The Apostle of Auchi, The Pastor of Bolo and Igbo Stereotypes

The Igbo ethnic nationality has received some swipes from a number of Church leaders of very recent. Why it is hard to tackle these at times is that they are presented as goodwill messages meant to make the Igbo better in one way or the other.

Fatoyinbo on Ndi Igbo
Pastor Fatoyimbo tell the Igbo that they are under a hustling-spirit curse

So, we see Pastor Fatoyimbo tell the Igbo that they are under a hustling-spirit curse because of their stinginess to the work of God. Pastor Tunde Bakare tell the Igbo that they are under a curse, because they forced Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to drink alcohol; a curse which he (Bakare), in his kind nature, has lifted.

Father Anelu ban Igbo songs in his parish as he admonishes the Igbo against cultural, and such, domination. Apostle Suleman reprimand the Igbo for disunity and betrayals. Pastor David Ibiyeomie berate the Igbo for lack of integrity in business.

Like I noted, all these swipes are packaged as good-intentioned rebukes expected to produce a better and celebrated Igbo. This packaging has been sucked in by many, including some Igbo, who think that the bitter truth must be told if a people must move forward. Now, are these truths? Are these conclusions about the Igbo based on truthful premises?

Pastor Tunde Bakare premised his conclusion of a curse on the Igbo on false events around the death of Tafawa Balewa. Pastor Fatoyimbo premised his conclusion of a curse on the Igbo on a false premises that striving hard for something is a curse and another false premise that the Igbo do not give to God’s work.

He is yet to show us the ethnic nationality in Nigeria that gives more than the Igbo when it comes to Church matters… a generous giving that seriously irks some Igbo! Father Anelu premised his conclusion of Igbo domination of other Nigerian peoples on a false premise that the Igbo are forcing down their songs on other people.

He is yet to explain how the Igbo were able to force non-Igbo Gospel musicians into singing Igbo songs and how Igbo songs are almost the denominator across Africa Church music. Now on Apostle Suleman and Pastor David Ibiyeomie, I’ll need to first quote them.

”Somebody from the South, somebody from the East. You betray your people. Look at this agitation for Biafra. Who are the people attacking Biafra most? Igbos. Shameless Igbos!”Am I in support of Nigeria dividing? No! Am I in support of Nigeria seperating? No. Do I believe we should be together?

Suleman on Ndi Igbo
The problem of Igbo is Igbo – Suleman

Yes. But even if you don’t agree with the man who is your brother, should you say it publicly if you are not a fool? Can’t you say it amongst your people? If today they get that Biafra, it is an Igbo man that will scatter it. That is the truth.

“During the time of the Senate. When an Igbo man became a senator, it was an Igbo man that removed him. You remember the Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo, Pius Anyim…remember all of them? It was Igbo that was removing Igbos. That was the first and shortest Senate Presidency we have had in this country.”

An Igbo man employs an Igbo boy to sell in his shop, he will wreck him. He will carry all the man’s money. He will buy land. He wouldn’t wait to be settled. The problem of Igbo is Igbo! I repeat it, if you sell your brother, even the buyers will not trust you.” – APOSTLE JOHNSON SULEMAN

“I love a tribe in Nigeria. They are very industrious, but integrity is the only missing thing. If they add that to their business they will take the world by storm. They are the most industrious people in the whole of Nigeria, but they lack integrity. If those people add integrity to their industrious life, they will take the world by storm.

Ibiyomie on Ndi Igbo
They are very industrious, but integrity is the only missing thing – Ibiyomie on Ndi Ifgbo

Nobody can match them in this country, the missing thing is integrity. He will tell you: “truth to God” yet he is lying to you.”…don’t pick Taiwan and say it is America. If it is made in Aba, put it there, “Made in Nigeria”; don’t say made in Hong Kong. No! Put “Made in Nigeria”; we buy Nigerian products. Some Nigerian products are far better; so, put “Made in Nigeria”.

Put your name on your product for goodness sake! Don’t say Louis Vuitton… It’s piracy. It’s not Louis Vuitton! You produce something like Louis Vuitton, put your name there. It’s lack of integrity! Is somebody getting what I am talking about? Prosperity is not just giving and receiving, if you give from now till tomorrow and you lack integrity you will still be a poor man.”-PASTOR DAVID IBIYEOMIE

You can see how these jibes are couched such that the unsuspecting could say, “What is wrong in these statements? Are they not saying the truth?” Well, it is that truth we are investigating. To do that properly, we are not only looking at conclusions, but premises that led to those conclusions.

If the premises are wrong, for sure the conclusions will be wrong. So, beginning with the Pastor of Bolo, the conclusion is that if the Igbo had integrity, they will rule the world; and he used the selling of counterfeit products as original to drive home his point.

The question we will need to ask is why China, and many other countries who lead the world in counterfeit products, have taken the world by storm despite that. China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and UAE are some countries who dominate the counterfeit products market, yet they all have taken the world by storm and ruling the world.

Beyond this, the Jew is one person whose stereotype as a cheat and fraud is unmatched, yet do we have any doubts that the Jews have taken the world by storm? Brazil is the world headquarters of scams; India and China are also in this WhatsApp group, yet they have all taken the world by storm. Can Pastor David Ibiyeomie preach this his message to China, Hong Kong, India or Singapore? Can he tell them how they, leading in counterfeit products, are poor as a result?

So, if we have scamming peoples, fraudulent peoples and counterfeit peoples who have taken the world by storm, can we conclude that such negative attributes are the reasons the Igbo is yet to take the world by storm? Or do we just want to yab the Igbo 🙄🙄🙄? That is, if the Igbo have not really taken the world by storm within the limitations of their political reality within Nigeria.

When such focus is placed on the Igbo, the unspoken assumption is that other Nigerian peoples are saints. Nigeria is world-famous for endemic corruption. Is the Igbo the face of corruption in Nigeria? How many celebrated cases of corruption in Nigeria have involved the Igbo? How many Igbo are in this government that is reeking of corruption?

Nigeria is known for bank collapses and a lot of cooperate fraud and collapse in the private sector. Is the Igbo the face of corporate corruption? Is the Igbo face the face that comes to mind when we think of Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank and several other high profile bank and private sector collapses?

The building collapses that have become rampant with no one being brought to book, is the Igbo the reason for that escape from justice? When we think of prominent Nigerians who are fleeing such countries like USA, because they are on the list of wanted peoples, how many times does the Igbo face prop up? When we think of malfeasance in our policemen and other uniform outfits, is it the Igbo face we see?

When corruption is blamed on our military’s inability to defeat Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, is it the Igbo face that props up? Is it the Igbo that dominate the history of scamming in Nigeria? Is he the one the USA has sent people to pick up commando style? When we hear of document forgery, popularly known as Oluwole, is it an Igbo affair? When we read news of beheadings, body parts and such for money, are such news dominated by Igbo names or localities?

Actually, it is only Igbo land, in the entire Nigeria, that has recorded the people rising up against ritual murderers! Are the Igbos the ones in the news for motor park touts who kill and maim each other for the control of market and motor park levies? Was it Igbo militants that were settled financially to stop blowing up pipelines and sabotaging the economy?

Are the Igbo in the lead in house agents who have defrauded unsuspecting prospective tenants? How many Igbo pastors have had a scandal involving sex or money and an attempt to quell such with cash?

So, if other Nigerians are equally complicit in financial lack of integrity, why single out the Igbo to make a case of financial lack of integrity? Or are these other Nigerian peoples already storming the world? Or is it that Pastor David Ibiyeomie so loves the Igbo and wouldn’t mind if others perish?

So, why is he not telling all Nigerians -and not just the Igbo- how they would have stormed the world if not for lack of financial integrity? Why?

Now, on Apostle Johnson Suleman. He harped on Igbo disunity; and to buttress that, he mentioned how the Igbo took turns in removing the senate president when it was zoned to the southeast. How could the Igbo, just 15 in number (about 14%), succeed in swaying 109 senators?

Were they that influential in the senate to make their colleagues remove someone they ordinarily won’t have removed? Were they that rich to be able to bribe their fellow senators to do their bidding? The role of the then president, Obasanjo, in removing these senate presidents is one many people -including Obasanjo himself- have acknowledged and talked about.

How come the metaphysically gifted apostle never knew this, but went ahead to put the blame on the Igbo? Does he not know that if the Igbo had played any other game, Obasanjo would simply have moved the senate presidency to another zone?

Is the apostle not aware that the same experience with the senate presidency, at the same time, was happening too with the PDP party chairmanship… all instigated by the same Obasanjo? Was it Igbos occupying that position too? When Tinubu led the Yoruba to reject the speakership of a Yoruba woman, thus handing it over to a northerner, was it an Igbo affair?

When Tinubu and Obasanjo were slogging it out, was it an Igbo affair? Was it Igbos that killed Funsho Williams because of his aspiration to be Lagos state governor? Was it Igbos that killed Bola Ige after he voiced his intention to run against Obasanjo, his kinsman, for the presidency?

Was it Igbos that told him, Bola Ige, to abandon the position of his Yoruba party to serve in Obasanjo’s government? Is Governor Timipre Sylva, who stood vehemently against Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential aspiration, not of same Bayelsa state with Jonathan?

Where in Nigeria -or the world- have you not seen people of same ethnic group undo themselves because of politics? Since when did it become an Igbo affair? Go up north and see that they are equally not immune to the scheming and selfishness that comes with politics.

The Apostle of Auchi also made a swipe at the Igbo Apprentice System (IAS) with mention of how apprentices dupe their masters and wreck them. Is that really the case? Is that the picture of the IAS and yet Havard Business School has given it very positive reviews and is planning to adopt it? Is that really the situation and it has lifted more people out of poverty and created more millionaires more than any other business/economic system in the world?

Do we not have cases of Auchi people duping Auchi people? Do we not have cases of Yoruba people wrecking Yoruba-founded companies by theft? Do we not have cases of Ijaw people sabotaging Ijaw causes?

This leads me to the issue he raised of Igbos destroying Biafra if it comes. Yes, if we have an all-Igbo Biafra, is it not commonsensical that any sabotage will be done by Igbos? Is the horror Nigeria has become caused by Ghanaians or Togolese? Is it not caused by Nigerians? But has my apostle used this to show the innate unworkability of Nigeria?

The issues that caused Ken Saro-Wiwa’s death, did it not originate with the Ogonis? Was it not a Yoruba man that accepted to be Interim Government Head of State against the mandate of his fellow Yoruba? Was it not Yorubas that threw a Yoruba region, the Western Region, into crisis that eventually engulfed Nigeria?

The political crisis America has witnessed of late, is it not the same Americans that are responsible? So, is it revelational knowledge that an all-Igbo Biafra would take an Igbo to sabotage? Does that speak of an innate flaw in the Igbo? Well, the Igbo will surely have their independence; and the yeasayers will overwhelm the nay-sayers.

So, once again, we have seen that it is not just about reprimanding the Igbo; it is about creating false narratives, premises and equivalents and using such to reprimand the Igbo. Apostle Johnson Suleman and Pastor David Ibiyeomie have simply joined the army of prominent Church leaders that have, in the pretext to correct the Igbo towards a better standing and future, sold false narratives that have simply reinforced lying stereotypes about the Igbo.

As Igbo, we do not claim perfection. We have a problem though when you isolate us for reprimands everyone should be receiving. We do not mind reprimands when we err. However, if our erring has to be artificially and falsely contrived in order to create a need to reprimand us, we will call it out and expose the lie it is; regardless of who is behind it.

For those who think it doesn’t matter if any form of falsehood is embedded in these narratives about the Igbo that precipitates a justification for a reprimand, simply because they are supposedly good-intentioned, they should read this:”

‘If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, ‘No’. Then said Haggai, ‘If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean?’ And the priests answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.'” (Haggai 2:12-13)

The prophet, Haggai, is simply saying that while positives cannot make negatives positive, negatives can make positives negative. Is this not a mathematical fact? So, just one uncleanness -in this case falsehood- in these narratives about the Igbo, invalidates the righteous platform on which anyone dishes out reprimands.

For the Igbo, your outrage at these is well understood. However, we shouldn’t fail to remember the reason why certain trees receive the most stones. It would be the greatest disservice to the Igbo brand to recoil because of these stones. Remember, the land that refuses to yield because it receives no “Thank you!” for previous yields, put itself in a situation where it really becomes unprofitable and thus not deserving of a “Thank you!”

Ndị Igbo, aka anaghị ekpuchi ọnwa!

Written by Ikechukwu Eluigwe

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