The child on the image below is a shoe shiner/mender in Adamawa, education for him is out of the picture, his father was illiterate, born into poverty, so was the father before him, and the roller coaster continues. Nigeria, compared to the 60s, has retrogressed, with the spark immediately post-independence where all indicators pointed to a successful country, that all died when the military Gen Zs and Millennials at the time battled for power like a world cup competition.


The child on the image above, because of their birth in Yola, Adamawa is forever an Adamawan. If he were to move to Enugu state, and live there for the rest of his life, he will still be an Adamawan who can never vie for public office, let alone governorship; that is already a de facto foreigner in one’s own country hence the header of this article. 

The constitution of Nigeria was penned by those who thought we were not a single nation, you cannot have a jus sanguinis policy within a country, though on paper, the child on the above image can run for public office if they’d lived in Enugu state for a long time, we all know that in practice, this is improbable. There is a need to bring the people of this country closer, until we start having a sense of nationhood, Nigeria will remain a country of nations.

Religion and Tradition

The duo hawker on the image below will likely be married off by the time they are 12, or before they reach 16, with no education or skillset, they become mothers and housewives even before they themselves transitioned from adolescence to adulthood. The body of an adolescent child is not developed enough to go through gestation.

When a child enters into a marriage with an adult, her future is taken away from her, until the age of 16, we are still developing the necessary skills both internally and externally to face the world – one should be in school developing and shaping to become an adult contributor to society, this is why Nigeria is lacking in so many areas, because our young people are not given the opportunity to be creative. Our curriculum and system of government lack accountability, or even the will to transform our country.


These child-hawkers are the spoils of leadership failure, and result of traditions borne from patriarchy and sustained by religion that continue to uphold this practice into the 21st century. A country either has a constitution that supersedes everything else, or it will descend into chaos, one where nothing truly binds its policy making. When a people uphold the tenets of their religion over the constitution of the land, the crack will begin to show. Nigerians have not been able to separate the two; this has affected how we operate in general. A country of over 200 million people and counting at the speed of a speeding sports car, there are no plans in place to slowly transition from a consumer nation to a producing one.

Custom and Ethnicity

The Southeast and the Southwest sees themselves as nations whose interest comes first before the country’s, the same applies to all the other zones. The Southeast and Southwest are the two most homogeneous zones in Nigeria. Over 99% of the Southeast is homogeneous, over 95% of the Southwest, none of the other geopolitical zones come close. Perhaps, this is why secessionist movements are stronger in these zones, but this is a topic for another day.

Lagos is a perfect example of one country under many nations. The Igbos from the southeast have made Lagos their home as it is the undisputed economic hub and the former capital, benefiting off the latter’s concentration of investments. The city state owes its development to Nigeria, our collective effort was put into the development of the city state. All of Nigeria’s ethnic groups have representation here for obvious reasons, it is the powerhouse of Nigeria. However, the Yorubas, whose land Lagos rest upon are the sole beneficiaries of its administration. In other words, Nigeria’s contribution remains in the hands of one of its nations’ member.

The Igbo people, who are the second largest ethnic group resident of Lagos after its indigenous Yoruba are considered foreigners in their country, in a city whose development bears the sweat of Nigeria.

Lagos is Nigeria’s economic capital, fourth largest GDP gross in Africa if it were a country, its largest economic contributor is the seaport. Speaking of the seaport, 65% of every container that comes into Lagos seaport ends up in South-eastern Nigeria, the territory of the Igbos who are considered foreigners in Lagos. We are a long way from making this country a nation.

Customs are an important identifier of a people, it correlates with their folklores, historicity, and overall make-up of a society. Nigeria isn’t a monolithic society, until it was forced together by the British, communities, nations, republics or some kind of systems existed and all predates Nigeria as a country. It can be argued that the amalgamation of Nigeria was the foundation of her intransigence to transitioning into a nation, but that argument falters when you look at the greater Africa. Take Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Angola just to name a few, these are all multi-ethnic countries that operate and function as single nations. Yes, there are a few skirmishes here and there, but who said there was a perfect country?

The mistake lies in our curriculum, if Nigerians from primary schools, had an educational framework that focuses on teaching Nigeria, explaining our union, dissecting our diversities, marrying our differences, embracing our mistakes, romanticising our union, apologising for our mistakes, promoting our ethnicities and languages, engaging in a collective nation-building agenda that truly reflects growth for all Nigerians, the nations within Nigeria would dissolved for a greater, one Nigeria identity. Ethnicities and yes, religion are social construct, no one is born Hausa, Yoruba, or Igbo; none is born Christian or Muslim, we are indoctrinated into Hausa, Yoruba, or Igbo, equally, we are also indoctrinated into Christianity or Islam. What can be learned, can as well be unlearned. 

The need for a purpose to embrace is lacking in Nigeria. What is the Nigerian dream? What is the plan? In a centralised system of government, because let’s face it, Nigeria is not a true federal state; voting by ethnic or religious lines is the recipe for electing incompetent leaders. Muhammadu Buhari, the current president of Nigeria, who made a career of running for the top position in the country, consistently amassed 11 million votes in the North. Our allegiance to our ethnicity and religion has been the fast lane to Nigeria’s downfall. When ethnicity trumps fairness, competence, hard work, education, healthcare, and everything else, then we still wonder why Nigeria is failing. Until this is reversed, I see no end to the roller coaster.

Ethnicity is a social construct, you are not born an ethnicity, you are born a human being under a clean slate, until adults around you start making things up to identify you. Then as you grow, you adopt those things made up for you, it is that simple. I say this with a heavy heart, but a lot if not most Nigerians will rather elect an incompetent candidate of their ethnic extraction than a competent one from the other ethnic group, If this does not trouble you, then you are the problem, and should never be in a position of power.

At BantuPage, we conducted a national poll in late November and early December 2022, our findings were very telling. Nigerians handily aligned themselves by their ethnicities. There is nothing wrong identifying by your ethnicity, Ethnocentrism is the problem. Ethnocentrism is synonymous to Racism, identifying as black (Negroid), white (Caucasian), etc is not the problem, but when it becomes racial, that is when there is a problem.

Ethnocentrism: the belief that the people, customs, and traditions of your own race or country are better than those of other races or countries. No human is better than another by order of their skin colour, ethnicity, height, or innate structure. Yes, you can develop into a better person than others, you can have preference for taller, shorter, bigger, or smaller humans, but better is not dependent on your skin colour, height, or ethnicity.

Racism: the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another. You can now see the similarities in Racism and Ethnocentrism, they work and go hand in hand – humans must desist from these practices. 

Nigeria must go back to the drawing board and rewrite her curriculum to reflect the reality of the country. As alluded earlier, humans are born with clean slate brains, imbibe in them fairness, justice, one-Nigerianism, hard work, and all the qualities we want for Nigeria, they will grow and become the Nigeria we all see in our dreams.

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