The Question @ Independence … why unity? By Busola Olaleye

Our President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday 6th July 2016 stated that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable …

But how exactly can this be? In a nation with over 250 ethnic groups spread across the 36 states as at our 2010 census, further diverse by religion and social status.

In a bid to promote national unity alongside notable diversity, Gen. Yakubu Gowon on May 22 1973 then founded in our constitution decree no 51, the now so popular NYSC, in other to debunk myths and also promote marriage among’st several tribes.

A surprising tool of national unity has always been our sports … how my blood was hot and rising as Taye Taiwo handled the ball every time at 2008 Olympics (call me old school but that was the first match that formed my love for our super eagles)

However, I do not have statistics to point to how effective or properly managed these schemes are or aren’t, but they exist … Think them too little or inadequate but acknowledge them … they exist. All these … done to bring us together.

Alhaji Abubakar Balewa said and I quote … ‘The future of this vast country of Nigeria must depend in the main on the efforts of us to help ourselves. This we cannot do if we are not working together in unity. Indeed unity today is our greatest concern and it is the duty of every one of us to work to strengthen it. Bitterness due to political differences will carry Nigeria nowhere … Nigeria is large enough to accommodate us all …’.  No truer and wiser then, is he now.

The recent challenges we’ve faced as a nation cries for us to place a high value on human life … precious and full of potential.

A lot of blood has already been shed, a lot of ego bruised, promises betrayed and lies told but as my brother from the east says ‘Anya maka anya na-eme ka uwa dum kpuo isi’ – an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Oju fun oju mu ki gbogbo aiye foju

Idon ido don idanu yana makantar da dukan duniya

The good book by which a large fraction of us abide tells us that a kingdom divided cannot stand…- ede ti pinya ko le duro

Mba nke kewara ekewa enweghi ike iguzo

Kasashen da ba za su iya tsaya ba 

Sorry I don’t know if there is a manual the traditional worshipers use (my knowledge in this area is limited), however, our very constitution by which we abide begins thus

‘We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Having firmly and solemnly resolve, to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding And to provide for a Constitution for the purpose of promoting the good government and welfare of all persons in our country, on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people do hereby make, enact and give to ourselves the following Constitution’

The Zik of Africa, Nnamdi Azikiwe cautioned that ‘… any attempt from any source to create dissension and make the North feel that it is different from the South, and the West from the East, or to make any particular nationality or tribe in Nigeria feel it is different from the others, should be deprecated.’…

He said ‘The North and the South are one, whether we wish it or not. The forces of history have made it so. We have a common destiny; so too, the East and the West.’

So with the 250 ethnic groups we have, we are presented with over 250 ways to view life, all equal to each other and all having equal rights.

We must begin to see, not just on social media when we claim ‘our own’ that makes it on an international platform but in our everyday lives; that the success of one of us is a great step for all of us.

It was the legislator, Honorable Turaki M. Ali, who said: ‘Wherever a Nigerian is…he should try to work sole heartedly for the interest of his “One Nigeria”.’

As we sing our nations anthem today, let us do so with a resolve to continue to serve our fatherland with all our heart and strength as “One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity” .

As we celebrate today, let everyone look not at the past but to the future, with hope and not fear; let everyone look to his or her neighbor with love; let us celebrate as one, as Nigerians …

Using the once trending hashtag I stand with Buhari, I support a united Nigeria because the very thing that makes us diverse is a great reason to pull together.

One Nigeria!