Igbos Are Not Intolerant! – Onwuasonya FCC Jones

I am Onwuasoanya FCC Jones, I am Igbo Nigerian. I believe in one, united and equitable Nigeria.

...Igbos Are Not Intolerant

When you listen to some of my brothers and sisters speak or read their responses to some issues, you might be tempted to think that they are intolerant, but that’s far from who we are. Igbos are among the most tolerant set of people in Nigeria. Sometimes, we love those who are not Igbo, more than we love our fellow Igbos. Among my permanent staff, only one is Igbo from Mbaise. Others are Hausa, Fulani, Tiv and Idoma. Out of my nine permanent staff, only one is Igbo. Go round to Igbo investments and organizations you know, and you would find similar situations.

We are also very emotional and kind people. That is why when we are angry, we let you know our thoughts immediately, without having to harbour malice against you. When you hear or read my brothers ‘insult’ you, most times, it is because you insulted them or someone they love so much, first. It is more reciprocal than being aggressive.

Igbos do not consider any other tribe lower than us, we consider all tribes and people, equal and deserving of fair treatment from the Nigerian system. That is why we are frustrated with the ill-treatments being meted out to Northern minorities, as much as we are saddened about the marginalization of the Igbo.

We do not hate the Fulani nor are we in any kind of cold war with the Hausas. We do not have anything against the Yorubas. We are displeased with the atrocities of terrorist herdsmen, the same way the law abiding and hardworking Fulani cattle herder and farmer is displeased with the activities of the terrorist herdsmen and cattle rustlers. We embrace the industry and knowledgeability of the man from Ife, the same way we celebrate the literary prowess of the Nsukka man.

We are great travelers and traders, we do not keep enemies, we build friendships and bridges of brotherhood across tribes and religions. We mingle, and our mingling is mutually beneficial to all parties concerned.

So, when you hear or read some Igbo joke with you in a way you consider rude, don’t think, thar is the Igbo being himself, being intolerant or being egotistical. Know, that is one Igbo being himself or herself, just like we have the Fulani man who can be intolerant and the Yoruba who might be selfish. But, we understand that is not the Yoruba culture, that is just one Yoruba man behaving.

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