Nigeria as a country has seen very little socio-economic and geo-political development since its independence in 1960. Now it is no new-fangled thought that when political marginalization exists amongst tribes and ethnicities in a country, collective growth and relative progress is difficult to attain.
Toward the end of colonialism, the British in 1951 were willing to grant sovereignty to any of the regions of Nigeria that wanted independence. This did not happen, however, because the west and the east, who wanted Nigeria in one piece, decided to wait for the north to be ready. The Northern Nigerian tribes, at the time, would not merge with the other tribes to constitute a sovereign country if they were not assured of political power. Political historians claim that when power was assured the Northerners, independence was attained making Nigeria a ‘free and united country.’
The standards of democracy suggests that the ideals of a free country — a country with a united people— should not condone the division of its people into a ruling tribe on one hand and a marginalized tribe on the other hand. It should rather be home to a people with a fair sense of political, social and economic equality. Many a political expert would agree that with true democracy comes fairness and political power diversification within a sovereign state and with this comes social and economic stability. Therefore, until political power is held by patriots with proven leadership-acumen and character, democratically and transparently elected, obligated to a social contract and daring to take a country forward, unselfishly, then social and economic stability, growth and development could not be realized any time soon.
For the wide divide between the very rich and the very poor to be bridged, political power should not just revolve around a certain group of people or tribes, who by any means, will seek power for the pleasure of it, as has been the case in Nigeria where smaller tribes like the Ijaws, the Ibibios, the Efiks, the Anangs and every other undersized tribe has been sidelined, politically and economically by the majority Eastern Igbo tribes, the Western Yoruba tribes and the Northern Hausa/Fulani tribes.
The seat of the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been a position occupied by a select few. To achieve true democracy, measures should be put in place. To this regard, such measures as a more reliable political structure, policy or legislation that would ensure that power is equally distributed amongst capable and deserving hands will go a long way to improve the country. The transparency of Nigeria’s democracy can indeed be questioned as only the Hausa-Fulani’s (Northerners) and the Yoruba’s (Westerners), have ruled Nigeria since its independence from the British in 1960 in a nation of 36 states, 250 ethnicities and over 140 million people. A new chapter in the country’s history book surely needs to be opened.
Nigeria as a country does not belong to any particular tribe but to every Nigerian citizen. People must understand that to be a strong and progressive unit, they must see past ethnicity, tribes and geographical boundaries. But most of all, there must be a political will amongst the powers that be to find a way to bring the marginalization of minority tribes to an end in a country that deserves a leader ready to foster national unity and prosperity for all, a leader ready to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, a leader ready to improve the living standards of the average citizen and foster social and human development amongst other economic proliferations.