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Most of our mainstream and social media have been awash with the news of a lady of Nigerian descent who was made the President of Harvard Law Review. She made history by being the first black woman to be appointed into the position.
Deliberately, I choose not to join the celebration train because I didn’t want to be among the hypocritical lot who danced with cymbals and tambourines over the uncommon feat achieved by their fellow citizen.
Why did I not want to be caught in the web of their hypocritical display? The answer is simple. Those Nigerians celebrating the lady’s feat will be the first to raise objection when an individual from another ethnic group wants to be appointed in a position based on merit. They will have no qualms sacrificing meritocracy under the altar of ethnocentrism.
As a matter of fact, Nigeria is structured in such an manner where ethnocentrism will always trump meritocracy. In the developed countries, State of Residence takes precedence over State of Origin but that is not the case in Nigeria. We are still sticking with the archaic state of origin yet we are seeking to defeat ethnocentrism.
For instance, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. His mother was from Kansas, Texas. He relocated to Chicago in 1985 when he got a job as a community organiser on Chicago’s largely impoverished Far South Side. He was a three term Illinois Senator from 1997 to 2015. He became a US Senator in 2015 representing Chicago. He wasn’t told that he is not from Chicago. State of Residence took care of any negative thoughts that would have come up.
Just turn the table, there is no way a person of another descent will be the first to achieve any feat in Nigeria. The sky will collapse on the earth ten times for it to happen in our country yet we are celebrating our fellow citizen’s achievement in a foreign land.
In 2015 general election, PDP fielded some non indigenes in House of Representatives’ election in Lagos. PDP ended up winning six seats especially in the federal constituency with sizable numbers of non indigenes especially the Igbos. APC hierarchy under the leadership of Tinubu was stunned. He bashed his teeth over the development and vowed not to be cut off guard like that again. We all saw how Igbos were disenfranchised in the last general election through widespread violence in areas where they are highly domiciled.
I heard the story of a Deltan man who was born in Oron. He was raised in Oron and fully integrated into the culture of Oron people. After graduating from school, he got a job with Shell Corporation and became comfortable. He gave back to Oron people, he built a community hall and few blocks of classrooms in a Primary school. Later he made his intention known to contest for a local government chairman and he got the shock of his life. He was reminded that he is an indigene of Delta not Oron, so he shouldn’t even bother to buy ticket to contest.
It amazes me how we get so comfortable criticising what we are. Earlier in the year, when Megan media battle with the British royal family trended thanks to the live television interview Harry and Meghan had, many Nigerians criticised the Royal Family for not accepting Megan simply because she is biracial. It still brought to the fore our hypocrisy because most of our people will kick against their traditional rulers marrying from another ethnic groups let alone of another race.
Few years ago, the Obi of Igbodo was forced to marry another wife from his town by his subject because his first wife is from Imo state. It was made clear to him that the child of his first wife can’t succeed him because she is from another tribe.
Do you see why I didn’t join the celebration train of the Nigerian woman who became the first Black President of Harvard Law Review?
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK