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

Dabiri-Erewa Urges States To Domesticate Violence Against Persons Act

A former federal lawmaker, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Thursday in Lagos called for the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in all the states. Dabiri-Erewa made the call while speaking on "Nigeria’s Progress in Gender Development’’ at a public lecture, organised by Genesis House in collaboration with Access Women Network and Freedom Foundation. The theme of the lecture is "Empower Women to End Violence’’. She expressed worry over the increase in violence against women, including rape, battery, widowhood, forced ejection...

Terrorism Is Our Common Enemy – Hollande, Putin

Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised efforts by his French counterpart, Francois Hollande to set up a coalition to fight the Islamic State terrorist militia. "You're putting a great deal of attention and effort into the creation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition. "What's more, we think this coalition is absolutely necessary and that's where our positions coincide", Putin said in a meeting with Hollande. The meeting became imperative owing to Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Oct. 31 downing of the...

Senate Gives Ministry, Others 2 Weeks To End Fuel Scarcity

The Senate on Thursday gave the Ministry of Petroleum and all relevant agencies two weeks to end the scarcity of petroleum products and price discrepancies nationwide. The assembly also directed the permanent secretary of the ministry to do everything within the jurisdiction of the organisation to ensure that products were available at government approved prices. The Committee on Petroleum Downstream, headed by Sen. Uche Ekwunife (PDP-Anambra Central) gave the directive when officials of the ministry and other agencies came to explain...

Court Dismisses Corruption Charges Against Timipre Sylva

A Federal High Court, Abuja,on Thursday dismissed a 50-count charge bordering on alleged corruption against former Bayelsa governor, Timipre Sylva and six others. Justice Adeniyi Ademola, in a ruling, held that the charges as filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission constituted an abuse of court process and the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. He further held that the charges were “frivolous and lacking in merit’’. Specifically, Justice Ademola held that...

Kogi Election: APC Group Endorses Abubakar Audu’s Son

The All Progressives Congress (APC) critical stakeholders and delegates from Kogi East Senatorial District have resolved that the late political icon and APC candidate in the November 22 governorship election that was pronounced to be inconclusive, Mr Abubakar Audu, be substituted with his son Mohammed Audu in the event that the party goes for fresh primary. This was contained in a communique read by Daniel Isah, the Kogi East Zonal Chairman at...

Huge Crowds As Pope Celebrates First Mass In Africa

Pope Francis held his first open-air mass in Africa on Thursday with huge crowds hailing heavy rains as "God's blessing" as they sung and danced in the Kenyan capital.  Thousands of people queued through the night braving torrential downpours to take part in the historic mass, the first celebrated by Francis on African soil. The 78-year-old pontiff received a tumultuous welcome as he arrived in an open-topped Popemobile, smiling and waving as...

Woman Who Made Bread Using Yeast From Her Vagina Ate The Bread

British Blogger Zoe Stavri whipped the Internet up into a frothy bread mix frenzy earlier this week, after writing about a sourdough loaf she'd begun to make from scratch, leavened with yeast from a vaginal infection. She sourced the yeast with the help of a dildo. Her first tweets on the subject chronicled her yeast making her dough rise — "IT'S ALIVE"! she wrote, in an acceptable use of all caps — and a blog post also documented...

Boko Haram Conflict Deadline ‘Unrealistic’, CCC To Buhari

Senior military, security and intelligence figures in Nigeria on Thursday questioned President Muhammadu Buhari's December deadline for an end to the Boko Haram conflict, calling it "unrealistic". The Centre for Crisis Communication, a research and advisory body independent of government, said the deadline was "not tenable" given the continued wave of bombings in the northeast. The CCC...

Reps Summon Aviation Minister, Stakeholders Over Sack Of Staff By Virgin Atlantic

Following the recent retrenchment of staff of Virgin Atlantic Airline, the House of Representatives on Thursday summoned the Minister of State in charge of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and relevant stakeholders to appear before its Committees on Labour and Productivity and Aviation with the view of resolving the issue amicably. The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of motion of urgent matter of public importance sponsored by the House Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on the matter at plenary...

Drogba To Manage Chelsea

Former Chelsea  striker Didier Drogba says he has an agreement to return to the club once he finishes playing and wants it to be as manager. Drogba, who now plays in Canada, scored 164 goals in two spells with the Blues. “I want to give back to the club which has given so much to me. I have agreed that with the club directors,” the 37-year-old told BBC Africa. “Why not manager? Why not...

FG Moves To Amend Charges Against Orubebe

The scheduled commencement of trial in the case against former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe was stalled Thursday by the Federal Government’s decision to amend an earlier charge of four counts filed against Orubebe. Orubebe is charged with false asset declaration and acceptance of bribe totaling N70 million. The prosecution, led by Peter Danladi had on November 9, 2015 sought an adjournment for two weeks to enable it prepare its witnesses for trial.

I Am Kogi’s Governor Elect, James Faleke Writes INEC

The running mate to late Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare him governor elect. James Faleke, in a November 26 letter to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, insisted that under Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution, he was duly elected as deputy governor of Kogi State. While expressing sadness over the demise of his principal, Abubakar...

Senate Committee Gives Petroleum Minister Two Weeks To End Fuel Scarcity

The Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream has given the Minister of State for Petroleum and the NNPC two weeks to end petrol scarcity in the country. The committee handed down this directive at a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Petroleum, NNPC and agencies in the petroleum sector. For nearly three weeks, there have been long queues at different petrol stations across the country; a situation that has defied solutions by previous administrations and...

Edo Lawmakers Walk Out Female Commissioner For Improper Dressing

Members of Edo State House of Assembly on Wednesday asked the Commissioner for Health, Aihamuwa Eregie, to vacate the House for improper dressing. Eregie was asked to leave the hallowed chamber during the presentation of the 2015 budget performance of the Ministry of Health. The Deputy Speaker, Bright Osayande (APC- Ovia North-East II), who raised the observation, said the commissioner was not properly dressed and should not be allowed to appear before the House. Adjoto Kabiru (APC Akoko-Edo), who concurred...

Northern Lawmakers Kick Against Birth Control, Says It Is Anti-Islam And A Direct Attack On Their Religious Beliefs

A member of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole on Tuesday, November 24, moved for the motion titled "Need for the federal government to curb population explosion in Nigeria." Kolawole in his arguement urged the Federal Government to come up with a policy to check the alarming rate of population growth and to educate Nigerians on the importance of family planning through the National Orientation Agency (NOA). The Lawmaker based his arguement...

YBNL Boss Olamide Loses Dad

Top Nigerian rapper, Olamide Adedeji has announced the death of his father. Olamide who just released his 5th studio album, Eyan Mayweather, announced the sad news on his Instagram page on Thursday. While praying for the peaceful repose of his father, the YBNL rapper wrote a farewell message via his Instagram thus: “O God, who hast commanded us to honor our father and our mother; in Thy mercy have pity...

We Need N8.7billion To Effectively Fight Boko Haram – IG Of Police, Solomon Arase

Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase says the Nigerian Police Force will require N8.7billion to effectively fight Boko Haram. Arase said this while speaking at an interactive session with members of the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs today November 26th. He told the house members that there was a N57bn outstanding due to the Nigerian police that was appropriated but has not been released till date.

27 APC Aspirants In Race To Replace Audu

Few hours after the All Progressives Congress (APC) opted for a fresh primary to fill the vacuum created by the death of its governorship candidate in November 21 polls in Kogi State, there were indications that no fewer than 27 aspirants are warming up to grab the party’s ticket. Electoral umpire – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked the APC to replace its late candidate for the supplementary election scheduled for December 5.

118 Shops Burnt Down In Jos Market

A raging night inferno razed 118 shops at the Kabong market in Jos North on Thursday morning, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. A reporter, who visited the market, could not access the burnt section as some shops were still in flames. Others also had thick smoke billowing from them, making visibility very difficult. The actual cause of the fire could not be ascertained, but Mr Christopher Jama, Chairman, Kabong Market Traders Association,...

Declare Wada As Winner Of Kogi Election, PDP Tells INEC

The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare its candidate, Governor Idris Wada, as the winner of the November 21 governorship election in Kogi State. The party is also seeking the exclusion of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the supplementary election slated for December 5. The INEC had declared the election inconclusive following the cancellation of the poll in 91 units across 18...

100 Women Die Daily In Northern Nigeria During Childbirth- UNFPA

Ms Ratidzai Ndhlovu, Nigeria Country Director of United Nations Population Fund ( UNFPA), says no fewer than 100 women die daily across Northern Nigeria during childbirth. She spoke on Thursday in Sokoto at a consultative meeting with the theme: “Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal Deaths in Northern Nigeria: The Role of the Traditional and Religious Leaders.” Ndhlovu decried the high maternal mortality figure, and stressed that collective efforts must be stepped up to redress the...