Editors’ note: The writer of this timely piece, James Ehiabhili, highlights reasons why Nigeria must remain united. He notes that the gains of the country cannot be harnessed without unity, and urges citizens to learn lessons from the Civil War in order to build a better nation.
“The significance, which is in unity, is an eternal wonder.” It takes a clairvoyant mind to unravel the deep-seated message hidden in this short phrase proffered by Bengali poet, playwright and essayist, Rabindranath Tagore.
Tagore’s thought-provoking words boldly reiterate the gravity of leading a unity-based society where cohesion and harmony highlights the affairs of men and women; guiding their daily activities in pursuance of a national goal.
Sadly, when discussions centre on unity, many Nigerians seem to shun the idea. They stay aloof with an air of conspicuous disinterest. On several occasions, I have had the privilege of engaging youths on this discourse, but their utterances and attitude startles my senses and I am forced to believe that Nigeria is doomed with such unholy mindset.
But on a second thought, I wonder, could it be that this five-lettered word means nothing to us or maybe our sheer ignorance to decipher the actual meaning of this word is the bane of our insouciant actions?
With the rising spate of religious and ethnic conflicts overwhelming the country, embracing unity seems to be the logical remedy needed to right these wrongs and help us find our rhythm – the rhythm that once defined us as a nation.
If one were in the know and up-to-date with the events unfolding in the country, then you would accept the bitter truth that Nigeria is on the brink of collapse. A thread of faith and grace holds us. But how long can this thread hold us? Aren’t we expending our last breath of grace? Aren’t we slipping fast to war?
The old dictum “United we stand, divided we fall,” is more likely to pass off as a boring cliché to an ignorant mind; but through the prism of factuality, one will indeed come to understand and appreciate its gravity in the affairs of our great nation, Nigeria, where violence has become a cheered trend in our society and unity on the other hand, is booed.
The likes of America, Canada and United Kingdom were built by collective effort and unity. Their actions were intentional and well thought out to better the affairs of their country.
Unlike us, they fight for the integrity of their nation; stand in accord to support good courses, yet we have failed to unite on small matters that require simple dialogues.
The gains of our nation cannot be harnessed without unity. Unity is at the heart of progress, development and wealth. Unity will help us harness untapped resources, create a place called home for our young generation, put Nigeria on the global stage for good reasons, and inspire a spirit of greatness.
Nigeria needs unity today. We too, can become a better nation if we sheathe our swords to fight a common enemy, other than ourselves.
I support #NaijaMeansUnity.
If you think Unity is cheap, try War:
There are copious examples from different countries to drive home the essence of embracing unity in Nigeria. The likes of Liberia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Uganda to mention a few, have shocking stories to tell on the aftermath of conflict.
In recent years, war torn nations have grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons, with rising death tolls, displaced persons and other consequential effects of conflicts.
Conflict leaves in its wake stretches of sad lines, broken dreams, and piteous sights of dead bodies, amongst other heart-wrenching scenes. These horror-stricken episodes were fostered by years of neglected grievances, hatred and segregation.
Our visible scabs from the civil war in 1967 – 1970 are cursors for us to embrace unity. We can draw lessons from the events that fanned the embers of that war to build a better nation, where peace, love, and unity will serve as our guiding principles.
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