***Before I begin this post. I want everybody here to do something to arrest the problem I am speaking about using whatever method God has blessed them with*** When we all use our talents to shake the table, gradually it will weaken and fall.
A month back I wrote about Religion the senior brother of Nigeria’s problem family and I promised to write about religions junior brother Tribalism. Just this week Tribalism rose again and made a big statement in Plateau State my home and I was really pained by what happened. A group of cattle Rearers going under the name of Miyetti Allah fearlessly killing off hundreds of people and boldly claiming responsibility for it stating the cause as the killing of some of their cows.
As the carnage continued and my people cried out. I also noticed some things. One was that most people in the West and Eastern part of the country weren’t even bothered about what was really happening – they made the social media posts but deep down they didn’t even bother and almost sarcastically I sang to myself, “One Nation bound in freedom, Peace and Unity”. A brief word for them is remember it takes just a night bus from Jos to Lagos.
Whenever I have tried to explain Nigeria’s
ethnicity problem one of the questions I’m hit with is how it all started and I want to give an answer to that before I start. Nigeria is a one of a kind country with more than 248 ethnic groups joined together in one federation, grouped under different numbers of states at first till we arrived at the current 36 and ruled by one sovereign leader. Before I progress imagine putting just 248 people (women not even men with their ego) together in one room and having the responsibility to group them and select a leader – how would you do it?
Nigeria went through a forced marriage. Yes forced marriage. Basic history would tell you before 1914 there was no Nigeria in fact before 1900 there was no Northern and Southern Protectorate. Britain gradually conquered and subdued different tribes and ethnic groups at different times but there was no effective leadership. In 1885/1886 the European nations held the Berlin Conference probably one of the most annoying things I have read in history. In Berlin, Germany European Nations drew an African map and divided the territories amongst themselves. The rule was after claiming a territory you had to embark on effective occupation of the territory. And that was what brought about the two protectorates in 1900. In 1914, due to financial pressures (onset of World War and other factors) and other issues, Great Britain (notice this is the first time I used great and I did it sarcastically) decided to amalgamate the Northern and Southern Protectorate to form Nigeria. The British knew and wrote and recorded that they knew the ethnic groups didn’t do too well with each other but they would try to create a cohesive before eventual independence.
The fact I’m writing this attests to the fact that they didn’t fulfil this promise and with no shame they even let Oga’s side chick (abi concubine) to name us (maybe that’s why we have problems. Just joking).
So that is how we came together. Now what I am going to say is very important. We were forced into Marriage in 1914 (and later the Great! Played a role in our present political crisis but that’s another story for another day) and yes it was wrong but what help would it be to us if we continue to blame The Union Jack? We have to find a way to make things work and work together.
I want everybody reading this to know that before you are Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Idoma, Tiv, Ijaw, Ngas, Mhaughavul, Tarok, Berom, Ibibio, Anaguta, Bura, Higgi, FULANI, and whatever your tribe is called, you are first of all NIGERIAN.
That is the first solution to our problems to know that we are first of all Nigerians.
Last year I was at TedX Rayfield Jos and one of the speakers, an International Journalist from Numan Adamawa, Abdulrazaque Bello said something striking. He was mourning a recent attack in Numan and in the course of his talk he said,
“We are all products of Incidence”.
I am Christian from Kanke in Plateau state, you are Igbo from Enugu State and you are Fulani all by incident. God created all of us and placed us in different places for different reasons only he knows. I didn’t choose to be Ngas in the womb, you didn’t choose to be Igbo or Yoruba or whatever tribe. So why all the hate? If there was pre-birth baby world and we had biffs there it would be understandable that we bring it with us but there is nothing like that. Abdulrazaque said something else, “The only Global War is in your head” When you make peace with everybody in your mind you would act like that.
I know Nigeria’s problems are deeper than this and the wounds are deep. I know revolution is imminent. I know all these things but allow me to wish for a moment that we will all accept one another and remember that we are what we are by chance. I wish we would learn to love one another. I wish that what happens in Jos pains and drives those in Enugu and Akure to cry (not only when their friends in Jos are affected) I wish and I wish and I dream that we can sing “Peace and Unity”.
Ethnicity must fall for Nigeria to move forward. We are brothers. Let’s act like it. I rarely listen to Nigerian music (for obvious reasons) but last year Airtel released an advert with a song tagged “One Trybe”. Somewhere in the song it says, “No matter where you come from, we go dey like One Trybe”. No need to worry cause I go dey by your side”.
That is the prayer for Nigeria.