Nigeria stands unique on the African continent and the global stage for many worthy reasons. Nigerians are quite ubiquitous and standing out tall in their various fields of endeavour around the world. There is scarcely any country where one visits and not find a Nigerian doing business, schooling, politics, sporting activities and lots more. Nigerians are indeed blessed and resilient.
With over two hundred and fifty ethnic groups, it has always been said that our strength lies in our diversity. Today, does this diversity hold any hope for the future? We seem to be growing apart with every coming day. Has our claim to unity in diversity become a unity in adversity? Who really cares about the unity of Nigeria? Is it the poor or middle class who do not really have a say? Presently, there are several calls for cessation. All these calls, unfortunately, are shouting louder than the unity of Nigeria. We hear these calls in the market places, schools, workplaces, churches and mosques.
I believe no ethnic group has monopoly of Nigeria. None of us was born with the express right to rule Nigeria. The minority tag on other ethnic groups aside Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo is one notion that should be discarded. Every ethnic group is equally important. Let the voice of unity speak louder than the majority or minority ethnic groups. Our leaders must work hard at uniting the people of Nigeria and stop being sentimental about who voted or did not vote them into power.
When US President Donald Trump won election, he said he would be president for all Americans. His motto was America first. Nigeria did not have it this good when President Muhammadu Buhari won elections and was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015. He said in an interview on June 23, 2015, at Washington DC that, constituencies that gave him 97% votes would be better treated than constituencies that gave him 5% votes. He called it a political reality.
In 2019 after Mr Buhari won re-election, he described residents of Abuja whom he knew didn’t vote him as a “necessary evil”. This is not an effort toward uniting the people of Nigeria. Instead, it breeds disaffection and a reduced effort by aggrieved Nigerians at working toward the unity of the country. Every Nigerian should be treated fairly and equally, or else we may begin to hold elections with a tag by presidential candidates which will read, “terms and conditions apply” if and when they win an election.
Nigeria obviously needs to tap the restart button and probably sit on it for a while. To restart Nigeria, fighting corruption is not enough. Nigeria needs leaders who have passion for the led – leaders who are selfless and are genuinely after a united and progressive Nigeria. The Nigerian system needs an “abnormal” set of leaders. The system has been “normal” for too long!
By Samson O. Oladimeji
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