I feel an urge to do a bit of ranting here! I’ve been recently bothered with the level of ignorance as regards diversity in Nigeria. Nigeria is a Super Country not simply because we are the Country with the leading economy in Africa (Not to Brag) but also because our ethnic, cultural, religious, age etc. composition is dynamic in its own way! This allows for significant differences across this Land Mass called Nigeria………did I say Land Mass? Yes I did! Land Mass because that is the only thing that has agreed its FIrst Nigerian or am I wrong?
This just concluded elections in Nigeria has opened my eyes to the backwardness of the Nigerian populace. I was particularly shocked to hear derogatory and discriminatory comments as regarding choice of candidates. People saying they were only voting for Goodluck Jonathan because he was Christian or because he was from a particular Land Mass that is first Nigeria before Bayelsa! or that they were not going to vote for Muhammadu Buhari becuase he’s Fulani/Hausa, and since the Counter coup of 1966 that saw so many Igbo(Nigerian) people slaughtered, the Igbo’s have ‘forgiven but not forgotten’ and also since Chief Obafemi Awolowo was instrumental to Nigeria’s Victory against Biafra, The Igbo(Nigerians) still see the Yoruba(Nigerians) as Sly.
Or is it about how Christians and Muslims continuously get at themselves for differences in their various belief systems, failing to see the big picture that we all serve the same God?
Our differences have raised an important question, Is Nigeria’s Diversity a Blessing or a Curse?
I fail to acccept that our Diversity is a curse…………. I will rather say that the differences we have is fueled by the failure of the common man to hear his fellow Nigerian brother out. We have failed to see ourselves as first being Nigerians before anything else.
I quickly refer to a conversation a Nigerian man had with a Nigerian friend of mine Ajoke Emekene
Man: Hey, Fine girl, Whats Your Name?
Joke: Ajoke is my name.
Man: Where are you from?
Joke: I am Nigerian
Man: No you know what I mean, where are you from?
Joke: Yes, I am Nigerian!!
Joke’s response to a question that was obviously sourcing to know what geographical part of Nigeria she was from was a classic, as she pointed out that she is First Nigerian.
The moment we begin to take our differences beyond diversity and explore our similarities we would enjoy the dividends of Diversity.
Exploring quick positive stereotypes of Three Major Nigerian Cultures(all of which are my ideas and no pun intended)
Igbo- Great Business Men, take a look at the great Alaba market or Onitsha Market.
Yoruba- Finance Management comes to the Yoruba’s easy, hence the phrase Ijebu man as a synonym for people who hardly spend money.
Hausa – Great Manufacturers of Staple foods, remember the great Groundnut Pyramids ad the Fulani Herdsmen?
If we all see Unity in our diversities we can do great things. Always Remember there’s something everyone can offer. Don’t Discriminate Remember we are all First Nigerians.