Nigeria Unite?

In a class a few days ago, the teacher asks, “of the 3 major ethnic groups in Nigeria, which one has the highest percentage in Abuja?”… an argument starts among the Nigerians in class, the arguments ranged from, “Abuja does not belong to anybody” to “it depends on which part of Abuja you go to”
In another class, the teacher asks us to each select an on-going violent conflict to write a research paper on, and one Nigerian boy asks if he can write about Boko-Haram in Nigeria but the teacher says no, you cannot write about a conflict going on in an area where you are from and this boy, with almost equal parts of pride and maybe, disgust in his tone and body language responds “I’m not from there, I’m from the South of Nigeria”

Do I even have to tell you the teacher looked a tad confused?

Honesty, in both classes, I felt a strong urge to just scream, maybe the urge was a little stronger in the former actually.
But seriously, people!!! Why do we fight over everything? Do we ever feel like one people? Does being Nigeria mean anything?
Most “Nigerians” now feel more igbo, or hausa, or yourba or jukun before they feel Nigerian, if they even feel that at all.
When we meet people, why is asking what state in Nigeria they come from one of the first questions we ask, are we asking just to know them better or do we judge them based on that information?

Most of the conflicts in the world today are within countries, citizens fighting and killing each other for reasons such as ethnic, religious or political differences… do we really just want to live in a world where its just people that live and think exactly like us? Wouldn’t that be kinda boring? Or isn’t that the end game of killing people who oppose us or are different or pray to God in a different manner or speak a different language? We’re looking to get rid of anyone who’s different to us, right?
A friend said to me recently that all conflict is built on a foundation of pride and selfishness. I don’t know.
I know that ethnic differences and conflicts are not peculiar to Nigeria. It just saddens me the most.

There’s no real point to this post actually, except to throw out some of these burning questions that play over and over in my head. Maybe someone out there has some answers that can help me sleep better. Because let me tell you, these are some of the questions that keep me up at night.

And please, my dear Nigerians, the next time you meet another Nigerian, when you get the urge to ask, “what state are you from?”, ask yourself, “why do I really need to know that right now?”


5 thoughts on “Nigeria Unite?

  1. Tomiwa Olajide says:

    Nigeria celebrates centenary this year, yet we are holding a conference where we can deliberate on what exactly this union means.

    Nigeria missed its window of opportunity to move beyond ethnicity into nationhood, first after independence, and second after the civil war.

    All conflicts have two outcomes — rebirth or oblivion. The former requires that we take the high ground, through forgiveness, uniting with the enemy and totally letting go of the past. Nigerians need a new a DNA.

    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone provided by Airtel Nigeria.

  2. I get your angst.

    I’ve asked myself sometimes what it means to be African or Nigerian or even Igbo, that is, apart from the fact that I’m from Igbo Land, in Nigeria, in Africa. Maybe if more people thought about this, they’d know how silly we are being.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve told someone I was Igbo because they asked, and they say “Oh? You don’t look Igbo.” Even to my own Igbo people, at times I’m not Igbo enough. I can’t with these divisions. They’re so unnecessary.

    Because of how messed up our inter-ethnic relationships are, I think it’s easier to identify as Nigerian when you are on the outside of the country, looking in.

    • Yeah, its definitely a lot easier to identify as Nigerian when you’re outside of the country. But even when I was in Nigeria, I’ve really never liked the question about what state I’m from, like does it really matter that much? And I’m always told I don’t look yoruba either, people always say I look igbo.

      And you’re right, these ethnic divisions are just so unnecessary and soooo irritating. Gives me a headache.

  3. Hello, your take about the inherent stereotypes of Nigerians is really a cuase for concern.
    Everywhere you go People want to know which ethnic you belong to so as to place you in their stereotypes, it is such a pity.
    Going forward we need more than the artificial surgery of national conference to national reorentation.
    PS: nice to discover your blog and thanks for the follow on mine. Looking for to more exchange of ideas on this platform.

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