The Igbos And US Politics, By Christopher Aniedobe
The US is home to about 1.5 million first generation Igbos and roughly 4 million second generation Igbos who will someday change the political landscape of America.
The Igbos have been here before. From Olaudah Equiano to Paul Robeson, the Igbo hypersense of substantial justice never ceases to stir the pot of social injustice. Igbo slaves left an indelible history of resistance that slave owners are all too aware.
Joining the descendants of Igbo slaves are the recent wave of Igbos who have been economically and politically displaced from their homeland. Yet they reside in America with that innate sense of irrepressibility that in only 30 short years ahead, they stand to tower as a highly potent demographic that cannot be ignored in US politics.
Many Igbos in America pitch their tent with the Democratic party because they believe that the Democrats are more civil rights friendly than Republicans. Most immigrants so believe and the ranks of the Democratic party swell steadily with immigrants at a rate that is beginning to pose existential concerns for the Republican party.
But as far as contemporary Igbo issues and US politics, there is some history that cannot be ignored. Fifty two odd years ago, President Nixon and the Republican Party maintained “neutrality” as Biafran genocide raged and millions of South Eastern Nigerians, mostly Igbos, were wiped out in a most gruesome display of tribal hatred.
Nixon wasn’t neutral. He was pursuing US interest to give aid and comfort to a key ally, namely Britain, whose primary interest was to protect her colonial dividends even if that meant wiping out an entire race of Africans.
Sadly the killing of mostly Christian Igbos abated but never really stopped. In recent years, it has taken frightening dimensions propelled again by Western interest to exclude the Igbos from the corridors of power in Nigeria. Rather than an all out civil war, the recent persecution of the Igbos of Nigeria comes in the form of organized terrorist groups and state backed ethnic militia.
The Igbo homeland is again under siege by deadly and determined foes who have not hidden their intentions to use every means at their disposal to permanently suppress them. The Igbos are again living in severe apprehension of another genocide.
Sadly, just like their Republican counterparts under Nixon, the Democratic party under President Obama worked assiduously to again promote the interest of the British government in seeing that the Igbos continue to be excluded from power in Nigeria.