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Peculiar Okafor: Pawns in the Game



The last few months have been filled with lots of accusations, insults and most recently curses of death being hurled at various tribes. A lot of my Yoruba friends have apologized to me about a statement promising Igbos death but my response has always been that I am not angry at the statement, what I am actually angry about is the fact that a few people have chosen to take something that was meant to be beautiful and turn it into a divisive factor. And by this, I’m talking about our diversity, it was meant to be something beautiful but these past few months, members of the major tribes have come close to lynching each other.

I was reflecting on the statement and what must have influenced it when it hit me, ‘we the masses are just pawns’. People have selfish and personal interests and decide to use tribe and religion to divide us only to forget us till they need us again. I will not write about the need to drop tribal and religious sentiments(because whether we like it or not, people will always seek to defend their group. A group of women fighting because of tribal differences will actually come together if men insult women), I’ll talk about refusing to be used to achieve someone’s selfish ambition. i.e  A PAWN.

We are a lucky nation, with each tribe renowned for a particular strength, even though these strengths can be used negatively. Whether we like it or not, the Igbos are business savvy, innovative and have a way of making money out of anything either in a good or bad way. The yorubas understand diplomacy to the point that some people have termed it hypocrisy, they also understand the need for the Media and consulting services. The Hausas seem to be born with a keen sense of politics. Imagine if we respect each tribe and actually seek to learn from one another; The Igbo man will learn that boldness isn’t everything, there is need for diplomacy and political skills, the Yoruba will learn the need for money sense etc. Is it any wonder, those who are raised in Lagos seem to have ‘something’ about them due to the cosmopolitan nature of the city.

But even if we choose not to learn from one another, is it wrong to demand that a selfish few not hide behind tribal lines to loot us? Imagine if the Igbos say ‘rather than asking us not to vote an Hausa or Yoruba man, kindly explain to us how you intend to harness the innovative skills of the boys in Aba such that we can export shoes and clothes like Italy does and while you’re at it, don’t forget about our entrepreneurial skills too, we need to harness this so that Internal Revenue can increase and businesses don’t die as one man ventures’. The Yorubas rather than not voting an ‘Ibo man’ will ask questions centering around the Cocoa and Kolanut exportation, why can’t world class chocolatiers come from Nigeria, what about the Timbers in Ondo, can’t we harness them into good furniture making companies. The Hausas will ask about world class leather production as well as sweetened goods as well as other agricultural products?

The above are just my thoughts because I’m thinking if we ask these questions and they are answered properly, people will be too busy considering the impact the outcome of an election will have on the various industries and organizations set up to bother along tribal and religious lines, politicians will have to offer intelligent and feasible manifestos because we won’t be so hungry anymore, tribal differences will have reduced because we will be forced to travel for jobs and business purposes. Besides, part of the presidential attraction will be lost as a major reason tribes struggle for that seat is they feel that’s the way to really get funding.

Until we ask these and many more from the few who have chosen to exploit us for their selfish interests, we might just be pawns in this game.

When next you are tempted to get drawn into a tribal or religious debate for any political reason, remember this ‘The world is a Chessboard, don’t be used a Pawn’.

#Proudly Nigerian.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Akvafoto2012 

Peculiar is a Marketing communications personnel, she believes that one can have a full life without being bitchy and she wants it all 'A good career, love, laughter, wealth, you name it. She blogs at Follow her on Instagram @daworkdiva and Facebook ''


  1. @edDREAMZ

    April 17, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    “””the Igbos are business savvy, innovative and have a way of making money out of anything either in a good or bad way.”””” this one i like… igbo kwenu.

    • David

      April 18, 2015 at 12:14 am

      also on that same mind

  2. Tygorf

    April 17, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I for one don’t care if you are a yoruba, igbo, hausa, christian, muslim, atheist or whatever. If am cool wit you, am cool. If I am to treat A differently from B, it should not be because A is from a particular group, it should be because I just like B better or am closer to B. This is the 21st century where most of us are educated so we should be able to reason above our diversity. What gives an individual the impression that the group he belongs to is the best or the most appropriate. The same way a rotten portion of a yam doesn’t define it taste is the same way an individual doesn’t define a group. #MyOpinionPlease.

  3. Naija

    April 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Thank you for this article, when my i was in Nigeria i lived in a very diverse area and everyone gets along, My grandmother”s bestfriend is the old Igbo lady whose house is next to ours, When my grandmother died she mourned more than us cause they were so close. So i was quiet surprised when i read some comments on Nairaland, BN and Linda Ikeji. Nigeria has a relatively young population if we continue this way, when will it end? I am not saying let’s go camping and sing kumbaya but atleast we should to the point where we see each other as humans first. Oba Akiolu is a disgrace,he should know better.

  4. chi-e-z

    April 17, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Wow generalized much igbo men are not diplomatic and yorubas have no money sense?… please please most igbo families atleast in mine know tribalism only comes into play when people want power and igbos are the easiest for everyone else to pick on and everyone sides against we know this chess game by politicians same they do to foreigners in Nigeria well. Why others haven’t figured this is ridiculous. Always politicians APC this time when they are desperate for power play ethnic cards. We have a history of being their scapegoat for their inadequacy nothing new same old story and frankly igbos in general are too realistic in that life goes on so we endure it even with them saying move on despite people’s parents having strokes from nightmares they endured in biafran war this this year and people’s grandparents whose helped nigerians of all tribes find their foot in uk and us still cry herself to sleep from the son 10yr old she lost. Yet we are the devils to others according to politicians but we endure and never say our stories just keep being strong. Cause we are made in image of diamonds not mud. Real life doesn’t care for our feelings and politicians don’t care about anyone but themselves.

  5. Egusi soup

    April 17, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Blame it on Luggard. Na oversabee way carry am go join us together… Tribalism is everywhere, in the Uk, India… People just naturally hate each other. You Igbo people should not take it personally the Oba is just a sex starved fool that doesn’t know when to shut up

  6. beast

    April 17, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    diversity was created for disunity Genesis 11 : 1-11. Babe no matter how many articles you write the world especially Nigeria can never be one sadly.
    Luggard made a mistake! the northerner is unteachable, the Igbo man thinks physical strength is the solution to any problem, the yoruba man is viciously obsequious then the southerner is non-chalant and complacent. peaceful bilateral talks should be held. whether we like it or not separation is imminent!

    • chu

      April 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      But it is the same diversity that makes America unique, people went their in droves to be part of the American dream. The only difference is they chose ti find unity in their diversity while we were forced to be one. But since we are one we can make the best of it rather than crying over spilled milk.


    April 17, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    This topic is beginning to make my stomach turn. I’m just commenting to say; Hey Peculiar! I think you’re a good writer. Even when I’m not too keen on the topic of an article you wrote I still find it enjoyable to read, and relatable too. Heightens my respect for you.

    • Peculiar Okafor

      April 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you very much darling.

  8. Dr. N

    April 17, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    God bless u dear. I tried hard not to get involved in d madness but it hurt to hear so many hateful comments. Imagine this scenario. You abuse another tribe on a blog, u live in SA, d xenophobic thugs come for u, d only guy with a weapon is a member of d same tribe u just abused. Do u
    a. Hide behind him & discuss your hypocrisy later?
    b. Refuse his protection for d sake of your integrity?
    We are one. Let us focus on learning from each other. Today, Pecu has taught me to ask d right questions. What will u do for Nigeria, not where are u from.
    God bless

  9. Yorubalady

    April 18, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Really, Ms Okafor..Yoruba need to learn money! The arrogance and condescension which the Yoruba so dislike about the Ibo is showing, madam…

    • unspoken truth

      April 18, 2015 at 11:50 am

      my exact thoughts! she lost me there

    • Karate

      April 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      @Yorubalady, thank you. The writer is just as ignorant and condescending as those she is talking about. How dare you say Yorubas need to learn more money sense! That kind of arrogance is what pisses people off about Igbos. At the end of the day, madam you are no better than the Oba. Your write up was full of stereotypes and arrogance

    • Seriously

      April 18, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      It’s interesting how the writer managed to stay neutral but the article is still very biased. Basically, elevated Igbos which there’s nothing wrong with bcos people naturally defend their own people. However, don’t present neutrality or being progressive but still be part of the same problem you are supposedly writing against. The writer confirms the arrogance and condescending attitude Igbos have towards Yorubas. This type of mindset is exactly the problem, and what upsets let’s say a Yoruba person reading this bcos the writer undermined the effort, contribution, of Yorubas and the so called compliment said about Yorubas was also an insult. Honestly, there’s tribalism/ethnic and stereotypes everywhere. The thing is, it depends on how you channel it. You can turn all this into something positive and good on both sides. What Nigeria lacks is respect. What I mean by that is, respect individual and acknowledge, highlight what each group bring to the table without condemning others.

    • Author Unknown

      April 19, 2015 at 1:37 am

      You have spoken it as it appears many have perceived it. I guess the problem was the writer rehashing old stereotypes, with the intention of highlighting its positive sides, but failing at it – Ibos are savvy business people (aka crooks), Yorubas are diplomatic (aka hypocrites) and Hausas have a keen sense of politics (aka power hungry). Just maybe if those stereotypes had been left out, the article might have worked for many.

    • Honey

      April 18, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      peculiar, peculiar. U still manged to paint one tribe one kind n put igbos higher somehow. Biased much. Talking about busy savvy, cutting corners and trying to make profit by any n all means isn’t biz savvy. It’s actually cheating. Go and read Etc’s latest post. Having businesses that don’t have prescense beyond the borders of ur village or state that u leave for ur son to inherit which is what’s common in the east, isn’t biz savy. When we talk of entrepreneurs in Nigeria like Dangote, Dantata, adenuga, otedola where are the igbos.

  10. native

    April 18, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Igbo people and their funny names.. peculiar, Maximilianus, hyacinth, sunday, austin, Bonaventure, clarus, etc… why are you guys not proud of your native names? Is it inferiority complex? must be… All 5 SE governors all have funny names.

    In contrast, the SW governors have indigienous names except osun guy..

    • Author Unknown

      April 19, 2015 at 1:38 am

      Was that really necessary?

  11. Mz Ebonite

    April 18, 2015 at 1:52 am

    Nice write up… Exactly what we need, thank u!

  12. Carliforniabawlar

    April 18, 2015 at 2:32 am

    OMG!! Really? We are still doing this??! can we make like Elsa already and wait for this….Let it goooooooo, let it goooooo!!!

  13. sammy2k

    April 18, 2015 at 5:38 am

    nice write up, in merging and aligning our strengths to a comon objective, Nigeria…. We need good leaders. Unfortunately we have not had inspiring visionary leadership.

    In critism to your article, it is rather descriptive, emotional, without showing empirical data or sources to butress your points. Your points are obviously based on your perspective and life experiences, which isnt good enough. It doesnt profer a way forward neither does it consult the stakeholders affected. The articles lacks critical analysis and an objectivity to a very important issue.

  14. bruno

    April 18, 2015 at 6:47 am

    peculiar okafor, I read ur last article. pls when next you write a hateful article directed at a particular person, pls have the balls and courage to mention the person’s name in the article.
    u very unconfident girl. good bye.

  15. Udochi

    April 18, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Nicely written, Perculiar 🙂

  16. Truetalk

    April 18, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Stupid article. To say one tribe is good at blah blah immediately puts you in a box. All these supposed attributes of a tribe are due to the Nation’s colonial history and way in which we have chosen to define ourselves. I look forward to seeing Igbos actively participating in politics, Hausas engaging in diplomacy (not sure what the consulting point was about) and Yorubas known for being business savvy.

  17. paula Y

    April 18, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Nice write up. You didn’t just hit the nail on the head,you drove it in.

  18. Hobey

    April 18, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    peculiar, peculiar. U still manged to paint one tribe one kind n put igbos higher somehow. Biased much. Talking about busy savvy, cutting corners and trying to make profit by any n all means isn’t biz savvy. It’s actually cheating. Go and read Etc’s latest post. Having businesses that don’t have prescense beyond the borders of ur village or state that u leave for ur son to inherit which is what’s common in the east, isn’t biz savy. When we talk of entrepreneurs in Nigeria like Dangote, Dantata, adenuga, otedola where are the igbos.

  19. tunmi

    April 18, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    As well meaning as this article was, it still had those stereotypes.

  20. Oluwaseun

    April 19, 2015 at 2:57 am

    As much as I tried so hard to pick a reasonable point from your article, it still came out as biased as it can be.

    Anyway, I don’t understand why your Yoruba friends would apologize to you for something they didn’t say. Who will apologize to the Yorubas for all the tribal insults we’ve gotten from the Igbos from time immemorial? It’s just like asking your white friend to apologize to you for atrocities his ancestors committed against blacks.

  21. Deemah

    May 5, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Wow. I thought this article was about unity in diversity, only to find the same tired old stereotypes being rehashed by the writer. Trust me, there are plenty of diplomatic Igbo people, Peculiar, just as there are PLENTY of Yoruba people with ‘money sense’. There are plenty of bold Yoruba people and non-business-oriented Igbo people. This all seems patently obvious, Peculiar. I mean, are you kidding me right now?

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