Nigerian Youths: The Affliction of Ethno-Religious Hatred August 31, 2011Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, POLITICS.
Tags: ethnicity, Leadership, Nigeria, racial hatred, tribalism, Understanding, Unity, violence
Religion is the soul of soulless conditions, the heart of a heartless world, the opium of the people.” Karl Marx (1818-1883), German Philosopher.
As I write this, Jos is on fire again. My heart is heavy, my concerns are worrisome. I hope it is for you. Our development as a nation, from historical times, has being stunted by intolerance. Amidst our various dividing issues, Religion and Ethnicity takes precedence. Even our leaders use this ploy to exploit us!
Ethnic cleansing is the violent elimination or removal of people from a country or area because of their ethnic backgrounds, by means of genocide or forced expulsion. It is also an attempt to purge an area of an unwanted ethnic group. It can include measures of deportation, intimidation, and acts of genocide or mass murder. Remember Hitler and his massive cleansing propaganda; and the resultant mass murder of 5.6-5.9 million Jews (1.5 million of which were children)? Racial Hatred led to ethnic cleansing in the East African nation of Rwanda; prompting the attempted elimination of Tutsi’s by the Hutu’s. It was one of the 20th century’s worst atrocities—the brutal slaughter of approximately 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994—still demands an accounting.
It is not my intention to explain the dimensions of Ideological (Social Structure—Nazi Holocaust), Retributive (Tutsi/Hutu—Rwanda), Developmental (Paraguay’s of the late 60s and early 70s); and the Despotic (Idi Amin & Milton Obote) genocides respectively. Religious intolerance, the lack of capacity for recognizing and accepting the religious characteristics that differ from one’s own, has not helped us either. Various skirmishes of the Nigerian nation have their roots embedded in these differences. Tribal antagonism and religious intolerance has never meant, and will never mean good for us.
Why do I write this? I write because the state of our nation is ridden today with this affliction: Ethno-Religious Hatred. Look at some of the consequences of this self-inflicted curse!
- The long and savage history of Hausa-Ibo violence reached a climax in January 1966 when Ibo army officers staged a bloody coup against the Northern-dominated federal government, and an Ibo general (Johnson T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi) took over as interim ruler of the country (Although tensions had grown from the Nigerian regions in the past, owing to dissatisfaction about the state of affairs of the Nigerian nation). Six months later the Northerners struck back by murdering the Ibo chief of state and launching a pogrom against the 1.5 million Ibos living in the Northern and Western regions. Some 20,000 to 30,000 Ibos were massacred; hundreds of thousands fled back to their crowded Eastern Region.
- 1967: Strife brought us the first civil war (Biafra)
- 1982: Rivalry between parties, factions, and ethnic groups boiled over into political violence in a number of states, resulting in numerous casualties and significant loss of property. About 500 people, including numerous policemen, were killed in religious rioting that began in late October in Maiduguri and Kaduna. The rioting involved Muslim followers of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Marra, who was among at least 1,000 persons killed in similar rioting in December 1980.
- 1987: Riots of Kanfanchan; 19 people were killed while several Mosques, churches, and houses were destroyed.
- 1990s: Shiite muslims clashed with police in the north in 90s as a result of growing strain between Shiite leaders and then military governor, Colonel John Madaki, a Christian. It caused 84 deaths and extensive damage of properties.
- 1999-till date: Several sporadic outbursts of communal violence have claimed several lives and properties in the nation. (Source: Encarta)
- The Boko Haram “armed forces” capitalize on religion. I am sure that these people are not a representation of the Islam religion; these are eccentric extreme opportunists who lie behind Islam to propagate their ambition.
Effects on election and right choice: Recently, it led to the North voting for Gen. Buhari and the South voting for Pres. Jonathan (even if there were no conscious reasons to). Most of our youth justified their decisions based on sentimental idiocy and vote based on skewed perspectives (Providence-Christian-Muslim-Ethnicity-based nonsense!). The real issues that would reveal who the best candidate in the last election became totally lost in the myriad of confusing distractions. Tribal agitation led to the PDPs writing of a shameful charter of ZONING for their party, ultimately our nation.
In an attempt to look at whose turn is it to rule us, we become distracted from real issues relating to Human capacity and other deep core attributes that we should take paramount in the build-up to elections. The post election violence was not different either: it was the outburst of a disgruntled marginalized north against their southern counterpart. The severe damages inflicted are still beyond recount. Jos, now a volatile region, has burnt in several occasions this year. What have we turned to?
This affliction has led to series of carnages in our nation killing scores and hundreds, even thousands of potential role models, future leaders, elder statesmen, and illustrious citizens of the nation. They were POTENTIALS that never be. Our house, the Nigerian state, is divided along these two lines. Should we build a great nation, it has to stop. “A house Divided against itself shall not stand”
Many people have called for the split of our nation, I ask us boldly to form ONE cohesive unit. Will we unite behind our differences? One thing I came to conclude on is this: Our unity in diversity will work when we come to an UNDERSTANDING that our difference is what should bring the peculiarity of our UNITY. Our culture is rich, let’s unite to bring the peculiarities to FORE. Take it or leave it, Nigeria has many religions, pre-dominantly of Christianity and Islam. Nigeria is also composed of various ethnic groups, noticeably Igbo, Fulani/Hausa and Yoruba amongst others. We must live with it.
WE ARE ONE, and our understanding MUST be based on the fact that, regardless of wherever we come from, or the religious inclinations we may have, we are bound by the bond called NIGERIA, deviations from this is a total distraction. If we must define those who lead us, it must arise from deep qualities; qualities that are profoundly sound and built on the feelings of the people, and not necessarily ethnicity and religion. When we do, the south can protest on the streets because of the marginalized North. When we understand our Unity, the South will fight for the rights of deprived north (and vice versa) because we would understand that an Injustice to one is an Injustice to all.
I resorted to studying the Hausa language recently. How can I understand my Hausa brother without understanding his language, his culture? We cannot continue like this. When we UNITE, then the real influence of Facebook and Twitter will show. The revolutions in recent times have proven it. Without actions, they’ll however still be stories. We can build a new nation TOGETHER. Should we effect change from the grassroots and build upwards, we must understand one another. Our peaceful revolution may be silent, and slow, but it will prove effective at the end of the day. Our voices will never be heard unless backed with actions.
Brothers, Sisters, let us Understand our Differences to Appreciate one another without Bias or Prejudice.
God Bless You, God Bless Nigeria.
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