The recent description of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB and Igboland as ‘a dot in a circle’ and ‘landlocked’ by President Muhammadu Buhari has once again re-ignited the Igbo spirit towards ‘where rains began to beat them’.
Since these phrase and word birthed, every Igbo man seems to be interrogating their meanings, both from academic and layman’s perspectives. The de-construction has become an all-comers’ affair.
Some okada and keke operators are planning to use the coinage on their plate numbers ‘for the fun of it’, quoting them.
One of them, Chike Osu, in Awka, said, “I’ll soon launch the plate numbers bearing ‘a dot in a circle’. That is the best brand of a typical Igbo man. We should learn from it.”
A keke rider was seen in Abakaliki hanging ‘I operate in a dot’ on his rear glass. He could not be ‘captured’ to explain what he meant, but it won’t be far from ‘operating in a small Igboland’.
Already, there are branded shirts online bearing ‘a bu me onye dot’, meaning ‘I’m from dot’. Time shall prove how soon ‘dot’ will turn to a proper noun.
The average understanding is that Mr President used a figurative expression called synecdoche—taking a part (IPOB) for a whole (Igboland).
Igbo learned men have also interrogated the president’s expressions, re-echoing how Ndigbo deconstructed the mantra that ‘only the victor write their history’. Facts show that core literatures of the Nigerian civil war are products of Ndigbo that were defeated.
One Dr E. Edeoga posted, “The president may be right in his categorization of Igboland as a dot, but let someone remind him that this dot in a circle is our home. It is the land handed over to us by our ancestors long before Nigeria was conceived.
“This dot in a circle gave birth to Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odumegwu Ojukwu, Alex Ekwueme, Michael Okpara, Dennis Osadebe, Akanu Ibiam… Olaudah Equiano, Chinua Achebe, Chris Okigbo, Flora Nwapa, Chimamanda Adichie… Kenneth Dike, Elizabeth Isichei, Alvan Ikoku, Frank Ndili…
“Ifeajuna, Dick Tiger, Christian Chukwu, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay Jay Okocha, Chioma Ajunwa, Innocent Egbunike. This dot in a circle has the highest literacy rate in Nigeria, the highest per capita income, the highest percentage of graduates in all fields of learning and the highest concentration of entrepreneurs in the whole of Africa.
“Igboland may be a dot in a circle but it has endured and thrived from antiquity and despite the present challenges will endure till the end of time. We value this dot for it represents our past, present and future.”
Legal giant Aloy Ejimakor geographically established that Igboland has external links to the Atlantic Ocean .
He wrote, “As it stands, international law of the sea guarantees Igboland (whether it remains Nigerian territory or not) unhindered access to the nearest sea (in this case: the Atlantic) peacefully through any of the various short-distance rivers, waterways and tributaries that originated from Igboland but ultimately washed into the Atlantic through contiguous South-South territories.
“For avoidance of doubt, there’s particularly the Obuaku confluence in Ukwa West (Abia State) that flows through greater Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State before expanding out and washing into the near-reaches of the Atlantic. And the River Niger which ultimately joined the Atlantic through a vast network of hardly explored creeks and mangrove swamps that abut the Bight of Biafra (officially corrupted to Bight of Bonny, after the War).”
In a reaction, Dr Tony Maduka, a lecturer, said, “My response to Buhari’s expression is to quote Achebe’s popular statement that, ‘He who does not know where rains began to beat him will not know where he dried his body’.”