By Fredrick Nwabufo
I strongly believe that even if by some stroke of kismet, a referendum is held on the niggling question of Nigeria’s rupturing today, most Nigerians will vote to remain in this comely country. A majority of Nigerians only desire a better nation, not a divided one. The paroxysms of secessionist agitations here and there are only by the vocal minority — the vociferous and insidious minority.
What these progenies of anarchy do is to coagulate citizens’ frustration and deploy it for turmoil, anxiety and inter-ethnic collisions. But the silent majority love their country; though they may be dissatisfied with the way things are, they will not give it up for a mess of pottage or a million Sunday Igbohos and Nnamdi Kanus.
And by the way, some of the staunchest agitators for secession today will become the most visible marionettes in the servantry of politicians during the 2023 election campaigns.
Really, it does not take clairvoyance to know that the Nigeria of the 1960s is not the Nigeria of the 2000s. Nigeria has undergone morphological mutations in its ethnic colouration and demography owing to the bubbling of inter-ethnic marriages.
There is a tribe we ignore in our maddening pursuit of offence against one another – the scions of multiethnic marriages. There has been a cross pollination and fecundation of cultures, ethnic origins, and even blood over the decades. There is no such thing as ‘’pure-breed Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa’’. The emulsion and interfusion of ‘’ichors’’ over the years has enriched the bloodline so much that many Nigerians are of a hybridised ancestry. Have we given a thought to these complexities?
There are no pure-breed Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, or Fulani anywhere. But there are pure-breed Nigerians – energised by the living fluid of the great ancestors of Nigeria from across a rich blend of cultures. If we begin to trace our genealogy we will certainly see the inter-crossing of ancestries. Some of those in the vanguard of secessionist agitations today will be staggered to find out that their ancestors are Fulani or that there is a tincture of Fulani blood in their gene-pool.
Hate is ossified by ignorance. The knowledge that we are all connected in an endless loop by the commingling of destines should guide our relationship with one another. Reinforcing stereotypes about certain groups could be self-deprecating.
As a matter of necessity, we should take interest in digging into our genealogy like African-Americans do. We will be flustered by the findings. Emeka from Enugu will be startled to know that his ancestors are from Kano. Perhaps, that can help in bringing humanity to some unyielding hearts.
Again, there are no pure-breed Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba or Fulani. We are all hybridised creatures, but in Nigeria we are made pure by alchemy and monolithic influence. We are a hybrid population. We share the same umbilical cord; nurtured and nourished by the opulence of our intricate ancestry
Kogi is a veritable example of how hybridised our country is. In the state, you will find citizens of Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, and Fulani origins – as well as many other origins. The state is a melting pot of cultures and ethnic linkages. God forbid it, if Nigeria is sundered today, under where do we group this composite population?
In Ebonyi (south-east), a good mix of the indigenes are of northern ancestry just like in Enugu. We have a melange of hybridised communities in Ilorin, Kwara; the same in Port Harcourt, Delta, Edo, Oyo and other parts of Nigeria.
There are only pure-breed Nigerians.
Also, the offspring from multi-ethnic marriages are a new tribe; the silent majority who listen and watch in horror as we go for each other’s jugulars. We ignore this category of Nigerians who form a formidable number of our population.
Have we considered the trauma dealt on the psyche of children whose dads, for example, are from Abia and moms from Kano when we engage in this revelry of hate-trading?
The new tribe only knows Nigeria. For them, Nigeria is home — east, west, south or north. They are a new generation of Nigerians who are blind to ethnic complexions and deaf to stereotypes, hate-trading and religious bigotry. They cannot distinguish between the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Hausa or the Fulani; they only recognise one ethnic identity – Nigerian.
We ignore this tribe. They are watching.
Those of us who share a strong passion for Nigeria must not take a day off in advancing the cause for our unity because those who are desperate at putting the sword to what holds us together are not reclining.
*Fredrick ‘Mr OneNigeria’ Nwabufo is a writer and journalist. Twitter @FredrickNwabufo