So, I will admit that this piece is inspired by the
holiday season. In the midst of all ‘jollyment’, the winds of reflection blew
my way. In this sombre spirit, family gatherings produced a ripe atmosphere for
the usual ‘Nigerian Complain Banter’ (a staple meal in most Nigerian
The difference is that this time, while everyone was
giving their unsolicited 70 cents of opinions on topics ranging from religion
to  politics to generational ills in the system, and what the like (oh,
the richness of Nigerian gisting!), I watched. Just watched. Looking around at
the array of people gathered. Let me throw a little more light on my thought

I am from a predominantly Igbo family; when family and
friends gather, you find an array of people, from Yoruba to Delta to Hausa to
Cross river. Even a cursory look at my array of closest friends, I find the
same position reflected. Not to make this rant on ethnic biases and the lot, I
will state the takeaway from this is that Nigerians are an interesting lot.
Despite heated exchanges about the polity,
incompetencies in all sectors, personal and cultural opinions on everything;
what I marvel at is the fact that these people gather, year in, year out, for
birthdays, anniversaries, remembrances, christmas, practically any cause for
celebration, without fear of reprise from one another or animosity for their
respective stances or even for the mere ‘beef’ of ethnic differences.
Albeit, this is not an isolated case. I know of
several other homes where this is also the case.
Nigerians are a special lot. We fight, we unite, we
criticise, we praise, we cry, we laugh, we complain, we survive. I may not see
it all!! As I am always quick to point out, I only speak from the extent which
my glass covers!! But what I have seen, I have marvelled. In a country with
constant rife about the differences in our ethnicity, language and even
political divides, we still find time to celebrate, whether it is all for the
cause of Jollof rice or for Eba/Pounded Yam, we can still find points of
harmony and unity.
It makes one wonder; why then do we find it easy to
segregate issues as belonging to one particular group or the other-boko haram
is a northern problem, kidnapping is an eastern problem, etc…
I would think, from my myopic standpoint, it all boils
down to human nature. At the heart of it, no one wants to deal with an
inconvenience they can excuse themselves from. My consolation from this is that
this does not stem from the place of an ethnic group spouting ideologies of
hatred for others and calling for the extinction of other ethnic groups.
Even if there are some instances of such ideologies,
it is, thankfully, not a prevalent one.
Let this be my conclusion: We can be our greatest
enemies but I do not fail to recognise the fact that we are also our greatest
Happy New Year!!