These Igbos….oh Lord! | Sayo ‘Munachimso’ Aluko


A shocking fact has been shocking me steady since I got to know about it few weeks ago.

See, for some months now, I’ve been hearing a lot of China.

It’s election and campaign season, and being a person who works around government, incumbents and aspirants, I’ve had to live and get accustomed to the phrase, “China”.

You should know or guess why;

A swathe of branded and premium quality campaign souvenirs – wristbands, T-shirts, face caps, magic cups and LED handfans, etc – produced affordably and en masse in China, and shipped in daily into Lagos to be hauled across all parts of Nigeria.

Once in every while along this period, I had always thought, “…hmmn, these bandwidth of transactions and foreign exchange, good for China o! These Chinese guys must be balling properly right now sha, cashing in on every side..!!”

À sé òpè nimí. I was a novice.

Two weeks ago, I was privy to one of these transactions, phone was on speaker as my guy dialed, and while I was expecting some oriental Kung Fu English from the other end, boom! I was taken southeast naija!

“Nwanne, my bloda [brother], see ehn, that plice [price] nor go work biko…expless sheepin [express shipping] na added cos [cost]. Inclease [increase] it”

That day, I was given a crash course on how the Igbos have successfully pervaded the Chinese production chain like a school of olympian piranhas; how they’ve taken over that part of the world with production lines that now have indigent Chinese employed under them.

I mean, all the while that I thought the Chinese guys were the ones in charge and making a killing from a gush of patronage, na my own men dem dey run things on the low!

I got somewhat inspired and blown away all over again by that singular fact we already know – the might in the industrious genes of the Igbo.

What most of us I’ve come to know is that, bar few Igbo ‘Iscariots’ who choose to betray their Igboness on the alter of laziness, pant-picking and/or slaymamaMarketing, the average Igbo is vehemently industrious, with a business acumen unrivalled in persistence.

We’d also largely agree based on experience, that the Igbo trader is the one who wouldn’t mind to keep you waiting to find change for a ₦50 commodity you gave ₦1000 for, while we also know some set of people [another tribe] in the same situation, who will neither spare you a look nor let you even finish speaking before they mannerlessly shout “kòsí change!!”. No, not the the Igbo trader, they always insist, persist for patronage like a stubborn forehead zit.

I believe say na blood. And, I wan really know how e dey be for their body.

Igbos are trade in human flesh. I really really love this about them.

Beyond merely fleeing the wahala of naija, this fiscal acumen of theirs is what I believe takes them to every part of the world, that genetic belief in the work of their hands, what we Yorubas call “àtélewó”, they are what we can call the nomads of trade and industry.

No, Nigerians are not everywhere in the world, Igbos are. The famous slanguage “importer exporter” used to jocularly describe them is no farce.

Tecno, Infinix, Innoson, a handful of giant pharmaceutical companies, transport companies, etc, and even the Aba and Onitsha where they give us Nike with a Burberry logo or Puma as Pamu, are all examples that point to this fact above, such that even though they aren’t the Dangotes and Otedolas, they make their own and stand.

In fact, argue all you want, the Lagos economy we all like to flaunt is nothing with them.

The world already seems to be their playground, and if you’re Nigerian who still possesses some unnatural, ‘misinherited’, race-laced and disingenuous dislike for the ingenious Igbos, you need a cultural detox.


PS: I can claim to be Igbo too o! While serving on the distant Bayelsan waters in 2012/13, my lovely co-corps members, Ozioma and Chinaemerem, kukuma gave me an Igbo name – Munachimso. In fact, let me edit my name in the title above and add am. No time.

Igbo kwenu!!!!

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