RACISM AND TRIBALISM IN NIGERIA!
Racism and tribalism are two words that should catch your eyes; one is the word racism which I have already addressed above while the other word is tribalism. To my European audience, that word might not be too familiar.
Tribalism is a term that is more locally used in Africa, when describing the unequal relational interactions between the various neighboring tribes. Tribalism is defined as loyalty to a tribe or other social group, especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group.
Now what prompted me to address this topic, especially of tribalism, to my dear African audience and anybody reading this article especially Nigerians, is because of the manipulation in the use of the word which has become prevalent recently. As I keep on writing my articles on different issues connected to social and economic political questions, I sometimes have to touch on issues concerning my native land Nigeria.
I have noticed a tendency from the comments that come each time that I touch on some sensitive national issues. This sentiment is largely coming from a segment of our society accusing me of being a tribalist. At first glance, you could think there may be some accuracy in this accusation especially bearing in mind that Nigeria is a country with over 516 tribes and 521 languages. It becomes more troubling however when it is only one of the 516 tribes and 521 languages that keep on complaining about the same thing. That is a little bit suspicious, leading me personally to think that this is the work of stereotypes, brain washing and indelible memories.
In the previous parts of this article, I spoke about the fact that Nigerians don’t understand racism. More so, they tend to look down on people who use race as an excuse or reason for their failures. If you have related with Nigerians you will find that they don’t believe they are worse than anybody else. They also don’t blame racism or other historical facts for their failures. For example, when Nigerians see the black population of America putting the blame for their lack of success on slavery or racism, the average Nigerian will normally abhor that argument.
The typical Nigerian attitude is that even if you are brought as a slave to another country, you should be so good, and do so well, so that you outperform the very citizens of the land. That is the attitude of Nigerians. Most Nigerians don’t care how you bring them to America, or Europe, with or without documents. They will prove to you at the end of the day that nobody is better than they are, even the citizens of the land. To now begin to blame historical events that occurred a hundred or two hundred years back is not the habit of Nigerians. This is one aspect of racism that Nigerians will never understand.
This attitude of Nigerians to the question of racism changes sharply however when it comes to the domestic questions about tribalism. In my opinion, Nigerians have also fallen victim of what they accuse other people of in regards to racism, especially outside the country. Within Nigeria, it is like we have been bewitched into blaming almost everything that is wrong in our society on tribalism.
Even as I write this now, some people are ready to quit reading this article. Others are raining curses on me already believing that I am ignorant. Some will think my position is dictated by the fact that I come from one of the major and most privileged tribes in Nigeria. As I have said above, Nigeria is blessed with 516 tribes of which 3 are the dominant ones: Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.
Bearing in mind the above reality of things in Nigeria, it seems obvious that there would be complaints of tribalism from the minority groups especially those that are not in the top three. Yet the funny thing is that usually it is the three main privileged tribes that keep on accusing each other of tribalism and discrimination.
Before I continue my deliberation on this topic, let me take you dear readers back to an experience that opened my eyes to see how blessed Nigeria is as a nation. Thanks to the large number of nationalities and tribes we have in our country.
To be continued tomorrow with the following point:
- THE BEAUTY OF DIVERSITY
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja