There appear to be a new level of hostilities against Nigerians and Nigeria by Nigerians. It is rapidly coming to its unpalatable climax, but, so far, at least, effects are limited to the cyber warriors, a facet of this cyber warfare has crescendo into an American court room.
Nigerians at home and abroad who frequent the world wide web and particularly, Nigeria related websites, must have come across the controversies involving Madueke, Rotimi, Ugwuonye, Aluko in the preceding couple of months. The former Nigerian ambassador to the United States was removed. Removed, after what was said to be statements he allegedly made or which were attributed to him. Statements which were reported to be disparaging of a whole group of Nigerians; But some Nigerians suspected political or other machinations were at play.
Thereafter, there have been charges and counter charges by one ethnic group against the other, there have been personal attacks, in verbal and written altercations, some of which have culminated in legal proceedings alleging defamation etc.
Then, on or about May 14, 2009 there was a news report about identity theft in New York City, and it turned out that some Nigerians were involved in the fraudulent crime. And soon enough, some Nigerians reacted to the news by trying to castigate particular ethnic group as being preponderantly involved in such fraudulent practice. A cursory reading of such comment, demonstrated a carryover from the Madueke, Rotimi, Ugwuonye, Aluko etc debate which is already mentioned above.
These two incidents have intensified ethnic baiting and ethnic bashing. Debates about Nigerian national issues are too often beclouded and encrusted in ethnic flame-throwing brawls. It makes me think that most Nigerians have managed to internalize the hatred by others, towards Nigeria and Nigerians. It is rather shameful, that these Nigerians are supposed to be very educated in the western sense. Or shall we just say that these Nigerians are well credentialed? How can call a man educated or enlightened because he has a law degree, engineering degree or a medical degree or a PhD after his name while remaining an ethnic bigot and tribal brawler all the while? I used to think that education broadened human perspectives and horizons!
But what does anyone make of these ethnic warriors? A bigot with fine grammar and in fine clothes and Ph.D is still a bigot! He is still myopic, parochial and anarchic.
Many issues have therefore come to the fore, for me, two such issues are paramount. And the two issues lead to questions about our national identity and citizenship of Nigeria. And in my view, what happens to Nigeria, good or ill, happens to all Nigerians. Not to particular ethnic group or religion, state or region.
Therefore, it makes eminent sense and good logic that Nigerians would want to defend, protect and preserve Nigeria. Nigeria’s national and international image and pride of place on the world stage, and or global scheme of things should matter to all Nigerians.
Nigerians should take collective pride in the achievement of Nigerians and Nigeria. And when Nigerians or Nigeria receives a public sucker punch, such must be addressed as a collective, in defense of Nigeria and Nigerians. I have over the years, painfully observed the exact opposite. And it is as if it is getting worse. When ever Nigerians or Nigeria is accused, too many Nigerians are quick to point fingers at one ethnic group or the other. Bashing different ethnic group and blaming ethnic groups for different ills and challenges facing Nigeria, has become an escape route for some, instead of confronting and resolving such national challenges.
It is now the vogue for some Nigerians to be too quick to say Nigerians and Nigeria are guilty as charged, even before they consider the facts and before the evidences are presented and a case established against Nigerians or Nigeria. Why are some so quick to condemn other Nigerians and Nigeria?
An observation that I have made, after studying many commentaries by Nigerians in various Nigeria related internet websites is that, Nigerians of various ethnic and language groups put their loyalty and devotion to their ethnic or language group, ahead, over and above, Nigeria’s national interests. It is such that, these Nigerians. more correctly, these ethnic champions and tribal bigots, would engage others monumental debates in prodigious and rigorous defense of their ethnic or tribal domain.
These same persons would not spare a zilch percent of their vermillion flares of vigorous defense energy to defend Nigeria! This, in plain talk, means that, the ethnic and tribal bigots would manufacture phantasmagoric defenses of their group, even if accused of indefensible acts. Whereas, these ostensible logicians, are unable, unwilling and will refuse to murmur or muster any effort in defense, of Nigeria and or Nigerians are accused rightly or wrongly.
It bears repeating here again, that Nigerians, a majority of us, are law abiding and walk the straight and narrow path and we must not have our heads bowed, just because a minority of us, operate outside the laws. Why then, should Nigerians internalize external hatred based on sweeping generalizations toward Nigeria and Nigerians?
Why are some of these Nigerians not asking the right questions such as; how many Nigerians know about, or are responsible for, derivatives or the securitizations of mortgages which led to the global economic meltdown? What percentage of corporate greed and corruption in the current global economic meltdown were insinuated by Nigerians, at home or abroad?
Is Bernie Madoff, who with a few others responsible for making more than $70 billion go poof, a Nigerian? Why is it, that Bernie Madoff and some others can wipe out billions dollars in one single swoop of a ponzi -scheme, and no Nigerians is labeling and castigating his ethnic group and country, and yet, some Nigerians are willing to say, that they have corruption and greed in their own DNA? Bernie Madoff is just himself, Jeff Skilling is just himself, Ken Lay is just himself, Governor Blagoveich is just himself, but, Adamu Bola Chike is NIGERIAN? And we must all be cowering and bowed in shame as a collective or we must separate our ethnic group from a collective embarrassment?
Lest some Nigerians forget, it must be mentioned by the way, that fraudsters abroad who are Nigerians are mostly small time fraudsters, in comparison to big time crooks of the world, just ask Enron’s Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Bernie Madoff etc. Ask Wall Street greed is good crowd.
Why should Nigerians who are not involved in any frauds be branded and castigated by anyone? Why is it, when it comes to Nigeria and Nigerians, one size always seems to fit all? Nigerians should hold heads high. I am holding my head high. I work hard; I am a decent human being comparable to any decent human being from any part of the world.
It is rather curious is it not? In the world of sports, and in recent times, Nigerian born athletes won medals for their adopted countries; these new countries and the media, never found reason to attribute such medals to Nigeria and let the medal glory reflect on Nigerians and Nigeria. But when it is a crime, they are glad to attribute the negatives to Nigerians and Nigeria? And what is worse? Some Nigerians are ever willing accept and internalize such selectivity?
There are about 150 million Nigerians on earth, and many Nigerians live abroad these days and many Nigerians are assuming new citizenship. It should be noted that in these multitudes, there will be good and the not so good. Happily, there are extraordinary Nigerians, the excellent Nigerians and the good Nigerians and the few that are not so good. What does anyone expect? A perfect multitude
A great majority of Nigerians abroad possess good education and marketable skills. I therefore do not foresee a situation where a Nigerian doctor, would be passed over by a medical establi
shment in the United States in favor of a plumber from a nation without “fraudster” image such as what country you may prefer?
Employers who need and prize Nigerians’ intellectual human capital will continue to hire Nigerians everywhere in the world and government and businesses will continue to relate to Nigerians and Nigeria, if we define ourselves and assert ourselves.
Billions of America tax payer dollars flowed into Afghanistan and Pakistan during the last ten years… countries where Al Qaeda and Taliban interchangeably are headquartered. How much of these billions flowed into Nigeria? America has more trade and investment in Vietnam, than in Nigeria. America was in a war in Vietnam, 53,000 American troops died. Nigeria has always been best friend of America. Credit card frauds and corruption explains this disparity? Is there corruption in America and Vietnam?
Afghanistan produces 90% of world narcotics, and I make bold to say, I have never heard or encountered Afghans and Pakistanis in New York, with their heads bowed in shame, embarrassment…for the situations in their countries… I will say the same of Colombians narcotics reputation and Colombians never have this collective embarrassment and shame or self-loathing! Mexicans in America are involved in a great number of murders, gun violence and drug trade and Mexican immigrants are also known to be a hardworking lot and they offer no apologies to anyone and they remain as ubiquitous in America as Tacos, Tequila and Guacamole!
Why are Nigerians always heads bowed and in cowering positions? Someone once said that kneeling is not position of strength! It is our duty, our right and responsibility to define and assert ourselves as Nigerians. As Nigerians, we should bask and celebrate our diversity and engender unity. We must stop denying your Nigerian-ness. It is delusion and self-deceit to pretend that we are anything else, but Nigerians. We should be proactive in dealing with our challenges; instead of hiding behind ethnic and religious facades.
Why are Nigerians abroad more vigorous in the defense of their ethnic group, home state and religion or region, than they would, when Nigeria is attacked? Why are Nigerians more ferocious when something is said of Hausaland, Igboland, Izonland or Yorubaland? Anyone who follows internet forums and debate about Nigerians and Nigeria would be quick to detect the docility in Nigerians when non-Nigerians attack Nigerians and or Nigeria, with or without justifications; and conversely, see the ballistic response, when and if identical charges were made by non-Nigerians against Igboland, Izonland, Hausaland or Yorubaland!
You would be forgiven if you thought Igbo, Izon, Hausa and Yoruba etc are component parts of the multi ethnicities make up of Nigeria! It is the equivalent of wishing Armageddon on entire human race while somehow wishing no ill or evil to your ethnic group which is an intricate part of the human race! How could you want to detonate atomic nuclear bomb unto the geographic space of Nigeria, while at the same time hoping that a parochial and myopic goodwill toward your ethnic group, would extricate your ethnic group from the atom-nuclear blast with which you seek to wipe Nigeria off the map of the earth? How disingenuous or imbecilic-moronic could you be?
The act of serving, protecting and preserving Nigeria, is the beginning of elemental wisdom, for any Nigerian who seeks to preserve his religion, region, state, ethnicity etc. To think and or act otherwise, is simply tantamount to imbecilic infantilism, the act of shooting yourself in your feet or acting at cross-purposes with your best interests in the context of place, consistent with the best interests of the Nigerian nation as an indivisible whole.
How can anyone wish his heart well, while wishing entire body rot and disintegration? How can anyone wish to preserve his kidneys or liver, without a care for the rest of his entire body?
Nigerians should learn to bury the ethnic and religious hatchets. We as Nigerians must learn keep head up, chin high we should not internalize the sweeping generalizations against us. We have integrity, in its abundance. We should aspire and strive to thrive in every part of the world in which we may now live. We are part of the universal and global citizenship; we should no feel diminished in status and stature, because there are some persons born in Nigeria who do not live perfect lives.
Nigerians ought to realize that there are immigrants everywhere these days, those other immigrants are just as perfect imperfect as you and me, avoid blemish, but do not rub the blemishes of others on your own face. Other immigrants have imperfect countries hence they emigrate as like Nigerians do. Nigerians are not inferior to anyone. Nigerian immigrants are not inferior to other immigrants; if anything it is the case, that Nigerian immigrants frequently have more education and skills than most!
I find the nature and tone of comments by some Nigerians very disheartening. We must never lose sight of the fact that virtues and vices have no ethnicity or nationality. Virtues and vices are not Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba etc. Virtues and vices are not Nigerian, virtues and vices are human traits in their universality.
Here it must be understood that I abhor criminals. All criminals! I do not like criminals. And I therefore take the view that criminals are criminals are criminals; and that virtues and vices are universal, not peculiar, unique or especial, to Nigerians and Nigeria.