By Mubarak Ibrahim
By October 2021 Nigeria will be 61 years old as an independent Nation; the journey has been very tough. Nigeria transformed from a centralized and regionally structured country to a thirty six States Federal Nation with advances in politics, economic, social coexistence and all other sectors.
Nigeria’s current population is estimated at about 210 million that is diverse plural and heterogeneous. After all these years of independence, one would have thought that the country has overcome the basic issue of infrastructure for growth and development. We should now be bothering with sustaining efficiency, debating quality and scaling up for global competition. Yet we are still battling our social reality that dent the integrity and destroy the unity of Nigeria.
Poor management and politicisation of issues of identity and diversity is affecting Nigeria’s unity and development. Criminals are not identified by their acts rather by their ethics groups. Is in this country, you will hear the media identifying unknown criminals as Fulani heardmens unnecessarily. People have already become used to the term so much that they become less curious to such negative stereotyping. Criminal should be addressed as criminal irrespective of their ethic inclination, as stereotyping can only further disintegrate the country that we are battling hard to bring together as it were before.
This becomes necessary as ethno religious violence, insurgency, poor management of our diversity and multicultural setting continue to undermine the peace, integration and development of our country. We are witnesses to what is happening in Kwara state lately and the recent claim by Asari Dokumbu as the leader of the Biafran Nation as well as the agitation by some faction of Yoruba’s to form Oduduwa Nation. It is high time politicians should stop playing hide and seek with the future of million of Nigerians.
Again, indiscipline, weak institution and wide spread hate speech and fake information have negatively compounded out concept of trust for each other. With suspicions and stereotypes the process of National integration is jeopardized. The country is sharply segmented in the line of politics, religion, ethnicity and socio economic differences. Hardly is there any part of the country that is not battling with one form of conflict situation or the other. Militancy in South-South, Insurgency in North-east, kidnapping in Northwest, Yahoo boys in the Western part of the country among others. Disruptive forces like poverty poor governance, unemployment, institutional weakness and economic economic hardship is starring us in the face.
All of these, coupled with precipitation of Offensive, abusive and fake information that undermined the process of National integration. National integration which hitherto used to be the cardinal principle in this country is slowly fading a way. The idea of bringing Nigeria together in 1914 by the then colonial government was to narrow the gap between the various classes and segmentation of Nigerians so as to create a sustainable homogeneous political community irrespective of our differences. It seems the aim of this bold step is gradually defeated.
Platforms like political parties, business interaction, revenue allocation have been a supportive pillar in cementing the blocks of Nigerians Unity. Regrettably, these very blocks that form the basis of this great county is gradually raising down courtesy of some self serving ambitious politicians who will stop at nothing to ensure the country remain divided so long their desire can be met. After all, they have dual citizenship and a green card to fled the country when succeeded in instigating the youths to violence.
On this note, it should be stressed that the role of the media is linked to the political development of the Nation. Thus, the media has a role to play in salvaging this country as it is rightly or wrongly considered as part of the forces engaged in the construction and manipulation of realities in the country.
Mubarak Ibrahim of the Department of mass communication, Bayero university, Kano