The Nurnberg Chronicles

By Ikenga Chronicles August 21, 2019

The Nurnberg Chronicles

–Onyemaechi Ogbunwezeh

  1. On this City of Cities!

On Saturday the 17th of August, 2019, Ndiigbo all over Germany trooped to Nurnberg, in the Southern part of Germany, at the invitation of the Ndiigbo Germany (NIG), the umbrella organization for all Igbos in Germany, for their annual Iri Ji Festival. The maiden edition took place in Frankfurt. Nurnberg agreed to host this year’s event, to the delight of Ndiigbo all over Germany. Many guests were invited, including guests from Nigeria-traditional rulers, industrialists, politicians, and intellectuals of Igbo origin.

All roads for the Igbo on this day, led to Germany.

Germany is a country in the heart of Europe. Her neighbors in the north are Denmark and much of the North Sea, in the South; Switzerland and Liechtenstein; in the east, Poland, Czech Republic and Austria; and in the West; Netherlands and Belgium. She is the greatest economy in the European continent, and one of the leading economies in the world. The country has seen a lot of historical turbulence, and has been peaceful since 1945, after it lost a war that was a theatre of attrition and crimes against humanity. This country rose from the ashes of that dark night of history, with a resolve never again, to close its eyes, while human rights and the rights of man are trampled underfoot. To attain that, Germany undertook a radical analysis of that moment in her history. The Germans have never lost any opportunity to keep on reviewing their role in that episode and how to make historical amends for it. They were bent on propitiating the ghosts of those atrocity-spangled moments in their history. That is the country that hosted our sojourn and accepted many of us as her citizens. This country has provided many Igbos an essential platform to soar and prosper. Across all German major cities are Igbo communities, living their lives in peace with their neighbors and working to actualize their individual goals and objectives in a peaceful, prosperous Germany, while not forgetting Ani Igbo; our home, where we all came from.

As the day approached, many Igbo men here got out and cleaned their Ishiagu wears, and red fez or other caps that go with it. The Ishiagu dress, are those Chinese-made materials, emblazoned with the heads of lion, signifying a titled man in recent Igbo memory. It is not ancient. That explains why any Tom, Dick and Harry could buy and clad himself in it, without the corresponding title. It is now fashion and fashionable. But it looks really beautiful. Some others, who were titled, or who bought titles, or who imposed titles on themselves; all got out the various staff of the imaginary offices they claim to hold. Polished and readied them for their strut on that stage that Nurnberg promised to offer Ndiigbo on this day. Ndi Nze na Ozo got ready too. The women and children were not left out. We are having our New Yam festival, we all must look in our best on that day. And nothing is going to stop us.

Nurnberg here we come!

That was what was on the mind of many people, in the build up to that day.

Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria, as well as the 14th largest city in Germany, boasting a population of over 500,000 people. This city has been a site of great historical significance. This was where the Nazi party hoisted some of their greatest propaganda spectacles, which shuttled Adolf Hitler into the German Parliament as the Chancellor of Germany. This was the city where the Nuremberg laws were signed into law. Those laws were some of the most racist piece of legislation that underwrote the disinheritance of the Jews and scaffolded the genocide carried out against them by the Nazis. This was the city that hosted the spectacular advertisement of the Nazi concept of power, and its celebration of Aryan racial supremacy.

This city, in which a cosmic crime against humanity, which was the abomination of desolations inflicted on the Jews by the Nazis, was celebrated, saw also humanity’s attempt at a redress. It hosted humanity’s attempt at justice. It was in this city that the victorious allies brought Nazism to trial. It was in this city, that Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered one of the greatest benedictions of human reason to justice. In his opening statement to the International Military Tribunal, trying the Nazi war criminals; Justice Jackson’s address was a sublime detergent, deployed by human reason, enfeebled by the savage celebration of brutality, which war was, in an attempt to rinse the garments of human conscience off the collective guilt, which the Nazi war crimes afflicted our humanity with. On that occasion, humanity, speaking out its sighs through Justice Jackson, delivered what would stand as a great testament to reason, as well as a lighthouse to all those, in search of justice and its significance. He said as follows:

“The privilege of opening the first trial in history for crimes against the peace of the world imposes a grave responsibility. The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.”

It was unfortunately in this city, that over 70 years after this sublime admission of the supremacy of human reason, that some aggrieved members of the IPOB, in a rash obliviousness to history and significance, descended; flushed with the self-righteousness of their cause; stung with injury and disappointment; and instead of staying the hand of vengeance, to voluntarily and non-violently protest the wrong done them, or the injuries inflicted on their land and cause; went on a rampage, to manhandle a brother-guest, invited by their own people, to attend one of the most sacred ceremonies of their people, dedicated to their ancestral fertility goddess ihejioku!

In the Aniigbo, where all the participants came from, this is an ARU. You don’t desecrate this sacred festival with violence. Iri ji, or Ihejioku is a feast meant to thank and praise the Earth Mother, ANI, who is responsible for all fertility. This feast, like all harvest traditions all over the world, places premium and a sacred deference to hospitality. It is a thanksgiving feast for all that our Earth-Mother bestowed upon our community. It emphasizes the tradition of bounty and hospitality, just like the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur.

This was the sacred boundaries that those members of the IPOB tore to shreds on that day, by man-handling their own brother, who was INVITED as a guest to the occasion. It is only a fool, who does not know that his married sister comes to him as a guest. “O wu Onye Apari wu Onye amaghi shi, na Ada nne wu Obia.” Was this lost on the guys that attacked a guest they invited to a feast in deference to hospitality? We have a saying ‘O biara be onye abiagbuna ya. Ma o naba, mkpukpu apukwana ya na azu’- These are our cultural benedictions to hospitality, all of which the violence inflicted on Ike Ekweremmadu violated on the score of Igbo ethics and tradition, on that day.

The question then becomes: Are there conditions that would ever justify peddling violence in a foreign land; violating the sacred canons of Igbo tradition, all in bid to vent your anger, or exact vengeance, whether personal or political, on a political opponent? Are there unbearable moments, which could be pleaded as overriding all these pedestals of meaning and significance to justify the assault that Ike Ekweremmadu received in Germany at the hands of some discontented Nigerians?

  1. The Million Dollar Question

It was around 2.37 pm. I was on the microphone trying to call a rowdy hall to order. I have started recognizing the invited guests, and beckoning on some of the nominated ones to get to table of prominence, befitting the invitation extended to them.

We were already informed that Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohaneze Ndiigbo, would not be making it, as his visa did not get to him on time, from the German embassy in Nigeria. So, I was to side-step his name, and call on the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremmadu…
‘We now call upon our next guest, the former deputy senate president of Nigeria, Dr. Ike Ekweremmadu to please take his seat….

Go gather your yard people… Tori dey come!!!

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