After 1970, it seemed as if we, Igbos, were finished as a people. We were down but not out because we still had Omenana which Chukwu gave our ancestors at Mt Sinai. By 1978, many parts of Aba, Onitsha, Owerri, and Enugu, were looking like European cities, and Igbo businessmen had fanned out all over Africa, and Asia. There was a major air highway which connected Nnewi, and Japan, for auto spare-parts, and Thailand and Onitsha, for textiles.
Then that old enemy; the temptation to leave Omenana, and Chukwu, struck again. False doctrines from other lands filled Igboland, and Igbo communities. Igbos followed false doctrines. A people that celebrated working hard and thinking hard began to drop the duo, and began to pray hard. Decline set in, and accelerated. Woes in all forms began to descend on Igbos. Politically Igbos became the whipping boys of Nigerians. The great businesses which Igbos built after the Catastrophe of 1966-1970 all collapsed and the children of the builders retired to be unknowns in Western countries. Igbo gems (women) began to be seen where they were not seen before Igbo contact with “Western civilization.”
As Igbo suffering increased, the people groaned and cried, even though they were in error. Even though they had abandoned Chukwu, and Omenana, and followed vain things, He heard the groaning and cries of His people. Afterall no parent abandons a child.
Chukwu still grants miracles to His people. 20 years ago, a few Igbos braved the odds, and began to study Omenana which is the only path which would keep Igbos as a nation connected to Chukwu, and to call other Igbos to return to it. They preached, taught, cried, published, and gradually many of their brethren began to listen. Every day those willing to listen increase in number.
Again, Igbo future looks bright!
Remy Ilona, who is at University of California, Riverside, is author of “The Igbos And Israel: An Inter-cultural Study of the Largest Israelite Diaspora”