Against the backdrop of secession agitations ravaging most parts of
the country, an interethnic campaign, made up of only Nigerian women,
has commenced in Abuja.
The women, under the auspices of The Fairer Campaign, are out to
enlighten Nigerians on the dangers of secession, adding that they
cannot continue to ignore the fact that inter-ethnic crisis was hindering development.
According to the female group, some people now think their ethnic
group is much more superior than that of others in a nation with about
250 ethnic groups.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Abuja as part of activities to flag-off the campaign that is supported by the McCarty and Penlight Foundations, a staff writer at PRNigeria who is also the team lead for ‘The FAIRER Campaign’, Zubaida Baba Ibrahim, said amongst the Yorubas there is secession agitations for Oduduwa Republic, and in the North there are demands for Arewa Republic while in the Niger-Delta,
there are hints of separatism with the one that gained unneeded
attention, Biafra in the South-East.
“Some of the politicians especially at the federal level when seeking
for votes at the local level go the ethnocentric way making the people
who are mostly uninformed and uneducated to think leadership starts
and ends with being part of an ethnic group and then those seeking for
state governorship, for instance where the state is of one ethnicity,
use religiosity by implying voters to vote strictly Muslims or Christians or even otherwise,” Zubaida said adding that such affiliation is the reason behind clashes even within ethnicities.
“Nigeria’s leaders have been able to identify the weak point of the
uneducated and uninformed citizens of the country and brainwashed them
into thinking other ethnicities are their enemies,” Zubaida said, insisting it is the reason their campaign needs to reach every part of the country.
She said even with the blame games within the polity and on the social
media, united Nigeria will help the country economically.
“Nigeria, each region has it strength which can be used for national
development, through enhancement of economic activities of each of the
regions like the agriculture, cattle farming and trade of the northerners, the industrialization and the high literacy rate of the south-westerners, the entrepreneurialism of the south-easterners, and the petroleum industry of the south-south. Also, the trade of the
abundant natural resources as well as the agricultural product in each
of these regions can be used to boost regional development and growth,” she said while calling for unity among Nigerians.
“Apart from secessionist agitation, there is ethnic bigotry within us
as a people, evidently on social media where the intolerance and
abhorrence is clear. It just goes to show how even the common Nigerian
youths who are in possession of information and technology are using
it to divide rather than unite,” she added.
According to Zubaida, the neighborliness campaign can be effective in building cooperation between people of different ethnic groups through relational communication.
“A strategic communication approach is essential in establishing and
sustaining mutual relationships for nation building. The approach
should focus on cooperative relationships and offers a
communication-centered, participatory approach for improving ethnic
relations in multicultural states like Nigeria,” she said, adding that
Nigerians must accept their national identity, go for cultural
awareness, social inclusion & integration, equity and justice, and
equitable allocation of resources.
The representative of Penlight Foundation, Safiya Mohammed Bello, said the initiative will help in the promotion of unity of Nigeria adding
that they will continue to support the group.
Also, the Publisher of PRNigeria, Mr Yushau Shuaib, said it was a good
initiative coming from a female group with passion for a prosperous
“They have been debating on the issue before the press conference. In
their deliberations, they focus on a united Nigeria and the need for
ethnic relationship, tolerance,” Shuaib said, calling for their support.