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Human Socialisation And The Nihilist Path Of Sabotage: The Igbo Case Study

By Abuchi Obiora

Socialization is the necessary factor that has ensured the survival and multiplication of all the species of creation from the pristine time. Insects socialize. Birds socialize. Both lower and higher animals, including human beings socialize.

Human socialization makes organized societies possible whereby innuendos become norms, norms become customs, customs become laws and laws guide the society. One of these laws that guide the society is the marriage law which guarantees the procreation of human beings on earth in individual families who enjoy peaceful co-habitation within the organized larger communities of the human family.

What is Socialization? For the purpose of this work, and in order to get a broad, suiting definition, I looked up the word in the Thesaurus online dictionary.  The Thesaurus dictionary, more than other dictionaries of current English language words, takes consideration of the etymological development of English words and their philological relationships with words of other languages including French and Latin, in expressing the conventional meanings of words presently obtainable in the English language lexicon.

The several meanings of the word ‘Socialization’, according to the Thesaurus online dictionary are:

  1. The activities of establishing on a socialist basis.
  2. The act of meeting for social purposes.
  3. The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture.

The third definition of our inquiry here will be most appropriate for the purpose of our work today, so we shall adopt it.

In spite of the need for people to completely subscribe to group social behaviours, some anti-social elements, once in a while through their untoward behaviours, cause friction in the smooth wheel of order, peace and progress of the communities and environments where nature placed them. This anti-social attitude of some people to the natural demands of organized societies is very pronounced in modern societies as people madly crave to acquire wealth, power and authority either for the wrong or right reasons.

This discourse focuses on this character aberration in some human beings, and this week we are looking specifically at the penchant to work along the anti-social and nihilist path of sabotage by some members of the political elites of the Igbo ethnic nationality.

What is ‘Nihilism’? Who is a ‘Nihilist’?  The Livio ( text in dictionary extracted from (the authorized dictionary of Wikimedia foundation supported by the licensing policy of the foundation) defines ‘nihilism’ as:

  1. In philosophy:  A philosophical doctrine grounded on the negation of one or more meaningful aspects of life.
  • In ethics: The rejection of inherent or objective moral principles.
  • In politics : The rejection of non-rationalized or non-proven assertions in the social and political spheres of society.
  • In belief system: The belief that all endeavors are ultimately futile and devoid of meanings.
  • In moral: Contradiction (not always deliberate i.e, inborn and internalized, manifesting as a character defect) between behaviour and espoused principle to such a degree that all possible espoused principle are voided.
  • In human socialization: The deliberate refusal of belief (or group norms, customs and values) to the point that belief (all beliefs as pertain to the human society) are rejected as untenable (social outcasts, social outlaws).

I have deliberately decided to take these broad definitions and perspectives of the word ‘Nihilism’ because I want to look beyond the simple meaning always ascribed to the  word in most dictionaries. That simple, vague meaning of ‘nihilism’ is ‘self-destruct’? My reason for this broad perspective is to prove that ‘nihilism’ is a matter of great psychological concern to researchers of the negative development in modern social order exhibited by increasing number of people in conventional societies who have become  psychopathic cases yet to be recognized as such by the society and attended to by psychiatrists. To researchers, a ‘nihilist’, therefore is an emotionally dumb, morally insensitive, unfeeling and brutally anti-social person exhibiting any, some, or all of the qualities underscored in our different definitions of ‘nihilism’ especially in definition numbers (2), (5) and (6). A nihilist is simply a psychopath needing the attention of a psychiatrist.

For this reason, the fact that identified nihilists (including those amongst the Igbo ethnic nationality of Nigeria) could be bought over with money, power or fame is not as much an inducement as the obsessive, self-aggrandizing, overtly ambitious  and skewed subconscious and internal boiling mechanism of the nihilist who suffers from certain psychological problems which may include inferiority complex, split personality syndrome, etc. For this reason too, a nihilist may actually be induced with nothing before he goes full blast. The inducements as per my research and understanding comes actually more from deep within a consciousness that yearns to satiate the needs of a deranged ego and shore up a certain feeling of non-existence self-worth. A nihilist believes that the proof of an established self-worth must be obtained in going against group ideals, norms, customs, innuendos, traditions indeed, all recognized conventional expressions of common bond in human socialization. To his skewed, misplaced self-worth, a nihilist uses his sudden, if need be, ill-acquired authority (or is it notoriety!) to flaunt his ignoble and distasteful presence wherever he goes.

It is really inconceivable to believe that EBUBEAGU, a security  outfit that is supposed to have been established by some south eastern Nigerian governors who are the chief security officers of their states, in stark expression of nihilism, should be inflicting untold harm to the citizens who they are on oaths to protect in their respective states. Now, the questions are: Who established and funds the EBUBEAGU security organization? Why are the people of South East against EBUBEAGU as a security outfit in South East Nigeria? Are there other reasons for the establishment of the EBUBEAGU security organization in the South East than the reason of protecting the citizens as advertised by the South East governors and the representatives of the Federal government including the Brigade Commanders of the Military installations across the South East, who are predominantly officers of the Fulani ethnic nationality?

I ask these questions, first, because Chief M.K.O Abiola, a former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as a President who won elections but never had an opportunity to act, even for one minute, in that capacity, was quoted to have said that you cannot barb a person’s head in his absence. It is most probably because of the reason that the Igbos of the South East Nigeria were not consulted before EBUBEAGU was hoisted on them as a ‘foreign army of occupation’ that they are complaining about its activities, especially more so as those activities are not seen to be in consonance with the security demands of the people on their governments. The second reason I asked those questions is because I have found out that all the operations of the EBUBEAGU counterpart in the South Western part of Nigeria, AMOTEKUN, known to have been established by the governors of the South Western states in consultation with the people, are  always in the public space and supported by citizens of those states. At least, not a few times have I read in the mass media how AMOTEKUN intercepted some truckloads of Fulani young men hidden under cows to gain entry to the South Western region.  

Are there no such attempts by these young men making efforts to enter the South East, or were they aided to enter unnoticed, by a security organization established and supervised by people who do not share the same security concern for the citizens of the South Eastern States? The above is my third question in this regard, which begs for an answer because I have never read any such interception of these dangerous intruders with no identifiable means of livelihood in the South East. These young men always come, some not even carrying any bags and quickly disappear into the thick forest of the regions, soon to be seen welding sophisticated weapons as herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits or simply unknown gun men. This development is now more pronounced along the Okigwe-Umuna axis of the South East with reports of the dangerous criminal activities coming from there on daily basis.

Ordinarily, there is supposed to be some love lost between the elected governors of the South Eastern states and the people of that region. But there is no love lust between the two parties. Why, you may ask! So, my next question is: Were all these governors actually elected by their people? May be one or a maximum of two of the five governors there were duly elected by their people. The other three governors in the South East region must have found their ways through dubious means to their officers. This is why people who did not elect them are not carried along in the governor’s policies including securing the people. Herein is the need for an immediate change of a social order that arbitrarily confers victory after an election, through the Supreme Court by the means of the so-called  legal technicalities to the third-runner up, after voiding the victories of the winner and the first and second runner ups. Unfortunately, this weird Supreme Court anointing of a governor happened in Imo state. It may possibly be because of the grave injustice in the electoral process in Imo state that there is no love lust between the people and their governor. It may also possibly be because of this that Imo State is the present hotbed of deadly clashes between the EBUBEAGU security organization and the more preferred, people-oriented EASTERN SECURITY NETWORK, the ESN.

I have previously written something in the Kaleidoscope against using the tool of ‘legal technicalities’ to defeat the very purpose of dispensing equitable justice in Nigerian law courts as happened in the Supreme court judgment which awarded victory to the incumbent

Governor of Imo state. The first and necessary obligation of the court is to see through the complexity of the swarm of confusing evidence and counter evidence to make sure that justice is not only dispensed, but also seen to be dispensed by either of the two beneficiaries of the Plaintiff/Applicant or the Respondent/Defendant. In the case of the Imo State Supreme Court judgment, though justice was said to have been dispensed, it was not seen to have been dispensed by the Respondents in the case, but more importantly, by the ultimate beneficiaries to the case, who were the electorates in Imo state. Till date, the electorates in Imo state still feel short-changed by a Supreme Court judgment which they believe did not reflect what happened at the gubernatorial polls in Imo state.

Constitutional lawyers should be able to check the excesses of the application of this tool which is supposed to be seldom used to assist justice delivery on matters whose supply of evidence are doubtful, not meeting the requirements of the evidence act in its entirety. In order not to cause doubts as to the capacity of the Nigerian Legal system to dispense equitable judgment on matters brought to it, the application of the rare but still necessary tool of legal technicalities in the determination of cases in Nigerian law courts must not be seen to be dubiously applied by clever Judges to obstruct or defeat the purpose for which the assistance of the law courts was ab initio, sought by the parties. To do so is to encourage self-help and extra-judicial measures by people who may believe that their prayers and pleas in the court of law may not be properly heard, addressed and redressed.

Another of the sundry expressions of the Igbo nihilists in sabotaging the social and cultural environment of the Igbos is the present open confrontation of the chance and possibility of the emergence of the long awaited Nigerian President of the Igbo descent. The nihilists amongst the Igbos, as agents of the status quo, prefer to work in favour of people who will forever wish an endless marginalization of the Igbo ethic nationality in Nigeria.

My thought on this is that it is a coincidence in favour of the need for an Igbo man to become the President of Nigeria in 2023 after all other regions have used up their slots that Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, emerged as the party’s torch bearer in the 2023 elections after he decamped from the PDP. It is still another coincidence and fortuitous for the Igbos that Mr. Peter Obi has been accepted across Nigeria because of his capacity and competence to recover Nigeria from ruination by past governments.

Thirdly, Mr. Peter Obi is presently adjudged around the world to be the best equipped Presidential candidate ever to have emerged in post-civil war Nigeria, to liberate Nigeria from the shackles of poverty. So, the last question here would be: Why can’t all Igbos support one of their own who has already been accepted by Nigerians and the international community? What actually is the problem? Why would some members of the Igbo political elites prefer to walk along the path of nihilism simply for their sake and their sake alone? This is a very serious internal problem of the Igbos and we must be able to find new and proper ways to solve it as the world beckons on us to play the key role in rebuilding a new and prosperous Nigeria loved by all, from the ruins of the past.

I have watched some viral videos of murders of vibrant young men in Igbo land by the members of the EBUBEAGU security outfit and counter murders of some other vibrant Igbo young men by the members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, and I am appalled to observe that a house divided against itself can never stand. What has come upon Igbos?

An Igbo proverb says that, “Oke no na ulo gwara oke no na ama na anu di na ngiga” (it is the rat that is inside the house that tells the rat outside the house that meat is in the dryer). Another Igbo proverb says that “Ngwere adighi aba n’ulo ma enweghi mgbawara aja na ulo” (no lizard enters a house – usually a thatched earthen house – unless there is a crack in the wall). Is there no way to get over the penchant for the nihilist path of sabotage by some members of the Igbo political elites? There were ways to do this in the olden days in Igbo land. In those days, when no enemies ever defeated the Igbos, the people would congregate in the king’s palace after consulting the chief priest to find out who the saboteurs were.  The king, through the ‘Ndi Ichie’, will secretly pronounce death on the saboteurs and ask the kindred of the saboteurs to take actions and reverse to the king through the ‘Ndi Ichie’ who were all on oath of confidence and secrecy.  In their traditional right as the owners of themselves, the kindred, through selected able-bodied men, will do the needful and report back to the king through the ‘Ndi Ichie” that ‘Ala eriela ya/ha’, (the land has swallowed him/them).

This punitive and preventive measure brought about unity to the towns and enabled them to win wars and repel aggression. It also discouraged people who may be tempted to be moles amongst their town people and kinsmen not do so. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu used this method, albeit with some modifications, to almost win the Biafran civil war.  He was sabotaged, not from within Biafra, but from outside Biafra, specifically by Britain, America and some Western European countries who were then world powers scheming for the retention of their access to the crude oil resources of Nigeria.

The approach of our forefathers in dealing with internal sabotage is not a matter of infringement on freedom of association and a curb on the plurality in opinions because in all divergent opinions observed in all communities, there must always be one opinion carried by the majority of the people and any attempt by any member of that community to sabotage such common opinion would naturally deprive that member the right to his own opinion to the extent of the damages which his actions could have caused his community. If his actions costs lives to his community, it must be tooth for tat.

This is a perfect natural law in the spirit of the Igbo adage ‘Obiara egbum, gbuo onwe ya’ (literally interpreted, meaning, ‘Back to Sender’).  The limited space here will not permit me to expatriate on this natural law.

Finally, the activities of the security organization called EBUBEAGU as read in the media shows bias against the wishes and aspirations of the Igbos. Though it was said to have been established to protect the people of the South Eastern Nigeria, it looks nihilist in nature with all the semblances of another defunct nihilist organization in history. That organization is the GESTAPO (Secret Police) of Adolf Hitlar, which not only harmed the Jews, but also harmed German citizens that it was established to protect during the Second World War.

Adolf Hitler, the Austrian born German politician (April 20th 1889 – April 30th 1945) was an anti-social element and nihilist. He was the immediate and most conspicuous single factor responsible for the carnage that was the Second World War when he invaded Poland in September, 1939. Immediately after that invasion, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, and this marked the beginning of the Second World War that consumed 50million inhabitants of the earth, excluding those who died without record, of hunger and disease.

The sure, final path of nihilists like Adolf Hitlar and whosoever they may be in Igbo land, (which sure path must be a good reason for them to immediately disengage themselves from all manner of nihilist activities against the Igbos) is that after causing mayhem to their communities and environments, the very obsession that drove them to anti-social activities also, inevitably drive them to their sudden deaths.  Hated even in death as in life by the people they oppressed and suppressed, they leave the world miserably in a manner observed by Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) in the first stanza of his popular poem (‘The Lay of the Last Minstrel’: Canto Sixth; 1805), thus:

“Breaths there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath never within him burn’d,

As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,

From wandering on a foreign strand!

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power and pelf,

The wretch, concentered all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from where he sprung

Unwept, unhonour’d and unsung”.


For: Global Upfront Newspapers


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