Nigeria Matters

Igbo Vs. Yoruba

Another 419 practitioner contacted me via my Netlog account today. Like most people, I have become used to getting loads of 419 solicitations through my email. But lately, the 419 boys have invaded my social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) accounts.

It is becoming quite common now to get 419 messages from some ‘friends’ on my friends-lists. These people have ruined my enjoyment of social media. There was one such message I recently got from a ‘friend’ on LinkedIn. The chap calls himself a Pastor. I was so disgusted I was compelled to respond to him. I informed him that he and other 419 email peddlers’ contribution to modern technology is in its ruination. These people are spoiling my delight, and curtailing my full participation on most social media.

Regrettably, some Nigerian commentators – specifically, Igbo and Yoruba tribal warriors – are also beginning to wreck my enjoyment of Saharareporters and other Nigerian internet-based discussion forums.

Every other article, every other published interview is invariably reduced to an Igbo vs. Yoruba tribal cleavage, even when it is clear that most of the jingoists are completely out of their depth as regards the matter under discourse, or have not much clue as to what the referenced written piece is about.

Really, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is; sooner or later, the Igbo and Yoruba tribal warriors arrive and pollute the whole place.

It could be a write-up on the dearth of rainfall on the Appalachian Mountains; before you know it, the whole matter would degenerate into an Igbo vs. Yoruba mudsling. A dishevelled Yoruba commentator would limp in and might weigh-in with a post that the rainfall in Yoruba land is better than what obtains in the Southeast, or vice versa. Before very long, inelegant and sophomoric insults are being lobbed between the tribal warriors. A proper analysis, a sensible/enjoyable discussion of the write-up is completely derailed. This has become the unfortunate pattern.

The goal sometimes appears to be to see who can spill the most bile, who can be the most uncouth. Often, anonymous nincompoops will unleash crude insults and unintelligent diatribe at redoubtable persons who have over many years made great names for themselves and have brought accolade to the country through their hard work, talent and abilities. Some of these tribal maulers take perverse delight in hauling abuse at illustrious men and women and other high-achievers – persons to whom they could ordinarily not hold a candle; persons they cannot carry their sandals or even jockstrap – before turning the vitriol on themselves.

I’m not sure, but it does appear that most of the tribal warlords are domiciled outside Nigeria. And I don’t quite know what effect that very fact has on their psyche.

I often get the impression that the feeling of dislike between the two groups is fairly deep and I’m not even certain of the genesis of such hatred, such bile. However, a lot of the combatants tend to reference the civil war of 1967, Awolowo, and starved children. Other times, it appears the animus might also be rooted in the manner Zik and some of his NCNC compatriots got bounced from the leadership of the Western House of Assembly back in 1951. Still, sometimes, it seems the enterprising commercial nature and success of the Igbo is a sore point.

Whatever. But giving the level of venom thrown back and forth between these tribal warlords online, I sometimes wonder whether some of these people might actually deliberately harm each other in real life. It often seems to me that an Igbo worker might deliberately sabotage his Yoruba colleague’s effort at work if the chance presents itself, and vice versa.

Ironically, these two nation-groups are Nigeria’s most dynamic. They are great tribes. They have contributed immensely to our collective development and progress. However, the constant bickering of some of them, their juvenile posturing, their insult-fest, is fouling up our local cyberspace and spoiling the fun for the rest of us.

Moreover, over the years, due to migration and movement, educational pursuit, and the NYSC scheme, there has been, and continues to be a lot of inter-marriage between these two great peoples. But I wonder today what some of the offspring from such union make of the hang-ups of some of their adults who persist in dressing one another in clumsy and garbage tribal stereotypes. I can only imagine the confusion of some of those youngsters.

But the internet tribal warriors are not paying any attention. They revel in their nuisance. They toss about their oxymoronic phrase du jour: ‘educated illiterate’ like it is candyfloss. All sorts of degenerate stereotypes are hauled at each other to prop-up a warped point of view. Paradoxically, most of them fail to see – or are too thick to realise that their very action, their utterances are actually injurious to whatever tribal cause or honour they assume they are championing or defending.

And so, just as I have learnt to skip most unknown emails and those unsolicited ‘kind greetings’ messages I often get on my social media pages, I am beginning to learn to give some Nigerian discussion forums a wide berth because of Igbo/Yoruba incessant and obnoxious display of tribal pettiness.

Come to order boys, or you are proving right Samuel Jonson when he pronounced that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel…

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