People are spitting bile and calling names. The most elusive positive character trait to Nigerians is tolerance. The divide appears more pronounced between the South-easterners and the Northerners.
There are those who believe former president Goodluck Jonathan is the hero of democracy for his singular act of conceding defeat. When as doing the needful becomes heroism. What he did can at best be termed commendable and mature. Nothing more. You could say his actions averted a looming war. Let’s all commend him for that and stop this absurdity of idolizing the man.
A chunk of the Northerners are toeing the same path. This time with a different objective. They will stop at nothing to defend President Buhari. They are thinking from their hearts not their minds. They think the man an angel. You dare not broach the topic that the man has blood running through his vein and therefore fallible as every one of us.
There is this palpable mental and intellectual frailty that results in over-generalization among Nigerians. My decision last year to go work for a client- to whom my client was a contractor, base on my judgment that the contractor hasn’t been fair enough to the client and me-sparked a barrage of angry comments from that particular contractor that culminated in the entire southern Nigeria-where I hail from-being labeled as an ungodly region.
He would have done well to label or judge me-not my region-base on my actions.
These crop of Nigerians-found in both north and south-pose a great threat to the reincarnation of our badly battered image in the global scene and the revival of our comatose economy and weakened social and political infrastructure.
The following examine ways this over-generalizing behaviour undermine our national cohesion and truncate our capacity for growth.
- The lack of tolerance for our ethnic, religious and political diversity precipitate an insidious ideological and internal battle with the resultant consequences perceptible in form of the saboteurs of efforts of past and present governments in whatever form-being it insurgency, militancy, or secessionist agitators.
- The government’s preoccupation with curtailing of these menaces, and managing their aftermath eat up vital time that would have been channeled towards developmental efforts leaving us worse off than when we started.
- Back again to the idea of a weakened mental strength, our public discourse is fraught with pettishness, regional and ethnic quibbling that leave in its trail a people consumed by bitterness, anger and a quest for vengeance. Giving the name “Niger Delta Avengers”, destroying rather than building or aiding in doing so.
There are exceptions to these over-generalizing fellows. Remember the case of my contractor mentioned earlier. The client did not reciprocate the deeds of the contractor. His judgment of the contractor did not rub off on all the contractor’s tribesmen. To quote the client, the contractor “is not a good representative of his people.”
When you over-generalize, you become victim of the saying of the Sufis “He who’s burnt by hot milk blows on ice-cream.”
Over-generalizing is an act of gut, not of a rational mind even though we often try to convince ourselves of the opposite. Research suggests that the guts gets it wrong most of the time in this matter.
We over-generalized when the maiming and killings carried out by rampaging Fulani herdsmen is rubbed against all Northerners. When child abduction and forced marriage is christened a Muslim core competence. When the kidnapping acts and raping of women is seen as strong point of the Igbo nation.
Let’s learn to call a spade a spade and hold people responsible for their actions irrespective of their ethnic affiliations. Our political and social discourse should be guided by a quest for excellence and an ardent desire to see our country rise from the abyss of this pigmentation of a third world fantastically corrupt nation known only for its corrupt public servants and a decayed social system.