Monday, October 25, 2010

A lot of the perceptions some Nigerians have of their fellow citizens stem from stereotypes and archaic beliefs. These ideas should be long gone, but as is the case across the globe, stereotypical attitudes persist even in the face of contrary evidence.

'Perceptions' is a short documentary that interviews 3 Nigerians - a Hausa man, an Igbo woman and a Yoruba man. In the 10 minute program, these individuals share some of their thoughts about Nigeria's major ethnic groups. They explain why they dislike and like people from other tribes.

As the program is only 10 minutes long, it is very possible that there is additional footage which would give a fuller picture to the discussion these individuals engaged in. That being the case, it must be said that these individuals are free to have and express their opinions and any criticism of those opinions should not rest on the shoulders of the participating individuals alone.

I for one think that the views expressed are reflective of attitudes held by many Nigerians. There is indeed distrust between Nigerians and it oftentimes is expressed within a tribal context. As such, many are not surprised to learn of southerners being attacked in the northern part of the country or northerners being accused of creating Nigeria's underdevelopment. The distrust goes deep and spans decades to pre-independence times. Only a concerted effort will allay those fears and stereotypes. And such an effort is needed because tribalism is a divisive element in the fabric of Nigeria and it contributes to violence and disunity.

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