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Ethnic Politics “ The Cankerworm” in Nigeria Politics
By: Idahosa Stephen
Peoples Friendship University of Russia

Published January 27th, 2015

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic nation with cultural differences between its component ethnic groups. The boundaries of the formerly English colony which was drawn to serve commercial interests, largely without regard for the territorial claims of the indigenous peoples. As a result, about three hundred ethnic groups comprise the population of Nigeria, and the country's unity has been consistently under siege and threat to national unity.

The ethnic politics in Nigeria has been seen in the recent times and evidently in history as a setback instead of been a strength and pride. As Otite (1990) observed and quite rightly too, the ethnic virus has been one of the most important causes of social crisis and political instability in Nigeria; and ethnicity has been perceived in general as a major obstacle to the overall political and  economic development of the country.

Since pre-independence era, one can say that the seed of ethnic politics has long been sown, germinated and started spreading and destructively been used by our political elite. Examples are in history from the formation of political parties and roles played by individuals in Nigeria political history. So, therefore creating parties along ethnic cleavages has seems to be the reproductive attitude of the Nigeria political space.

Been outside the shore of Nigeria, many still do not know the high esteemed many other African countries seems to view Nigeria and Nigerians. More sadly Nigerians are more comfortable slandering their country and government before citizens of other countries.

Coming to the attitude shown by some Nigerians and their ultrancess abroad, holding ethnicity above national values and interest.

Permit me to put this question across to Nigerians both home and abroad; Can an average Nigerian give the ideology of the political parties that we have in Nigeria, is it that of APC or PDP? Capital NO! Nigerians are been bothered or concern on the parties that will favour them in wealth or favour their ethnic groups. And the country Nigeria is the least of their worries.

The big question is, can an average Nigerian put aside ethnic cleavages and objectively access both leaders and come up with what Nigeria deserve and not their selfish and ethnic interest? Without doubt the answer is NO!. A student of mine said that the reason why he supports APC is because of their (family) interest.

Oh! Even the young generation has been bought and sold with a cheap price in it’s morden age.

When you go through the Jonathan campaign committee 2015 and that of Buhari, they are ethnically positioned. Asking Gov. Amachi to be the DG of Buhari’s campaign committee in the 2015 election, this is not just as a result of the money he will invest in it, it is evidently clear that APC would want him to deliver the south south to his political party. It’s a strategy in politics to weaken Jonathan in his zone.

My big question to both political parties is this, for APC not to be able to find any younger candidate worthy or capable to represent the party, this also shows the states of the party and the people in it. As a result, within the party, Buhari a 72 years old retired general is the only trust worthy, reliable and capable politician the party can present, that tells Nigerians that all others in the party are unqualified and these are the same people that he will nominate to work with him. Dosen’t this suggest that we will either remain where we are or move backward?

And to PDP, if the party and the people are saying Jonathan has not performed at all and the party has not been able to prove Nigerians otherwise. PDP still projecting Jonathan as his candidate for the next election also shows to the people that no other capable candidate other than Jonathan to move the nation to where we ought to be. In addition to PDP, the issue Nigerians have is with your campaign so far, the people home and abroad wants to hear what the government has done for the past six years and what the government intend to do when given the chance.

Suffice it to say that, the ethnicization of politics in Nigeria has been the cankerworm eating the very bases of our national development, growth and stability and has also been visible in Nigeria politics for so long a time.

The fall of the Arab Spring and the fall of their glory and might, was as a result of the wrong move made by the youths of these affected countries. Nigerian youths should not make such cowardly mistake they will forever regret and live with. It’s time for us to define and design our faith, not the faith Sahara Reports is designing for us....

Nigeria is a nation of resilient people. From the north to the coast let Nigerians decide for once in 2015 election without ethnic cleavages and selfish interest the best leader that will move Nigeria forward. And i hope we will be able to position ourselves away from how people have tagged us as an “ethnocentric nation”.



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