About Me

My photo
Hiya! Just a quick intro :) I lived in Nigeria for more than half of my life (so far) before moving to England and I have seen the best and the worst of both worlds. I was greatly inspired by the #OccupyNigeria protests and this blog is my way of #occupying. A lot of us compare African countries to the Western countries and I will mainly be talking about the positive things that I have observed and learnt in my few years of living here. Payme’s 2Cents is for all who dare to dream to see changes in their lifetime. It is for those who dream to see environments where 'helping' thrives. I will be giving my2cents worth on how we can work towards getting things to change for better. It would be great to know your opinions, so please leave comments. Remember to keep sharing posts that you enjoy. Follow @payme_my2cents. Thanks a lot for visiting!!! Enjoy my2cents :).

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Is a united Nigeria feasible?

Hi guys, one of the things that has always puzzled me is that whenever I’m in England, I feel very Nigerian and then as soon as I land in Nigeria, voila! I instantly become Yoruba. I know that as humans, it is like our psyche immediately tries to align to a specific group whenever we find ourselves in different places so we do not feel left out. This issue of individual alignment brings ethnicity and racism to my mind. I have friends that are Nigerian (Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa), English, Italian e.t.c.  However, since I’m Nigerian, I can only talk about things that I have personally experienced or seen happen to people around me. I would try to be as rounded as I can, but if I have missed out anything, please add it in the comments section!

The deadline Boko Haram gave to Southerners and Christians to vacate the northern part of Nigeria has passed and the terrorist group is making good on its threats. My initial reaction on reading about this was “why will people not just leave the North and go back home?” Of course this is easier said than done. A lot of Southerners have lived in the North all their lives. A lot have their businesses, careers e.t.c. established in the North and to just uproot and leave would by no means be very difficult. 

But why should they even have to move at all? Are they all not Nigerians? Is the North suddenly not in Nigeria? Yes, there is no point in trying to understand the reasoning of terrorists. However, this brings other ethnic issues that are not life threatening to mind. I would like to believe that some of us younger people have outgrown generalisation based on ethnicity but a lot of times this isn’t true. But it is even more evident in adults. Even within an ethnic group, for example, the Yorubas, I end up hearing things like “…..but he’s from Akure” or “did you not know that that is how Ijesa’s behave?”

Try introducing a friend of the opposite sex who you are not necessarily dating to some supposedly well-read people and you end up hearing things like “hope there’s nothing serious between you two, you know he is from Ife” and you wonder what would happen if the guy you want to get married to is from a totally different tribe. I do acknowledge that being knowledgeable academically does not translate into native intelligence or being socially aware. Ideologies about caste, class and perceived self-worth are part of the reasons for the existence of segregation. Been here for a little while now and the recurring theme from aunties and uncles on the phone which I guess is their idea of a relationship advice is “hope you are not with an oyinbo boy.” In as much as people talk about non-Africans being racist to blacks, Africans are quite racist and having languages other than English sort of hides this as only friends and family understand what is being said. 

Living in England means I am constantly in contact with both Nigerians and non-Nigerians and I have witnessed many inter-racial marriages. Without a doubt, speaking the same language makes self-expression easier in a relationship. However, many people from the same ethnic backgrounds that get married also get divorced and there are inter-racial marriages that last. My point is that there is no reason or basis for undue generalizations on any issue. Trust, I’m guilty of some of these generalizations. We think of them as being harmless but bigger and more difficult issues such as racism and ethnic cleansing arise from these sorts of ideologies.

Are all Nigerians fraudsters? Are all wealthy people condescending? I think we all need to educate ourselves and younger kids to form their opinions of people based on their interactions with them and from what they perceive from each individual’s personality. We should learn to stop making assumptions based on prejudices and stereotypes. If we cannot accept people that are from our own country, how would we accept people from different countries? 

Back to the Boko Haram Issue, a lot of people believe that their presence is not only about religious values or ethnicity but that there is some sort of political motivation. I would not like to delve into my opinions about these right now but I still think losing lives over this sort of issue makes leaving a better option.  God be with the people in the North and I pray an end comes to all this madness.