Despite the enormous potentials of Nigeria as a nation, the pungent truth is that the current dynamics won’t be altered until we redefine our mannerisms. Every sane society ought to be built strictly on the egalitarian principles of social, economic and political equality; not the skewed practice of nepotism, tribalism and religious bias on showcase in today’s Nigeria.
Nostalgic memories of the days of yore, when one is first identified as a proud Nigerian before any mention of ethnicity now appears like tales of forgotten folklore. Suffice to say that our borders of diversity have been blown to smithereens by years of unsymmetric political maneuverings.
In a perfect world, merit should be the watchword; but owing to our bequeathed pluralistic structure, the need to create some sort of equilibrium gave birth to the federal character principle way before Nigeria’s Independence. The principle which is also loosely referred to as “quota system” however became official in 1979.
As contentious as the principle seems, it basically seeks to redress the parallel inequalities in all spheres of public administration. However, a categorical affirmative response cannot be given to the question of whether its aims and objectives have been achieved. Rather; its partial, total adherence or outright jettisoning has been left to the dictates of whoever is at the saddle.
It can be legitimately argued that there is a direct nexus between the hullabaloo over secession by various ethnic groups and the non-application of this simple principle. Why there is a blatant refusal to implement this policy remains at the realm of scholarly debate. There is no gainsaying that our existence stands the risk of getting crucified on the flanks of sundry favoritism and bias.
Disdainfully, the seeds sown on the grounds of contempt to this code are apparently sprouting on all facets of our national life; with the overt or covert demeanor of the government serving as enabling manure. The resultant spiraling effect of this neglect has dangerously trickled down to the private sector and even our everyday dealings with one another.
In view of this, it has become imperatively pedestrian for an average Nigerian to view issues through a jaundiced prism of tribalism. Our hitherto venerated national anthem no longer arouses any spasm of honor or patriotism. Relatively, it either sounds like a funeral hymn or the final words of respect on the grave of a loved one who passed on at prime age.
Whilst we can’t usurp the powers of those with the constitutional duty to apply our extant laws to its letter and spirit; our roles as liable citizens can be very profound. The time has come to exhume the interred virtue of brotherliness and awaken our slumbering empathy.
Considering how badly fractured we are at the moment, this may sound like the hardest thing to do but it also looks like the only escape route out of a palpably, looming second civil war. Otherwise, the hangman’s noose beckons.