The Igbo nation is one of the three largest ethnic nationalities that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria which was created by the British Colonial Administration in 1914. The Igbo nation has an estimated population of about 150 million people world-wide. Her citizens are highly cosmopolitan and are found in every nook and cranny of the world. Outside Igboland and within the Nigerian Federation, the Igbos are second in population after the native population in other parts of Nigeria. They occupy all of the South-East, most of the South-South and occupy a significant part of the Middle Belt Region.
National Character. Ndigbo are basically democratic and egalitarian in their socio-cultural philosophy; with a highly intellectual, religious, industrious and entrepreneurial spirit. There is more Igbo investment in the rest of Nigeria than inside Igbo-land. They are among the few, if not the only African society, that worshipped the Supreme God before the coming of Christianity. At the present, she has over 90% Christian population.
World-Class Citizens. The citizens of Igbo nation were in the forefront of African nationalism and led the struggle for Nigeria’s independence. She has produced world-renowned citizens in the various ﬁelds of human endeavour. Some of these include Olaudah Equiano, the great ex-slave writer and slave abolitionist crusader; Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, historically regarded as the doyen of African nationalism; Chinua Achebe, the author of the epic novel, Things Fall Apart, the father of African literature and one of the greatest writers in the contemporary world; Philip Emeagwali, one of the world-acclaimed pioneers in the development of the internet; Sir Akanu Ibiam, the one-time President of the World Council of Churches; Cardinal Arinze, one of the leading Catholic Cardinals in contemporary times.
• The British Amalgamation of 1914 And the Emergence of a Crisis ridden Country. The Federation which resulted from the British amalgamation in 1914 produced a highly crisis-and corruption-ridden country, endemic absence of basic human rights, with the Igbos being the major victims in the series of political, religious and ethnic riots that have be-devilled the Nigerian Federation since its formation.
• Incursion of the Military in Nigerian politics. The high-point of the instability of the Nigerian Federation came in the wake of the military coups of 1966 and the series of massacre of Igbo civilians and military ofﬁcers in different parts of Nigeria. The initial coup was staged by young army ofﬁcers with the aim of installing Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a Yoruba chieftain, as Prime Minister of Nigeria. What followed after the failure of that coup was one of the worst cases of holocaust in human history. Finding lives unsafe in other parts of Nigeria, the Igbo returned to their territory to build a home of their own only to face the further annihilation and holocaust during the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967-70.
• The Nigeria-Biafra War. The Nigeria-Biafra War of 1970 claimed over 3 million Igbo lives in an unprecedented genocide in human history; the destruction of enormous material resources belonging to the Igbos in different parts of Nigeria, great devastation of Igbo-land and the rest of the former Eastern Nigeria. Apart from the genocidal experience, there was deliberate dismembering of the Igbo territory, with the core sectors of Igbo-land land-locked and economically made prostrate.
There is an obvious conspiracy among the victorious parties in the war to continue to repress and hold down the Igbos and keep them politically irrelevant in the affairs of the Nigeria Federation.
• Current pressures and challenges of physical and economic survival. There has been problem of Igbo integration in Nigeria made more acute since the end of the war. With the emergence of Islamic insurgencies in Nigeria and the campaign to islamize Nigeria, the Igbos and Christians have been the major victims in the Boko Haram attacks on churches, markets motor parks and other public institutions.
The economic deprivations of Igbo citizens and region as well as ofﬁcially undeclared war against Igbo businesses have given rise to kidnappings and other social vices which compound the economic and social problems in the region. What is referred to as The Igbo Question in Nigeria is about the cumulative horrendous experiences of the Igbo nation and the present second-class status of her membership of the Nigerian Federation since the amalgamation of 1914. The Igbo nation incurred the wrath of the British colonial authorities because her citizens led the struggle for the emancipation of Nigeria from colonial rule – from the resistance to British penetration of the territories t the beginning of the last century, to the Aba Women’s Riot of 1929 and the leadership role of Igbo leaders in the struggle for the independence of the Nigerian Federation. Thus further punishment for her citizens for their role in the anti-colonial struggle, the British made sure that the Igbo were crippled politically and incited the other nationalities against them.