United States, Ndigbo Are Inseparable

Quite unfortunate how 77 young men who joined the fast lane will keep Nigerians busy in the next couple of days as America’s FBI synergizes with the EFCC in the bid to turn in some of these fast fingers.

Cybercrime is condemnable, it is the new face of inter-continental fraud. Just as we all condemn Taubman Goldie and his band of scammers who kidnapped our land in the past, we must also rise against our children who think this is payback time.

From the list released, most of the Yahoo millionaires bear Igbo names. This does not do Ndigbo any good because they have given so much to the United States and are also very much loved by the Americans.

I am not going to pretend about this. If Igbo land were colonized by America instead of  Britain, the world would have been importing so much from here. America is also home.

Nigeria’s first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was the first Nigerian to graduate from an American University. While others were journeying by sea to the United Kingdom to study, Zik chose the United States.

Let us look at the attachment. There is a large concentration of Ndigbo in the US. President of World Igbo Assembly, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, says:” the important thing to note is that four major groups founded America.

“They are the English, the Irish, the German and the Igbo. Half of African-Americans are Igbo people who were those kidnapped and taken into slavery.”

We must understand that while the ‘Mayflower’ ferried the Pilgrim Fathers from Europe to America in search of freedom of worship, the ‘Jesus’ took many blacks to American plantations. The Igbo wanted freedom and showed signs early enough.

In the State of Virginia, there is an Igbo village and museum. It was not set up by Dr Anakwenze who is the chairman, it was established by the government and he was tasked with the job of overseer.

So there is a very strong link between Ndigbo and Americans. Edward James Roye, the fifth president of Liberia was born in Newark Ohio, in 1815, to Igbo parents, before relocating to Monrovia.

Edward Wilmot Blyden, the great scholar and liberator were Igbo too. So was Paul Robeson, actor, singer and author. Today, we have great Americans like T.D. [Thomas Dexter] Jakes and Forest Whitaker, identifying their roots.

Whitaker took a flight to Nigeria and found home in Nkwerre, Imo State where he was honoured with the chieftaincy title of ‘Nwanne di na mba’ [sibling who lives away]. Danny Glover became ‘Enyioma’ [Good friend].

In Oklahoma, there is a town called Ada. In 1918, Evangelist Oral Roberts was born there. Ada is the Igbo word for first daughter. You will find Americans bearing that name even if it has a different meaning.

Ada Lunardoni was a member of the US gymnastics team to the Berlin ’36 Olympic Games. There is a place in Nebraska, called Omaha. It is also the name of AIT Reporter, Ngozi Omaha.

When Dr. Sam Mbakwe wanted to establish the Imo State University he sought technical assistance from Nebraska. That was before Gen. Ike Nwachukwu moved the permanent site to Abia State.

Americans also bear Ike. President Dwight David Eisenhower was known as Ike. Another Ike married pop star, Tina Turner.

The connection is deep. Theophilus Uzochukwu Chukwuemeka Okonkwo left his Canadian university in 1955 to study at Patrice Lumumba Friendship University, Moscow. The Soviets tagged him American spy and expelled the young man.

Biafran Foreign minister, Mathew Tawo Mbu, said the United States loved Biafra but could not do much. I guess they did not want to hurt the British.

Some Americans showed affection. Bruce Mayrock, 20, set himself ablaze at the United Nations on May 30, 1968, to draw attention to the genocide in Biafra. He could have been saved by the fire service but the man chose to die for Biafra.

On June 30, 1969, August Harvey Martin, died at the Uli Airport when his aircraft bringing food and relief materials ran into a rainstorm. He defied air and ground attacks by the Nigerian military.

In Illinois, there is respect for Biafra, thanks to Chima Enyia who began as an intern with Pat Quinn and got Governor Bruce Rauner to issue an official statement in remembrance of the crisis.

More positive things are happening. From Austin Esogbue, the first African employee of NASA, to Kimberly Anyadike, who at 15, in 2010, became the youngest black female to fly solo across the US, there is good news.

Chinedu Echeruo and Tobenna  Arodiogbu are making clean money and employing Americans. In entertainment, there are Emmy Award-winning actress, Uzoamaka Nwanneka Aduba, Tyler Okonma and Jidenna.

In sports, it is a success story. Azuka Habour left Enugu Rangers in 1982, by 1991 he was the American professional soccer leading scorer. From Maryland Bays, he joined Tampa Bay Rowdies in 1992.

Habour ended the season as top scorer with 13 goals. He played for the US national team at Saudi 1992. After him came Oguchialu Chilioke Onyewu who played at the Germany 2006 World Cup.

Maurice Edu played against Nigeria at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Chioma Ubobagu faced the Falconets at the female Under -20 championships, Japan 2012. Nnemkadi Ogwumike helped defeat D’ Tigress last year in Tenerife.

Chinwoke Mbadinuju, yes, the ex-governor, played football for America in 1969 while at New York State University. Junior players include Amechi Igwe, son of ‘World Two’ Tony Igwe, Amechi Anugu, Mathew Okoh and Ike Opara.

In basketball, you will find Emeka Okafor and Chinanu Onuaku who captained the US   to gold at the FIBA Under-19 championship, Greece 2015.

Prominent athletes include Courtney Okolo, Barbara Nwaba, Amarachi Ukabam, Jessica Onyepunuka, Jennifer Madu and Keturah Orji.

Glory Asumnu and Emerald Egwim pledged allegiance to Nigeria after competing for America while Christie Opara-Thompson did the opposite.

Claudia Anyaso caps it all. She is American, got married to an Igbo. In 1986, Claudia was at United States Information Service, Lagos. Over a decade after leaving Nigeria, she returned to the US Embassy in Abuja. Call it One love.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *