Travel unlocks the key of knowledge.  One can truly appreciate the beauty and diversity of Nigeria by traveling away from their comfort zone to other states.  I hadn’t traveled to the South until I was posted to Delta State during my NYSC days.  I traversed the bumpy road of Okene in Kogi State before reaching Delta State.  There I experienced my first culture shock before I ‘acclimatised’ to the food, culture, and traditions of the state.  While my story may sound good, Nigeria is a polarized nation.

 Nigeria is blessed with human and mineral resources and has over 200 tribes and a population of over 200 million. The youth, who make up 70 percent of the population, are like zombies; they follow blindly like a cult. The political class continues to use religion, tribe, and ethnicity as weapons to divide the youth’s opinions. The political class is united in draining the coffers of the nation.

Young people often ascribe religious, tribal, and ethnic connotations to everything.  Unsuspecting parents can plant the seeds of hatred in their children towards other tribes.  For example, the Jukuns and the Tiv have intermarried for decades, yet they’ve become embroiled in conflict.  In Plateau State, religious clashes have consumed thousands of lives and destroyed property.  Some politicians, traditional leaders, and religious leaders also fan the flames of hatred.

  Some governors and elders’ statements are capable of inciting ethnic strife. During elections, politicians use religious leaders to divide voters, as we witnessed in the 2023 election where some presidential candidates visited churches and mosques urging their followers to vote for them. On social media, you see users throwing jabs and making derogatory and condescending remarks about other tribes and religions. No tribe or ethnic group is superior to another or holds a monopoly on intelligence. We witnessed how a former governors who siphoned and mismanaged state funds were given heroic welcome upon their release from prison simply because of tribe. Tribal and religious intolerance are deeply rooted in Nigeria. We often fail to see things from a wise perspective and instead ascribe political, tribal, ethnic, and religious connotations to everything.

Recently, a senator accused the national assembly of inserting N3 trillion into the budget. Instead of granting him a fair hearing, he was given a three-month suspension. What if he is telling the truth? What prevents the national assembly, in order to restore public confidence, from hiring a trustworthy independent forensic expert to verify the accuracy of his claim? If it is found that he misled the public, then they should suspend him immediately after the report. Sadly, because our loyalty lies to our tribe, the court of public opinion labels him negatively.

·About a month ago, a religious cleric called the President’s wife an infidel. He even went further to threaten her life because of her faith. This incident exemplifies the depth of religious intolerance in Nigeria.

In 2016, Sadiq Khan, a son of an immigrant and a Muslim, ran to become the Mayor of London. He was elected with 57% of the vote, disregarding his roots, race, political affiliation, or religion, but rather based on his capacity and competence. In Nigeria, even educated individuals utilize divisive politics as a tool to garner votes. After winning the election, they retreat to their shells, empowering their children and rewarding their kin with lucrative government positions. It’s easy to manipulate unsuspecting illiterates or educated illiterates into submission.

 China has dominated some technological areas. They teach their children skills in developing and assembling drones, watches, and the like. In contrast, in Nigeria, some parents teach their children to hate other tribes and ethnic groups.

  We all have our peculiarities. No tribe or ethnic group is completely angelic, unsullied, or flawless. We can all learn from each other.

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