Nigeria: We Are A Nation Of Tribalists

Nigeria! The ‘rich-poor’ nation, a country with many blessings but even more sufferings, a country of the bittered and confused etc. Nigeria the this, Nigeria the that. So many names allocated to a country at a time but no one is ready to put up a full discourse about the tribal Nigeria.

To me, Nigeria is a country of ‘tribalists’ overpowered by political pretence of nationalism. I refused to make this topic complicated. It is a straight forward issue to me. Nigeria is a country of tribalists.

Don’t eat me now, I must beg. I’m a Patriot too (rarely have I seen better patriotic citizen than I am ). As a matter of fact, I believe it is the duty of a Patriot to speak the truth without fear or favour, so I’m more or less doing my duty. Yes, I accept it happens in one form or the other everywhere in the world but we’ve come a long way to have eased the segregation or the infighting a bit. Plus, ours is a unique case with so many things shared in common amongst us as a people. Our proximity in nature is too close for us to segregate one another.

Over the decades, our ‘out of touch’ sentiments have grown into wider segregations leading to a higher level of clustered infighting. I mean, We are a people who are mostly of the view that the next person is out to frustrate us.

Don’t judge me yet please, I should beg again until you get the angle I’m coming from. However,you can help by answering the following questions:

Who are you to claim that you do not harbour sentiment in Nigeria? What mixture of blood can you show to lay claim that you are not tribal in this country?

I pray your answers will help you relax so I can show you what I meant.

We live in a nation that everyone accuses anyone of everything bad as long as their cultures, heritages and other systems of living differ (even a bit) from ours. Who will dare claim to be non-trivial in this regard?
It is as if we have inner viral hatred running through our veins from our decades of sentimental neglects and we have not thought about antidote to prevent  infesting our little ones.

We have neglected the things that unite us but we have easily channelled our energy to ones that separate us, which are embedded in tribalism and a few other times, religious affiliations.
In reality, we are quick in quoting “we consist of over 500 dialects, 774 local governments and 36 different states” .

In our country, every favour is based on  language and appointment on Regions. As I said, I’ve rarely seen people who actually live beyond this on a daily basis.

We are a country bedevilled with tribalism.

If you really think you are not tribal, then it should be fun to find out what your language calls a typical Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Efik, Ijaw, Urhobo etc person and why do we need such names?
How many of the names are not hateful or ridiculous?

Secondly, how many people can attest that they do not harbour in a little way, the believe that their tribe is superior to those of others? Some even never find faults in their traditions but are super ready to condemn the cultures of others. A simple case of being bad judges for other’s culture but very good lawyers for their cultural lapses. We are Nigerians, our problem is superiority of ours and inferiority of others.

The Reviewer is not pointing fingers because we know all the truth. At least, we’ve all grown to know the extent of the common historical bad traits in our own clans and tribes but have been good students of hiding our faults to be deemed righteous while exposing others on the altar of shame. Nobody should pretend if we are to face this menace head on.

Cross marriages between tribes would almost have been impossible except for the stubbornness of our generation. One still have to face so many hurdles which can be distasteful to consider marriage in the first place.  Almost every acceptance from parents for their wards to be married to another tribe comes later after so much grumbling. This happens especially when the parents have a bitter feeling about the spouse’s tribe or better still, sees them as being inferior. They do this so much that, they most times forget to check out the vitally needed things for the children’s marriages to flourish that is outside tribal sentiments.
I will save everyone the various examples but they range from the most hilarious to the most heartless, maybe simply put ‘most ridiculous’ .

Can you fathom the fact that a friend had to spend more on his marriage because he’s not from a certain tribe and the lady’s parent felt they were inferior. It should be mentioned that the guy was well stressed because he was perceived to be historical inferiority (or complex – as the case may be) and it had nothing to do with economic class of the guy in question. The money was there but he was just not qualify based on his tribe.

The funny idea about marriages being hung on the assumption of cultural and blood superiority is what baffles me. It is a concept too strange to for me to explain. So having a good head and plan for the lady just wasn’t enough. It was as if the standard had to be raised to know if he will meet up both financially and otherwise. It makes me wonder if the extra he was asked to pay was an insurance ‘just in case….., A future incidence’ from the guy from bad tribe happens.

By the way, the young man painfully went through the troubles and swore never to have them close to his gate not have any business with the family besides his wife again. It may seem extreme but that’s what maltreatment does to someone like that.

The situation is worst with complicated marriage and funeral matters. It’s as if the traditional traps are set to snare on strangers and visitors.

We are a nation of tribalists,  the grammar itself may offend most but I care less about that at the moment. I just have to make my point clear. At least, everyone knows the truth but most people are not ready to face it in the way it is . We always shout with suspicion about appointment government make but I always wonder if we all know that it’s this same “my brother is the one there’ syndrome that has brought us this low and made a few super rich. Okay, I almost forgot it’s fine for our brothers and sisters to do wrong, and we will suffer in pain while honest mistakes from someone outside our clans are considered abominations. That’s how tribal we can be in my country.

I have travelled and have been raised by different people at different stages in my life, I am yet to see poverty that respect tribe especially when their oppressors live amongst the oppressed.

The Reviewer may not be perfect but I have sincerely come to see everyone as a countryman (or woman, as the case may be), then, in extension, I consider my countrymen as a people not  tribes.

This is because, in my whole travel time,  I have learnt that poverty knows no tribe and oppression knows no religion. People just divide people because of their selfish reasons.

So I can’t understand why we are bent on dividing ourselves into tribes and religions whereas our collective punishers are joint in harmony of money sharing. It’s insane that looting and money Sharing does not understand tribe and religion,tongue or culture but we are the ones protecting or fight for them.

Except you have never moved out of your house, then you won’t know how people of different tongues have been Angels to travellers . As for me, the best form of helps have come from strangers. some, who neither could understand the common English ( pidgin English) or the other languages that I travelled with as means of communication nor knew even the name of the place I’m from. They mostly did not know how hard it has taken me to get to where we met but they stood out as a blessing to me. That’s the Nigerian spirit and I’m super grateful to God for them.

We will be damned if anyone claim to have not received these kindness and blessing from strangers across the length and breath of this country, at least for once. Haven’t these shown that we are a people of love and compassion? If these could come from those most of us we would ordinarily regard as uneducated, why are we the educated ones so derailed from our culture of love? I won’t want to believe we suffer from the ‘more you learn, the more wicked you become’ syndrome. That will be total lost of our identify. We are a nation of tribalists, it’s only unfair how we have not given others chances they need to forge relationships that will lead to the general liberalisation of our nation.

The Reviewer may not know so much but I have never seen or read about a nation built by internal divisiveness and deliberate injustice

Of sincerity, I have been surprised by doings of people outside my tribe in blessing me and relatively shocked by the actions of my tribesmen in ignoring my plight at my most thunderous times. So I can’t shield the truth in the name of tongue. I only pray my openness can awaken our consciousness to what we can achieve by loving people beyond tribes, tongues, religion and culture, especially in our quest to build a new Nigeria.
God bless Nigeria.