• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Now that we hate each other so

Nigerian nation

In the last year or so, the vitriol online, hate speech and general abusive content is insane. I am not so much of a social media person. I must say I find it pretty distractive and it is a lot of work keeping up with night posts, dissenting views and a couple of mad people. I find social media a chore, its personal promotion seems all so narcissistic.

I have no idea how social media influencers do it. Also, because this is how people who don’t cope with the 24 hour cycle and the grind fall to social media toxicity and the depression.

But be that as it may we are now in that place where social media is not for entertainment or self aggrandisement. It’s now for abuse and hate.

I have heard from those online how we are at our worst in terms of division, hate and ethnic jingoism. But I know on ground that inter- Nigerian abuse has never been worse. I have met the most educated people make the worst comments about their neighbours, friends and compatriots. Education does not make a difference. The elite and politicians have set the poorest of the poor against each other killing maiming and bloodletting.

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When the tides turn for the worst, they fly out and leave the rest of us to roost. It is heartbreaking when I listen to the comments people who should know better make. They smile in front and pretend and then make vile comments behind. Oh they are bunch of thieves. Oh those ones are dull and uneducated. Oh they are all fraudsters. Oh they are all cultists. Oh they are all dirty. It saddens me that children are being taught hatred by toxicity sinking the nation deeper.

I speak eight languages, 5 Nigerian, 3 International and pidgin as bonus. I served in Ogun state in 1981. Will the Yorubas reject me although I speak it quite well? I am North Central and I schooled in Kaduna and Zaria. I went to primary school in Ilorin. My son and sister are married in the East. Will my inlaws reject me? My cousins and two sisters are married from the South East. My cousins are married in the far north and my late Uncle Alhaji Ustaz Abdullahi was grand Khadi of Kogi state.

I am Catholic but I have friends and family across Christian denominations and relations and friends who are Muslims. I have friends in Yola, Lagos, Ekiti, Gboko, Ikom, Awka, Asaba, Biu and Lokoja. What happens next to people who say let’s stay together.

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No nation can rise if her citizens always abuse their nation, heaping abuses on the earth of the land

I am Nigerian and I would stay here. I do not want to be enslaved in America. Peace building and truce making is my call. Let us stop this hatred. It is enough. Let us build peace. Let us just do it for we are extensions of each other.

This is the country of my dreams. This nation, which I would not give up if you put a gun to my head. From the fashion to the food to the colourful peoples and our marriages. These marriages, beautiful both in heart and in culture remain the centre of our core, our source of Joy. Now these marriages are the source of an amazing TV show on an International channel.

God bless Nigeria, my birthplace, my heirloom from the savannah to the rainforest, from the desert to the swamps, a nation that has made me to become, to be and to aspire. No nation can rise if her citizens always abuse their nation, heaping abuses on the earth of the land. I smell the rain, I inhale the dust that rises and remind me of my people, my nation, my core. Here is where I rose, got a job, dreamt my dreams. No one should wish us cataclysmic devastation.

We are the centre of West Africa. I am Nigerian and so I become.

Let’s grow beyond our hatred, our pettiness, our vitriol.

We are Nigerians. We did it before. Let us show love to each other, for indeed we are extensions of each other. The best of flora and fauna, the best land mass, the best yes, the best susa, the best pounded yam and kingship and bean soup and obegwa. Let us call a truce.