In a recent plea for national unity, renowned comedian Okey Bakassi has taken a bold stance against the age-old practice of identifying Nigerians based on their state of origin.
Okey Bakassi’s impassioned arguments highlight the urgent need for a progressive shift toward embracing the state of residence as a more inclusive and unifying factor. His thought-provoking statements challenge traditional norms and ignite a debate on how we define ourselves as a nation.
Okey Bakassi presents a compelling argument: state of origin perpetuates division and tribalism, hindering our progress towards a more unified nation.
His words provoke us to reflect on the relevance of ancestral roots in today’s interconnected world. After all, shouldn’t we be focusing on merit, capabilities, and a person’s present contributions rather than their historical lineage?
In his words, “If we want to strengthen the unity of this country, we should all advocate the abolition of ‘state of origin’ and emphasize ‘state of residence’.
“I don’t see why in 2023, we should be filling out a form and asking people for their ‘state of origin’ or ‘tribe’.
“Is it the tribe one belongs to that will determine how the person will function in office?
“I think what should be more important to anybody should be one’s state of residence. It does not contribute anything to national development.”
The concept of state of origin seems to pigeonhole us into predefined boxes, overshadowing our individual uniqueness and potential. Okey Bakassi suggests that we shift our perspective towards state of residence, recognizing the places we choose to call home as a more significant indicator of our identities. It’s a refreshing take that challenges the status quo and encourages us to redefine our national narrative.
One cannot help but ponder the implications of this paradigm shift. What if we prioritize meritocracy over tribal affiliations? How many talented individuals have been overlooked or denied opportunities simply because their state of origin did not fit the mold? By abolishing state of origin, we open doors to a fairer society that rewards competence and hard work, irrespective of one’s ancestral heritage.
Yet, let us not underestimate the magnitude of this task. Abolishing state of origin alone will not magically erase the deep-seated divisions that have plagued our nation for decades. Unity requires more than a mere bureaucratic change; it demands a collective commitment to transcend tribalism and embrace our shared humanity.
It is within the minds and hearts of Nigerian millennials and Gen Z that the seeds of change are sown. This vibrant and intellectually driven generation possesses the power to shape a future where tribal affiliations are not the defining factor of one’s worth. They challenge existing norms, ignite conversations, and demand a more inclusive society.
But change cannot come solely from within the youth; it requires legislative reform. The enactment of laws that dismantle the state of origin system is crucial to institutionalize the shift toward a more united Nigeria. It is through legal frameworks that we can safeguard progress, ensuring that future generations are not burdened by the divisions of the past.
As we engage in this intellectual discourse, let us recognize the potential of Okey Bakassi’s vision. While its realization may be an arduous journey, it holds the promise of a Nigeria that celebrates its diversity without allowing it to define us. It is a call to bridge divides, foster understanding, and build a nation where every Nigerian is valued for their contributions, irrespective of their ancestral roots.
So, can abolishing state of origin truly unite Nigeria? The answer lies not in a definitive yes or no, but in the conversations we have, the mindsets we challenge, and the actions we take.