Awareness of our own biases against others helps to tackle stereotypes

Realistically, we are not at that stage yet for a unified national identity, we are working on it, we need not deny it.

The just concluded election revealed the other side of Nigerians that we prefer not to talk about, we shy away from it but yet it is strong enough to divide us – we are still very much tribalistic.

How can we move past this for a united nation especially on our collective challenging issues?

“All I am is a Nigerian!!! If you ask for my state of origin, I will no longer answer you. States exist for administrative purpose. Join me!!” wrote a tweep.

I believe denying our differences will only make our healing a long one. What is wrong by telling the truth about our state origin or even our home town if it ever came up in conversation?

A few years ago at the Lagos international airport, I presented my passport to the immigration at the departure check point, the man stared at me and back at the passport a couple of times and then chuckle, I asked if all was ok – all was fine he only found my home town amusing.

He has been working at his post for a decade, and could not recall ever checked in anyone from my hometown. That was a little odd given there are hundreds of people passing through the same airport every year to different destinations around the globe. Or perhaps, the officer just hasn’t met anyone given there are many of his colleagues there in similar role.

I could not have imagined anyone from my town to claim to be from somewhere else, where else would they claim to be from? This is very simple truth that should not even require thinking about.

I would think one of the best ways to better Nigeria is the understanding of our differences and embracing them.

In the past, we have been fed with lies hence the dislike for one another was deep-rooted, how about if we took a different approach given amazing technology of today to tell our stories – local stories to encourage movement within the country?

Nigeria can only unite in the way that will benefit us all by being comfortable with where we are from. Understanding our differences need not divide us, it is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties.



Categories: Education, Nigeria

Tags: , ,

6 replies

  1. Where are you referring to in the last part of the first paragraph where the locals are being ‘choked’ out of their land?

    Well, my village HQ pastor was transferred somewhere in the north…now back home with his fingers missing, that was the last warning he was giving to show he’s not welcome – now back home with scars to show, he was lucky many were killed.

    See the Igbo example raised were true but affect us everywhere in the country. During Osun governorship campaign, when people have nothing else to say against Aregbesola, they picked on one of his spokesperson who is an Ondo man for not being from Osun – that is insane, everyone knows that however, what is true was that if the man is from Modakeke for example, he would have been shot down successfully by themany with empty skulls for no other reason that the origin.

    I believe the government has the responsibility of finding a way to redress this right from all of our important offices across the country – give everyone a fair level playground and apply merits.

    See, true that our big cities are overcrowded. We haven’t done enough to address this. We have plenty of empty lands to expand to.

    In Osun, government opened up a big chunk of land two years ago for residential purchase, now allocated to citizens, that will undoubtedly reduce pressure from Osogbo.

    The reasons many are in Lagos was for jobs – along Ibadan-Lagos express way was hectares of empty land – this areas can be given (even cheaply/free) for manufacturing Co to develop, people will move where jobs are.

    Like

    • In reply to your question, the town of Zangon Kataf in Kaduna state, it is very heavily dominated by Hausa/Fulani in a sea of Kataf communities.
      Even in Abuja, the natives (Gbagyi, Bassa , Gade, Gwadara, Ganagana, Koro and Beriberi) have been displaced to the poor slums on the margin and are not benefiting from the development of their land (in contrast to the Yorubas of Lagos)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! So much I don’t know – incredible how every region has managed to create their own monster, how are we getting out of this?

        Fairness in resources distribution as you said would help a great deal and again if we pretend this is non-issue, we are far from healing.

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        • FK you’re welcome.
          As you said, every region (nearly) has managed to produce this ugly situation. To get out of that position. I can’t say I really know. I’d say there should be less emphasis on exclusion, listening to and acknowledging the needs and concerns of the other, and as you said a better and transparent means of distributing wealth.

          Your personal examples of people heckling someone from being from elsewhere, is somewhat hard to understand (coming from adults). This kind of behavior should be left behind at school. This as you pointed out is plainly silly and counter-productive. How were they raised? Who did they socialise with? This will tend to reveal that this germ of intolerance is widespread in society.

          The bigger picture is that ultimately, the nation will never rise, as it is too ‘busy in-fighting’ and wasting time & money. Whilst elsewhere governments (the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India etc) have recognised the need to allow their own citizens and to a lesser extent foreigners migrate (around the nation) and contribute to the society.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Concur with the last paragraph, it is sad that despite been the same skin colour, we are proving to be the most hardened to understand the importance of a tolerable society … sad. Even shameful is the pretence of ‘all is well’.

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  2. FK
    The concept of moving around the country is a sensible one, but in Nigeria (as with many things) is fraught with difficulty. In Britain, Scots can settle in England, live and work and raise their families no problem i.e no threat to their security and visa versa. In Nigeria say if Igbos go to Kano, they are taking their lives in their hands. If a Hausa or Fulani go to Plateau again they risk life and limb. Nigerians state the indigene/settler issue as the reason. This is generally used as a barrier to keep others out, to safeguard their claim to local resources. Until this issue of distributing local resources in a just and unbiased manner is dealt with, we will continue to witness acts of violence against settlers and retaliation by them over this issue. Also how do you protect the “minorities” from being submerged in a never ending tide of migrants who have overpopulated their lands to the extent they have no choice but to move elsewhere to make a living (and are reluctant to curb their numbers)? Seems like compromise is required to square these conflicting views.

    Fairness is another issue, Lagos state & Kano states have Igbos who are the chief accountant for the states, there is no issue. In Enugu no non-Igbo person occupies any prominent position within the state government. This hardly seems fair/just, with such glaring discrepancies around you will only stoke the embers of resentment and discord.

    To my mind it seems strange that Nigerians are more than happy take advantage of the right to settle overseas and live, but are very happy to deny one another the right to live anywhere they choose within their “own country”. This seems a strange double-standard, that I find hard to reconcile with free movement of people. Also considering the overcrowded nature of Nigeria, it is inevitable that people will move.

    So, this issue goes beyond merely feeling comfortable, it challenges some notions of belonging & exclusivity. It will require maturity and recognition that sharing and acceptance, along with mutual respect is the only way forward.

    Liked by 1 person

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