James Ibechi

Idomaland, Idoma and the politicisation of poverty


By steve anyebe.

It’s 2:55am and I’ve just been startled awake. It has just started raining. But it’s not the rain that woke me up. It’s anger!
Shouldn’t I enjoy my sleep like the rest of you? I definitely should. But the only way I can go back to sleep now is to ventilate my system and expel this extreme feeling of anger that has woken me up. My pen becomes my saving tool at such ackward hours.

I’ve always felt suspicion towards our social media “comrades” who exploit temporary low economic bases of others to wage inter-personal wars of elite cleavages and vendata of different kinds. I’ve never known anyone who has ever been proud to be poor. Even at a much younger age, I had noticed that the poorest of the poor would fight anybody who called them poor. Truth is that every human being has a pride in him that detests being classified negatively and will do anything to uphold that pride. Yet, in developing countries the exploitation of the concept of poverty has become a very lucrative multi-billion dollar business. This is the origin of NGOs and their proliferation in Nigeria.
In Idomaland, the poverty ideologue is obviously being used as a dangerous tool to execute personal hate wars directed at perceived enemies, be they political, tribal, economic, social, or even intellectual and religious. The social media is the obvious battlefield, with its unrestricted space, while the “comrades” are the sector commanders and unsolicited defenders of the poor. Look, take it from me, there are true Comrades in Idomaland, and many of us are truly poor. No doubt about this whatsoever! But it’s also clear to my mind that our poverty isn’t caused in the main by the exploitation of man by man in Idomaland. Our poverty tilts more towards some of our traditional practices which need urgent review. And instead of interrogating these aspects of Idoma existentialism with the view to aggregating pragmatic reforms, our “comrades” are attempting to upload poverty as some form of achievement which must necessarily be instituted. Anyway, any religion that makes donation to the poor a prerequisite for going to heaven, must religiously maintain both givers and takers of such donations, or else that aspect of God’s work cannot be fulfilled. Our “comrades” must perform their duties or else they could be derobed.
On a serious note, please let’s look at areas such as burials, marriages, and economic practices in Idomaland and their adverse effects on us individually and corporately.

Why won’t we remain poor if we remain attached to archaic traditional practices in a globalized world that technological advancement is changing on a daily basis? We will remain poor as far as our psyche keeps positioning us to regard the progress of others as the cause of our backwardness. Unless we adopt the propensity to take leaps, we just cannot expect to reach higher grounds. That’s natural. We must encourage and support our younger ones to get on the global level instead of restricting them with this negative aura of being poor. In this modern times, only people who want to stay poor will stay poor. All we need now is information and to work on the individual gift God has graciously endowed each of us with.

Have I made any sense at all?

Categories: James Ibechi

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