It is the culture of the Igbo man to always find solutions to his problems even before he seeks the help from outside. In the religious parlance they said ‘’Heaven help those who help themselves’’ or ‘’Onye ana enyere aka na-enyere onwe ya aka’’-meaning he who needs help, will first help himself. In the olden days the south-easterners (Ndi’Igbo) have had the culture of self help and community development. Every kindred or community always provide its own security, build their own market square, construct ponds and water ways to prevent flooding and always contribute collectively to bring developments like sending their bright chaps to universities in foreign lands, electrifications, building schools, hospitals and even cottage industries.
These they usually do through various platforms like age-grade (Out-ebiri) traditional assembly (Aladinma) or decree from the council of chiefs (Ndi nze-na-Ozo) kinsmen meeting (Ogbako-umunna) and other numerous means. These platforms have been used to bring various developments in all the nook and crannies of the south east communities in those days. Even without the intervention of circular government and donor agencies.
But the advent of oil in Nigeria, greatly distorted this noble means of developmental strides and the people now relied on the circular government for the developments of their communities which they have performed woefully despite the huge funds at their disposals. In the whole of Nigeria, the south east is the most marginalized and abandoned region despite its huge potentials and contributions to the government of Nigeria. There is an Igbo proverb which says’’onye ajuru aju anaghi aju onwe ya’’ A forgotten man does not forgot his self.
In this regard, the south east council of traditional rulers (Ndi-Eze –Igbo) should once again rejuvenate this noble means of development in the entire south east region of Nigeria. They should encourage their sons and daughters outside the shores of Igbo land to come back and invest at home so as to create jobs and improve the per capital income of its citizens. There should be a new guideline of installing chieftaincy titles only to proud sons of Igbo land who have cited their small and medium scale industries in the south east or those who are campaigning for equal rights of the region.
The community development unions of all the south east communities should re-engineer the community self-help programs by encouraging their kinsmen to contribute towards the building of street roads, hospitals, schools, vigilante services, cottage industries, dredging of Community Rivers and maintenance of the Eze’s cabinet and palace.
Every south easterner (Igbo man) should begin to think of what he should do to better the lot of his kindred and community and not the way round. This will definitely spur aggressive rural developments in the south east. Other states from the region should take a queue from Ohafia/Bende axis of Abia State, who are practically turning their country homes into a small a London through community self-help development programs which they engaged through the age-grade platform ‘’Otụ-ebiri’’.
South east indigenes in the Diaspora should begin to look beyond giving their loved ones some few wads of united states dollars and pound sterlings and rather focus on planting small scale industries like petrochemical industries, agro allied industries, ICT hubs, entertainment centers, leadership institutes and entrepreneurship development centers and other forms of establishment direct to their respective states of origin and local government as this will discourage rural-urban migration and improve the lives of rural dwellers.
There should be a new guideline drafted by community developments unions and traditional rulers council which will make it mandatory that for any south easterner (Igbo politician) to seek any federal elective position from the region; he must have to pin point the number of small and medium scale industries which he has build within his local government area and how many people he had employed or the investments which he has used his influence to attract either in any south east state or city. This should be the new trend to be set for potential political aspirants.
A region which has been abandoned by the larger nation should not abandon itself neither should its citizens run way because things are not comfortable for survival. It is a collective task which everybody has to contribute and make sure it is done because ‘’Ana esi na ulo mara nma puwa ama’’- charity begins at home and ‘’Aku ruo Ulo, amara onye kpara ya- when wealth comes home, its identifies the owner.