree, challenge, discipline or even remove the leaders and elect others to replace them. As a result, their leaders cannot lead them like goats down a bottomless pit. Ndiigbo, ibe anyi, which one of these two do you want - "RULERS" OR "LEADERS"? Every member of EKWE NCHE, worldwide has voted and the unanimous choice is "LEADER". How do you vote? If your vote is for "LEADER", EKWE NCHE ORGANIZATION salutes and congratulates you. If your vote is for "RULER", we are saddened that you are still suffering from the "Nigerian Disease". We pray that you recover soon, failing, your autonomous community should seriously consider keeping you as far away as possible from their Leadership. Because Leadership is of such critical importance in the renaissance of Igbo Society we strongly suggest that you do the following things: [1] Leadership at any level in Igbo Society begins from your Family and Umunna, to your Village, Town/Autonomous Community and Igbo Society. Therefore those men who do not care about their family, Umunna, Village or Town but jump out to Abuja to claim to be Igbo Leaders must be rejected. Their Umunna, Village, Town/Autonomous Community must inform Ndiigbo that such a man or woman has no credibility in their Umunna, Village or Town. He or she neither respects nor cares for the interests of his/her people and so will not care for the interests of Ndiigbo. He must be rejected. [2] You must insist that the people you elect as the leaders of your Umunna, Village or Town are men and women of integrity. They have shown at Umunna, Village and Town meetings that they are very intelligent, are not criminals or crooks, are not autocratic, care about people and have a vision of where they intend to lead the people. Their honesty and integrity must be transparent. A man who is building palaces and driving expensive cars when he neither has a steady job nor a permanent market stall must be rejected and cast aside. He is likely a crook, possibly a thief. You don't want your leader to be a thief, 419, crook or con man. He will destroy your Community. [3] You must never again accept money or any other bribe from any politician and indeed anybody in order to vote them into office. Have you ever wondered why a politician will give you money to vote for him and thus make him your servant. Yes, a leader is actually the servant of the people. The reason is this, once you accept bribe from him or her, you loose your moral authority to question anything he or she does including stealing money set aside for community development and the payment of government workers. So, next time someone offers you money for your vote, remember that if you accept the money, rice or beer or any thing, you have thrown away jobs that would have been created for millions of young Igbo men and women from yours and other villages and towns in Igboland or when a politician starts throwing around money in a crowd, you should ask why he/she is not building or investing in industries to create jobs for his/her people. You have sold out any industries, roads, bridges, airports, hospitals, health clinics, schools, colleges, etc that would have helped your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. You have created more unemployed young boys and girls in your own village. More importantly, you have sold your 'mouth' and don't have 'mouth' any more. [4] Local Government Councilors and Chairmen must be elected from leaders of Town Union/Autonomous Communities, which make up the Local Government. They must not be people who flew in from Lagos, Abuja, America, etc with a planeload of political party big wigs who have never been to your local government and can't even pronounce the name of your town, but have a truckload of money to distribute. They must not be people who have never attended your Umunna or Town/Autonomous Community meetings. Such fraudulent money-bags must be rejected because they are not your leaders. They want to be your Rulers. [5] People who want to represent you at the State Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate or to become your Governor must be people elected by their Town Union/Autonomous Community to run for such posts. They must be familiar with all the Town/Autonomous Communities in the constituency, senatorial district they want to represent or the State they want to serve as governor. They must present themselves to each Town Union/Autonomous Community Assembly at least once during a Town Meeting. During the Town Meeting you must question them intensely for several hours on their understanding of the problems of your Town, Constituency, Geographical Area, as well as the problems of Ndiigbo in general. You must question them seriously about their personal life including their history, their integrity, honesty, commitment to public welfare, and the agenda of Igbo survival and progress. Representatives and Senate Contestants must clearly specify what projects e.g. International Airport, Dredging the River Niger to Onitsha, River Port at Onitsha, Oguta, Arochukwu, Federal and State Highways, Hospitals, Schools, Colleges, Industries, Water Projects, Erosion Control, Agricultural Development, etc they promise to bring to your constituency, district and to Igboland and how these projects fit into the total picture of the Igbo Collective. You must question them seriously on how they plan to improve education, and tackle the huge unemployment of young men and women in your constituency, district and Igboland. You must ask the same questions of candidates for governor. They should be even more detailed about how they plan to govern your State. That will include such issues as how they will generate revenue to run the government, pay civil servants and teachers, industrialize the State, develop agriculture, trade and commerce, improve transportation, check crime and stop corruption among public servants, government functionaries and contractors. Your Town Union will keep a record of these promises made by the candidates to see how many of the promises they will keep as the months go by. You will have something to tell them when they come around during the next election. [6] Electing someone in whose hands you will trust your future, the future of your children, your Umunna, and Town/Autonomous Community is very serious business and must never be taken lightly henceforth. Never permit any candidate to organize women, men or children's dances when they visit your Town Union meeting. Nor should parents ever allow teachers to send school children to stand by the roadside and inhale the deadly dust raised by the cars of a visiting candidate or government official. This practice exposes the children to all kinds of diseases and illnesses. Besides, someone begging you to elect him or her as your leader should come to you with humility not arrogance. [7] You must reject any candidate who tries to intimidate your community by coming to your Town Meeting with a bunch of thugs most of who are high on drugs. Such a candidate does not deserve to be your Councilor, Chairman, Representative, Senator or Governor. [8] Whenever you are about to elect someone to represent your Umunna, Town/Autonomous Community or State, never say or think, "Let us send that rascal or crook. Let him go there and fight with other rascals and crooks". This is very wrong. Remember that it is your life and your future that they are going to decide. Vote to send the best and most responsible person in your community. You must also not let how much money a person has or is able to distribute determine your choice of who will represent you at any level of government. Money does not equal intelligence and integrity. Always remember that it is your future they are going to decide. [9] Leadership begins with the family. In most societies all over the world, unmarried people are rejected for high public office. In the United States, for example, an unmarried person contesting for the presidency will be wasting his or her time as he or she is sure to be rejected. A person who cannot manage a family will find it very difficult to manage a Community, State or Nation. Therefore take a candidate's marital history into serious consideration when considering them for leadership. [10] You must reject the "W.I.M.P" politician. The WIMP politician actually means: "Whoever, (it is) I Must Please (am)" politician. The WIMP politician is like a prostitute. He has no conviction, no moral character, no values, does not stand for anything, believes in nothing except Money. His maxim is: "money for hand, back na ground". The only reason he is in government is to make more money for himself and to be in power. He will fight for nothing and nobody except that which his master wants. Typically he has been in every government for as long as anybody can remember. For example the profile of this hypothetical WIMP may read like this: He was in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa government and advised the Prime Minister on moves to quell the Western Nigeria Crisis of 1965. He was in the Aguiyi Ironsi government and was a policy adviser on decree 34. He was in the Yakubu Gowon government and was a member of the advisory group that prevailed on Gowon to renege on the Agreements at Aburi, Ghana (The Aburi Accord) that Nigerians are clamoring for today and the unilateral decision to split Nigeria into 12 states. He was in the Murtala/Obasanjo government and was a major adviser on political and economic matters. He was an important member of the Shehu Shagari government and was an economic adviser. He was a prominent adviser in the Buhari/Idiagbon government and preached fiscal discipline. He was a prominent adviser in the Ibrahim Babangida government where he helped to formulate the smoke and mirrors program called MAMSER. He was a prominent adviser in the Sanni Abacha government. When General Abubakar became Head of State, he was on hand as his economic adviser. And now in the current Obasanjo administration, he is an ever loyal politician and economic adviser. For his loyal services, he has been appointed board member of numerous companies like West Africa Milk Co., New Africa Holdings, Ecobank, Tropical Petroleum Products, Dumez, Beecham, GTE, Nigerian Pipes, Gulf Oil, Philip Morris, Lever Brothers, Krupp Steel and Engineering, Bendel Feed and Flower Mills, SCOA etc, etc. Such WIMP politicians have no place in Igbo Society anymore. They must be rejected. If your Umunna, Village or Town/Autonomous Community has a WIMP politician who is like this imaginary politician we just described, make him feel ashamed of himself by rejecting him. He is neither a solid man or woman nor a man or woman of conviction. He or she is just a chameleon. In conclusion, we have taken a very critical look at LEADERSHIP in this discussion. We have examined LEADERSHIP at all levels from the Family through the Town/Autonomous Community to the State and Nation. We have noted that LEADERSHIP played a very important role in the progress and prosperity of Ndiigbo in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. You will agree that in those days Ndiigbo elected their own leaders, held them accountable for their actions, criticized and praised them according to their performance and even removed them from office when they became ineffective or started leading them astray. As was pointed out by many of the authors we cited, Ndiigbo never put their destiny in the hands of one man or woman dictator who exercised absolute power and who they could not challenge, control, or remove from office. Since the end of the Biafra-Nigeria War, the situation has changed. Rulers were imposed on Ndiigbo by the Hausa/Fulani/Yoruba Alliance, in the same way the British colonialists imposed warrant chiefs on Ndiigbo. However, unlike our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, who stoutly resisted warrant chiefs and thus conquered British colonialism, we accepted and succumbed to the Rulers imposed by Nigerian imperialists. This is why we have been suffering terribly for thirty years. The time has come to cast off the yoke of Feudalistic Rulers because Igbo achievement-oriented democratic social system is superior to and more efficient than the ascription-oriented Feudalistic Emirate and Obaship kingdoms. We must go back to the Republican system of government that made Ndiigbo great and run far, far, far away from the feudalistic system of Kings and Queens that is now being consigned to the dumps of history all over the world. You can do it! I can do it! Yes, we can do it!!! We are of the great Igbo civilization of Africa, the people who are divinely endowed with extra ordinary gifts; it is up to us to make maximum good use of them. ARISE! ARISE!! NDIIGBO ARISE!!! EKWE NCHE ORGANIZATION N'EKENE UNU. NDEEWO NU. EKWE NCHE ORGANIZATION LAW & ORDER COMMITTEE