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