FOR some time now, I have been noticing a trend on social media about how divided Nigerians are along ethnic and religious lines. To be sure of what I am saying, Nigerians should visit news websites and click on important national news; then after reading, they should take time to read the comments of contributors and they will notice how divided Nigerians are.
When a story reports the negative activities of some people who belong to a particular tribe, commentators who belong to other tribes will not even address the issue at stake, rather they will descend on the tribe of the accused, describing them in unprintable names. The same also happens when somebody of a certain religious inclination commits an offence. As a sociologist and lawyer, I have seen that this is one of the first steps through which a country can be divided, that is, when people in the same country become suspicious of their fellow citizens who are from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. The most painful part of this is that the youth, who are Nigeria’s future, are mostly involved in this.
When we feel we can attack our fellow countrymen based on their views, ethnicity or religion at will on social media, then it will unconsciously develop into our consciousness and we will begin to hate them in real life.
Nigeria is a country that has a lot of potentials and the youth hold the key for a brighter future; it is, however, unfortunate that politicians have succeeded in dividing us. If this current trend is not reversed, then the future of the country looks bleak.
It is high time we looked at the positive sides of those who are of different ethnic and religious backgrounds to us, thereby appreciating them. Through diversity, we can build a better Nigeria of the future.
One thing I know for sure is that it is not a mistake that we found ourselves in the same country and as a result, we should use this to our advantage.
- Yetunde Soares,