Togetherness in this nation irrespective of religions, ethnics, tribes and geopolitical zones can fast-track the long awaiting development, comfort, progress and prosperity of Nigeria.
Each tribe, ethnics, religions and geopolitical region has their peculiarity, talents and gifts; which if combine together can foster a quick long awaiting development of our dear country.
We are in the present grave of underdevelopment because, we ignore the ethnics’ nature of our society and pretend thing is well.
There is need for urgent way-out of this nation mess and unrest.
The northerners is well blessed with fertile land for animal rearing and farming, likewise the southwest, northern population is force to boast our economy, southwesters education, ability, talent, gift of unity can reformed the national unity. Our fellow Ndi igbo is blessed with crude oil which also present in some areas in southwest that is yet to be tap, their gift of enterpreneuship and apprentiship is of great value to nation economy.
At this point of unstablilize and questioning democracy, agitation for war like BIAFRA and agitation for restructuring make me reason like ken-saro wiwa thereby argue that the nation got into its present pass because it failed to develop a strong political structure in keeping with its traditional set-up. I postulate that such a structure is capable of withstanding economic adversity which easily destroys a weak political structure. I intend to show that the lack of competent personnel, the canalization of all energies into the struggle for power, debilitating corruption and other social evils have arisen because we have ignored the ethnic nature of our society, choosing to pretend that the ethnic groups do not exist and stubbornly refusing to build our house on the strong fundaments of ethnicity.
This may sound rather perverse because it has always been argued that our strength lies in unity and that tribalism is the bane of our nation. This brings me immediately to the difference between ethnicity and ethnocentrism. Ethnicity is the fact of the ethnic group. It poses no danger to the nation. Ethnocentrism is the danger; it is the misuse of the ethnic group, of ethnic sentiments against other ethnic groups in a sterile competition. Ethnocentrism can be combated. Ethnicity is permanent.
Even at the risk of sounding trite, it has to be stated that Nigerian existence is due neither to the exigencies of geography nor to ethnic unity. It came about as a result of the disastrous rivalry and the chase for colonial aggrandisement of the great Powers at the end of the 19th century. It was always a mere geographical expression. In the words of Obafemi Awolowo, Nigeria’s greatest political thinker to date, Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression. The word `Nigeria’ is merely a distinctive appellation to distinguish those who live within the boundaries of Nigeria from those who do not.
This is not surprising. Most great nations today started as mere geographical expressions; in time, they build their peculiar national character from the different ethnic and cultural elements within their boundaries.
Since the Amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, we have been trying to do the same. The only problem is that our efforts have been fumbling because we have failed woefully to think deeply about it and we have stubbornly refused to learn from our mistakes (taking for instance the BIAFRA WAR July 6, 1967 – January 15, 1970)
Following upon Amalgamation, all ethnic groups, big or small, were absorbed into a greater system than they were used to. People were mobilised in the broadest sense of the term and became conscious that they were part of a system which embraced other ethnic nationalities. But their commitment to their ethnic groups was not eroded. On the contrary, the competition for the crumbs from the colonialists’ table forced the ethnic groups into an internal solidarity which they might not have had before the advent of the British. The major ethnic groups in particular found themselves consolidating their internal unity.
The blame for this terrible state of affairs [post-civil-war corruption] must be laid squarely at the door of the major ethnic groups who have consistently behaved as though Nigeria is a nation of themselves alone, whereas it is well-known that the nation consists of over three hundred ethnic groups.
None have recognized this more than the minority ethnic groups who have borne the brunt of the indigenous colonialism of the majority groups. These minorities were aware of the dangers they faced from the very beginning. Obafemi Awolowo had warned: Certainly these minority groups are at a considerable disadvantage when they are forced to be in the midst of other peoples who differ from them in language, culture and historical background.
Let outlining precisely what will be the configuration of the country should ethnicity be adopted as the base of our national development.
In the first place, it will have a most pleasant effect on self-reliance and social justice. The many ethnic groups in this country who have been denied their freedom, either in precolonial times, after the advent of the British, military or the present democracy will re-discover themselves and will be forced to take their fortune in their hands. Thus, indigenous colonialism will have been dealt a death blow.
Second, the majority ethnic groups will be forced to stop battening on other peoples and will have the opportunity to develop at their own rate without feeling that other people are holding them back. They will also be forced to prove to me, at least, that they are not merely big-for-chopping majorities, adept at angling for Federal positions where they invariably brag about their merit. They will now have an opportunity to use that merit in their natural environment. And so we may at last find some clean cities in Nigeria.
Thirdly, the considerable energy which is being spent in a sterile struggle for power will be released and channelled to more imaginative and productive ends. We shall hear far less of zoning and all such idle beasts and merit will take on new meanings.
Fourthly, the resources of the country will reach a broader mass of the people.
And fifthly, there will be greater stability, as the need for changes of boundaries and structures will no longer arise and new rules will have to explain in full any tinkering with structures that have stood the test of time.
The scientific method, once used successfully, will replace arbitrariness, jingoism and deception in decision-making at the highest level. The Nigerian nation will become stronger.
Now, with above analysis of each region with their qualities, productivities and impact on the unity and national development; I thereby suggest an immediate commencement of inter-ethincs, and coming together of all youths from all parts of the country, keeping enlighten each other on our unity, as a way to development. We should avoid another civil war, over 1 million ndi igbo lost their life with over 50,000 soldiers dead, take a look at present weapon and see how the whole of the country can be destroy in days if not united. Let learn from past, let look around the world; Vietnam War, south Sudan, Somalia and many others like that.
FOCUS MUST BE ON:
· Review our past
· Review unrest countries around the world
· Review developed countries around the world
· Brainstorm on national issues as it may concern each region and ethnics with way out
· Review the faulty structures and processes in the system.
By: Ayobami A. Sodiq