By: Ifeoluwa Kayode-Dada

“Arise o compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey” is what we chant from day to day. Unfortunately, Balogun hears “Yoruba’s call obey”, Danjuma hears “Hausa’s call obey” and Uchenna hears “Ndi Igbo’s call obey” (if you just slot in your tribe you are part of the problem). 

Nigeria is a country-home to over 250 tribes and over 200,000,000,000 (two hundred million) stereotypes about each tribe. A brief history of Nigeria paints the picture of various tribes as monoliths forced into a unity of convenience by the imperialists. Little wonder, that the Nigerian society still functions in this light decades after independence.

In the wake of agitations from various tribes for secession and clamor for the zoning of the presidential seat to the south east, it is important that we delve into the root of the crisis, properly diagnose the problem and give adequate prescription to tackle it.

It is evident that our country Nigeria is ill and exhibiting certain symptoms which are alarmingly similar to the symptoms of the disease “tribalism”.  

These symptoms include:

  1. The paralysis of the federal character principle in the assigning of posts in various agencies (word on the street is every minister’s name is either Ahmed or Ali). 
  2. The cancer of hate and systemic nepotism. (Apparently some landlords won’t admit Edo tenants into their house because Edo people fly at night).
  3. The arthritis of federalism. (Every tribe wants to secede now, but some plans are better thought out than others. The proposed flags show that seemingly only the Biafra people are serious).
  4. The cataract in the eyes of justice. (Tribal marks should be added to the face of our lady of justice since some persons can’t be tried for corruption).
  5. The inflammation in the eyes of the public during the election process (Apparently, a candidate’s tribe is more important than his/her credibility, it’s his/her tribal marks that will be used to rule the nation).   

Before an official diagnosis, it is important to look into the lifestyle of the patient to give an accurate diagnosis. Our patient, Nigeria since inception, has been living with this aliment undiagnosed and it has only gotten worse ever since.            

From the forceful merger by the colonial masters in 1914 to the civil war, even the nature of politics at the time with the establishment of tribe-based political parties (Action Group, Northern People’s Congress, National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons), it is evident that tribalism is a virus that has always lived with us nevertheless we have to treat this aliment and bandage our cuts. 

These cuts run decades deep as bulk of these stereotypes are based on past events, generalizations, misdirected hate, taught and passed down negative perspectives. Truly, there are parallels in behavior of people in every family or tribe but this doesn’t justify the hate fueled generalizations. 

A better approach would be to view the diversity of ethnicities in one country as a big family including siblings, uncles and aunties with different personalities, that would be the true unity in diversity. 

PRESCRIPTION FROM THE DOCTORS DESK

  1. Tolerance: Take one pill once every eight hours in case they want to test you. 
  2. Understanding: Take once every day, you will need it. 
  3. The injection of unbias: One in the morning and at night to keep those stereotypes away.
  4. The eye drop of proper judgment: To help you see qualification above tribe.
  5. The balm of Gilead: Every hour to heal our nation from past wounds.
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