According to many fervent discussions, the Igbos are the lost tribe of Israel. Well, we Chiists have no qualms with people seeking to identify with any particular human family they choose to help them to celebrate this existence called life…we just reject the general application to all Igbos. The problem is that in clinging to this facetious argument for self deprecation , we enigmatically and unequivocally uplift someone else’s identity. We minimize the significance of our own existence and relevance in Nigeria. An Igbo Nigerian proverb states that a fool “Na akpa uka onye odo, onye odo amaghi nke ya akpa”…a fool tells other people’s stories but cannot tell HIS own, and consequently when others cannot tell his story… he becomes a blip in HISTORY
For those who claim Jewish heritage, go ahead and move your minds, mental and spiritual capital in that direction. The rest of us Igbos will continue to research to add to the existing knowledge we have that chronicles the journey of Igbos through the African continent. Not being definitive does not mean that we should journey toward an identity that does not fortify our African identity but instead characterizes us as insignificant in Nigeria, a platform for potential exploitation. Igbos are establishing synagogues not Obasi…Judaic communities not Ezi or Obi…Shalom for hello, not Ndewo… black and white Jewish attire not Igbo colorful Akwa or Okara.
A Jewish man from Israel proclaimed that he witnessed an undeniable sense of the Igbo’s Judaic communities with a deep and conspicuous longing for Jewish study and Jewish life…not Igbo life, JEWISH life! Our young Igbo youth have moved from the damage of Christian dogmatism to Jewish learning and knowledge. Meanwhile Igbos bury their traditions in the cultural graveyard of antiquity and allow the destruction of their sacred relics!
Igbos did not come up from tribes of Semites who traveled across the Sahara; an argument borne out of sentimental proclivities. Similarities with the Jewish people such as male circumcision, and business dispositions, do not mean that we came from the same gene pool!
Igbo history dates back earlier than the age being ballyhooed as the estimated epoch of the said Semitic tribes’ Saharan passage. Vestiges of customary and sacred items were dug-up years ago in Igbo Ukwu and Aguleri, Ohafia, Afikpo, Nkporo, Arochukwu etc. Some of these objects currently under exhibit at the Igbo Ukwu Museum date earlier!
We are unconditionally Igbo Nigerians…not Jewish…Not Israeli …NOT Semitic or anything else. When the Biafran Republic was acknowledged, it was an episode contiguous to the Nigerian Civil War ischemic in identity resonance, but Igbos on no account have and always shall be nothing else but Igbo…a badge we wear with honor!
Otito Nile Diri Chineke!