Plight of Minorities in Nigeria
In the Nigerian set up, we have the majorities – they are the Hausas, Yorubas and Igbos, together they make approximately 58% of the Nations population, according to CIA fact book. They dictate the political landscape of the country. Then we have the minorities – they are tribes like Ijaw, Igala, Tiv, Calabar, Nupe, Berom, Gwari, Kanuri – they do not control or dictate how the country is govern nationally, but it’s important to note that at most times they control the resources of their own respective states. Although they only control a state, they can be influential nationally through legislative representation and political appointments.
Then we have the minorities-minority. These are tribes you seldom hear about – they include such tribes like Kilba from Adamawa, Rukuba from Plateau state. Such tribes have almost zero probability of been influential nationally. Since the inception of Nigeria only General Yakubu Gowon of the Angas tribe from Plateau state ruled the country as a minorities-minority. The question is; why is it so?
In Nigeria, we practice smash and grab, winner takes all politics. The majority tribes view the leadership position in the country as a way to consolidate power and control the rest of the population. Unfortunately, minorities-minority bear the harshest brunt – these are tribes whose culture and way of life is under threat of been extinct through culture shock. Igbos should try and walk a mile in minorities-minority shoes to really experience marginalization. From employment, business opportunities, allocation of social amenities, allocations of earmarks & social acceptance, minorities-minority are marginalized at every corner. The Federal character is in existence to share opportunities equally between the three major tribes.
If this trend continues (passing of baton within the three major tribes), the promise land would continue to elude Nigeria. As it stands, it looks like a leader in Nigeria only gets elected from a sub-set of 58% of the national population. The other 42% of the population in which minorities-minority belongs to, are left to find political cover and fend for themselves.
When the Chinese implemented their one child policy to checkmate population growth, the policy only affected the majority tribe (Han Chinese), the minorities were exempted from the one child policy so as to at least try and even out population imbalances. That sort of policy in unworkable in Nigeria due to religious and ethnic believes, but we can learn a thing or two from the Chinese model. The majorities should learn the habit of sacrifice such as in the case of the Chinese, so that Nigerians from all nooks and crannies would have a fair shake of the nation’s growth.
The dangers of not harnessing a good chunk of your population (Minorities-Minority), is that you leave that segment of the country redundant. Such issues can only be addressed at National conferences. We need one. A real one not a Kangaroo gathering!