Tribes, Stereotypes and Discrimination

Ethnic intolerance is becoming a serious problem in Nigeria. People hide under the guise of ethnicity to attack others verbally and otherwise. There is the endless stigmatization and stereotype attached to certain tribes which has led to discrimination, mistreatment and disrespect for many people. This trend has led many parents to go as far as rejecting their children’s choice of spouse because of tribe. It is shameful that in this age people still use such tribal generalization to judge people’s ability even at work! This lazy, discriminatory and hypocritical stance does not support the progress we are all struggling to achieve. 

During the last gubernatorial elections, there was a lot of uproar caused by the video of one of the traditional leaders saying discriminatory things about members of another tribe. Initially, I didn’t think people would support his claim but to my surprise many people used this opportunity to vent their dislike for other tribes. This issue seems to bubbling right under our skins, waiting to erupt, and if this happens we can be sure to have another civil war if matters are not handled properly. Nigerians discriminating against themselves because of tribal differences.
My main confusion in this entire problem lies in the attitude of Nigerian youths to issues in the media concerning tribe. The double standard used to judge matters of tribe is a problem. When the movie for Chimamanda Adichie’s novel was premiered, there was similar uproar because a character in the movie had stated that he is Igbo first, before Nigerian! Many Nigerians got to social media challenging this statement and creating memes and funny videos stating that their first allegiance lies with Nigeria before tribe. Beautiful patriotism on the surface but when matters of employment, appointments and other benefits set in, they associate with their tribesmen first, before identifying that we are all Nigerians! In fact, nepotism and tribalism are the first sins of every Nigerian leader! Recently, Nigerians were at it again, hounding the President for his recent appointments. These people are all Nigerians!!! Why are these same people shouting and complaining again? If we are Nigerians first, we should be satisfied with the fact that all these people appointed are Nigerians, irrespective of tribe.
This level of tribal affinity which we place above objective reason is one of the major problems we face in this country. We should not ignore the political instability this discrimination can cause. We are stoking the fires that lick the our raffia roofs! The trouble we are poking at can consume all what we have worked for as a nation! These little differences that we choose to highlight are nothing compared to the things we have in common. We are trying to build a great nation, and pulling ourselves down is surely not the way to do it. We should be careful what we say. It might be an innocent tribal smirk comment or maybe a full blown list of all the derogatory ‘characteristics’ and flaws of other tribes, outlined in ways to humiliate them. You might just be the one to drop the straw that will break the camel’s back! A word is enough for the wise!

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