Recently, there has been some riff between the two prominent tribes in Nigeria.
This problem did not actually start today, it has been on for ages and has been eating deep into the heart of many citizens, this monster is none other than ‘Tribal bigotry‘ which is discrimination based on one’s tribal or ethnic identity.
It is seen as a significant obstacle to social harmony and the development of a peaceful and inclusive society. Tribal bigotry in its sense is actually different from Tribalism as the latter describes situations where people of a particular group or tribe are loyal to the group.
Tribalism changed its meaning around the mid-20th century when it came to having a more pejorative meaning. Today, the word tribalism is now seen as putting one’s own tribe above others in everything and this notion has led to bigotry and racism, also war can result when it becomes drastic.
During the #BlackLivesMatter movement, lots of Nigerians joined in the global protest that tried to address the issue of racism in the United States. Inasmuch as it was for a good cause, we the citizens needed to go back and fix the major imbalances facing the country. While there are laws that address the issue of racism in the United States, there are no laws addressing tribalism in Nigeria.
We cannot preside dogmatically over the issues of racism in the US, when we destroy ourselves all because of ethnicity and religion, this is known as classical hypocrisy. We need to remove ‘tribal identities’ in order for us to make progress as citizens.
To move forward, it’s essential to recognize the destructive nature of tribal bigotry and understand its causes. Some possible strategies include:
- Educating people about the harm caused by tribal bigotry, and promoting the idea that diversity is a strength rather than a weakness.
- Encourage open and respectful dialogue between different tribal groups to promote understanding, tolerance, and empathy.
- Governments in line with the leaders should enact laws and policies that promote equality and prohibit discrimination based on tribal or ethnic identity. They should set an example by including individuals from different ethnic groups to help run the affairs of the country and with this respect for diversity is encouraged.
- The media can play a critical role in promoting understanding and combating bigotry by providing accurate and balanced reporting, showcasing positive examples of diversity, and promoting empathy and understanding.
Ultimately, overcoming tribal bigotry requires a collective effort by individuals, communities, governments, and organizations. It is an ongoing process that requires a commitment to open dialogue, understanding, and respect for diversity.