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If Malaysia could pull through with so many races and ethnic groups, why can’t Nigeria do the same?

Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society with the Chinese historically been dominant in the business and commerce community.

To know, Malaysia is to love Malaysia. A bubbling, busting, melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups relatively live together in peace and harmony. Manufacturing constitutes the most significant single component of Malaysia’s economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are major contributors to their economy too.

If Malaysia could pull through with so many races and ethnic groups, why can’t Nigeria do the same? Why can’t we harness the full potential of our diversity? Why do we like hating each other? Why so much ethnic hatred, tribalism and injustice that exist in our nation today. It is over 50yrs of our independence, Can’t we see that this hating and bashing among us is not helping us at all. 
We all know that the constitutional arrangements of Nigeria, as imposed upon the people by the erstwhile British rulers, were nothing but an implicit acceptance of the fact that there was no basis for Nigeria unity.

The Federal Nigerian constitution was designed primarily to hinder all attempts by Nigerians to progress. It aimed to create a healthy atmosphere for further imperialist exploitation after the imperial master should have withdrawn. If our forebears in their innocence and naivety could not read that handwriting then, now we know better. But must we continue to advance these devilish intentions of our colonisers when we already know their plan is not for better Nigeria….NO!

Frankly, we have entered “one chance bus to Agege”. Yes, believe me. Let’s be realistic; Nigeria as a country, is not dividing any time soon. As much as everybody would wish it to; Nigeria will remain united, Nigeria will remain married, no matter the drums of war being beaten by some persons who do not want the country well.

Folks, we are all in this marriage together, and we have to make it work. You and I especially the youths, the Facebook Politicians, the online Socio-political Critics, the internet bullies, social media tribal lords and warriors need to reassess our national interest. We must borrow a leaf from Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil and all other developing countries who have the same challenges as we do; but are working so hard to benefit from their diversity.

After 55 years of this forced marriage, we suppose to have known our weaknesses and strengths and try to use it to fine-tune our relationship with each other. These strengths and weaknesses are supposed to build formidable opportunities for us to be genuinely the Giant of Africa. Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas and other ethnic groups in Nigeria have a share of these strengths, and they are all invariably imbued with business acumen and innovative spirit in their own right. Then, Why can’t we harness this rare opportunity?

Can’t you see that we all need each other to survive? So many Igbos and other ethnic groups have set up businesses and also build home and settled in different parts of Nigeria. Can’t you see that this marriage has outgrown divorce? Nigeria has come to stay until further notice. For now, all we have to do is to make it work. We have to leave tribalism, sectarianism and ethnicism behind and fight for our common cause. What keeps us together now is far more significant and better than what separates us. We have to start thinking as a nation, not as a tribe or an ethnic group. Nation-building has long begged for our collective attention. Let us give her the due attention she deserves. We need to begin to love ourselves despite our stark differences. Malays, Chinese, Indians are all different races, but they are all doing well together in Malaysia as a nation. We have to start loving our products. We need to start promoting ourselves. If there is any Nigerian from any ethnic group that is doing well, we have to help it and be proud of it as a Nigerian. We must start to appreciate our diversity. We are calling on Nigerians across ethnic and religious divides to work towards sustainable dialogue, reconciliation and peace. 
Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas, Ijaw, Edo and other ethnic groups have lived together in Nigeria for decades. All these cultures supposed to have influenced each other, thereby creating a genuinely Nigerian culture.

Let us come together and help to build our nation because nobody will do it for us. Let us stop this recent tribal wars going on on Facebook and other social media platforms. Recently, every posts or thread you visit on Facebook is charged with a barrage of insult and ethnic hatred, tribalism and sectarianism. This hatred can never grow our economy nor advance our already battered image. Time is now for us to retrace our steps and seek causes of national interest.

Respect should be our watchword here. This write-up abhors hate comments or ethnic hatred tendencies. It is intended for us to start thinking towards our national growth and also for Nigerians to wake up to reality and face their shared responsibility. Please share your opinion with Nigerian interest at heart.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
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