Aberration of kingship in Igboland and a return to republicanism
Although real intellectual engagement in Nigeria continues to slide, there are a few individuals who still manage to pass the test of rigour involved in such exercises. The near depletion of this noble tribe of thinkers is unarguably why the country also continues to slide into a season of anomie, with those who ought to bear the light of intellect scrambling for crumbs from politicians’ tables. But one shining light in the tunnel of erudition is Jimanze Ego-Alowes, whose books provide pathways out of Nigeria’s current political wilderness.
Unfortunately, Nigerians don’t read enough books on developmental ideas for the knowhow except they are on starry-eyed motivation on how to get quick and easy wealth and such silly stuffs.
The author of provocative, socially and politically charged and groundbreaking books such as Minorities As Competitive Overlords, Corruption in Africa: Resolution through New Diagnosis, Economists As Assassins, How and Why the Yoruba Fought and Lost the Biafra-Nigeria Civil War has come out with another insightful book on the malaise of kingship in his native Igboland, the origin of their rash emergence and why the people need to rise up and stop the maddening trend. In fact, Ego-Alowes holds Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo (whom he calls 2GMO) responsible for the craze for Igbo communities seeking autonomous status so they could have kings installed among them.
In this book, he recounts the human and material losses the kingship hustle has foisted on the people and sees it as the genocidal gift of 2GMO to Igbo and as an insidious continuation of the Nigerian Civil War.
In his new book titled Nigeria: The Unreported Genocide Against the Igbo, Ego-Alowes argues that the Igbo knew and still know no kings. In this book, he names the biblical Abraham-like figure, who founded Igboland and argues that he did not leave any historical evidence of kingship in his wake on account of his republican nature. For Ego-Alowes, republicanism is an enduring political legacy, which the Igbo founding father gifted his children and which predates America’s democracy, a system that the British found disconcerting upon their arrival in Igboland and for which they imposed a Warrant Chief system so as to subvert it.
Sadly, Ego-Alowes laments, the children of this republican father-figure called Eshi, have deviated from the set norm and are busy installing kings all over the land with its attendant disastrous consequences.
Ego-Alowes argues in his book that in 1976, “the Murtala Mohammed-Obasanjo regime (which he calls 2GMO regime) orchestrated a major reform, which resulted into making local government administration a third tier of government. This reform, for the first time in Nigeria, introduced a Uniform System of administration in the country…”
Consequently, in the eastern region, which had just emerged from the devastating civil war, had an administrator, who went to work and the result is the rash of autonomous communities that sought to have kings. The author laments that these king-seeking communities have incessant strife and deaths in the name of stiff contests on who becomes king, a situation Ego-Alowes likens to another genocide surreptitiously foisted on the Igbo. And he provides ample proofs to show this from historical analysis, using the Geneva Convention on Genocide as guide. Sadly, he says, the people for whom this kingship genocide is perpetuated are ignorant of it.
Ego-Alowes states that the reform the 2GMO introduced was to export the kingship system the Yoruba and their obas (based on Ogbomism) and Hausa/Fulani and their emirs (based on Arewanism) operate to the republican Igbo (based on ofo no ogu) in the name of seeking uniformity of government system across the country. The author opines that traditional rulership such as obas and emirs are alien to the Igbo and he is seeking the immediate reversal of this foreign imposition on the psyche of his people.
That Ego-Alowes is seeking the reversal of kingship is Igboland is not ahistorical. According to him, kingship is based on the assumption that some people are more equal than others and that it precludes competition that should breed excellence. He gives the example of America and Israel, two countries that took a break from traditional Europe and its burden of kingships in their in their founding. In forming a modern Jewish state, the author argues, the Israeli, who had a long history of kings that form the modern Igbo religious ethos, abandoned kingship and settled for a more modern democratic, republican order. He, therefore, wonders why the Igbo, who had long practised republicanism, as a gift of their illustrious ancestor, should abandon it and begin a gold rush for kings. Without naming names, Ego-Alowes faults intellectuals like the Ekwuemes – Dr. Alex and Prof. Lax – for appropriating kingships onto themselves in a modern era, when they should be at the forefront of abolishing it.
These two countries, America and Israel, Ego-Alowes further argues, chose republican system of governance instead of monarchism. The result, he submits, is that they are some of the most developed countries in the world. Republicanism, he further states, promotes competition and free market enterprise, where excellence is the norm, whereas kingships doesn’t, as nobody can aspire beyond the limited knowledge of whoever is king, which is a glass-ceiling on innovation.
Republicanism, he argues, belongs in the realm of the primary sciences – mathematics, physics and chemistry – with their insistence on excellence, accountability, competition, seeking after the truth while kingships and kingdoms are its very opposite that thrive on opaqueness, obsolete tradition, and derive their powers from vestigiality.
In Nigeria: The Unreported Genocide Against the Igbo, Ego-Alowes is not just condemning the craze for kings in Igboland and calling for all such traditional stools so established in ignorance and error to be dismantled, he has propounded a new way of looking at democratic systems. In advancing the dismantling of kings in Igboland, the author proposes that elected representatives of the people, through towns’ unions, should be on rotational basis to avert the needless tragedies befalling Igboland as a result of the alien concepts of kings.
Ego-Alowes is a master of mercurial logic. In this book, as in all others, he brings innovative, faultless, cutting-edge erudition to bear on his thesis. In Nigeria: The Unreported Genocide Against the Igbo, Igbo will pay him tribute for advancing liberation erudition to save an entire race from self-annihilation!
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