BY STEPHEN KENECHUKWU
Chimamanda Adichie, an award-winning author, says the Igbo people can’t unite towards selecting a Nigerian president — in what appears to be a dig at the “terrible leadership in the southeast”.
She bared her thoughts about the now-defunct secessionist state of Biafra in a recent interview with Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, a television personality.
The 43-year-old writer said she fears her people won’t be able to unite politically should it come to selecting an Igbo president.
According to her, the Igbo people need to rethink how they strategise politically before talking about secession.
“There is no Biafra. There are new movements but, for me, it’s a question of being practical. Where would the border be? What is propelling these movements is a sense of marginalisation, which I think is completely valid,” she said.
“But this idea that the answer is independence is what I’m not convinced of. Nobody has made a logical case for me. Quite frankly, I’ve observed the terrible leadership that we have in the southeast (scoffs).
“Igbo people cannot unite if, for example, we say we want an Igbo president. And then we’re talking about Biafra. There is a lot of political work we need to do in the southeast.
“We need to do a lot of rethinking on how we strategise politically before we can talk about Biafra.”
Speaking of the status of the feminism movement in Nigeria with regards to the Igbo subculture, the novelist said that one of the things she battles with is what she termed the “misogynistic” tendencies of many cultural practices in the east.
“There are things I quarrel with, in Igbo culture. It’s misogynistic, as are many cultures. That’s the problem. The world is misogynistic. At my father’s funeral, they showed where the widow (my mother) would sit,” she explained.
“And they showed where the sons in the extended family (umunna) would sit. That’s where those coming would go to present whatever they bring. It’s the sons’. And that was the end. My father had three daughters.
“There was no place for them. I raised the question and a man in my umunna said we would have to loiter around. There’s a problem with that. There’s a woman who apparently is going to run for governor in Anambra state.
“I’m having a conversation with a group of people and what they’re saying is, ‘Can a woman rule Anambra?’ Do you need a dangling organ to rule a state? It’s hard enough for both and female politicians.
“But women have this additional problem of perception, a reason for which many people won’t vote them. Igbo culture is just not very good when it comes to gender. Culture as we have it are rules men made to benefit men.
“In my hometown, I seem to have this status of an ‘honorary man’ and that’s because of my achievements. People adapt when they see some benefits to it which means that it’s changeable. It’s engraved on the stones.”
Chimamanda had earlier put out a short story titled ‘Zikora‘. When quizzed on whether or not she’s writing a new novel, the author said: “I’m writing now. I write where I can. My life in the US is quieter.
“So I write when I’m in the US. I’m trying to write (a new book). It’s important for me to protect my writing time.
“What I can tell you is that, because of old age, I’m now a much slower writer. When I was 22, another writer used to say I was writing one story on one hand and another on the other hand.
“I was churning these things that they’ll tell me rest. But, now? Old age my God! I write a paragraph that I’m happy with, in a week. It’s that bad o. It doesn’t necessarily matter where I’m writing but what’s happening at the time.
“It matters that I have silence and space. Now that I’m a mother, it also matters that I feel comfortable about where my daughter is and whether or not she’s getting care.” (The Cable)