BOOK REVIEW: Igbo: A people On The Brink


 A Nation On The Brink
 By Ukaegbu Chukwunenye Napoleon
Keoni Networks, Okada books
 448pp;  2019

A Nation on the Brink, written by Ukaegbu Chukwunenye Napoleon, a young Nigerian based in the United Kingdom, consists of 20 chapters and divided into two parts. It is a product of ten-year research into the problems of Africa and the entire black race. Having seen the situation of black people in the Western World, the author decided he would look into problems and see if he could find some answers to their collective problems or at least, add to the body of knowledge that could help the future generations to find answers to the problems.

According to the author, “In the course of this study, I realised that Igbo people are central to the problems and solutions of the black people. One, what we call black race or black people outside Africa is actually 60% of Igbo origin. This is because when European slave traders noticed the unique characteristics and deposition of this group, they became their focus such that over 60% of Africa slaves were Igbos.

“Therefore, to solve the problems of Africa and black race, we must solve the problem of Ndi Igbo. We have what it takes to save the entire black race, but we don’t seem to know it. So, the first thing to do since my research is about the black race is to start from Ndi Igbo to wake them up to those things that are making it difficult for them to take their place in history before I publish the book about the black race. When that time comes, Ndi Igbo will be ready to take their place and lead Africa and black people out of European economic bondage.”

Ukaegbu also notes in A Nation on the Brink that Ndigbo like to set up businesses wherever they go, because it is their nature to create wealth wherever they are welcomed, being descendants of Gad in the Holy Bible: “Gad means wealth, that’s why the whole world knows Igbos have the secret of wealth creation”.

However, he says, in the case of the present structure of Nigeria, it is now a very big problem for them, because it has made them to forget their homeland and fight over other people’s homeland, especially as the laws and economic policies of Nigeria today deny the Southeast necessary infrastructure. He sees it as a deliberate plan to pull Igbos out of their homeland, so that they can use their wealth, both human and materials to develop other parts of Nigeria, while their homeland is neglected.

The author also believes that it is impossible for the Southeast geopolitical zone to make the impact it should, as long as wealthy Igbos and their politicians think they benefit more in the present structure of Nigeria, and that is more worrisome as there is no unity of purpose and no agreed leadership system at home any more through which they can agree on any political agenda. As a result, the power at the center finds it easy to manipulate those notables and use them against any political agenda, the region might have. This situation, he said, creates an ugly situation whereby Igbo can never be politically relevant in Nigeria and will find it difficult to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction, and if they do, it would be in the characters of those believed to be agents of the ruling class who would use their position to destroy Ndi Igbo or Ala Igbo the more.

A Nation on the Brink reminds us that no matter where we go and what we believe outside, we must make our homeland look like home again, because our dignity as a people depends on it and our success as a nation can only be guaranteed if we create an economy in the homeland that will work for Ndi Igbo, whether they remain part of Nigeria or not.

The author does not mince words: “It is because we have ignored our homeland for too long in pursuit of green pasture where we think that the grass is greener than it is at home, that is why Ndi Igbo are in disarray. We have built business empires everywhere in the colonial enclave of Nigeria, but have neglected our homeland. We turn forests into modern cities everywhere, but allow Ala Igbo to become derelict which has made the wise word of our fathers ‘Aku ruo ulo ‘(Invest at home) as a sad joke.”

He argues, too: “Our leadership at home has continued to fail, because our leaders left the homeland in search of contracts in Abuja and to pursue their businesses in Lagos, while our homeland is in crisis and no one seems to care about how our cultures, values and traditions are fading away. He, therefore, calls on the Igbo to pull back and rebuild their own nation as other groups have done, learn how to live in a complex country like Nigeria and yet do well as a people.

The author of this book deserves encomiums for delivering his message like a professor is giving his audience tips on how to prevent an impending calamity or proffering solution to it. He talks like a poet, a social crusader, a patriot, a visionary, a political leader, a prophet, and what have you. In fact, A Nation on the Brink is a must read for every Igbo man desirous of a handbook or companion rich contents on what every Igbo man ought to know in today’s world.