Tribalism: our Racism in Nigeria

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Tribalism have become a rising threat to Nigeria’s unity.

Tribalism is our own racism in Nigeria. You would think we would get past it but how can we? When in different parts of the country people are being killed simply because they are from other tribes; when we teach our children to hate their neighbours before they even know who they are. You see people comfortably dishing out advice that are completely damaging to other tribes. You hear things like “fear Igbo people they will cheat you, Yorubas are traitors, Hausa will kill you, Kalabari men can’t stick to a woman, run away from Urhobo men they are lazy, Shine your eye with Warri man, There are witches in Edo state. I hate this people, I hate that person Etc” to mention just a few. When will all this stop? Instead of preaching love, we go ahead and hand down hate from one generation to another as if it’s a given. This is the root of Nigerian cynicism. Politicians know and that’s why they take advantage of the electorate. We vote based on sentiments not merit. The electoral climate in Nigeria is so toxic right now, opinions divided along tribal lines. When are we going to heal?

They tell you who to trust and who not to trust and yet preach the dubious narrative of oneness when it’s to their advantage. Our indigenous languages have become a code for inclusion and exclusion of others. When are we going to heal?

We view our neighbours with suspicion, when they speak the language you don’t understand you conclude that they are talking about you why? We judge people by their tribes instead of the content of their character. Some will not allow themselves to love or even marry from some tribes. Why hurt yourself?

We make excuses for ourselves and our flaws but not for people of other tribes. Must you judge them in order to feel good about yourself?

We are a people who spread rumours and stereotype other tribes, the funny thing is that we do this with righteous indignation as if it’s not born out of hate or ignorance and sometimes mere hearsay. “I hearsay them bad” “That is how they are, useless people”…. shoo, but your brother or someone from your tribe did the same thing. Why?

We carry on. Tribes have become validating symbols. It’s okay for some to do it but not others why? They are simply not of the “right tribe?” Please let’s get over ourselves and give our neighbours a break. Love your neighbour, learn their names and stop tagging them by their tribes “Urhobo man, Igbo woman, Yoruba boy, Hausa girl” etc.

There’s good and bad in every tribe and culture so it is with the people from there. Don’t because of one person rewrite the history of others. If there’s an aspect of culture you don’t like start campaigning against it until it’s stopped or mind your business. Mary Slessor who stopped the killing of twins in Africa doesn’t have two heads. Society is in a constant state of flux, anything can change. Also bear in mind that spreading hate speech will only breed terrorism. The case of America and recently Netherlands should be a warning. Hate will only bring evil not good. Learn to be tolerant!

Teach yourself and your children to appreciate difference and not to abhor it or see it as a crime. Teach them to relate with people, not to judge people by their tribes instead judge them by the content of their character like King advocated. Stop spreading your hate, stop telling people who to trust and who not to trust. Let your children learn and observe for themselves so that they can relate better than our generation.

Pls learn to live and let others live. The future will be better.

#Lilian Ohanedozi


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  1. Princewill  March 20, 2019

    This is really interesting. The people must come together to resist hate

    • Lilian  March 21, 2019

      Thanks for reading this piece


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