Expecting ‘blind loyalty’ from a full-blooded Igbo man is like hoping a snake will give birth to a goat – it is impossible. The Igbo man can be loyal to a point for a particular length of time, but never expect from him the blind type of loyalty – the type that does not afford him a brain, conscience, and purpose of his own.
We were not designed that way, both genetically and mentally. The Igbo man remains the most Republican being ever created. He believes in his ability to forge his own future and destiny irrespective of who his mentor or master is.
And so, after a while of learning from his master, he tends to display certain characters of assertive-rebellion, which is just his own way of saying: “I think its time for me to be a master of my own.”
And at this point, any action on the part of the master to keep him longer beyond his wish, or subjugate him to harsh realities for trying to be his own man, would result to stern resistance and might end up fracturing the relationship.
This is evident in the apprenticeship scheme of Ndi Igbo, in which a young boy is taken by a man to be trained and to serve the man. It lasts for a maximum of 6years. And evidence has shown that any attempt to prolong this tenure by any master is met with great resistance and stubbornness.
This being because, at this point, the young man has learned all he should know and feels its time for him to take his destiny into his hands. This rebellion is not entirely disloyalty but only his true human nature as an Igbo man.
This could also be seen in politics and governance where a political godfather after training a young politician might one day be at loggerheads with his one-time political apprentice.
So when I hear some people complain that their “boy” woke up one morning and started wanting a certain degree of freedom, and how that is bad, and how it means that the ‘personal assistant’ is disrespectful or disloyal; I just smile at them because they do not understand the Republican nature of an average Igbo man and how his mind is wired.
Please, when you mentor and coach an Igbo man, have it at the back of your mind that you are training your future competition – nothing more nothing less. And in Igbo land, healthy competition is what has driven our economy and social prosperity for hundreds of years – it is normal for us. An Igbo man will respect you as his mentor but he won’t be at your beck and call to do your bidding all his life – No he can’t.
Article was written By Chuka Nduneseokwu