I was speaking to a family friend of mine yesterday. I told him about my blog, I also mentioned my enthusiasm to see and help incite change for a better Nigeria.
He asked, 'How do we go about that?'
I replied, 'In baby steps. Starting with projects and charities and other outreach programmes.'
He said, 'That is good, but we were not addressing the root of the problem.'
'What is it?'
He replied 'Ethnicity!'
This to me seemed to be an abstract concept, however, it is a very subtle evil that plagues Nigeria.
We see it and we comment on it, but we don't ask what is the root of it.
Many years ago even before the missionaries came to Nigeria to bring us to Jesus and sell us off to plantations in various nations, we had a problem. The problem we had was within our ethnic groups.
We married ourselves and never really branched out to marry from another tribe.
There was a lot of self-sustenance in those days. We also had people in high positions that made decisions. Each group was made up of one major boss and instead of maybe another village family in another position, it was filled with the bosses friends, family, close confidants etc.
Right from those days, the cursed ego and greed plagued our people.
The situation became more complicated when the English came over. The reason being that Nigeria had internal tribal conflicts, lack of democracy, and tensions between the tribes. Then soon after the English came, we had them telling us what to do, and we saw them eradicating the form of life that we were accustomed to. Now the conflict became who was going to concede to the 'white mans wishes'.
From what I understand, the Hausa's were the first to. They did as the English requested, and in return, they were placed in high up positions to rule over our Nations' already fractured tribal groups. The Igbo's were the last to conform. They were very opinionated, stubborn and didn't conform. When the fight was over, and the English left, we were an independent nation with tripled issues. There was inferiority and seniority complexes. The Hausa's felt that they should be in charge: as Presidents, Vice - Presidents etc. Well, as far as they were concerned, the 'white man' left them in charge.
We had our first election, and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was elected! There, the tensions mounted. Someone from the South was elected and he was soon after removed from power when the Biafran War started.
If we look at our Presidential history, the amount of Southerners that have seen the light of Presidency is I believe only 2 or 3. The majority of people that rule Nigeria are Yoruba or Hausa.... why?
In very high up positions in companies, offices, even at our Embassy in London, they are filed with majority of the two groups mentioned above. Nigeria is a country with over 168 million people and in major offices and senior positions that control the country, the different tribes are not represented. Women especially are under represented.
You may ask me how does that matter?
It does, greatly, because it fuels the inner resentment and anger that so many local groups and tribes have. If you think about it, it spills into so many different areas of our lives. Marriage, the legal system, our jobs.
Your parents only want you to get married to one particular tribe, you cannot rat out your colleague for not doing his job properly because he is friends with the boss, and the boss is the one that put him there. If you report him, you'll be the one without a job. You cannot report another person for fraudulent activity, because if you report him to the police, you will have bigger fish to fry. I.e. Him and his BIG friends in the popo or in the office you work at.
We create a country that does not function, just by putting people we know are not necessarily adequate for the job because they are a friends daughter, a brothers son, a good friend. That creates complacency in the work force, because you won't fire your own as there are ramifications in the group you belong to. You shoot yourself in the leg. In government, they cannot rat our each other for corruption because they are all stealing together. They all belong to the same circle etc. So again, they shoot themselves in the leg.
Boko Haram is another main result of fractional tensions... That's a whole other feature.
If we had diversity from right at the top with the government, feeding down into the companies we own, the ones that we work for, then the whole mentality of the people can change. The small guy wont be scared to report someone because its not him against 5 other BIG dogs from the other guys local area. It transforms the whole system.
Uncle Ken, my family friend suggested the following:
A Ethnic Diversity Committee/ Counsel:
- They are tasked with ensuring that a Bill is passed through Congress to have a rule that there must be 30%* gender diversity in government, office or company.
- There must be in every top position of government, a mix of tribes represented.
- They are also tasked with ensuring that programmes are made compulsory in schools to teach about the different ethnic groups and talk about how we can all work well together. That way our children's minds are not corrupted with this fractional idea of one tribe is better than the other.
- Also, they are to find ways to form consolatory measures amongst the different tribes.
It all seems like great ideas.... how do go about to make it happen???
*Btw, I think it should be 50% gender diversity but we start small right?