Elder Statesman and former Biafran warlord the late, Ikemba Emeka Odumegwu_Ojukwu, once said, “the source of our (Nigeria) problem is our fear to unite”
This statement got me thinking. Tried as I may to understand the level of disunity and distrust amongst us as a nation has drained me off.
Nigeria as a nation has become so polarized to such nauseating dimensions that one might be tempted to believe that our continued stay together as one sovereign entity is but a mere waste of time. The deep into anarchism is open to every conscious observer.
The call for a Sovereign National Conference is becoming louder by the day. The security challenges facing the entire country needs no mentioning. Regional sentiments have climbed to high heavens with calls from ethnic bigots for separate entities. Some criminal elements (Boko Haram Terrorist) have even gone too far as to give ultimatum for Southerners living in the North to leave, imagine that. As a Nigerian from the North and a Christian, I make bold to say majority of Muslims nationwide don’t share the bigoted views of these hoodlums.
The assumption that the mostly Christian South is tired of living in a forced marriage to the mostly Muslim North is to my way of thinking a mere political game played by some people to gain cheap political point. I might concede that on the surface, it might appear as though unity amongst the diverse peoples, tribes and cultures in Nigeria is likely impossible but if one cares to look deep into it, the words of Abraham Lincoln comes true, “what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart”
Yes, I make bold to say our similarities are so great that we can afford to appraise our differences with candor and approach them with hope of building a stronger wall of defense
It is true that we have had inter-tribal and religious conflicts and are still having, but we should also take into cognizance of the fact that we have had inter-tribal and religious marriages as well.
Most of us have landed properties in states that are not our ‘state of origin’.
We get our sense of livelihood from businesses and jobs situated in places order than our ‘state of origin’
The truth of the matter is that regardless of what religion, tribe or culture you associate with, the hierarchy of needs theory as propounded by Professor Abraham Maslow is valid to you. This theory cuts across tribe, religion and culture and is majorly the reason why migration to other places for greener pasture still holds.
Now, if Nigerians will endeavor to strengthen the things that binds us together alone these lines, we might not solve every problem we have as a people, but most certainly, we can get something meaningful done.
To march the magnitude of this task of uniting the nation for better days ahead, we need the energies, uniqueness, and potentials of our people. Yes, we must enlist the splendid efforts in various endeavors of the life of the different ethnic groups (Ijaw, Kanuri, Bachama, Jukun, Igala, Tiv, Birom, Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba, etc) spread across the breadth and width of this great country.
As we learn to go forward and secure greater prosperity for generations to come, let us take stock of our goal- where peaceful co-existence is lacking, welcome it; where growth and development is fragile; make it strong; where dishonesty and corruption is thriving, suffocate it.
Welcome to the new Nigeria!
Calvin Lawan, Abuja