As I waited patiently at the reception for the MD (Managing Director), a conversation was going on amongst the people who were also waiting for the either the MD or the GM (General Manager)… I had a book I was reading earlier and since my blackberry was out of battery, I decided to continue with the book while I wait. But then, their conversation won’t let me concentrate. I was pretending to read the book while I was actually eavesdropping. They were talking of different things, ranging from terrorism, Ebola Virus to unemployment and corruption in our system. I had to fight the urge or temptation of joining the conversation. As they went on and on to talk, they started blaming the STATE OF THE NATION on a particular group or tribe and that’s where the conversation started falling apart. They argued and argued and to the point that they started insulting and calling each other names. The one who is from the North, says the Eastern folks are the ones who have put Nigeria in a mess. The western person said its the North… I tried to ask them to bring down their voices but they could not hear me being too engrossed in their heartfelt argument. The receptionist who is supposed to make sure the visitors behave well was even the inventor of the chaos and confusion. Then a certain man walked in and acted as though he had been eavesdropping as well. He just screamed in his local language and asked them all to leave. I didn’t even know he is the MD I have been waiting for because I have never seen him before and was going to meet him for the first time. He went on and on shouting and cursing. When eventually I was ushered in to go see him, I told him who sent me and the first thing he said was “You people said we are the ones spoiling Nigeria, yet you keep running to us” He kept on talking and talking. And at the end asked me to go and come back the next day! So a conversation between a group of Nigerians can never end well because of Tribal and ethnic differences. We are either arguing about who is greater than who or who caused our problem… The truth is, we all are guilty of it. While I was working with a consultancy firm, I was always organizing and conducting interviews for job applicants. On this particular occasion, we were recruiting for an NGO here in Abuja. A lot of people applied and I made sure selection was strictly by merit. After the first and the second exercise, the right candidates were chosen to fill in the vacant positions. But I was alarmed when the Admin Officer of the organization we were recruiting for came personally to tell us that out of the 11 people recruited, at least 7 must come from their zone. “That’s the way the organization is ran” he told us. And I gave it a thought… No wonder! 90% of the people who work there are from a certain tribe. I asked him, if you already know what you want, why advertise for the job? Why didn’t you go straight to your village and pick the people you want? Tribalism! We complain terribly about how racist the whites are especially the Americans but we are so close yet very far. Tribalism! We are from same country yet we do not agree and we are not one. We only claim to be one in principle. While we are in church, we are brothers and sisters in the LORD but the minute church dismisses, you are from Osun and I am from Anambra. Tribalism! We have a Lingua Franca which is English but will not speak English when we are with someone who doesn’t understand our language thereby making them feel insecure. Tribalism! Because we are not same tribe, we can not get married. Tribalism! Because I am not from a certain tribe, I can’t be employed. Tribalism! Because I am not HAUSA, IGBO or YORUBA, I am inferior. What good does tribalism do to us? I have been thinking hard and I have a terrible headache as a result. Does TRIBALISM do us any good? If it does, please help by enlightening us. Please share your thoughts. We will also want to know the disadvantages and how the problem of TRIBALISM can be solved. Be Enlightened! Be Inspired!! Be Motivated!!!
MARILYN ANONA writes: We are so close yet very far, TRIBALISM!