Editor’s note: Ifeanyi Ubah’s detention by the DSS sparked reaction from Igbos who described it as a witch-hunt against an Igbo man the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
In this opinion by Joe Igbokwe, he points out that Igbos have made it a habit to defend anyone suspected of corruption which other tribes don’t do.
The case of Ifeanyi Ubah
Just recently the DSS invited a friend of mine and bonafide son of Nnewi, Chief (Dr) Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil & Gas Ltd fame to come and give an account of the whereabouts millions of liters of PMS stored by NNPC on his Tank farms. Since this invitation, I have read some funny write-ups online in defense of the Nnewi Chief and some trying to read ethnic meaning to DSS intervention.
Now the truth is this: My good friend Chief Ifeanyi Ubah is capable of defending himself and Capital Oil & Gas Ltd. He has formidable structures in place and good lawyers to defend his case. He does not need yahoo, yahoo boys and girls and frustrated political hustlers to defend himself. He does not need internet rats and professional pay-me-I-write-for-you fraudsters. What I have been reading about this drama online is totally uncalled for. It is ridiculous, shameful and at best, clannish.
This brigandage did not start today. When Diezani Alison-Madueke was declared wanted by EFCC for fraud in the oil industry, we saw this kind of shameless intervention from people who should know better and those with full doses of Western education. When Stella Oduah was being probed for purchasing armored BMW cars at astronomical prices, some Igbo leaders rose to her defense. They erected billboards in the South-East and celebrated her with a chieftaincy title, Ada Igbo Nile. The impression being created is that prominent Igbo citizens are being persecuted because they are Igbo. I call this persecution complex, leadership complex and defeatist syndrome.
It is even annoying that Col. Sambo Dasuki’s defense is being done not by his northern brothers but Igbo who are sworn to bland defense of everything PDP. They are the most fanatical mourners of the loss of Jonathan and PDP even when the Ijaws have moved on.
NIA boss, Ayo Oke has been facing series of interrogations by the EFCC concerning the Osborne Towers 15 billion naira cash haul and I have not read any Yoruba defending him. Babachir Lawal, the suspended SFG, is being probed for contract scam and yet I have not seen his kinsmen rising in his defense. They allow investigations to go the whole hog.
Corruption and ethnicity
There are litanies of such trials of corrupt people of all ethnicities and tribes going on everywhere in Nigeria, but it is only Igbo who defend their fellow tribesmen implicated in scandals.
Yet this was not always the case for Igbo. Indeed, Ala Igbo is noted as a land where our ancestors and forefathers abhorred evil and treated corruption with unambiguous disapproval from even pre-colonial times.
What is wrong with present-day Igbo? What we see today is not our tradition. It is not our culture. Let nobody rewrite our history, our culture, and our tradition of eziokwu bu ndu (truth is life).
We see this funny re-occurring decimal more in the South-East and South-South and it is becoming a national embarrassment. It must stop. I am told that stupidity is knowing the truth, seeing the truth but believing in lies. Igbo are a very hard-working, proud and successful tribe, but we need to come down from a 30,000-foot building to make sense to other Nigerians.
We need to stop this aberration that is demeaning and ridiculing Igbo in Nigeria today. We need to caution ourselves before we become objects of ridicule of ribaldry of other Nigerians, as is dangerously becoming the fad in the country today.