AFCON 2023: Who Is Dividing Nigeria?

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When Ola Aina, the super eagles full back, missed the penalty during the semi final of AFCON2023 against South Africa, someone closed to me uttered an abusive word in Hausa language. He said, “shege bayarabe”. From the way he voiced it out you’ll know it was not intentional. He was unconscious, as we all were, and it came out of his subconscious mind. That is a typical example what Nigerians are and how we hate each other.

A South Easterner feels isolated and do not want to be linked with the north, a northerner also feels the south easterners are “arna” and there is no need to relate or intermingle with them. I once came across someone who is happy and thanking God for the blessing of not visiting a particular region. You’ll sometimes think hatred is naturally instilled in us.

Malam Nasiru El-Rufai was recently seen on air lamentating how Nigerians from various parts of the country react to to his social media posts. Whenever he post an update, no matter how small, the northerners are there to hail and clap for him. While their brothers from the south will abuse and curse the former governor, why? is it because he is from the north?

Anyway, what made me happier after the penalty shootout was not only the fact that Nigeria scale through and made it to the final, but how I saw my fellow students, regardless of their gender, age, religion, social class and political affiliation celebrate the huge win for our dear country. It was one of the joyous moments of my life.

Not only in ABU, I came across videos of students from other universities and communities celebrating the huge win. Others went ahead to celebrate with the family of our unbeatable keeper, Nwabali. Dem no gree for anybody.

The same thing happened during final when we all triumph at various locations to support and cheer the super eagles. Even though we do not clinch the title, the outcome of the final will be a topic for another day.

Okay, back to the subject matter.

After the jubilations were over, a question popped to my mind. I said to myself; who is dividing Nigeria and Nigerians? Who is spreading hatred and sadism among Nigerians? Who is fuelling and igniting the fire of hatred among us?

An Igbo man is always looking for the opportunity to curse a Hausa man, and a Hausa man always scouting for the opportunity to unleash his abusive prowess on Igbos or Yorubas for the slightest reason.

How comes do we sit under the same umbrella supporting and praying for the super eagles to win? Who then is creating these divisions in our country?

To answer the above poser, I am of the view that the genesis of our division in Nigeria is rooted in rumour and mere speculations. Most of the people fuelling the fire of hatred are the type that have either not travel outside their jurisdiction or refused to open their minds to accommodate people from other regions. They limit their thought to their regions and consume whatever they found on the media.

The above answer may not sufficient, but, as people living in the same region, if we do not speak the same language or wear the same attire, we share the same history and we are made to be together–it’s undeniable. The richness and strength in our diversity is stronger than the weakness. So why should we opt for the weakness? Come on fellow compatriots, think!

We must learn from the lessons of the 2023 AFCON to shun our peculiarities and differences if we must progress as a nation. Our diversity should be a source of pride, not the opposite.

Sani Bello Hamza is a Law student at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, he writes from Zaria and can be reached through his email; or 09013506168.


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