I want to speak to you today as an Igbo who is anxious about the future of Ndiigbo in Nigeria and, indeed, in the world. It is obvious that my anxiety is directed to the younger generation like you, with an uncertain and precarious future. You are our window of hope for a better tomorrow.
I grew up in the late fifties and sixties when Ndiigbo more than held their own in the economic, political, cultural, and social sectors of the Nigerian environment. Ndiigbo were also in the reckoning in the military as well as in the civil service. The Igbo were both envied and admired not only by other Nigerians and Africans, but also by the whites with whom they came in contact.
One of the critical factors that led to this scenario could be located in the Igbo culture, which you have appropriately described as “excellent.” Ingrained in that culture is its liberal disposition, its receptivity to modernity and change and its competitive spirit. This was clearly manifested in the unparalled quest by Ndiigbo for education, which was perceived as the vehicle for modernity and western civilization both of which the Igbo embraced with passion.