A careful study of the various crises that have continued to hinder our national journey towards true development has shown the lack of a Nigerian Tribe. What we have is the various tribes competing for influence and dominance.
The tribe culture has become so well grounded that we now see tribes being formed in every sector. Name any activity (trade, leisure, crime, etc) and you will see a well run tribe already in place with a powerful leadership. Every citizen belongs to more than one tribe.
In other for us to understand this post better, it is pertinent to define a tribe. Reason being, like many things, the definition has progressed over the years.
What is a tribe?
An online dictionary defines tribe as, “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”
The renowned Marketing expert, Seth Godin in his book ‘Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us’, took the definition to a modern setting. “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
With this definition in mind, let us look at the key tribes interrupting Nigeria’s growth. As we do, let us remember that most of us look at our leaders and fellow citizens, not as Nigerians but members of one or more of the tribes listed below and it is an indication of the tribe(s) we belong to.
Religious: One of the two obvious tribes. In Nigeria, we have the Christians and the Muslims as the dominant religious tribes. Most times, national discussions are broken into religious arguments, losing its national focus and objective. Unfortunately, as well, good and sincere initiatives by government at the federal and state levels are being hampered by rivalry between religious tribes.
Ethnic: This is the second of the two obvious tribes. This tribe has been an eye opener in our democracy. As the fight for political positions (including zoning) intensifies, we see citizens redefine their tribe and it is not limited to the minorities but also the leading tribes. While the infighting within established tribes as part of the new positioning process is ongoing, we become more divided by the day.
Political: It would have been nice to see a political tribe based on ideology but that is not the case in Nigeria. Members of this tribe are the political class who move from one party to another for their personal political goal. As with any tribe, when under attack, they drop their differences to unite against the common enemy. Our political class will exploit their religious and ethnic tribe membership to the advantage or to distract the citizens but will unite under their political tribe membership to fight back against the demands of the people for good governance and the fight against corruptible acts undertaken by them (the political class).
Personality: This is a recent addition to the key interrupting tribes and it emerged after the 2015 general elections. We now have the Jonathan (Jonathanian) and Buhari (Buharist) tribes. These are citizens who drop all other tribal hats and pick up the hat that shows their commitment to a personality – Jonathan or Buhari. To these citizens, their tribe’s personality could do no wrong and without their saying, their personality is considered a demi-god.
Is there a missing tribe? Absolutely and that is the Nigerian tribe. Due to the insignificant number of tribe members, this tribe is almost non-existent but it must grow if Nigeria will grow. What are the leading qualities of this tribe?
A strong belief in Nigeria: Citizens in this tribe accept that we had a defective start and past but they know that with unity, our diversity will remain our unique advantage. They believe that Nigeria can and will work and she will also use her influence and resources to emancipate the rest of Africa. They believe in our strength in numbers. They carry a Nigerian, and even an African, mindset.
A good focus on Nigeria’s main issues: Citizens in this tribe are able to sift through the various issues facing our nation, with a good focus on what we need to do now to change our path towards national development. They know most Nigerians, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and personality tribe, are facing difficulties associated with underdevelopment but yet, our leaders are not being held to account or replaced. Rather, their poor performances are excused according to tribe affiliation. The good focus of this tribe makes them people with the true insight into our problem and also the solution.
A commitment to make Nigeria work: Citizens of the Nigerian tribe recognize that in addition to poor leadership, our current setup is defective. Therefore, they are committed to the work needed to address these issues in order for us to get on the path towards true development. They are solution-focused rather than problem-focused, which is why they are nation-builders working to build Nigeria and reproduce others with this Nigerian tribe mindset.
A subduing of affection for other tribes: Citizens of this tribe are from different religious and ethnic backgrounds but their affinity for Nigeria overrides these tribal groups. They fight for justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians, not just those of their other tribes. These citizens know the unique qualities each of the various tribes have and can be harnessed for Nigeria’s development if tribal folks had a Nigerian mindset.
With all the agitations ongoing in Nigeria, it is only those of the Nigerian tribe who can see what needs to be done and how to get everyone on board to actualize it because they have a national perspective. The challenge remains on how we can increase the number of citizens in this tribe.
We urgently need citizens to deeply desire to be a part of this tribe with the motivating factor being only a united people can build a developed nation which will benefit us all.
Do you desire to become part of the Nigerian tribe?