Port Harcourt—A former vice chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Professor Stephen Okodudu, has declared that ethnicity is not the problem of ethnic groups in Nigeria, but a creation of politicians.
According to the Leadership News, Okodudu made the declaration yesterday in Port Harcourt, at the 2023 August meeting, which featured book reading, political discussion and the unveiling of the book: “Fellow Nigerians, It All Politics”, written by renowned journalist, Simon Kolawole.
He said due to the fact the Nigerians don’t read, they ignorantly fall to the manipulation of politicians who whip up ethnic sentiments whenever they lose out in a contest.
The former vice chancellor said: “In fact, one of the finest books ever written to reflect on the problem of ethnicity in Nigeria, was by Okwudiba Nnoli.
“It was titled: ‘Ethnic Politics In Nigeria.’ From what he propagated in the book and provided the evidence, what we call ethnicity is not the problem of ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“According to Okwudiba Nnoli, ethnicity is the manipulation of the ethnic point of origin for people at the point of resource competition. And political power is a resource. There can only be one governor at a time. There can only be one president at a time.
“So, when people lose the objective basis to contest for a position, they retreat to primordial sentiments and whip up the ethnic origin of people and begin to fan it. Unfortunately, we do not read, we are so ignorant of the manipulations of politicians.”
In his opening remarks, convener of the 2023 August meeting and a good governance advocate, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, said a significant gap exists in the historical documentation of Nigeria’s governance and political processes due to lack of memoirs or books written by government officials and journalists about their experiences.
Wali said, “In this Nigeria, a significant gap exists in the historical documentation of the country’s governance and political processes due to the lack of memoirs or books written by government officials and journalists about their experiences.
This absence leaves a void in understanding key events, decision-making processes and the overall development of the nation.
“But, as it is often said, nature abhors a vacuum. Hence, the void created by our unwillingness to document our lives sufficiently has been overtaken by demons of condensed ignorance and narcissistic mischief.
“Therefore, it is not that we forgot where we are coming from, but that merchants of transactional relationships revise their experiences for contemporary gains, especially during election campaign seasons.
“This has had the twin effects of escalating our pains and pushing back the coming of a chosen one or a messiah if there would ever be one,” he said.