Why Igbos need to make friends with Northerners. By Caleb Onyeabor

Of all the tributes poured on the late Abba Kyari, that of the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama stands out. This is a story of friendship and loyalty shared among two men from two different regions antagonistic of each other.
The part where Geoffrey, an Igbo Christian made Abba Kyari, a northern Muslim, his best man during his wedding got me straight to the heart. This shows that the prevalent propaganda of hatred by Igbos against northerners and northerners against Igbos is an architect of selfish politicians pursuing selfish ambitions.
In the 1960s, Ojukwu and the emir of Kano shared the same bond that Onyeama shared with Abba Kyari. Ojukwu would have been killed during the first coup but was saved by the emir. The bond was so strong that even in the middle of the Biafran war, he made the then emir of kano, the chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
There are a lot of successful Igbo men who cannot take away the great part played by their friends in the North. I know of an Igbo man whose best friend, a Kanuri man, helped him collect the rent in all his houses for the three years he was away during the war and remitted every single kobo back to him when the war was over. I have heard of stories of northern men who put their lives at risk saving their Igbo friends and vice versa. Having being born and brought up in the North, some of my closest friends are northerners and they are among the most amazing people in my life.
Geoffrey Onyeama’s tribute confirms that the antagonism is artificial. Do not let the propaganda fostered on you by selfish leaders rob you of having great relationships with people. Dear Igbos, get yourself a friend from the North. A good friend is better than a bad brother.
Caleb Onyeabor writes from Enugu. Connect on Twitter using this link twitter.com/Caleb_onyeabor

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