A former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, has said the problem of Igbos in Nigeria is lack of unity and trust among themselves, adding that except they unite and trust themselves, it would be difficult for them to be reckoned with.
The former VP stated this at a traders’ summit organised by the Anambra Consensus Project to honour outstanding traders in 57 major markets in Anambra State at Amaokpala, Orumba North Local Area of the state.
Ekwueme, who said there was unity among Igbo traders before Independence, expressed displeasure over the turn of things, wondering what happened.
Ekwueme stated: “When I returned to Nigeria after my studies abroad, I worked for the then ESSO West Africa Limited and the job took me to many cities in the northern part of the country.
“I found out that there was no place you would go and won’t find an Igbo man and they all cooperated well.
“If you wanted to buy medicine in any city in the North, whether it was Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Bauchi, Bida, Minna, anywhere, it was an Igbo person that would sell it to you.
“Igbo people were so industrious that northerners were saying that after the white man, the next most important person created by God was the Igbo.
“When Igbo was Igbo, there was so much unity such that once Igbo leaders met and took a decision, every Igbo person would abide by it.
“The trust among Igbo was responsible for the reason apprenticeship became popular with the result that parents would allow their children to stay with an established Igbo man to learn a trade for periods, ranging from five to 10 years, after which the apprentice would then be ‘settled’ to start his own business.
“Even after the settlement, the newly settled young trader would be getting goods on credit from his former master and returning the money after sale because of the trust that existed.
“But lack of trust has diminished that age-long cooperation between the master and his former apprentice, which is very worrisome.
“The main problem of the Igbo today is lack of trust. If we can rebuild the trust among ourselves, our people will be better for it”, he said.
CREDITS: RIPPLES NIGERIA