Is there really anyone among us who has accepted to live with the implications of one Nigeria? A person living in Nigeria who is Nigerian in the true sense of the word and even in the face of ethnic tension, he or she is not lured by ethnic bias but stands with the union and ready to embrace every implication associated with it. Before the 2019 General Elections the parties, employing the usual tactics, elevated the war between tribes in the country and Lagos, Nigeria, was their focal point. The Igbos and the Yorubas argued, cursed each other and virtual blood was plastered on our screens. There were intellectuals on both sides, but as is common with the standards here, things are not usually what they ought to be and values are often stretched with energised craze outside their corridors. The Yorubas owned Lagos vs the Igbos built Lagos and on each side an honest zeal appeared. They were not just arguing for the sake of arguing. They saw their respective positions as a truth that came from a contrite place. As the madness went on one was forced to question the place of patriotism in such a setting.
Are Nigerians a bunch of confused people who don’t know what they believe in or they understand but are great masters of mischief? If Nigeria is one country why will such madness go on with state-like backing? If people here really want to live in one country why should some persons tell tribes whom they ought to vote for? The word accommodation was often thrown around in the face of these arguments and you ask what that even means. A Nigerian in Nigeria travels to another part of Nigeria and the Nigerians he meets in that part of our country speaks of accommodating him. He works for his money. He pays rent to his landlord. He doesn’t cause trouble or associate with troublemakers but once there is an argument, the Nigerians indigent to that state won’t fail to remind him he should be grateful to them because they accommodated him. If this is not madness what then is it? Even a Nigerian in Europe or America wouldn’t be communicated to in such language talk more a man in his own country. We are all Nigerians and no one is accommodating the other just because they are living in their state. It is unpatriotic, irrational and downright stupid to use that language on any Nigerian. If these Nigerians ‘accommodating’ other Nigerians believe in Nigeria or even have any iota of commonsense in them they will know that you don’t accommodate a fellow citizen working for their money whether they respect the laws of the state or not. It is not modern or civilised but a primitive means of communication.
It is evident to any honest observer that the British created this country to fail. The systems and respective ideologies that existed before the British created Nigeria will only allow for failure when fused together. The conquerors knew and embraced it with open arms. They knew that patriotism in a system so scattered ideologically, so distant culturally, will be difficult. Unfortunately for us, our founding fathers weren’t as smart as we credit them or the history books make them seem. Nothing was done to eliminate the differences that existed and neither was there a plan to create something whole and balanced out of the pile of diverse tongues we spoke. And here we are. Employment in state ministries is based on tribal affiliations or the greater affiliation of class. It is either you are from the tribe that runs the state or you know someone who knows someone who has influence on the people running the show. Even something as common as Undergraduate’ Industrial Training, IT, has some tribal connotations to it. If you happen to do an IT in the state of the wrong tribe, chances are that you will meet one or two crude Nigerians who ironically believe in Nigeria but will show you hell for not coming from their alpha tribe.
The man you thought was kind suddenly becomes a sadist just because you told him the tribe you come from and the guy who has been showing you round and teaching you how the machines work suddenly develops a dislike for your inquisitiveness. Some go as far as hiding if they sense your ugly eyes prying or trying to watch and learn what they are unto. You become a devil all of a sudden and were you to go further and tell these hawks that the wonderful device they recommended you get last time is owned by your tribesman, that device becomes bad and they try to make disciples of neutral men. Nigerians are not just satisfied with hating one another, they also want other people to hate whom they hate and love the ones they love.
In 2014, I was posted to a Federal Medical Centre for my Service in the
National Youth Service Corps, NYSC. It was one of the best (by Nigerian standards
that is) and biggest hospital in the state and my HOD’s humanity fascinated me.
I gave everything I had and even while they were on a three months strike, I
handled every work coming to the department ALONE. One day, after the strike
has been called off, a patient came with a Temporary Prosthesis, TP, she was
given from a big hospital in the East and my HOD saw the opportunity to lambast
me. He called it wickedness even though what they gave her was a TP and any
professional in the field who doesn’t know the quality of one shouldn’t be in
the field. He insulted the Igbos and told me how wicked I and my people are.
Even though the amputee admitted they gave it to her for free and asked her to
wait for the permanent one, he spoke of the greed of the Igbos and used other
profanities I believed was in his reservoir waiting for me to make a wrong
step. Unfortunately, this man believes he is a patriot and he also, at the same
time, believes that the Igbos asking for their own country are fools. Who is
really the foolish one here? There are also Igbo people treating others like
this. It is a general disease.
What we have in Nigeria are people united by the goal to survive and by survive, I mean financial survival. They don’t live in peace but because they are making money from the union, any attempt at trying to reshape it is met with violence or reluctance. They don’t want to forgive other nations or tribes who have wronged them and at the same time they won’t let go because they all useful to one another, just financially. They are not Nigerians in the true sense of the word but simply businessmen and this is the reason this hatred is hardly seen once they are transacting. The politicians from every region are united not because they are patriotic or really trying to enhance national unity, but because money is involved. When they are outside the money vault they become activists like Dino Melaye was with Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, Deji the PDP guy and Charley Boy with his OurMumuDonDo movement. Even the hard core tribalist who hates the other tribe does business with those of the hated tribe. Remove money and there is no relationship. Remove money and a second civil war would have happened. If we were patriotic, arguments like we had in the Lagos example wouldn’t be happening. Lack of patriotism is also the reason why a person who claimed the governor of Lagos, Ambode, failed and doesn’t deserve a second term gave the current and worst Nigerian President ever, a second term support. If he was a patriot such bias wouldn’t exist.
Ambode turned Lagos to a trash house but what about Buhari? If Ambode is not
good enough for a second term, how did a renowned failure like Buhari get
support by same persons who made the first claim? Nigeria can burn for a man’s
selfish interest but sweet home Lagos shouldn’t be in a similar condition.
That’s unpatriotism at play. The Nigerian President is not even patriotic to
begin with. To him, the Fulanis are first, then others follow and so he uses
different rules to exert justice. He chants One Nigeria like a mischievous
choir master and then goes ahead to segregate. Is there really a Nigerian who
believes that Nigerians living in his home state are not strangers but
citizens? Is there really a state in Nigeria whose government and policies
actually tend to unite Nigeria or show believe in the Nigerian state? The
locals in every part of Nigeria have this erroneous mindset, even among people
of same tribe that they own the place and the Nigerians living around must
‘behave’. And by behave that implies allowing for intimidation and even
extortion when called upon for erroneous donations. It is no surprise that the
most useless Nigerians you will find in any part of Nigeria are the indigenes
of that place. The idea is that you own your place; the idea is that you don’t
owe anyone patriotism, the idea is that the particular is more important that
the general, the idea sold is that this is just a marriage of convenience and
often times; these jobless indigenes are simply operating within the scope.