Wikipedia defines the word ‘Xenophobia’ as _”the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. Xenophobia can involve perceptions of an ingroup toward an outgroup and can manifest itself in suspicion of the other_”.
Going by these interpretations, one would easily hold sway to the fact that we Nigerians, are not new to Xenophobic tendencies in this land of ours!
Truth be told, it is Xenophobic for a select few, armed with political and economic power, to deliberately destroy our educational system which ought to have been the bedrock to Nigeria’s fortune. Today, these individuals export their children abroad for schooling, while the children of humble ‘citizens and patriots’ are abandoned to be educated in roofless classrooms across the country. Indeed, it is Xenophobic for a particular ethno-religious group to believe that the key to leadership is inherent in their bloodlines while those of other tribes in the same country are considered as second-class citizens. Isn’t it Xenophobic to provide security for a select few, while millions of Nigerians live in fear, agony and apprehension from the atrocities of criminals of all colours? Ney, we condemn Xenophobia in South Africa, yet at home, we practice much worse ideals against one another. Otherwise, in which country do we find inflammatory words such as ‘arna’, ‘nyamiri’, ‘orioza’, ‘ewu’ among several others in the lexicons of some of her languages?
In fact, the activities of South Africans are as demonic as those of Nigerian political and religious leaders against her citizens. So, why suddenly, do we find ourselves consumed by unholy game of pretence?
In this country of ours where tyranny has overshadowed patriotism, it is not surprising that our Government (s) with her agent (s) continue to restrain Nigerians from reprisals. The truth, obviously arises from their understandable fears that such revenge missions on South Africans in Nigeria might soon change course and eventually transform into a larger (and so much needed) Civil disobedience against the many years of pains and destructions meted on Nigerians by her brethren and sisters. For once, may we admit the wisdom of our Government officials, albeit, at the detriment of her citizens.
Tentatively, one must applaud the exceptional gesture exhibited by Air Peace in their Voluntary Service to repatriate stranded Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return home. However, it is so saddening to predict that majority of Nigerians in South Africa would rather be destroyed over there than to accept the bait of returning to Nigeria—a squalor called home! Hence, ‘No, Thanks’ is the ideal word, for most of them.
Instructively, it is high time the numerous ‘Handlers’ of the Nigerian State took lessons from the recent outburst of Xenophobia. The message is succinct, “Leave our Country. Go, and Fix Yours!”. Even though it is the wrong people and hardworking Nigerians that are feeling the brunt of this harsh message from South Africans; I hope that our rulers would reflect on this malaise and address Nigeria’s challenges. To end Xenophobia, whether at home or abroad, our Governments must address the issue of Poverty in Nigeria. Our roads must be fixed, improved electricity is not a crime. Our system of education has to be overhauled, improved health care system, job creations and the likes must be considered as top agendas. Also, the fight against corruption must be thorough with all sincerity rather than selective, merits should be prioritised in all circumstances rather than the current mire of celebrated nepotism. Among others. Anything short of these, the tragedy ahead, if not abated, is a red flag signalling an oncoming implosion by Nigerians against Nigeria. It’s just a matter of time! May the sun rise tomorrow…
Comrade Muhammed Adoke wrote from University of Abuja