OUTING THE CLOSET TRIBAL CHAUVINIST


By Akin Ojumu

If there’s any silver lining in the current election cycle in Nigeria, it’s the outing of the tribal chauvinists hiding in plain sight in my circle of “friends.” Hordes of ethnic jingoists are crawling out of the woodworks like ants, as this silly season of loss of reasoning draws to its inglorious end.

It isn’t that the signs of tribal intolerance were not there for us to see all along. Ever so slightly, these ethic irredentists have occasionally let slip their deep-seated bigotry. But it isn’t until now that they dropped all pretenses and cast off the camouflage. They’ve now stepped out from the shadows and are now saying out loud the tribal sentiments they’d always harbored in their rotten souls.

Many who, hitherto, pretend to have the love of God in their hearts have now shown that what they really have in their hearts is nothing but hate. Although they go about logging fat Bibles, its now quite apparent they are profoundly uninformed about what’s written therein. They are like those who look into the perfect law of liberty but refuse to continue in it. Of them its said they are hearers of the Word but never doers of what they hear.

Erroneously, these tribalists interpret Jesus’ command to, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” as an empty rhetoric meant for fools. Being rooted in faulty theology, they fail to grasp that this is Jesus telling us to treat other people with the same lavish care and consuming concern with which we treat ourselves. Displaying steep ignorance, they think it’s a call for self-love, not knowing it’s a command to love others the way we already love ourselves.

Whereas the Bible specifically instructs us to, “Show your love for the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10:19), these ethnic chauvinists convince themselves the love for strangers doesn’t extend to letting the stranger enjoy equal rights as the natives. They stubbornly argue that the love for the stranger is a limited love that comes with heavy restrictions. For them, love for strangers ends at the polling booth.

Obviously, these tribalists have never read Ezekiel 47:22-23 where the Sovereign LORD commanded Israel to, “Distribute the land as an allotment for yourselves and for the foreigners who have joined you and are raising their families among you. They will be like native-born Israelites to you and will receive an allotment among the tribes. These foreigners are to be given land within the territory of the tribe with whom they now live. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”

As far as they are concerned, foreigners will never be like the son of the soil. Only a bastard will allow a foreigner to own land and property in his fatherland, they believe. It doesn’t matter how long a stranger has been living in the land, theyve vowed to remind him he’ll never belong. Whether or not the foreigner was born in the land and has been living there all his life, hell forever be regarded as a foreigner.

Shockingly, not only are many of these ethnic chauvinists living as sojourners in foreign lands themselves, but they also enjoy all the benefits of the lands of their sojourn. While they condemn white supremacists for their bigotry, they themselves promote the very same primitive prejudices with resolute passion.

Although they are originally from the remotest villages in Nigeria, they now claim citizenships of foreign lands. Even though they were once strangers in those lands, they’ve now been fully accepted and afforded all the rights and privileges of a citizen. And whenever it appears they are being denied any of those rights and privileges, they are quick to take to the streets in protests.

With these frauds, irony is doubly dead. If they have an ounce of dignity left in them at all, they’ll renounce their foreign citizenships and go back home to their villages. But I won’t hold my breath where these tribal hypocrites are concerned.

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