This Quit Notice Business
So the world is going bonkers as each new day presents an issue or an assortment of them to communities and countries across the globe. From insecurity to unemployment, there is a recurring trend of a section of a population inferring or plainly demanding that another section should go. Nigeria already has a history of this; in the 80’s rising unemployment and a failing economy had people saying Ghana-must-go as Nigerians blamed the problems on the foreign population. In South Africa, xenophobic attacks have happened and it is clear that for a good number of people, foreigners are not welcome. It is perhaps safe to say that we have a history of blaming outsiders without looking in on the real issues. In fact, sometimes we neglect the real issues as we embark on witch hunts because God forbid that we also share in the blame.
Now, the situation is taking on a new and ugly face; it is no longer talk of foreigners and their wicked ways. In Nigeria today, quit notices are being thrown around and a section of individuals are trying to speak as though they represent a totality of people that they do not. We can continue to make the argument for centuries to come about how diverse people who lived autonomously were lumped together as European powers carved up Africa in that famous conference of Berlin. However, I am honestly tired of it all; this talk of us and them and who is on whose land and who is not grateful to who. All over this continent, we are allowing tensions to build over issues that can be resolved but which we instead choose to amplify.
Maybe we don’t like the makeup of our countries and we certainly don’t like that they were created without our inputs. Over decades, integration has occurred whether we like to admit it or not and this separation word that is being thrown around is not as easy as people packing bags and moving. In Nigeria, there are people from the North who have only known the South all their lives and there are Southerners that speak Hausa like it is their mother’s tongue. There are people whose ancestry is so mixed that they have relatives from all over the country. There is probably a particular customer you always trust to buy quality bags in your local market whose village is probably miles from yours. Maybe you live in a compound with occupants from diverse cultures who appeal to the foodie in you with the aromas that waft in from their kitchens. Maybe sometimes flasks of food with whiffs of spicy and sweet emanating from them find their way to your house from the people in the next house. Maybe that boy you’ve been giving side glances on your street is states away from his hometown and you have always found his distinctive accent both funny and endearing at the same time.
The question I have for you; is the situation where you are so bad that you think the best solution is to send people without the same cultural background away? Do you think that the communal, ethnic or religious conflict in your country is fixable or do you think separation is best? What are the questions you think we should be asking ourselves?
Remember; If we began to carve up our countries on an ‘us’ and ‘them’ basis every local government and community would be a country.