Nigeria is a country known to house one of the largest population of occupants through different reasons such as birth, migration, war, tourism, trade and many more. Among various countries that makes up Africa, Nigeria had once held the title of the “Giant of Africa”, which she had lost along the passing years due to her various actions and negligence towards the economic, social, security, educational and most especially the justice system in the country. This title was lost through various contribution both on the part of the leaders and citizens at large, and she has continued to prove herself unworthy of maintaining the title once held.
Before the so called great independence and enslaving colonization, Nigeria was an independent bundle regions on its own, although it had no name then, it was just a place that houses different people with different cultures, tradition and beliefs, they all lived peacefully independent of one another, with some involvement of inter and intra tribal wars or clashes here and there but that did not stop them from living as separate entities.
The country has a population of about 140 million with not less than 250 ethnic groups, three (3) of which are the majority groups. The majority groups include the Hausa/Fulani in the North, the Yoruba speaking people in the South/West and the Igbo speaking people in the Eastern part.
These groups, because of their opportunistic positions have been seen as consistently dominating the political as well as economic scene before and after the attainment of the 1960 independence. Each region had their designated rulers the Oba’s who ruled the Yoruba people, Emir’s for the Hausa people, and the Igwe’s for the Igbo people were the then custodian of power before colonization pounced. Nigeria’s fall began through the selfishness and inconsideration of people in power who were tricked through goodies, religion, education and lot more which the colonist brought.
After colonization the regions with individual beliefs had been named “Niger Area” which was later reformed into what was called “Nigeria”. This new name brought different tribes and people together as one, what could have been better after the Independence from colonization but rebranding a nation was just not enough, the thirst for power grew and the killing started among inter and intra ethnical people of the so called one nation Nigeria, where we have the so called Biafra people, the Oduduwa people and the great Hausa/Fulani’s people striving to be in control without thinking of how fast the rebranded Nigeria is been torn down.
Over the years there has been various modern tribalistic wars fought within the country the likes of: Boko haram, Niger delta avengers, Fulani herds men, Indigenous people of Biafra (ipob), and the Oduduwa nation which is soon to emerge.
Subsequently over the years there had been various reports on different species and specializations’ of conflicts and crises in the country. There are numerous and various causes of crises and conflicts in Nigeria.
First, it is the challenge of Identity. Identity in my opinion is the distinguishing and unique feature any group or individual should possess, based on the individual, it might be certain attributes, behavioral pattern and even the style of thinking, but the basic identities are ethnicity, religion, regionalism, class, gender and youth. These different identities contribute to conflict in Nigeria.
Furthermore, another cause of ethnic crisis in Nigeria is colonialism that was boosted by military dictatorship and strengthened by the contradictions embedded in the Nigerian federalism. This has led large and heterogeneous numbers of politically, ethnically and religiously motivated conflicts in Nigeria.
The feeling of people on social injustice is another problem threatening the Nigeria’s unity and National development. This made people feel that institutions such as central and local governments behave in discriminatory or at best unpredictable ways and no longer trust them to come with fair and balanced policies. People then resort to violence to ensure justice.
Poverty is also seen as another cause of crises in Nigeria. “Poverty in Nigeria has assumed the moral character of war, and this is what reflected in much of the violence in this country” (Human Rights Watch, 2006).For instance, the resurgence in northern Nigeria could also partly be explained by the failure of politics in Nigeria to produce well enough social goods, maintain security and welfare, and ensure justice.
Why then should we still pretend to be a nation when we are internally divided? How can each ethnic stand independent of itself if the thirst of power should be curbed individually? Why can’t people stand against all injustice they are been served and demand for a brighter future? Is there still hope for a brighter future for people if we stay as one? People die daily due to unemployment, insecurity, poverty, hunger, diseases and many more.
More places like Lagos, Abuja, Kano are the major cities with greener pastures were people are overcrowded, lives are been endangered daily, youthful days are been wasted and lost, why then can’t minor cities be developed to accommodate people and enhance development? These questions and many more are to be asked of our selves before we can decide if we stay glued together or divided. Should Nigeria stay as one or return to been divided?
In my own opinion, I will suggest we build the individual mind set and thinking of the country. Corruption and other vices did not just spring up from the higher up in power, it started from little and humble beginning such as our mindset, family, youths, schools, parent and many more.
A quotation from the bible says “if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do” if we cannot make even small changes as little as it may be towards ourselves, homes, schools, communities, societies and even regions how then can we build a better nation filled with milk and honey. Honesty goes a long way in redeeming ourselves, both in the present and future.
Equal power to serve the nation, resources needed, and also support and motivation should be given to leaders who have truly dedicated themselves, time, resources and energy to the service of the people. People should not be afraid to speak out when necessary.
Finally no one is above the law, being in the sit of power does not qualify anyone has been superior to everyone who voted or raised you to that attained position. If you are too big to serve then you are definitely too small to lead, do not betray the trust of your supporters and endorsers.
BY: DELIGHT ADEKUNLE a student of linguistics and communication studies, Osun State University, Ikire Campus, Osun State, Nigeria.