THE NIGERIA'S 56TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY
Following the facade of independence and the euphoria that greeted the new Nigeria in 1960, tribalism is and still is Nigeria's worst enemy. Tribalism is an aberration to any country that dreams of being among the said 'developed nations' of the world. Tribalism is a feeling of belonging to a particular tribe. It determines who gets what, when, how and even why.
It is always important to dive home this proposition with historical backup because in the words of Professor Esedebe "…a man who loses memory of what went before will be a man adrift."
Nigeria before the invasion of the British in the 1860s and the formalization of colonialism in 1900 never knew any atom of differences among its dwellers until they stamped their feet on Nigeria's soil. What the British colonial rule did in Nigeria through her various policies was to stir up primordial sentiments among the people, where such have not existed before now. Through the colonial policy of did and rule the British succeeded in sowing seeds of division and hatred within the emerging nation; this colonial policy guided the British in subjugating and balkanizing Nigerians and Nigeria. Having internalized these differences, the idea of nation building changed as we could only utter "one Nigeria" from the side of our mouth.
Tribalism has resulted in innumerable upheavals that took away the lives of innocuous citizenry. Tribalism also play a role when it comes to who gets what, when and how. Nigerians today cannot pass a clear-cut judgment on someone without viewing it from tribal perspective, allocation of scarce resources is also base on tribal lines.
It is noteworthy to state clearly without any equivocation nor ambiguity, that the Nigeria constitution has also helped in exacerbating the cankerworm called tribalism. The Federal character and the principles of quota system in the constitution can be seen as the engravement of tribalism in government agencies and institutions. Employment, promotion and whatnot in public offices must be done from the angle of where you come from and not who you are, what this connotes is that there is no 'Nigerian' as an individual but rather as a tribal group. This practice has displaced the weberian principle of meritocracy because the best is not considered but whose turn, this principles had had a dismal effect on performance and productivity of public officials.
As this day marks the 56th independence anniversary of this great country Nigeria, a country still full of hopes and dreams, it is high time we thought of the way forward.
There is need for the adoption of an efficacious integration and sensitization programs that would be geared towards uniting the people of Nigeria, when this is done, it would no longer be a case of favouritism because there is a feeling on brotherhood in the air, only then can we all join our hands and strengths to roll the stumbling stone that has bedevil this country. This is in line with what Appadorai said, he opined that "the sense of belonging together creates a readiness on the part of the members of a state to subordinate their differences to the common good". Hence the mantra, society above self.
The principles of Federal character and the quota system need to be jettisoned from the constitution so as to give room for meritocracy, this would ensure that only credible and qualified Nigerians take up the mantle of governance and administration. Our tertiary institutions would no longer undergo the onerous task of tutoring vegetables and producing unemployable graduates.
When these recommendations are being undertaken by the appropriate authorities, I believe that it would reduce the problem of Nigeria to its ebb, this would quell the incessant uprising of militancy and terrorism, hate and ethnic chauvinism amongst others.
By: Ejioffor Ikechukwu