Ethnicity and the State called Nigeria
Nigeria is a country of diverse interests. It goes without saying that Nigeria’s greatness lies in her diversity. Made up of several ethnic groups and religious representations, Nigeria has struggled, over the years, to hold on to her identity as one state; one nation. The continuous ethnic friction in the South-East, especially in relation to the rest of the geo-political zones is self evident. Ethnic and religious agenda have played a huge part in determining our political and socio-economic future. After a hundred years plus together and over fifty years as an independent state, it is sad to say that Nigerians haven’t fully embraced one another.
On his article published in The Punch newspaper(July 17, 2015), Joe Igbokwe said some remarkable things about why the Igbos should remain in Nigeria to build her. He said amongst others that, “Nigeria provided a big space for the Igbo to spread their tentacles, explore, excel and blossom. The South-East is too small for this highly mobile and dynamic people to thrive. The world pays attention to Nigeria today because of our size and population. If Nigeria splits into smaller countries, the world would pack their bags… and leave. Population and size make a nation a destination”.
It is therefore self-evident that we must remain united as Nigerians. We must first see ourselves as Nigerians before any factional interest comes to play. A nation cannot make great progress with this kind of baggage. We must address all our grievances and move on to become the great country we are destined to be.
Everyone seem to agree that Nigeria was brought together as a result of British interest. I think it was Ahmadu Bello that was quoted saying, “God did not create Nigeria, the British did”.
Therefore, we still see ourselves as a product of colonial rule. We must move past this mind set to harmonize our relationship with one another. The reality is we have come too far to see our differences as a factor of discord, but rather, as a symbol of unity. We must embrace our nationality as oppose to our present disposition on ethnicity. No Nigeria ethnic group can survive on her own without inter-dependence on the other. Those preaching Biafra should understand that Nigeria is a sovereign state and it is constitutionally illegal for any part of the country to preach secession. Why not come together, embrace our differences, forge partnership and grow this country? Nigeria belongs to all of us no matter our we feel about it, therefore, we must all participate in moving her forward. We are so gel together that true separation is unreachable. We must work for our common good. It’s time for us to be true to our identity for we possess only one identity- the Nigerian identity. As is popularly said, “United we stand, Divided we fall”.
Author -Peter Oruamen