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By Ebi Dressman

Nigeria is said to be one of the most resource rich and vast nation on earth having diverse cultures, religions, customs, traditions, languages, behavior and various ways of thinking. There was a time when a solid political unity existed especially during the era of Independence struggle, but soon after her independence in the 60s, the strength of fundamental unity slowly eroded from the annals of our social and political sojourn.

With the returns to democratic dispensation, the general feeling of the people and the unity in diversity which organized all the various groups together as one indivisible people has gradually eroded the annals of our political and social sage and this has gave rise to fissiparous tendencies, regional loyalties, sectional fanatics, religious bigotry and linguistic fanaticism, shaking the very foundation of national cohesion.

Today we are faced with tougher challenges such as insecurity, corruption, nepotism, favoritism, secessional calls etc which has threatened our very existence as one indivisible Nigeria. The political parties for their electoral success have exploited the sectarian and parochial tendencies which has led to more chaos in our political firmament.

National Cohesion is no longer our slogan anymore. Rather, the call for division has become the new national slogan in the lips of everyone. National Cohesion means bringing about the prevailing economic, social and cultural differences among people within a defined territory. It is a dynamic reality. It is more concerned with the development of nationalism. It is the feeling of oneness that binds together the people of a diversified culture. It implies doing away with personal interests and prejudices based on linguistic and cultural diversity. It is concerned with creating and strengthening among people of patriotism and national pride. It is unity in diversity and a combination of economic, social, political, and cultural Cohesion.

That strong feeling of brotherhood, sisterhood and nationhood that sinks and ignores individual interest, parochial linguistic and religious differences is no longer in the heart of men. The common mental bond that binds all people irrespective of our differences towards the spiritual and material progress of our nation has suddenly disappeared from our mindset.

That feeling of oneness and mental outlook towards the welfare of our nation above narrow sectarian interests is no longer in existence within us. That harmonious blending of personal emotion in an individual with his social obligation resulting in a well balanced personality is no where to be found again.

A feeling of harmony and the welding of diverse elements of our fabrics into a very compact and homogenous unit can’t be traced in our vein anymore. That firm conviction on the part of each individual that he or she is an integral component of the whole social unit for the healthy development of our nation is no more.

Rather, communalism, state, regional, linguistic, and religious loyalties has crept into our thinking faculty. Inequality in social and economic spheres has been the bane of our social life style. Favoritism and corruption is the new celebrated bride. Unemployment, prejudice, fanaticism, lack of patriotism, religious and language fundamentalism has eaten deep into our fabrics.

Activities to promote national cohesion has been thrown into the waste bin.

The various calls and deliberations on different foras of our national cohesion have all become mirage. For our nation to become the Nigeria of yester years, we must first put on the veil of:

1. Realization:

This means to be able to see the reality as it is. In this, we will get the answer to the problems facing us as a people.

2. Understanding And Love:

This means to be able to understand the need for self organization in all entities of our existence as people and the various inter-connected sectors and subsectors with a deep love and passion.

We must have an understanding of our harmonious interconnectivity at all levels of our existence. Understanding and love plays an important role in the lives of people who have resolved to be in unity of purpose. When we do not have the right understanding, our desire for common purpose keep shifting, and this will continue to reflect in our thoughts, and finally in our behaviour towards one another thereby putting us at the verge of underdevelopment and eventual disintegration.

On the other hand, when our understanding is based on realization and we use this understanding in desire making, then our desire will be correct and thoughts and selection will be according to the understanding of our purpose which is the key to unity in diversity and this will birth development, love and care for one another irrespective of our religion, sections, party lines etc.

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