More alike than different

For as long as I can remember, I have always hated political talk shows. People come and sit at a round table and rant about how bad the country is and how terrible our leaders are. At the end of the day everybody goes home to bed. Things rarely ever do change as a result of these dialogues. I used to wonder what the point of all those heated arguments was. Years later and we are still here.

Now however it’s worse. People talk more, and very unintelligently too. Give the average Nigerian youth a phone or laptop and internet access and voila, another Socrates is born. The trend now is that once disaster strikes, everyone goes online to rant. We do not even have anything sensible to bring to the table anymore. Now most people don’t think. They spit tribalistic and religious invectives not caring who they are talking to or who they might be hurting. God bless the internet and its promise of anonymity.

French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville said “In democracy we get the government we deserve”.

There is a similar Hadith but I don’t want to quote it wrongly. We get what we deserve. We are an uncaring lot so why complain when your leaders turn away from our misfortunes and act nonchalant? But this generation must be really messed up to have to deal with this.

Another bomb blast hit the nation on the 1st of May. People have been falling dead like flies. Over 200 innocent girls still missing. Yet, we still have the nerve to talk about our religious and tribal differences. This is what is wrong with us. When a man dies, how do you tell his tribe or his religion? I can tell you first hand that I have seen a lot of dead bodies and apart from when race can obviously be distinguished, you can not tell the readily difference between a Yoruba or an Igbo person when they are lying dead on that table. Or can you somehow tell when you see them on the news? Our organs are pretty much the same. Our blood runs red. Muslims, Christians, whatever. All of us. We are more alike than different.

You don’t care because you think your people are not dying. Your Christian brothers are safe. Your villages have not yet been burnt down. The sad truth is we are all Nigerians. We are the same people. It could be anybody. When would we learn that people are good or bad irrespective of race, tribe or religion? We are more alike than different.

What hurts the most is how these awful incidences are becoming small talk for the average Nigerian. We talk about it in the manner we talk about work or traffic, like something that does not really matter much. At the end of the day, it boils down to, “May God help us all.”

How about for once we start with us? How about we do more and talk less? How about we care just a little bit more? Be more conscious, of ourselves and our environments? Be a tad braver. How about we try to be nicer, more upright, more caring, open-minded individuals? How about for once you give someone something based on merit and not because he comes from your mother’s village? How about we stand up for what is right?

I have seen people lord their position and power over others. Why do we complain when the government does the same to us? Why don’t you try to be better at your job and not treat it with levity because you work for the government. What if for once we have more respect for public property? Quit being mean to your employees. Quit being a bigot. How about we stand up and actually vote this time around? Vote for someone you think might do the job and not just because he is your kinsman.

How about we think more? Care more? Do more?

Maybe if we are lucky, we would get the leaders we want.

You want things to change? Change you. It starts with us.

“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”

– Surat Ar-Ra`d verse 11


2 thoughts on “More alike than different

  1. Very apt piece. Your opening paragraph reminded me of Ola Rotimi’s play: Holding Talks, around exactly what you are talking about. It was a sad morning today on social media going through such illiterate opinions. Problem is our bad leaders survive and thrive on such people, so I wonder what hope there is for us. I feel you Hadiza.

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