For the Love of Nigeria! Let’s Kick Out TribalismPosted on Monday, July 29th, 2013 at 9:06 AM
By Chinedu Nwogu
Tribalism is not just a state but also a way of life, that stem from a strong feeling of identity with and strong loyalty to one’s own tribe. As I have grown and matured through the years, I must say of all the problems plaguing my Dear country Nigeria I feel tribalism is one of the worst and I believe it is the father of almost every other problem in Nigeria.
I have chosen to address the problem tribalism because two to three years ago, it never really seemed like a serious issue. But, it’s beginning to be perpetuated by the youths in the younger generation both the educated and the uneducated on and off the social networks. In the fight against tribalism, I call on the government, the religious (Christian, Islamic and traditional) institutions and most importantly the family to help fight it. We need to fight tribalism for the benefit of Nigeria’s development economically, socially and politically and fight it fast because it seems more like a disease which when unattended leads to the death of its carrier.
In Nigeria, it seems like politics cannot be played without tribalism been involved-they go hand in hand. For most of the political parties seem to lean more to tribal lines and because we have a burly predispositions towards our tribesmen, eradicating tribalism using political tools is looking more and more like a mission impossible – Tribalism affects the unity of a nation in a way that the allegiance of to the nation is first given to the tribes. I love my tribe but I love my Nation more than any other thing. I see myself as a Nationalist as most of our founding fathers were, as opposed to a tribesman which does not benefit the nation. If every Nigerian either elected or selected into any office of power no matter how small decides to become more of a nationalist than tribalist then we as a people would be on the way to attaining victory over corruption.
No one is born a tribalist rather the idea of tribalism (consciously or unconsciously) is implanted in the head of a child by mostly both his parents and relatives. The family plays a huge role in the stereotyping of other tribes. Tribalism is passed onto children by words of the mouth even when in most cases; the statements are just a figment of our imaginations. So, by the time this children grow up they think tribe A are lazy, while tribe B practice juju a lot or tribe C are thieves. You have instances whereby they say tribe D have very possessive men while women in tribe E are not faithful and would disappear with your kids. A friend of mine once said he likes me as a brother but hates my tribe and I responded saying; If you hate what I represent then you hate me and how do you expect me to be comfortable with you without having the fear of been stereotyped. It is believed tribal parents cannot raise non-tribal children-I beg to differ! If truly you want to see this country move forward, kindly watch what you say to your children about other tribes because in your bid to do the right thing, you might just we spreading more ignorance… Thank you very much. The idea that since we have a couple of friends from other tribes who do not take our little tribalist comments seriously then it is not a big deal is wrong because word turn into actions and by the time we get into political offices then we might end up practicing fully fledged tribalism.
We all must work together keeping in mind how both the civil war and various military regimes set us backward. The same set of people who almost destroyed this country as military leaders are the same ones trying to come back to power. Why? No one has been able to give a far good enough legitimate reason as to why they want to return to power. Isn’t it obvious enough that there is still bad blood amongst them, no thanks to tribalism been a major factor and such can lead to the break-up of Nigeria. I am quite sure that our founding fathers who were true nationalists are not willing to see a divided Nigeria but as it seems, with more and more issues hitting up we can only hope and pray this problem doesn’t lead to an uncontrollable situation by the next general elections by the year 2015.
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code or morality that essentially states either of the following:
• (Positive form of Golden Rule): One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
• (Negative form of Golden Rule): One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (also known as the Silver Rule).
If only we can live by this rules the issue of tribalism would stop been an obstacle in the development of Nigeria.
“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.” – Chinua Achebe.
Photo Credit: cdc.gov