Nigeria is a great country with a large mass of human and material resources. It is quite unfortunate to notice that despite the large mass of both human and material resources, Nigeria has failed to achieve her potential as a great nation. The term “Giant of Africa” has become an irony to the people of Nigeria and a huge disappointment to the people of the world, which hold Nigerians and Nigeria on a higher pedestal of recognition. Since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 and our independence in 1960, we have failed to take Nigeria to the level she deserves to be. Amongst the world’s most developed nations. We have failed as a nation to turn our weaknesses into strengths. We have spent all these years of our nation’s existence, in making sure we separate the country.
Nigeria is divided into several ethnic groups and we have over two hundred and fifty tribes or ethnic groups in Nigeria but three tribes are the most prominent in Nigeria and they are the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba tribes. All these tribes can be found predominantly in the eastern, northern and western regions of Nigeria, in large groups. All these tribes have their traditions and culture, including the rest of the over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria and this has contributed to the disunity of the nation than it has united it. Each tribe does not respect the others interest and this has caused great tensions in the polity of the nation.
The diverse cultures and political interests of each region in Nigeria has caused great harm and insecurity to the lives and properties of Nigerians. The Nigerian political unrest in the 1960’s, which resulted in the Nigerian civil war from 1967 – 1970, the ethno – religious crisis that has been recurrent from 1981 till date, the double terrorist threat by the Islamic group, BOKO HARAM in the north and the NIGER DELTA MILITANTS in the south and the harsh political tension that continues to grip the nation continues to divide Nigeria. The Nigerian civil service and political appointments has suffered terribly because of the diverse ethnic groups. Each ethnic group desires positions in these areas and would say that they are marginalized if they do not have important positions in the political and government offices made available by the government. The federal government has been using a federal system or character, were each state in Nigeria sends their representatives to occupy these positions. This has caused a great level of corruption in the country because these positions are given to individuals who represent the interests of prominent Nigerians, who assisted them in getting there in the first place. These people do not provide solutions to the nation’s problems but they only do so for those who sent them there.
Indigenization is another problem we face that has caused a great deal of disunity in Nigeria. This is a process were a particular ethnic group which is located in a particular area, state or country is presumed to be the owners of that speculated area because they are in the majority. In Nigeria, the ethnic group that is the predominant group in number or population, in each state of the federation, literally owns that state. Those who are classified as none indigenes have no benefits of being in that state. They cannot secure jobs created in that state except if it’s from the federal government nor can they run for any electoral position in that state. Whenever there is an election, those seeking elective positions would seek the votes of non-indigenes in their respective states. During the last presidential elections in 2011, a lot of Nigerians who hail from the south were killed in the north because the indigenes of those states that experienced violence did not have the candidate they supported, elected as president. It is unfortunate that a Nigerian should be treated as a foreigner in his or her country because he or she is classified as a non-indigene in a particular state.
Culture is the way of life of a people or a country. It is the way they do things and relate with each other, the language they speak and the way they are recognized by other people of the world. You can recognize an American from what he does, so also can you recognize a Chinese, Japanese, English, Arab and South African. The culture of these different peoples unifies their people, but can you say the same for Nigerians? Cultures change especially when the culture of a people does not provide solutions to their needs. You cannot continue to do the same things you did when a problem cropped up. You have to change your state of mind to solve that problem or the problem would still exist, if you do not do so. Before we had our independence in 1960, the Zikist movement, championed by the late Nnamdi Azikiwe and the Nigerian Youth Movement, tried to create a unified culture or way of life for Nigerians but that was marred by the civil war and successive governments in Nigeria. People appreciated being Nigerians in those days. Even the late Professor Babs Fafunwa tried to ensure that Nigerians of primary school age were taught in their native languages and also learnt at least two Nigerian languages they could not speak but his efforts was not appreciated by the government he served as its education minister.
For Nigerians to be united and therefore have one culture, we must identify what our problems are and provide solutions to these problems. We need to encourage Nigerians to learn at least two more Nigerian languages and ensure that Nigerian children of primary school age learn at least two more languages along with their mother tongue, English and any other foreign language. If we learn the language of other tribes, we also learn their culture and traditions and thereby we then respect their interests when we know what their thoughts are.
We also need to give positions of authority to those who merit it and to those who have the interest of the nation at heart and not the interest of selfish political godfathers, who have no shame. Nigeria should also deregulate or privatize all sectors of her economy because this is the only way we can create more job opportunities for unemployed Nigerians. Privatization is the one sure way of tackling corruption in Nigeria. It is also very important for Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic group are allowed to vie for political offices in their places of residence, even were the ethnic group is not in the majority. The best should rule Nigeria along with the people who have and share the same vision for Nigeria. We as Nigerians should have one common goal and not one for the different ethnic groups or individual in Nigeria.
The needs of the Huasa man is not different from that of the Igbo man neither is it different from the Yoruba man, Ijaw man, Tiv man or Efik man. All we need to do is to identify those needs and know how to tackle them. We need to do things together and allow our youths to marry from any tribe of their choice, irrespective of religion or culture or ethnic group. We should agree on a particular way to do things and to interact with each other. We can achieve this if we put our thoughts and all our efforts into it. When we think it, we can achieve it. God bless Nigeria.
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