In response to Oba of Lagos’ message demanding that Igbos in Lagos vote for his preferred candidate in the Lagos Governorship elections, Chimamanda Adichie wrote a piece that has sparked a lot of debate online. Ijeoma Ozichi Omotade is one of the many who disagree with Chimamanda Adichie and she has written an open letter to explain why.
Read letter below;
I was scrolling through twitter to see what was trending especially with regard to Lagos elections, and stumbled upon your write-up on the Oba of Lagos’s disrespectful remarks to the Igbos and their right to exercise their civic rights. Of course being an ardent admirer of your work and also a fellow Igbo girl, I clicked on the link and hungrily lapped up each word you poured out, eager to hear your opinion and ready to carry emotional placards with you by clicking “share” on my Facebook page. But the more I read, the more my excitement waned. Because just as I could feel you word for word, I also disagreed with you, and at a point I had to put down myopic glasses that beheld Lagos through your admirable eyes and wear one that showed me our stark reality.
You see, I AGREE that the Igbo community was unjustifiably grieved. However, as I wave my solidarity flag with my fellow Igbos, I can’t help but also bite my tongue when I remember unpleasant comments many Igbos regularly make toward other tribesmen. For example, the disrespectful way some Igbos address Hausas as “abokis”, dumbheads, and “nama” meaning cow! As you may know, “aboki” means friend but watch an Hausa man when an Igbo calls him that in a disrespectful tone. He stiffens and looks annoyed because he knows the tone he is called with is one of disrespect and insult. (some Yorubas call northerners “mulla”; I dunno what that means but that’s for another day *sigh*)
Chimamanda, every tribe is guilty of tribalism; it’s by default. It’s not right. It should be fiercely fought against but shamefully this is the current reality. HOWEVER not every tribe is guilty of “PEACEMAKER-ISM”, and I would love the Igbos to be known more for the guilt of MAKING PEACE.
So we go on and on about the Oba’s comment and what happens? Fights, fracas, and some fathers and sons on both sides lose their lives and people lose property and investments.
As you may have noticed from my name Ijeoma Omotade, I am Igbo married to Yoruba and happily married too. I went into the Yoruba culture and CONSCIOUSLY took time to learn about it. It was when I decided to marry that I knew how deep tribalism has eaten even into our so called Igbo and Yoruba elite. *Sigh* Having also schooled in the north during my secondary school days, and as much as I greatly admire the peaceful and simple nature of the average northerner, sadly they are not left out of the “tribalism” card-carrying.
Read full article on Sahara Reporters