By Taiwo Abiodun-Oni
This is not the usual clarion call. This is more of an SOS message before this hate completely consumes you and I.
The Nigerian elections have once again brought to light the deep-seated hatred and distrust between the Igbo and Yoruba tribesmen. This heightened animosity is tearing apart the very fabric of our society, threatening to consume us all if we do not take swift action to address it.
The Igbos and Yorubas have been at odds for decades, with each tribe accusing the other of unfair treatment and marginalization. These feelings of resentment have only been exacerbated by the recent elections, with both sides accusing the other of rigging the vote and using underhanded tactics to gain an advantage.
This hate is not limited to political matters, however. It permeates every aspect of our society, from our schools and workplaces to our homes and places of worship. It is a cancer that is eating away at us from the inside out, causing us to see each other not as fellow Nigerians, but as enemies to be vanquished.
But we must ask ourselves, where does this hate lead us? History is replete with examples of countries that have been destroyed because of inter-tribal wars from Rwanda to Yugoslavia. In Rwanda, for instance, the Hutus and Tutsis turned on each other with such ferocity that over 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days. The country was left in ruins, with families torn apart and communities shattered.
The wounds of tribalism and division run deep in Nigeria, and unguarded utterances and unfounded suspicion threaten to reopen them, making national cohesion impossible. The history of our country is marked by examples of how these kinds of actions have contributed to the disintegration of our society. It is imperative that we learn from these examples and work to build a stronger, more unified nation.
One of the most glaring examples of the destructive power of unguarded utterances and unfounded suspicion can be seen in the Nigerian Civil War. The Biafran secessionist movement was fueled by a sense of marginalization and the belief that the Igbo people were being systematically oppressed by the government. This sense of victimhood was amplified by the rhetoric of tribal leaders who stoked the fires of division, calling for secession and making inflammatory statements about other tribes.
This ultimately led to a bloody civil war that lasted for three years, claiming the lives of over one million people. Families were torn apart, communities were destroyed, and the scars of that conflict still linger to this day.
We must not forget the lessons of the past. Our country cannot survive if we continue to allow ourselves to be driven apart by tribalism and division. We must be vigilant in our efforts to promote national cohesion and unity, and this starts with the language we use and the beliefs we hold.
Unguarded utterances and unfounded suspicion only serve to deepen the divides that already exist in our society. When we speak in derogatory terms about other tribes, we only serve to reinforce the notion that we are different and cannot coexist peacefully. When we spread rumors and unverified information about other tribes, we sow the seeds of distrust that can lead to conflict and violence.
We cannot allow Nigeria to go down this same path. We must recognize that there is more that joins us than separates us. We are all Nigerians, with a shared history and culture that is rich and diverse. We must learn to celebrate these differences, rather than using them as a means of dividing us.
It is time for us to put aside our differences and come together as a people. We must recognize that the challenges we face as a nation can only be overcome if we work together, regardless of tribe or ethnicity. We must hold our leaders accountable for their actions and demand that they work towards the greater good of all Nigerians, rather than just those from their own tribe.
We must take immediate action to address this issue before it consumes us all. Let us remember that we are all Nigerians, and that together we can build a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.