By Adebayo Eleduasomiji Adedeji
I speak to the Nigerian people segregated by ethnicity and tribalistic mentality; there is a need for enlightenment to drop the old norms which are used to justify unnecessary reasons preventing the unity of the masses. Our aspiration must lie in identifying the causes that lead to us being divided against each other. For all sort of tribes and ethnic groups under which we label ourselves has been bastardized and it has also blindfolded us to knowing in this present stage of modernization that we only have two tribes and ethnic groups: the privileged and the less privileged.
In the ancient days of Africa before the colonialists came, tribe and ethnicity was not a major phenomenon of identification as it is today. Clans gradually developed to communes then grew to empires which often included emigrants from all corner of Africa and yet the people will abide in oneness without internal rivalry. The outcome of the Berlin conference of 1884 sharing African lands brought complications forcing two or more empires into a colony. Furthermore, the colonialists would give support to the kingdom that had the most population and which was economically ahead of others within the colony in order to bring conflict between the different kingdoms and kill their unity so that they will not fight against the exploitation of the colonialists.
After independence, the methodology of disunity the colonists used to protect their interest was handed to their agents of neo colonialism who governed the countries after the physical disappearance of the colonialists. In Nigeria, under the parliamentary system we practiced before independence during the British reign, the ruling classes of each of the ethnicities spread the narrative that the system favoured certain tribes ahead of others but they will never point out to the masses that all elites in all tribes and ethnic groups are well taken care of from the formation of exploitation the British left on ground. The systematic disunity of all the masses within tribes and ethnicity lines is what makes the exploitation of our land enrich multinational companies of the metropolis countries and also makes our colonized leaders richer from the labour of the exploited.
The oppressed need to open their eyes to see that the badge of exploitation knows no tribe or ethnicity; imperialism never recognizes what you label yourself as, in as much as you are a man of less privilege, it subjugates you to its will. Evidently, in all tribes, there are always few privileged ones ruling the majority who are the less privileged. We need to spark our consciousness that we are dealing with the same menace from our tribalistic elites. Our deprivation is similar, our want for a better life is the same, but our oppressors keep on
engineering tribal bigotry into our society for us not to live together in harmony and strengthen our unity against them. If Rwandans can put their issues of tribal and ethnic war behind them for their development, other African countries shouldn’t be left out in restructuring the minds of their people into oneness of nationhood.
In the quest of nationhood, our tribal historical conflict masterminded by our common enemy shouldn’t be given any more opportunity. We the oppressed must mobilize and organize ourselves against oppression, through our unity, our development is certain. Humans by nature have to integrate with each other as no peoples are islands but each people must relate to their neighbours in order to share and trade. Our ancestors coincidentally found themselves under a country forced on them and our generation now must not be blinded by man-made social segregation making us victims of divide and rule. Our oppressed ancestors sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears in the attainment of independence and it is left for us to carry the national identity and to speak, act and defend the will of the people at all costs to kick imperialism off our continent.