Tribalism: Our generation needs to do better
Our generation needs to move past tribalism that has held back this country for decades and forge a united Nigeria.
On Saturday, December 24, 2016, tribalism was the hot topic on Twitter.
The controversial issue became a trending discussion on the social network because of the high presence of policemen and soldiers in Eastern Nigeria who were allegedly harassing Igbo people who were going back home for the holidays.
The discussion quickly became emotional with tribalistic tweets appearing on several timelines.
There were tweets that said that Igbo people always loved to play the victim which naturally incensed Nigerians from the South East. The ugliness did not stop there as Yoruba people were bashed for being cowards and Northerners for being freeloaders.
It was disheartening to see young Nigerians tweet tribalistic opinions and statements. The ugly words said on this day just reminded me that our generation is a product of other generations that saw life along tribal lines.
We might think we are better than our parents’ generation but the truth is that we are just like them, tribalistic and close minded. Our parents, aunties and uncles told us tales of how this person from another part of the country is bad and we should not associate with them.
Many Nigerians from the previous generation have tribalistic sentiments embedded in them which were instilled in them by the colonial and pre-colonial generation.
The founding fathers of Nigeria were tribalists who thought along ethnic lines. This faulty political system also reflected in our socio-cultural way of life.
With the Biafran civil war things became worse in terms of tribalism. The Igbos felt like outcasts in their own country. The Northerners were seen as dictators and Yoruba people as traitors.
These tribalistic sentiments have moved on from one generation to another. What might seem like bants on the TL is tribalism.
When someone says "Yoruba people are dirty" that’s tribalism. When a Yoruba landlord refuses to rent his house to an Igbo man that’s tribalism. When we Southerners call Northerners aboki and mallam, that’s tribalism because these words are now derogatory words in the South.
We are as tribalistic as the generation before us. Let’s not deceive ourselves. If we are serious about making Nigeria a great country we have to do away with tribal sentiments. All tribes are equal and no tribe is better than the other.
Our generation needs to engrave this in our hearts. If we don’t we will continue to make the same mistakes of the founding fathers.