Sunday, December 27, 2020 8:08 am
By Victor Oladokun
Let’s call a spade a spade. We Nigerians tend to be tribal in our thinking, outlook, and interests. Yes, there are quite a number of things we all have in common – Pidgin English, Football, our delicious delicacies, and our collective loathing of politicians, to mention just a few.
But our core DNA is essentially tribal. To deny this is to live in LaLa land. To acknowledge our essence is to come face-to-face with our fundamental challenges and hopefully, our solutions.
Let’s get that out of the way. We are tribal.
Which is why, as a witness to and a student of history, I have always been troubled by the views of those who seek to cast the #Sardauna of Sokoto for example, in the light of a legitimate nationalist.
Truth be told, the late Sardauna was an unapologetic tribalist to the core. More than 50 years after his tragic assassination, his sentiments and prejudices still remain across a large swathe of Northern Nigeria.
When he granted this ITV interview in the early 1950s, TV had not yet arrived the shore of Nigeria. He therefore had no way of knowing that one day, his archived words would resurface digitally for all to hear.
-Watch the video here
Having said this, the truth is that most of Nigeria’s political leaders are very much like Sardauna. Tribalists first, and nationalists second, if at all!
With the exception of the more progressive Lagos State, which other State Government has had the political will or boldness to appoint a ‘non-indigene’ (again, a very tribal phrase) as a Commissioner or for that matter to any other position of influence? Until we recognize and admit that Nigerian leaders are first and foremost tribalists masquerading as nationalists, we will continue to sweep many of Nigeria’s fundamental problems under the rug.
We have tried a British Parliamentary system of Government with regional autonomy and failed. We have operated an American style Democracy with a bi-cameral legislature and failed. Is it time to evolve a more effective form of Governance that puts the interests of States and Regions ahead of an over-arching national interest? After all, all politics is local.
Societies evolve. People rethink relationships and groupings. Nations change. The U.K.’s EU exit and Scotland’s rethink of its place within Great Britain, are classic examples of how ephemeral change can be.
The sooner we all sit down at the table and air our dirty linen in private, the better it will be for the interests of Nigerians and this artificially cobbled entity called Nigeria which we have all learned willingly or unwillingly to call ‘home.’
Just my penny’s worth at the beginning of another week.
-Victor Oladokun, broadcaster, posted this article on 27 July 2016 on Nigeria Nostalgic, 1960-1980 Project