Once upon a time, a scholar was teaching his students in the class, he then paused and asked the students: “How can we achieve a United Nigeria where people will care not about ethnicity, tribalism and religion differences? All the students agreed that – “Until we understand one another”. The scholar said “No”, he explained that the only way to achieve a United Nigeria is not by understanding one another but by “Understanding our Differences”.
I decided to cite this instance because that’s where almost everyone is getting this wrong in Nigeria, we clamour for Unity while we are still sensitive about “where they come from”. We attribute certain deviant behavior not to the perpetrator but where they belong to; we tag them with that act – stigmatise them and still beg for their understanding
The Social Media space few days ago was flooded with some “baseless” argument that revolves around tribalism, most of Yoruba students scorned Hausa Students for being dumb and dull while some Hausa Students as well described Yoruba Students as recalcitrant and arrogant students, a particular student even described ‘Kwara Students’ as destroyers of UDUS.
I’m not actually interested in all these rantings but I really want to know what the leaders of tomorrow actually have in stock for Nigeria when they clinch the power of leadership, do they really want to divide Nigeria?
I was lucky to have an interaction with Dean Student Affairs one day, he let me realised that he got his education under the mentorship of people from diverse tribes and countries, without suffering any victimization, “I was taught by Igbo, by Yoruba, by Indian, by English men and we didn’t have any problem” he said. He actually cited this example to justify the reason while he won’t be tribalistic in treating students. I consider his words golden in relating with anybody I see regardless of their background.
The reality is that the choice of who we want to be rely on us not on where we came from, the choice of whether to be good ambassador or otherwise of your parents lie in the habit you decide to inculcate and the type of people you mingle with, which hitherto has a greater influence in your life.
Down the memory lane and just like any other part of Nigeria, many a number of Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and even Nupe students have broken many jinx in UDUS: in 2018, Umaru Yandaki who broke the First Class record of Professor Yakubu, the current INEC chairman who was an Hausa man from Kastina State. Also, the 2016/17 best graduating student in Pharmacy, Samaila Usman was an aborigine of Sokoto State hailed from Sokoto State, Zainab Bashir also, a female student who scored highest CGPA ever in Physics Department is from Kastina State (Hausa). The 2017/18 overall best Graduating Student in UDUS with CGPA 4.91 was a Yoruba man and also, only two Danfodites graduated from Law School with First Class last year and the two of them were Yoruba from the same state. Won’t forget Stella Emelife Chinello too, the 2014/15 best graduating student who also broke a record in India was from Anambra State (Igbo) and the list is endless — of Danfodiyo students across different tribes that achieved an excellent academic field. But why am I citing this example?
Most of the students are obsessed with achievement of their background and the record-breakers that their tribe has produced failing to develop their personal self. It’s high time we started asking Question: “who am I?” rather than “Who are we?”.
In other words, what is most important is your personal achievement as a student not the achievement of the past outstanding students who coincidentally happened to be from your tribe. What’s the essence of arguing that the best student who scored the highest CGPA in certain year was from your tribe while you can’t manage to graduate with Second Class Lower?
What I’m saying in essence is that the environment you are from is not an excuse for your mediocre performance and the fact that you are from certain place tagged with bad attitudes doesn’t make you a bad person. An adage says:” it is from Dark pot that a white pap is being produced”. Hence, regardless of your background, the choice of you want to become and what people want you to be remembered for is your choice and your achievement, so stop bragging of other people’s achievements.
My lecturer told me one day that, he is usually surprise when he sees students inscribing their names on the wall of the University buildings when they are graduating, he noted that the only way you can scribe your name in golden plate of the University is by doing something worthy of remembering.
As a student, we need to think outside the box, wake up from the cliche idiosyncrasies and shun tribalism for the spirit of Growth and Progress, Nigeria is not the only diverse Nation in the world, so why the fuss? It is high time, students of this Varsity focused on self-development and quest to surpass the previous prodigious past records rather than bragging of the achievements of folks from their tribe.
My point is simple and concise, our difference exists but it doesn’t hinder our co-existence, a lot of us have one time had a friend from other tribe who is more intelligent, friendly and kind than the folks from our tribe, but we turn a deaf ear to this reality due to the bewilderment of tribalism ego.
To turban this, let me align my thought with one quote of Tafawa Balewa: “I am pleased to see that we are now all agreed that the Federal system is, under present conditions, the only sure basis on which Nigeria will remain united. We must recognize our diversity and the peculiar conditions under which the different tribal communities live in this country.” and in fact, Nnamdi Azikwe argued that where one comes from is just a mere name to denote a location’s boundary, it does not actually relate to the habit being portrayed or records being made by somebody.