The notion of communalism is seen as a system with an identical culture, ideology, and value systems, to mention but a few. What if communalism isn’t about the oneness in cultural practices, but the unity that exists in all forms of diversities? We often seek to castigate the idea that unity isn’t in diversity but what if it is? This piece seeks to examine the strength of communalism, that exists among Nigerians despite their undeniable ideological and cultural differences.
Etymologically, the term communalism derives from an adjective communal, which originates from French commune, which means community. A community is a group of people or a population living and interacting with one another in a particular environment. The people in a community affect each other in many ways ideologically, politically, and so on.
From the foregoing, a community can be seen as a group of people with shared ideologies and values. However, these shared ideologies or values can be identical or distinct depending on certain factors. The ultimate importance is that, they seek to achieve a common goal.
The question that fills most of our minds is, can a Nation like Nigeria with her enormous ethnic groups flank with geographical and political disparities co-exist in that spirit of oneness? The answer to this question cannot be answered through words, and no matter the amount of analysis done, I presume that no accurate conclusion can be derived from any analysis. This question is and can be made obvious through the actions of men.
At this point, my sense of communalism is based on the fact that the present Nigeria despite her differences still has this sense of empathy for her fellow brothers. The spirit of oneness was made obvious during the rise of this pandemic. From a perspective, there was this belief that insubordination, suffering, disunity will spring forth as time went by. Unfortunately, it did but seeing the bottle as half full and not half empty made me realize what our reality is, should we let go of that consciousness of our differences. I was caught aback by the shared show of unity that reign amidst the government inability to stand up to its responsibility. I experienced different tribal groups accommodating each other just to share what they have. There also was an experience of a religious group catering for non-members just to make sure they are well. This brings to light the fact that yet we have been failed by our leaders, we still have a clear shot at the progress when we stand together.
The aforementioned expression is not viewed from a broken lens but, from a clear sight of the human show of unrelenting contribution to her society.
In conclusion, communalism in Nigeria is not government based but citizen-based. We are our future and this means we all have that power to direct that craved progress, stability, and development.