Gideon Abowha Writes From Kwara State, Nigeria

Racism has eaten deep the world from time immemorial especially in Nigeria. We are being ruled by racists; wine and dine with racists! Racism is now seen as norms and has become part and parcel of us in our society today. Our heart is bleeding and crying for the haltless long years of Racism but we have refused to note that Racism stops with me; it stops with us. According to Nelson Mandela in Long Walk To Freedom, he quoted, “No one is born hating on another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’ Racism is more or less like a pandemic causing global disunity and apartheid. The death of George Floyd has awakened Nigerians to mammoth protest against Racism but we forgot to check ourselves as we are all guilt in the same pedigree. Racism in our dear country (Nigeria) and Africa as a whole is far more than Global Racism. Nigeria is being wrecked with nepotism, tribalism, religious intolerance, xenophobism et al. All these are subsets of Racism that should be addressed instead of unnecessary protests and trends of Racism being stopped in America while forgetting our own problems. Why not let us treat our own wounds first before treating others. I’m pretty sure that no one is born with hatred or intolerance, we are only affected by bad influences and twisted education causing segregations and hatred amongst ourselves. Racial and ethnic inequalities loom large in American society which has really been causing hate crimes and psychological effects on juveniles. Below are the three (3) categories of Racism in Nigeria that should be addressed and focused on instead of trending with the crowds on Say No To Global Racism:

1. Religion and Ethnic Racism:  Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, with Islam and Christianity being the dominant religions. The diverse belief of these two major religions has over time led to countless crimes and segregations resulting in disunity in our nation. Nigeria is a cosmopolitan global society that requires unity to prevail on other countries. Religion intolerance has been the cause of separations, ethnic and religious motives other than cultural diversity is another strong contributory factor for civil violence and conflicts in Nigeria. This is eminent in the current case of Boko Haram Insurgence spreading like wildfire in the Northern states of the nation where the sect believes that every aspect of western life is evil which are politically and religiously motivated resulting in arsons activities. Also, religious racism in Nigeria has ruined many relationships due to the diverse religious belief of not being able to marry from another tribe or religion. There is only one race which is the human race; we shouldn’t allow our belief over-power us to misbehaviors and wrong decisions. A Muslim Brother cannot marry a Christian Sister likewise a Christian Brother cannot marry a Muslim Sister. For what reasons? This is nothing but pure racism.  What is the essence of a belief that is separating many couples and destroying many relationships? We are in a modern world where we need to start disregarding irrelevant, disheartening, and negative beliefs contributing badly to our society and unity.

2. Political Racism: Many African countries are excessively power-drunk especially in Nigeria which has resulted in clinging to power as a family or personal possession or birthright. They believe in acquiring, capturing, and maintenance of power for life. This is another key source of racism, conflict, possible crisis, and violence across the nation and African Continent. Lots of Nigerian politicians have turned political offices to a family business, passing it on to one another desperately with the ulterior motive of violence. Over the years, most paramount political offices in Nigeria are selfishly being held by one tribe or the other which has resulted in various political violence claiming innocent lives. The aftermath of the violence that greets the erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2011 past election victory is a typical example in focus. This is a common African Style of leadership. Other cases in African are those of President Gaddafi of Libya (2011), Hussein Mubarak of Egypt (2011), etc.

3. Education and Employment Racism: This form of racism concerns the youths mostly, education and employment in Nigeria have been segregated to a particular region, resulting in nepotism in our society. Education and employment are no more based on merits but connections and favoritism. There are countless youths who are victims of this form of racism in Nigeria, those with merit qualifications roaming the streets unable to gain admission or further their education, not only due to financial constraints but as a result of not being from a particular region or tribe. The same applies to employment, making lots of qualified graduates jobless due to this belief or form of Racism. We are one country! One nation! Together we can achieve the unachievable and its high time we stopped discriminating against each other and favoritism practices of any kind.

In conclusion, love sees no color, religion, ethnics, etc. Unity is strength and together we can make a better Nigeria. To all and sundry, we need to stand to the clarion call of making a difference as change begins from you and me. Racism stops with me! Racism stops with us! Good people can make a difference and stay together. We can’t beat racism with racism in Nigeria but we can beat racism with solidarity. Educating ourselves especially juveniles is very important as they are our future, their minds shouldn’t be poisoned with wrong and violent beliefs but rather made known to them that irrespective of religion, class, ethnics, tribes, etc. We are one! A single tree cannot make a forest but numerous trees can. SAY NO TO RACISM IN NIGERIA! Together we are one. God Bless Nigeria! God Bless Africa!

Gideon Abowha is an Opinion Writer

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