As most Nigerians are religious or should I say portray to be religious, I will start by taking two quotes, one from the Bible, and the other from the Quran.
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” – Matthew 12:25
“Do not be like the ones who became divided and disputed, despite clear proofs that were given to them. For these have incurred a terrible retribution” – Quran 3:105
Nigeria has become an extremely polarised nation, to the extent that the white on the national flag, which signifies unity, is crying for a colour change. Almost every national discussion you hear will most certainly have a sectional undertone. Political officers are chosen based on what part of the country they are from or to satisfy some political interests and not necessarily for their leadership capabilities or the intellectual skill set they possess. It is now endemic in Nigeria that a person who steals from the public purse is not a thief if he or she is from the same ethnic region; they are termed “my brother” or “my sister”. This in itself is shocking!
Almost every Nigerian you speak to is dissatisfied with the state of the nation; people are angry and blame each other for the deterioration of the nation. The northerners will tell you it is the southerners, the southerners will tell you the northerners have ruled Nigeria for too long. Some have even conceived that the amalgamation of 1914 was a terrible mistake; that we would have been better of if there was no amalgamation. But before we start pointing accusing fingers and blaming the problems on the other ethnic region, I have some advice. Why not look inwards and ask your regional or ethnic leaders that are in political positions or have held political positions in the past some salient questions like:
What have you done with the allocations given to you from the treasury?
Can you point to the projects you have executed with utmost transparency and accountability?
Where are the policies you initiated that have benefitted the average Nigerian and alleviated the level of poverty?
Can you in all sincerity tell us that you have not soiled your hands in the public purse?
This list of questions is in no way exhaustive but you can begin to form an idea of the kind of questions you need to ask them.
The secession of Nigeria is far from the solution, in fact, it will indeed worsen the problems. If Nigeria splits into many parts, the prevalent problems of today will still remain. If we don’t learn how to live in unity as Nigeria, we will never be able to live in unity even if Nigeria splits into fifty parts. There are only two sets of people in Nigeria – the good and the evil, and they both exist in every geopolitical zone of the country. The ethnic and religious division is nothing but a deceitful seed sown by greedy politicians that has now grown into a mighty forest that has since been nurtured by the same group. The divide and conquer rule is not a myth, it works, and it will continue to as long as you allow yourselves to be divided along ethnic and religious lines. The more the ethnic division continue, the more the greedy politicians increase in political and financial power – the division suits their purpose.
I have said it previously that the problem of Nigeria is not the Northerners or Southerners, it isn’t the Christians or Muslims, but the major problem is corruption in high places. This is the common evil that we need to wade at all cost. A poor man from Calabar is of no better than a poor man from Sokoto. The same denominator, poverty, joins them.
I will like us to ask ourselves some questions. Of what benefit is it to you personally if the president is from your region but you have just lost a close family member because you could not afford to pay for sound health care, or when pregnant women in your region have a slim chance of surviving child birth due to bad health care service that is in its own coma? Of what use is it to you personally if the governor is from your village but yet the probability of it snowing in Nigeria is higher than you finding a job after graduation? What benefit is it to you if the local government chairman goes to your church or mosque but yet the road to your house is still impassable?
As the body is of many parts, so is Nigeria of many ethnicities, languages, and dialects. God that made the human body didn’t make a body of the same part but of different parts. There are many parts of the body but they all work together. The eye cannot say to the mouth that I do not have need of you, neither can the feet say to the hand let us depart in peace. The nose cannot perform the functions of the stomach, neither can the ear do the functions of the mouth, each member has its own important part to play in the body. The tender tongue in the midst of 32 soldiers (teeth) cannot do without each other, even though they fight at times (teeth bites the tongue), they still live together and cannot be separated.
Nigeria is a diverse country; we should draw strength from our diversity and not division. We should understand that we have different religions, ethnicities, and culture; we should learn to respect each other, live with our differences and treat everyone fairly. Every Nigerian should be able to live the way he wants in conformity with his culture, ethnic preference, and religion.
The future of Nigeria is indeed bright and it needs the brightest of brains from the north, south, east and west to joins hands to move this nation forward. We should see people for who they are or what they can contribute to the emergence of a better Nigeria and not for the geographical location they represent. If we follow the holy books we claim to believe in, we realise that we stand a better chance if we unite to advance this great nation.
You can engage Karo on twitter @K_Orovboni
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters