Recently, the PREMIUM NEWS platform reported the alleged lopsided process in the recruitment into the State Security Service (SSS). The sentiment of tribal affiliation is being blamed for the lopsidedness in the recruitment and disqualifications of many willing and qualified Nigerian into the service.
A source to PREMIUM NEWS stated that Mr. Daura the Director General of the Secret Service is famous for his pro-North sentiments. According to this source as reported by Premium News “He is currently spending billions to build a training school in Katsina, and he has told close friends that before his departure from the SSS, he would ensure the agency is dominated by personnel from his part of the country,”.
This is in addition to the news making the rounds that the ongoing recruitment process into the Nigerian Air force is flawed by nepotism and tribalism. President Mohammudu Buhari has also been accused of favoring the northern part where he is from in his appointments than other part of the country.
Almost all Nigerians have stories of how they or somebody close to them have been robbed of their rights, privileges,opportunities, and benefits due to the fact that they are not from a certain tribe in the country.
Tribalism is no doubt one of the biggest problem of the Nigerian State. But can Nigerians be Tribal Blind?
One important features that can never go unnoticed about our country Nigeria, is the fact that Nigeria has a large number of independent tribes, about 250 tribes that are striving to assert themselves.
One thing obvious is that this large numbers have not accumulated into strength for the country, but, strife, problems and disunion.
It’s like putting 250 teenagers in one room, without adults to supervise their activities. William Golding’s “Lord of the flies” illustrates this much better. The Nigerian problem has its root in tribal consciousness and discrimination. Nigerians make decisions based on their tribal interest and not on the country’s collective goals.
It is in Nigeria, that our tribe dictates our attitude to our neighbor, even if they are Nigerian. Apart from the name, a person would always want to know what tribe his acquaintance is from, (if he or she can’t deduce it from his name) before he can take such a person serious or be motivated to render any assistance to such a person.
Nigeria is not just endowed in the area of tribe, we are gifted in population, human and natural resources, and also considerable in the area of land mass.
However, the benevolence of God has however been defeated by the constant tribal clashes, which in most cases have being color in various undertone. Sometimes, this clashes have been hung on religion.
The various killings in Benue are popular scenarios that give credence to this issue. Initially the clashes are premised on the fact that farmers in the north-centre Nigeria were aggrieved by the ruthless invasion and destruction of their farmlands by the Fulani herd men, only for the crisis to metamorphose into confrontations and attacks, mass killing leading to death of the indigenes of different communities, the Fulani herdsmen have always being accused of being the culprit, an allegation that have not publicly denied or acknowledged.
Apart from the obvious tribal conflict, there are other issues that punctuates the issue of tribal disunity. One of these issues is mutual suspicion.
It is obvious that trust is a mirage among the plethora of tribes in the country, even our founding fathers displayed their tribalistic tendencies. Their politics was not for mutual progress, but for sectional gratification. This is one of the factor that ruined their agendas.
The popular discussion between the then first Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the first President of Nigeria Nnamdi Azikiwe, explains the pressure tribal affiliation had on the performance of their duties. When Nnamdi Azikwe advised that we should forget our difference and work together as the people of a nation, all he tried to do was to manage the problem that seemed to be with us, right from the period we became conscious we are different and the fact that we are merged together as a nation by the ordinance of one man, (Lord Lugard). Sir Abubaker Tafawa Belewa understood better, he said that our difference was as apparent as our reality, and therefore, cannot be forgotten by any conscious effect, but by the understanding of these differences, and the respect for them.
The fact that we have decided to carry our difference on our heads and faces have not done us any good, apart from the constant, Political, Social and psychological conflict this attitude has bequeathed us, it eventually ruined the lofty dreams of the founding fathers of this Nation.
It has shattered our national goals and have made us an object of ridicule in the eyes of the world. We are like the people of the Biblical Shinar, who lost their collective goals when God invoked confusion on them by confounding their language. It is time to think as a nation.
The reality is that we are stuck together as of this moment, it is time to understand our differences and understand ourselves for mutual survival and development, thereby bequeathing a great Nigeria to our generation unborn. Can Nigerians be Tribal Blind?
Joshua Oyenigbehin is a passionate Nigerian and writer. You can follow him on twitter via @oyenigbehin