Karl Marx: “Religion is the opium of the masses.”
The poor have a lot in common, but they’ll never unite to fight against the oppression of the rich. The reason is that the poor allow differences in religion, colour and tribe to hinder them. This Marxist premise easily explains why the January 15, 1966 Coup was branded an Igbo coup. This coup was supposed to end the corruption practised by the ruling class.
Other tribes were able to sell the ideology of political and economic domination by the Igbos; consequently, instead of the coup to instigate the positive change that was intended, it became a catalyst for tribal vendetta.
Similarly, after the #ENDSARS protests, the politicians and their loyalists employed the same tricks — that is, the use of tribal and religious differences to bring about discord.
Funnily enough, those of us at the lower rung of the economic and political ladder will continually fall for this trick because tribal loyalty and religion are our opium. They numb our ability to think. They make us stooges in the hands of nefarious politicians.
For Nigeria to move forward, we have to debunk the ideology of political domination because this ideology is repressive. It hinders our ability to work together for the greater good of the nation. We have to realize that the average Igbo, Yoruba, Edo or Hausa man is not the enemy; the callous government and their draconian policies are the real enemies. Friedrich Engels described ideology as “false consciousness” — that is, it only exists because a certain class of people intend to cling to political and economic power. Thus, in a bid to achieve their selfish aims, the Nigerian ruling class stoke the fires of political domination.
We, the citizen, have a lot in common. Chief of these things has to be that we are all at the receiving end of governmental impunity. This alone should be able to unite us all in our common goal of making the politicians accountable.
Therefore, it becomes crucial for us to expunge tribalism as we seek to create a nation devoid of corruption, insecurity and poverty. We have to realise who the real enemies are and, by so doing, we can tackle any national issue heads on. God bless Nigeria.
© Chiedozie Ude