Imo is a state with remarkable peculiar features. In terms of education and enlightenment, political awareness and cultural homogeneity, the state virtually ranks tops in the country.
Another marked peculiarity with the state is its very peaceful landscape as the people are hardly known for violent extremism. In the media parlance, Imo is home to a gargantuan number of radio and television houses, newspapers and new media blogs.
Socially and even economically, the state is acknowledged as the entertainment capital of Nigeria. Now for a people who have these myriad of peculiarities, it is natural that they will be highly cosmopolitan. When in recent times the peace of the state was distorted by coordinated invasions by armed men, the citizenry was simply shocked. Everyone was united in flaying the new actors creating a hemisphere of violence. On the lips of every conscientious Imolite was: This is not our Imo; this is not our spirit.
Thus, Imoness as novel as the term sounds, can be likened to a spirit, character or motif that defines the belief system of Ndi-Imo.
Essentially, Imoness is very much like the Igbo spirit. Very recently, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a former governor of Anambra State posited clearly that violence is entirely alien to Ndi-Imo hence he blamed external factors to the security breaches in the state.
No Igbo man that is worth his name can ever support violence as a way of making a political statement. The reason is because Ndi-Igbo have long realized that there are other ways of making their voices heard without resorting to extremism and brutality. An average Igbo person covets a life full of dreams and purpose.
Fundamentally, he grows clutching dreams centered around family members and community. This makes life to be so precious to him hence he does everything in his power to protect himself and his family.
Indeed, when you go round the country, you will essentially discover that the Igbo man is the most closely knitted to his family.
Our Imoness, therefore, does not condone any act that will erode the dream and purpose which every Igbo man bears.
Resorting to self help approaches such that have hampered the peace we so much treasure is injurious to our humanity. We cannot indeed afford the colossal consequences of bequeathing a society ridden with violence to our unborn generations.
Already, the younger generations are taking note of the unfortunate acts of aggression that are taking place. Make no mistake about it: these events are recording in the inner recesses of their minds. In Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis theory, these inner recesses are called the Unconscious. I pray that the unconscious mind of our upcoming generation is not desecrated by weird thoughts and sickening events.
Our Imoness encourages hard work. This is why Imolites are very busy with useful ventures. Even on the streets, housewives are hardly idle. They now erect shops however temporal to assist their husbands in taking care of their families. We also have a lot of our young ones in school.
In fact, these days, no one wants to end one’s educational quest with the first degree. So many of our young ones now further their education to the doctoral level. This is why Imo State currently has the highest number of Ph.D holders in the country.
It is also for this fact that the state has a considerable number of her citizens in the payroll of the federal government. There is also a commendable investment in the real estate sector in Imo State. The young ones do not just want to get money and lavish it on frivolities hence they invest them in real estate, which after all is a noble investment destination owing to the increasing global population.
There is no doubt that there are perceived incidences of injustice against the Igbo race, but we cannot resist this through violence.
We have other ways we can assert ourselves and our voices can be heard loud and clear. The legendary industry of Ndi-Imo nay Ndi-Igbo makes them critical stakeholders to the economy of the nation such that anyone discountenances them does so at his or her risk.
Truth is that other sub-nationalities in Nigeria envy us owing to the numerous comparative advantages we possess. Therefore in emancipating from where we are, we need to go as one.
We must never embrace any ideology that will only lead to the annihilation of our brothers. That type of ideology never helped us in the past hence it will only be foolhardy to embrace it at this age.
Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma has done exceptionally well in the area of security with his preventive and curative approaches to recent upsurge in insecurity. The gains of these approaches are visible to everyone as dews of peace are falling once again on the eastern heartland. We are duty bound to follow our leader. We must not be caught playing divisive politics with such a vital issue as security.
If we think we must denigrate the personality of our leader with insecurity, we actually do so at our peril for insecurity is a pain that hangs on the neck of everyone. Worse still, if we are found complicit in directly or indirectly supporting the pockets of attacks on our dear state, it is most unfortunate, treasonable and unpatriotic.
One of the vital messages espoused by our dear governor, Dist. Sen Hope Uzodinma centres on national integration. I think this is a timely message that only a sagacious few can fathom.
I dare challenge us to give a handsome thought to the issue of national integration. That should be our foremost concern, for this is what will fortify us and psychologically prepare us for future aspirations. We must assert our Imoness in embracing the governor’s message.
Above all, it is time to assert our Imoness against political hawks who want to make capital of our current travails.
We must resist them accordingly by exposing them so that they will be degraded. We must indeed assert our Imoness against those who preach messages of hate and bitterness when love should be taught. We must assert our Imoness against those who make us see critical issues of self-determination to look too simplistic and cozy. Yes, O yes, we must assert our Imoness in aligning with our leaders so as to succeed as one.
Essentially, we must assert our Imoness against principalities who seek to define our thoughts by their own maps of meaning. Imo is ours and it is only through the assertion of our Imoness that we can reclaim it from political profiteers and evil strategists.
Chief Sam Osuji (KSM) is the erstwhile Special Adviser to Gov Hope Uzodinma on Agricultural Loans.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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