The post-election conversations have been a putrid salad of prejudices, recriminations, and elevated provincialism. Our wits, resolve, temperance, capacitance, and stability threshold as a nation are being tested, and they will be tested further in the months and years ahead.
Our history is always ready ammunition to be dispatched in any ethnic combat in that ungoverned social media neighbourhood.
Contending sides launch missiles from the war rooms with their own “droppings” of history. I will not be a soundboard for those tiresome and unyielding conversations here. The duty of the citizen is to be a dispassionate arbiter, divining truth from untruth, and staying irrepressibly on the side of the nation’s interest. I believe instead of these contentions which re-emerge in our public discourse every now and then, we can learn from our past and forge a better country.
The truth is, history is subjective. Every group has their own version of history – as regards their social and political existence in Nigeria. But we cannot keep recycling the epics of woes that have bogged us down as a people. We must move forward and look forward.
Nigeria’s past is not a very glossy one, yes. It is replete with tales of pain, sorrow, and blood – depending on who is telling the story. Fatal mistakes were made, but must we keep reliving the errors of our past? Are we doomed to remain a rendition of our past? Can we not move forward – beyond our past?
Nothing changes because the old ways remain the same. We must think a new Nigeria, and a new Nigeria begins with new progressive thinking. We cannot take a leap into a glorious future while we are still stuck in the rut of the past. Our past has become today’s pain, and tomorrow’s burden.
But does this imply we must abandon our history? Absolutely not. We embrace it, but learn from it as well, and stop repeating the same mistakes. The current confusion shows we have learnt nothing from our chequered history.
Our past should teach us to be respectful of one another; it should teach us caution; it should teach us tolerance; it should teach us understanding; it should teach discipline, and it should teach us the very essence of unity.
Like Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto, said to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe: “Let us understand our differences. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian, an Easterner. By understanding our differences, we can build unity in our country.”
We must manage our diversity with “care, mutual respect, understanding, caution and trembling”. We cannot discount our points of divergence, but we must also recognise that we have solid arcs of convergence. What unites us should be stronger than what divides us.
It is unfortunate that to reinforce prejudices, some deploy self-archived ahistorical accounts. Our past as a country should not be a springboard for hate exchanges, but a source of learning to forge a better country. We hold on to “history”, whether manufactured or inverted, to accent our biases. Evolving means we are better than yesterday.
No one can hold their own version of history as truth everyone must chow down. There are villains and heroes in every story. It is depressing that our much-vaunted past has become stuff of propaganda passed down from one generation to another. Hate transitioning from one generation to another. We must break this circle of hostility.
Really, we cannot make progress as a country if we remain on this treadmill. We must sanitise our conversations, discard epithets, and evolve into a wholesome whole.
We must deconstruct revisionist fabrications and pretensions to make good of the future. Knowing that we started off on a shaky foundation should thrust us into consciously working out our destiny. We cannot hold on to an acrimonious past as a precedence for the present and the future. As I said previously, we take the lessons from the past and forge a new path.
We dissipate so much energy on ethnic bouts of supremacy but leave very little to interrogate fundamental issues of governance. We must make our existence as a nation about jutting issues that govern our lives as citizens – economy, security, education, and health.
In conclusion, it is insalubrious to ascribe the actions of deviants within a certain pool to any group. I have maintained this position since the wave of baleful propaganda against the Fulani. I will not deviate from the path of unity and peace building no matter how perilous the road becomes.
The invidious and menacing enterprise of Peter Obi’s “Obidients” has driven the dagger deep into the national umbilicus. Sore points quickened, passions inflamed, and bottled-up emotions unlatched.
First, we need to address the “Obidient” menace full-frontal, and we need to strengthen national and community concord. We need new ententes brokered for national cohesion or unity. We need to talk. We need to have those difficult conversations in civilised and decorous fora with a view to healing our nation. We need to talk with one another, not at each other.
We need new alliances cementing the north with the south, and the east with the west in holy matrimony. But to achieve this, we need to talk.
. Nwabufo, aka Mr OneNigeria, is a media executive.