There is hope for Nigeria
Events of the past few weeks have given the kiss of life to my belief that someday Nigeria will rise again from her present doldrums. Certain individuals aroused this faith again. Bolarinwa my good friend believed so much in the transformation agenda of former president of Nigeria, Dr GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan and to her: “He is the best president so far.”
Even though I do not agree with all of the arguments raised in her assessment of the man, I give her credit for being a passionate supporter of the president. I take her seriously because she is Yoruba and has refused to bow down to “group-think” that many people in this country orchestrate to criticize people who are not of the same tribe as they.
But in contrast, I do not take Opukiri earnestly when he says that that president is the best that the country has produced because of his preference for regional prejudice.
Jude Ajuruchi’s ancestry is in Isikwuato, Abia State but he was born in Otukpo, Benue State and to that young man, home is where his heart is and, it is in Otukpo and not Isikwuato. Onu sauntered into a facility where I was, briefly.
We introduced ourselves and exchanged formal banters. Moments later, he answered a phone call and spoke pristine Yoruba. “Your name is Onu, how come you can speak flawless Yoruba?” I asked. “That is because I am a Yoruba.” He said. “But how can you be a Yoruba when you bear an Igbo name?” I asked yet again. “I was born and raised in the south west, my name might be Onu but I am Yoruba not Igbo.” He said with a tone of finality. I met Duke at a wedding reception in Port Harcourt. “I am Duke, my parents are from Abia but I am from Kaduna State” He said. “How can that be?” I asked flummoxed. “I was born and raised in Kaduna State and when I say home, it leads to Kaduna.”If these encounters do not give me hope nothing else will.
I have interacted with many a Nigerian with sterling qualities and that sit on pedestals but their belief on togetherness is abysmal. Someday who knows Nigeria might get to the level where the types of Jude Ajuruchi, Duke, Onu and many others will be governors of states other than those, of their state-enforced, state of origin and will see the end of flag-wavers. Someday who knows, we may see youths from all region, to the hilt, oblivious of ethnicity begin to challenge the status quo objectively but not to destroy it. I am now on a mission to seek out Southern-born-northerners who might tell me that they are Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, others, and not Hausa, Igala, Tiv, Langtang and, I am sure I will find many in abundance. I hope our office-bearers, the cream of the crop and spiritual leaders who love to encourage mutual mistrust all across Nigeria are listening?
• Simon Abah wrote from Abuja