SEQUESTRATING IGBO MONEY IN AMERICA FOR WHAT PURPOSES?
Igbos love titles, degrees, and wooden plaques. Igbos have more fake Kings, fake Chiefs, fake Doctors, and fake Professors per capita than any other indigenous people in the world. Igbos in America are the most fragmented of all the immigrant groups in America. Why? If you head a mushroom Igbo provincial organization, it is quite an achievement, an epitome of your civic attainment. People call you “Presido” at public functions, and such is the fierce competition to head one of these organizations that you will think that a Nobel Prize comes with it.
Individuals who lose in the rat race to head any of these organizations will allege an imaginary injustice being perpetrated by the present organization. The obvious remedy is that the loser ends up creating another mushroom organization and becomes its founder and president. The title “founder” is highly coveted. Ludicrously, one day there will be a founding president of “Organization of Igbos Who Eat Breakfast Every day.” Consequently, if you find one Igbo Organization in any jurisdiction in America, there must be many others. Some jurisdictions, such as Houston, Texas, may have as many as 200 distinct Igbo organizations.
Africastallestman will not be writing this piece if these organizations quietly exist in the social sphere. These organizations usually go on begging sprees, or if you are charitable, fundraising schemes whose sole purpose is to sequester private money into public (association) pockets. They hold annual and biennial galas solely for soliciting money from unsuspecting Igbos under the guise of advancing the public good. Popular themes include “a chicken in every pot,” “health for all,” and “a computer in every home.” These donations, which are tax deductible to the donor, are kept in the various associations’ accounts. This is an invitation to fraud. There are documented cases of large sums of money disappearing into the air. These organizations can boast of not even a single sustainable project in the Igbo homeland or in America.
Igbos with disposable incomes are better off donating to existing charities in Nigeria, giving to relatives in Nigeria, starting their own charities, or donating to American charities. Your money earning between zero and two percent (0% – 2% in your associations’ bank accounts is an irresponsible fiduciary policy. The applause, plaques, and honor at Igbo public events that herald your donation end at the event. You are just another Igbo mumu and mugu who is being used by her/his own people. Your wooden plaque may find better use as firewood to prevent more deforestation.
These organizations should exist as a social escape vent for the frustrations of life in America and not as fundraising vehicles. Recognition by your myopic, sycophantic, and fraudulent peers at public fund-raising events does not enhance your standing in the larger American society.
Successful charitable organizations access money from the government and bigger foundations. They do not depend on fundraising from their members, most of whom need assistance. The much-vaunted Igbo intelligence should be applied to grant writing and not intracommunity fundraising for dubious purposes.
“A word is not enough for the fool” – Chidiogo.