In the last one year alone , no less than three prominent Igbo businessmen have been arrested, humiliated and detained by the Buhari administration.
All three are major employers of labour who fared extreemly well under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and whose companies have become household names.
The first is Cletus Ibeto of Ibeto Cement, a humble, charming, hard-working, low-profile and exceptionally profound and insightful man who I met when I was in detention last year.
The second is the ebullient, young and vocal Ifeanyi Uba of Capital Oil and Gas, who later joined politics and who was indeed a member of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign organisation in 2015 where we worked closely together.
The third is Innocent Chukwuma, the owner of Innoson Motors whose company is the only one in Nigeria that produces cars, who I am told is an absolute gentleman and whom I have never met.
These three men are amongst the five biggest and most prominent Igbo businessmen in the country today. The remaining two are Arthur Eze of Atlas Oronto Petroleum International and Emeka Offor of Chrome Oil both of whom have done very well but that have also had their own fair share of persecution and travails over the years.
I made a point of doing the research in the cases of Chukwuma, Ibeto and Uba and why they were having issues with the EFCC and the SSS respectively and I came to the conclusion that not only had they done nothing wrong but they were being targetted simply because they were perceived as being “Jonathan men”, because they were deemed as being sympathetic to the PDP, because they were Igbo and finally simply out of envy from ruthless competitors.
Given that it came as no surprise to me when, just yesterday morning, I was informed that Chukwuma’s home was raided and tear-gassed by the EFCC and he was arrested and detained in what can only be described as brutal and questionable circumstances.
I was reliably informed that officers of the EFCC and the Nigeria Police not only injured many in his home but that they also slapped his wife.
Never mind that he was later reportedly offered bail after what can only be described as a gruelling and harrowing period of torment and trauma: the fact is that his home should never have been raided and he should never have been arrested, detained and subjected to this brutal affront and indecorious indignity in the first place.
Such was my concern for him and the way in which the security forces had behaved at his home that I was constrained to post the following on both my twitter handle and Facebook page on that same day. I asked,
“Why should anybody be surprised about the arrest of the owner of Innoson Motors? They did the same to Cletus Ibeto about a year ago.These people come from the “wrong” part of the country and they are providing a service and employment for Nigerians. They must be punished for it!”.
I went further by offering some gentle and wise counsel to an old and dear friend by also posting the following:
“I have known the MD of GTB, Segun Agbaje and his two older brothers, Femi and Jimi, for close to 40 years and I have immense respect and deep affection for them. I urge him not to expose himself to the shark infested waters of politics by allowing himself to be used by these barbarians to destroy Innoson. If he does he will regret it”.
Yet it does not stop there. The matter goes much deeper and further than just the travails of Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Motors or indeed those of Cletus Ibeto and Ifeanyi Uba h .
It goes to the very heart and foundation of the fundamental problem of what Nigeria has been turned into by those who believe that they own her.
It touches on the nationality question, the quest and struggle for equal rights and opportunities for the various ethnic naionalities that make up Nigeria and the unofficial and unannounced policy of the Buhari administration to treat southerners as slaves and to discredit, crush and malign any Igbo person who aspires to excellence and greatness and who is a source of pride and inspiration to their people.
To those that doubt this grave assertion I have one question to ask: can they, under ANY circumstances, imagine or envisage Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group or Abdul Samad Rabiu of the BUA Group , both of whom are highly successful, extreemly wealthy and very well-known northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani businessmen, being treated in this way by ANY Nigerian government let alone one like Buhari’s that was established by the Fulani and solely for the interests of the Fulani? The answer to the question is a resounding “no”.
Yet for the southern businessman and particularly for the Igbo one the rules are very different and the treatment that they get from the government and its security agencies are a world apart.
As a matter of fact they are unfairly deemed and insidiously labelled as the “fatherless ones” and the “orphans of the corporate world” simply because they are on their own and they have no favour or protection from government.
It is clear that any Igbo man that has the temerity and the fortitude to shine and to rise up by dint of conviction, vision, passion and hard work must be humiliated, demonised and denigrated.
The story and the theme appears to be a never-ending one and it touches on all spheres of human endeavour in Nigeria. The policy, principle and practice is the same: as long as you are Igbo you are in trouble and in order to survive you must sing the praises of the Buhari administration, bow and grovel to the Fulani, accept your servitude and slavery with stoic ignomy and “bend the knee”.
In the field of the struggle for self