AM I A TRIBALIST?
To those who traditionally blame tribalism for any opinion that differs from theirs, I say it is a pity. I see that each time I express a political position that is my personal belief, some people come back at me, attacking my personality and calling me a tribalist.
The argument of tribalism seems to be the only one left when people are weak, devoid of facts and simply sentimental. Those who resolve to blaming tribes for their political losses are simply unknowingly pulling down the bricks of strength that our nation stands on. Let us learn to be gallant losers. We should not blame our political misfortunes on other people’s sound judgment.
The president of Nigeria today is not a Yoruba man. I support him only because I can see by the facts of his life that he is the most qualified person to bring our nation out of the political and economic devastation we have found ourselves in, in the last decade. I support his Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo only because I have the privilege of knowing him personally. His qualities are impeccable and he is most qualified to be in that position not because he is a Yoruba man.
I cannot be a tribalist, at least judging by my antecedents. This is not an attempt of self-defense, it’s just a fact of the matter.
- How could you accuse a man that is the only black man in the world with the largest number of followership from another race and culture of being a tribalist?
- How can you accuse a man of racism and tribalism when he is the only person in the whole world who pastors the largest cross-cultural congregation?
- How can I be a tribalist, when my premier and my most prominent Nigerian disciple is not from my tribe? He is an Igbo man called Prof. Vincent Anigbogu from Anambra State.
- How can I be a tribalist, when my best friends are not even from my tribe? People like Pastor Tony Rapu, John Enelamah.
- How can I be a tribalist, when in my house we have so many Nigerians stopping over and living, who are not even from my tribe?
- How can I be a tribalist, when I don’t even speak my tribal (Yoruba) language anymore, because I have refrained from speaking in the midst of others so that I will not appear to be discriminatory all my life?
- How can I be a tribalist, when I addressed the United Nations where all nations are present?
- How can I be a tribalist, when my church consists of 99% white Europeans?
- How can I be a tribalist, when I spoke at the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) to Jews who don’t look like people from my tribe?
- How can I be a racist when I was welcomed to speak in the United States senate?
- How can I be a tribalist when I was invited to speak in the Japanese parliament?
- How can I be a tribalist, when my immediate assistants including domestic staff are not even related to my tribe, race or nationality? My drivers are Europeans, my security guards are Europeans, my kitchen staff are Europeans, and my Pastors are Europeans. How can I possibly be a tribalist?
- How can I be a tribalist when my disciples, sons and daughters are from 50 different countries of the world?
- How can I be a tribalist, when my books are printed in different countries of the world and various languages including Chinese, Japanese, etc. yet they are not in my native Yoruba language?
- How can I be a tribalist when none of my 3 children speak Yoruba? When my son was given the option of choosing a Nigerian language to learn, he chose Igbo, he was good at it and got 93% in his exam. He still doesn’t speak the Yoruba language.
“Achievement has no color” ― Abraham Lincoln
Ladies and gentlemen, what I am trying to say in this article is; let us quit using racism and tribalism as a cover up for our weaknesses. Let us stop emphasizing on things that divide us as a nation, as a people group and as ethnic groups. Let us acknowledge the Grace of God which has made it possible for different people groups to live together under one nation.
If you are a Nigerian reading this article, I want to appeal to you to begin to celebrate the enormous advantage we have in our diversity. Let us begin to see the positive sides of our various tribal groups. Let us begin to give God the glory for our future and let go of our past. Yes, a lot of things have been done wrong in our history but let us move forward to build a more glorious and prosperous country for posterity.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja