Published:9 Nov, 2012

Countless times in my short life ,I have come across countless people who think I’m Igbo. The conversation usually begins with me speaking English, then the other person replies in Igbo. Then I say something like “I’m sorry , I’m not Igbo.” There is usually clear disbelief written on the person’s face. Then he/she goes “You mean you are not one of us ? But you look so much like us.” Then I go on to divulge my family history and genealogy, to make them believe. “You mean there’s no Igbo blood at all in your lineage?”

“Yes. We are all Yoruba”, I reply. Then gradual belief comes on their faces, still tainted with a hint of disbelief. I then become then automatic listening ear for the whole of the Yoruba race. They go on to tell me how Yoruba people are dirty and garrulous. I walk away smiling but with deep anger at the waterloo of Nigeria, ethnic hatred. No matter how many ‘occupys’ or patriotic articles we write ,this flaw in our national fabric runs deep. It is our waterloo. It is the same reason a Yoruba mother would tell her son not to bring an ‘omo nna’ home. The same reason an Igbo man can’t tolerate the Hausa man. Our history is frought with several examples, the civil war, and endless killings during ethnic conflicts.

How can Nigeria ever be great again when we have so much baggage and scores to settle? Even the intelligent and exposed Nigerian is still plagued with this national illness. Takes us back to 1914, when the protectorates of the country were amalgamated. Some say Lord Lugard should have known better and not expect oil and water to mix. What do the British care, they were only protecting their own interests. So they left us in 1960, with a huge rift and festering hatred for each other. The Civil war began merely 7 years after, a further proof of our differences.

Some say it is time to divide, but I say we’ve lived 98 years together. We’ve intermarried, settled in each other’s lands and done business together. I ask, how do you separate 98 years of an intricate mix? It is not some chemical mixture you can just distil and separate into components. We are talking about people: living, breathing beings. How then do we fill a gulf so deep, even our great grand fathers were involved? How do you wipe off 98 years of hatred, segregation, killings and pain? How do we remove this log in our national eye, so we can see clearly on our path to a greater Nigeria?

The key is recognising our differences for what they are; a cancer that has eaten deep into the fabric of our national unity. Then we should accept and live with these differences. As for the hatred, I do not know where we’ll begin to wipe out 98 years of it. Nobody is saying we should all live as one. The truth is ,we will never be. But let us embrace our differences and respect one another for who we are. Let us wipe out ethnic hatred and conflict and focus on our collective goal of building Nigeria. Then, only then, can Nigeria be on her path to greatness.

Opemipo  Adebanjo

@opesays on Twitter

#opesays is a column that runs every Friday. Join me to talk about politics, Nigeria, faith, money ,relationships and basically everything

  • Ibrams

    That’s a wonder piece, reading all the way from Congo. I don’t miss you column every friday cause you rock my world. KEEP IT UP.

  • http://www.markamaza.wordpress.com @amasonic

    There’s a story about Zik and Sardauna meeting. Zik said: “let’s forget our differences”. Sardauna replied: “no, let us accept our differences. I’m a Northerner and a Muslim, you’re an Easterner and a Christian. We can’t wish those differences away. But by accepting where we differ, we can then start to focus on where are most similar.”
    We’re more alike than we think, but so long as we keep focusing on our differences, we remain blind to our similarities

  • http://www.omojuwa.com Opesays

    Thank you @Ibrams :)

  • http://www.omojuwa.com Opesays

    @Amasonic my point exactly.Thank you for taking the time to read and dropping a valuable comment

  • @xahido

    Short,straight and precise….the problem is from the head, and wen d head is not balance the rest of d body can’t be..Nice piece

  • maj. ralph

    This is brilliant. I love dis

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Makinde Smith: Buhari Meets With Saraki Again; Governance Just Kick-Starting

Several statements have vehemently proclaimed that Buhari will never recognize Saraki as Senate President. Some expressed he will never hurt Tinubu (his greatest benefactor ever) by embracing Saraki, while others even insinuated that Senator Lawan isn’t anyone’s preferred consensus but Buhari’s personal candidate. How truthful are all of these hypotheses when Buhari himself has been playing a highly intellectual game among all persons that lent him a token of support to the Presidency and...

National Security Remains My Priority, Buhari Tells British Defence Chief

President Mohammadu Buhari yesterday affirmed his government’s resolve to rid Nigeria of insecurity and improve the national security. The president said without adequate security, other socio-economic initiatives cannot be successfully implemented. Buhari spoke when he played host to the Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton in Abuja on Thursday. He renewed hope that his administration will end the Boko Haram insurgency as quickly as possible. “For a country to be...

67 Communities In Ibeju-Lekki To Get Connected to the National Grid as Ambode Moves To Light Up Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has initiated moves to fulfill one of his campaign promises to illuminate all nooks and crannies of communities and adjourning boundaries in the state before the end of the year. This was made known on Thursday at a joint press briefing by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Public Works Corporation and Lagos State Electricity Board, as a follow up to the promise of Governor Ambode, during the maiden Town...

UK Offers To Assist Nigeria Tackle Boko Haram

The United Kingdom has offered to further assist Nigeria in its quest to end the violent activities of the Boko Haram sect by December. The British Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Nicholas Houghton, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Thursday shortly after a closed-door meeting he had with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Houghton said he was sent by his government because the United Kingdom shares an interesting security situation with...

Nigerian Workers Demand Amaechi, Fashola, Others Declare Their Assets Publicly

Nigerian workers on Thursday urged the National Assembly to ensure that all ministerial nominees declare their asset publicly before confirmation. Among the 21 persons nominated as ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari are former Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, ex-Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and spokesperson of the ruling APC, Lai Mohammed. The workers, members of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, stated this in a joint statement by the union’s president, Boboi , and...

Issa Hayatou Named FIFA Acting President

African football leader, Issa Hayatou has been named to take charge of FIFA after former president, Blatter was suspended and “stripped of all duties.” African football leader Issa Hayatou on Thursday took temporary charge of FIFA after Sepp Blatter was “relieved of his duties” because of his 90-day suspension, the world body said. Hayatou, 69, is president of the Confederation of African Football, and takes over as senior vice president of FIFA. He has in the...

@Allsocks_: Health Advantages of Wearing Pantyhose

Many ladies are unaware that wearing specific panty hoses come with some health advantages. For instance, when blood doesn’t circulate well and pools in the lower leg it sometimes lead to development of varicose veins. A particular pantyhose known as Compression Stockings can be helpful in alleviating aching and irritation as a result of varicose. Medical experts say Compression Hose offer more support at ankle and less compression as you go up the leg, and that...

Istifanus Yaro: We Are No Longer At Ease

'We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.' T.S.Eliot Today, we are witnesses to history. Déjà vu. In the twilight of the 19th century, during the Berlin Conference, there was a 'scramble and partition of Africa'. By that time, an unjust world order had gripped Western Europe,...

Find Don Jazzy In This Throwback Family Potrait

As the throw back Thursday tradition goes, ace music producer and Mavin boss, Don Jazzy, did a major throwback. He shared a family portrait and it got quite confusing as to whether Don Jazzy Resembles his dad or mom. It is also quite confusing to spot Don Jazzy in the portrait. See Instagram post below and spot Don Jazzy: https://instagram.com/p/8k8bisNR6E/?taken-by=donjazzy

P-Square Gets Brand New Whips As Proud Brand Ambassadors

The double edged thriller, The Okoye brothers, just returned from a successful tour and now they have a brand new range rover and an amazing G- Wagon added to their garages. Globacom limited presented the cars to them as they probably renewed their brand ambassador deal. They shared their blessing on Instagram... see posts below: https://instagram.com/p/8kyu7LSsDq/?taken-by=peterpsquare https://instagram.com/p/8kz9tNSsFn/?taken-by=peterpsquare

Bank of Industry Commissions 24kW Solar Micro-grid Solution in Idi-Ita/Onibambu Osun State, Read the MD’s Speech

Just two days after commissioning a similar project at Bisanti, Katcha LGA of Niger State, the Bank of Industry today commissioned another in Osun State. Below is the full speech delivered by the Managing Director/CEO Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa. ADDRESS BY RASHEED OLAOLUWA MANAGING DIRECTOR/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER BANK OF INDUSTRY LIMITED   ON THE OCCASION OF THE COMMISSIONING OF THE 24Kw MICRO-GRID SOLAR SOLUTION IN IDI-ITA/ONIBAMBU...

Man Murders His Step Parents, Eats Stepfather

An Argentinian man has been arrested after he confessed to murdering his stepparents and eating his stepfather's flesh. Twenty-five-year-old Leandro Acosta told authorities that he and his 22-year-old stepsister Karen Klein have been lovers for six years and that they planned the murders together after allegedly suffering years of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of their parents. Acosta reportedly shot his stepfather Ricardo Klein, 54, in the head before he became "sexually aroused"...

Adamu Auta: An Open Letter To Some Buhari Apologist And APC Loyalist

Change does not just happen. You and I and all of us must appreciate that we all have our part to play if we want to bring change about.  -Muhammadu Buhari Over the past month of the present administration, one constant attribute that always rare it's ugly head in any political or economic and social discuss is how perceived Buharist and Apc apologist (some) always come out gun blazing insulting anybody that dare criticise...

Kanye West Thinks “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” Deserves Emmys, All Of The Emmys

Kanye West recently sat down for a nearly two-hour-long interview with SHOWStudio, in a "live and unedited broadcast" as part of the site's "In Camera" series. Consider this prep for his presidential debates in a few years' time; of course, he's already a most talented orator, and offered many of the quintessential Kanye sound bites that we all know will inspire his electorate come 2020. In other art forms Kanye believes get...

Paparazzi Captures Justin Bieber Stark Naked, Photos Gone Viral

The 21-year-old pop star was spotted going for a nude daytime swim while vacationing with rumored love interest Jayde Pierce Tuesday. The non-bashful Biebs had no problem letting it all hang out while enjoying downtime in the sunny location. See Photos: Read More: 

Davido To Premiere Five Unreleased Videos On MTV Base

With just a few weeks to the release of his sophomore album, “Baddest”, multiple award winning pop star, Davido is set to premiere five fresh videos off his first album, OBO Genesis on Africa’s biggest music channel, MTV Base. The videos which include, New Skul Tinz featuring label mates, Sina Rambo and B-Red, Bless Me featuring May D, Dollars in The Bank featuring Kayswitch, Video and MaryJane are all unreleased videos from his debut album,...

What To Do When You Find Out You’ve Been Cheated On

Conservative estimates suggest that cheating occurs in about half of all relationships. Being cheated on can be a profoundly painful experience, and it can be hard to know what to do after the initial discovery. Here’s a comprehensive, mapped-out guide to deciding whether to stay or go. First: Get Your Facts Straight If your relationship is on the line, make sure you have the correct information about what happened....

11 Small Things You Can Do In A Marriage That Can Make A Big Difference

1. A good, long hug makes all the difference. "At least once a day, especially after work, we just stand and give each other a long hug. No words or kissing or moving. I stand with my arms up and he stands with his arms out, then we fall into our hug. It's a nice quiet moment in which we can decompress with each other." -Michelle Gold 2. Go out of your way to do something silly and sweet to...

6 Things Men Complain About In Marriage Counseling

1. My wife expects me to be a mind reader.  Men talk a lot about how unfair it is that they're expected to know exactly what their wives are thinking and feeling at all times, said Marcia Naomi Berger, a psychotherapist and author ofMarriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted.Then when the husbands misread the situation, they feel like they're somehow the bad guy. "It's so wrong for women to assume, 'My partner should know...

Plateau LG Chairman Blames Attacks On Border Disputes

Management Committee Chairman of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, Titus Bise, has blamed incessant violent attacks in the state on communities with border disputes. Bise disclosed this yesterday in Mangu, when the House of Assembly’s Special Committee on Security met with traditional and religious leaders, youths and other stakeholders in the area. It would be recalled that Langai District of Pyem chiefdom had consistently come under attack that left many dead, while property worth...

Vincent Enyeama Retires From Super Eagles

Nigeria’s ever best goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama has said that he is no longer a player with the Nigeria’s senior football team, the Super Eagles. Enyeama who took to his Instagram page,  ‘vinny 2908’, said he has served Nigeria his best while in the pitch and now, has retired from active play with Eagles to focus on his club career. “I have fought a good fight for more than 13years.I have finished my course, I have kept...