A lot of Nigerians like to travel abroad on vacation, to study, for medical reasons and what not. Matter of fact, so many Nigerians fancy living abroad (sometimes, even if it means having to do the ‘unmentionable’ jobs *coughs*). But for what ever reason we find ourselves abroad, we tend to receive (±accept) the tradition, lifestyle and religious practices of the people in the country we visit, almost without being judgemental, sometimes their ways seem to fascinate us. We tend to have some sort of understanding and respect for other people’s ways and not make any big deal out of it. My thoughts are….”Why can’t we have the same respect & understanding for each other’s religious beliefs and cultural practices in Nigeria?”.
Now when you talk about Nigeria, you’re talking about a Nation that developed from different Kingdoms,’Chief-doms’ & Emirates(+more) into one Country. With different religious practices(Islam, Christianity and Traditional religions), over 500 different languages/dialects and cultural/ethnic practices, sometimes it’s overwhelming to think that we have such diversity yet we are “united” as one Country. But hey let’s get over ourselves because U.S.A comprises people from not just different tribes or religion, but people from different races, yet united they stand too(there’s disparity in comparison here,iKnow right?!…I’m just saying).
Going a bit personal, since childhood, i’ve travelled to different parts of Nigeria, to see relations or family friends, and sometimes iJust tag along with my mum for one seminar/workshop or the other. I’ve lived ± schooled in 4 different states in Nigeria, and also been to over 25 states( you can blame all that on my nomadic nature LOL). Anyway, each experience has been enlightening and interesting, because iGot to learn a lot about other traditions, cultures and ways of life that are different from the one iGrew up with( and oh, I’m Hausa/Fulani by the way). All that also made me more appreciative, more understanding and respectful of other people’s way of life, and as a result it became a lot easier for me to associate with people from other tribes in school and social gatherings(errm even at home,my Mum had/has friends from different tribes + religion). iNotice that Nigerians tend to associate or hang around people from their Tribe/Religion more than they do with people that aren’t (nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn’t always be so). One major thing i’ve come to realise about so many Nigerians(educated or otherwise) is that their lack of meeting or living with people from other tribes/culture makes them have a negative notion or mindset about those people. They tend to have a negative expectation and conclusion without even having a chance to know them better(iMean, how close-minded can we be?!). Really, it’s surprising that this behaviour or trait is something i’ve seen in even one of my Professors in University.(mentioning his name would mean my funeral *lips sealed*).
There are different instances where people thought wrong or badly about the other Tribe/State only to have a different positive view or interest after having contact with a person different from their tribe and in other cases, after visiting the other person’s place of domicile. What I’m trying to say is, although i know that resentment and cold-shoulder towards people that are different from us ( by religion tribe or race) is somehow human nature (and it’s not peculiar to Nigeria alone), however other Nations live with it and thus focus on the collective good of their country.
Sometime in 2011, when the issue of the-group-that-must-not-be mentioned was at the peak, with all the bombings and killing, the thought of Nigeria splitting actually crossed my mind. Believe me, iDint have such thoughts with malice or bad intention, but iJust thought maybe, just maybe if we separate, it would serve as some sort of lesson to make us actually realise how important we are to each other. It would be an awakening when we suffer from the loss of what we all benefit from one another and then we would begin to appreciate one another afterwards. But then again iThought a lot of people have built houses, business empires in different states all over Nigeria, people from different tribes marry one another in this country, we do business dealings and share each others natural resources, we would lose our sovereignty, and it would take us a great deal of years to get back on our feet. So separation will do us more harm than good, and iThink we should look for other ways to resolve out differences and learn to live in unity.
Basically, we need to know and LEARN that this country is not just for one tribe/religious group alone, and the earlier we accept, respect and understand each other the more closer to achieving a better Nation we are going to be. We need to flush out that mentality of “My tribe is superior to yours” , the mentality of “Your religion or cultural practices are repugnant”, the thought that “if so and so is not from my tribe or religion then i can’t hire him or offer him a job”. So many Nigerians would rather vote for an imcompetent person from their place and suffer the consequences than vote for someone who merits a post/position. That thought of “this candidate is not from my place so iWont vote for him” needs to be eradicated. It may be hard, but we need to do away with all these and affiliated mind-sets.
Nigeria is a country that is endowed with strong, smart, hardworking, resilient, industrious, die hard and creative people. Let’s redirect all our energy to uniting as one, loving one another, and ourselves so much so that all we seek is to make this Nation a better, united, peaceful and productive Country. It’s not impossible to achieve, if only you and i put our minds to do it. Our diversity should be an advantage instead of a reason for so much disunity.
God has already blessed Nigeria with “You” (all nigerians) now it’s up to “you”(+i) to be a blessing to Nigeria.
:::Rise Above Tribalism, Resentment, Corruption and any Negativity, then watch how we soar into a better future:::