[ NEWS FEED ] WHY NIGERIANS HATE IGBO PEOPLE – Chinua Achebe

Nigeria’s foremost novelist Chinua Achebe has
claimed that Nigerians, especially of the Hausa/
Fulani and the Yoruba stocks, do not like his
Igbo ethnic group because of the southeast’s
cultural advantage.
He made this claim in his new book, There was a
Country, which has generated controversy for his
onslaught on the role of Obafemi Awolowo as the
federal commissioner of finance during the
Nigeria civil war. He accused Awolowo of
genocide and imposition of food blockade on
Biafra, a claim that has drawn rebuttals and
contradictions of emotional intensity from some
southwest leaders and commentators.
“I have written in my small book entitled The
Trouble with Nigeria that Nigerians will probably
achieve consensus on no other matter than their
common resentment of the Igbo,” he wrote under
the heading, A History of Ethnic Tension and
Resentment. He traced the origin of “the national
resentment of the Igbo” to its culture that “gave
the Igbo man an unquestioned advantage over his
compatriots in securing credentials for
advancement in Nigerian colonial society.”
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He observed that the Igbo culture’s emphasis on
change, individualism and competitiveness gave
his ethnic group an edge over the Hausa/Fulani
man who was hindered by a “wary religion” and
the Yoruba man who was hampered by”
traditional hierarchies.”
He therefore described the Igbo, who are
predominantly Catholic, as “fearing no god or
man, was “custom-made to grasp the
opportunities, such as they were, of the white
man’s dispensations. And the Igbo did so with
both hands.”
He delved into history with his claim, asserting
that the Igbo overcame the earlier Yoruba
advantage within two decades earlier in the
twentieth century.
“Although the Yoruba had a huge historical and
geographical head start, the Igbo wiped out their
handicap in one fantastic burst of energy in the
twenty years between 1930 and 1950.”
He narrated the earlier advantage of Yoruba as
contingent on their location on the coastline, but
once the missionaries crossed the Niger, the Igbo
took advantage of the opportunity and overtook
the Yoruba.
“The increase was so exponential in such a short
time that within three short decades the Igbos had
closed the gap and quickly moved ahead as the
group with the highest literacy rate, the highest
standard of living, and the greatest of citizens
with postsecondary education in Nigeria,” he
contended.
He said Nigerian leadership should have taken
advantage of the gbo talent and this failure was
partly responsible for the failure of the Nigerian
state, explaining further that competitive
individualism and the adventurous spirit of the
Igbo was a boon Nigerian leaders failed to
recognize and harness for modernization.
“Nigeria’s pathetic attempt to crush these
idiosyncrasies rather than celebrate them is one of
the fundamental reasons the country has not
developed as it should and has emerged as a
laughingstock,” he claimed.
He noted that the ousting of prominent Igbos from
top offices was a ploy to achieve a simple and
crude goal. He said what the Nigerians wanted
was to “get the achievers out and replace them
with less qualified individuals from the desired
ethnic background so as to gain access to the
resources of the state.”
Achebe, however, saved some criticisms for his
kinsmen. He criticised them for what he described
as “hubris, overweening pride and
thoughtlessness, which invite envy and hatred or
even worse that can obsess the mind with
material success and dispose it to all kinds of
crude showiness.”

He added that “contemporary Igbo behavior(that)
cab offend by its noisy exhibitionism and
disregard for humility and quietness.

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