Transforming Nigeria’s intertribal bitterness to neo-colonial liberation energy

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Transform intertribal bitterness

Spartacus was captured from Thrace, and taken to Rome where he was later sold as slave to become one of Battiatus’ gladiators. After introduction into Battiatus’ camp, Spartacus began planning for his freedom, even while others mocked him. He endured mockery and cruelty from the champion, Crixus, and other gladiators in Battiatus’ camp, until he became champion. During the prolonged contest for championship, Battiatus exploited the rivalry between Spartacus and Crixus to earn more money from spectators. But after overthrowing Crixus to become champion, instead of continuing enmity with Crixus, Spartacus negotiated with Crixus, and they teamed up with Doctoré and other gladiators to break out of Rome. If Spartacus had remained bitter with Crixus and other gladiators’ initial cruelty, they would all remain slaves for Battiatus. Also, if Nigerian ethnic groups dwell in their intertribal bitterness from past injuries in this colonial prison without teaming up against the neo-colonial forms imposed on them, they will all remain slaves to the colonial powers.[1]


Reading through Nigerian political websites and forums shows a depth of intertribal bitterness in many people. Some cheer their tribesmen achievements simply because “it will pain some people” from the ‘arrogantly-wicked-potopoto-erosion-yeast’ or ‘skull-mining-backstabbing-brownroof-southwaste’. And some celebrate crimes, injustices or misfortunes attributed to their ‘rival-tribe’ just for mockery and fun. This intertribal bitterness manifests, not only among the unexposed, but among graduates, lecturers and religious people who are supposedly enlightened. Now, the intertribal bitterness hinders chances of either progress or peaceful disintegration on the colonially-imposed social structure.


Like progressive partnerships and marriages, heterogeneous countries progress by cooperating to use their human and natural resources for satisfying their common needs. In the earliest phases of human organization, production was scattered and atomized according to family and communal identity.[2] Later, production advanced, leading to product specialization, larger industrial collaboration and socio-political alliances between former independent communities.[3] One community produced steel, another rubber and another copper or leather, all to be used for manufacturing wagons. These industrial collaborations and socio-political alliances formed the basis of most advanced civilizations.


Unfortunately, that socio-political agreement for industrial partnership and progress never happened between the different kingdoms and communities in Nigeria.[4] “Nigerians have never agreed – or been given the chance to agree – what Nigeria is.”[5] Instead, British colonialists violently bound unconsented kingdoms and communities in Nigeria[6] for seizing and exploiting mineral resources.[7][8][9][10] They eliminated the opposing natives,[11] and empowered the loyal ones as favorite slaves to enforce the colonial scheme on the violently-bound peoples, even after independence.[12] Since then, different Nigerians fight for the favorite slaves’ position for serving colonial purpose and getting finished products as reward. The fight between the conquered peoples for the favorite-slave-position increased the intertribal bitterness between the different kingdoms and communities.


Comparing the Spartacus story with Nigeria, the Igbos would be Spartacus, who arrogantly reject the violent amalgamation called one Nigeria. Yorubas would be Crixus, who though uncomfortable in the exploitative amalgamation, get consolation from their rivalry with Igbos. Hausas would be Doctoré, who though bodily and numerically strong, seem submissive to both Arabic and colonially-influenced elitist political and religious manipulations. The military and the ruling class would be Roman soldiers, who use gun-force, religion and academic distractions to pin the different ethnic groups and kingdoms. British government remains the Battiatus, who imposed and supports the militarized and exploitative government structure for exploiting human and mineral resources through favourite slave-positions.

Despite long years of enjoying British-made political power, the north is economically,[13] academically[14] and industrially behind other regions. Likewise, the states from which past Nigerian presidents come do not automatically become sustainable paradise because they produced a president. What develops a place is not the amount of imported goods pumped into the place, but the people’s productivity and social responsibility. Such productivity and social responsibility are not imported, commanded, looted or shared according to ethnic or nepotistic tendencies. Instead, they grow from social cum scientific education, and cultural adjustment for specialized, and eventually combined productivity. 

With Nigeria’s colonially-conditioned style of government, no person, ethnic group, tribe, community or kingdom can develop original and sustainable industrial productivity. The imposed constitution disallows people’s access to their mineral resources for any industrial production. This means that anyone who finds industrially-relevant mineral resources in his land loses the land to government and to some foreign company. This industrially-limiting tragedy applies to all Nigerian persons, communities or kingdoms, even when former colonialists currently focus on crude oil from other communities. And some people seek political power for sharing resource-money and other imported products as consolation for perpetual unproductivity. The colonial supply of these imported depreciating assets like cars, gadgets and mansions sedates their minds about productivity for social progress. Their minds become too weak to confront the colonial source of unproductivity, that they are almost relieved to confront comfortable, familiar monsters like other tribes and ethnic groups.

Like Spartacus, the Oduduwas, Takurukus, Niger-Deltans, Biafrans and other secessionist groups must understand that the other groups are not the enemies. They are just rivals being confused by former colonialists for crisis and distraction from industrial collaboration and productivity. The real enemies are those who violently tied us in this exploitative, barren and hostile partnership without agreement for progress. They call us fantastic corrupt after assisting corrupt officials hide stolen funds in their banks. They claim that we need 500 years to understand the dynamics of industrial productivity just to discourage our using mineral resources for local industrial progress.[15] They use language-tests to exploit millions of visa-seeking Nigerians, but discuss fluently with politicians who never write those tests. They approve fraudulent elections to sustain their exploitation of the deprived people’s mineral resources. Instead of attacking themselves with intertribal bitterness, the secessionist agitators will discuss to create a new social system based on the intention for productivity and social responsibility.

The crude-oil, iron, gold or copper in other people’s communities do not become yours because some colonially-imposed government decreed it. Such commonwealth decrees must not make you lazy to discover your human and natural resources, and their industrial utility. No person, ethnic community or kingdom can become economically stable under this post-colonial commonwealth, which sustains dependence on former colonialists’ finished goods for people’s seized resources. To attain industrial productivity, the different ethnic groups will evaluate the industrial potentials of their human and natural resources. Seeing the potentials of their human and natural resources, they will support a social system for communities or individuals to own and use their resources for productivity, instead of waiting for quick-depreciating imported assets like cars, roads, electronics and gadgets.


One area in which Nigeria seems to be deficient is political leadership.[16] Yet, a sincere government will rise to research and acknowledge the different people colonially bound in Nigeria along with their respective lands and resources.[17] And since the people would have valued their respective resources for productivity, they will support such candidates to enable productivity. Later, Nigerians will discuss among kingdoms, local governments and districts for a national conference for their mode of partnership.[18] Thence, the constitutional decisions and laws will reflect the people’s aspiration and agreement for human development and productive partnership, not import dependence. With this, Nigerian persons, communities and kingdoms will retrieve their resources, learn using them for industrial productivity, and eventually cooperate with other producers for higher production.


If some northern communities process copper, tin and leather, northcentral steel, southeast glass, rubber and clay, southwest iron and Niger-Delta petroleum, all these productions can combine in producing heavy and light vehicles, machines and relevant structures both within and outside Nigeria. Then, government will fix monthly programs for various communities to showcase the transformation of their intertribal bitterness to industrial productivity. Also, the different communities will be enabled to create football clubs bearing the names of their communities. People’s attachment to their towns’ football clubs will transform the intertribal bitterness to a progressive and taxable competition.


The intertribal bitterness between the Nigeria’s ethnic communities and kingdoms is just a distraction from the colonial bondage called commonwealth. And Nigerians will divert their energies from the intertribal bitterness to liberate themselves towards industrial productivity, social responsibility.

[1] Comparing the Spartacus story with Nigeria, the Igbos would be Spartacus, Yorubas would be Crixus, Hausas would be Doctoré, and the ruling class would be Roman soldiers, while Britain remains the Battiatus.

[2] Walter Rodney, How Europe underdeveloped Africa, 2009 edition (Abuja: Panaf Publishers, 2009). P217

[3] Ibid. pp217, 139-140

[4] Cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p3

[5] cf. Richard Dowden, op cit. p.445

[6] S. O. Oyedele, “Federalism in Nigeria” in Issues contemporary political economy of Nigeria (edited) Hassan A. Saliu, op.cit, p.57

[7] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2 “… all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…”  “No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.”  “The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”

[8] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[9] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[10] 29th March 1978, Land use act. P7

[11] Oladele Fadeiye, European conquest and African resistance (Lagos: Murfat publications, 2011) pp.64-65

[12] C.f. Walter Rodney, p.319

[13] Kashim Shettima, “Over 50m Northerners living in poverty” in Vanguard by Joseph Erunke on 11-10-2017

[14] Abubakar Njodi, The North-East is 500 years behind the south in education, In Guardian news,

[15] Chinua Achebe, There was a country (USA: Penguin books, 2012), p.157

[16] cf. Richard Dowden, op. Cit. p445

[17] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “The social research for a new Nigeria” in Restartnaija June 5, 2018. retrieved 29th May, 2019.

[18] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “Organizing the national conference for a new Nigeria” in Restartnaija February 5, 2019. retrieved 29th May, 2019.