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How to address the problem of racial stereotypes in Nigeria

Author: 
Fúnmiláyọ̀ M. Adú (Mrs) and Reuben O. Ìkọ̀tún
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

In this paper, we examine the use of racial stereotypes by one ethnic group against another in Nigeria and the data used were drawn from participant observation, recordings of spontaneous utterances and interviews with some travellers who returned from crisis-ridden places in Nigeria. We, however, focus on Hausa, Igbo and Yorùbá, the three major ethnic groups because the population of the three outnumbers the population of other ethnic groups and if the three are united, then, such unity will serve as a good reference point for other ethnic groups and the survival of the country can be assured. We argue that racial or language stereotypes are common occurrences in Nigeria and that the use by an ethnic or a sub-ethnic group against another cuts across nearly all ethnic and sub-ethnic groups in Nigeria. We show also that since independence, successive governments in Nigeria have been conscious of the need to promote unity, peace and oneness among the various ethnic and sub-ethnic groups in Nigeria but that much is still desired to promote the indices of oneness and that such indices include the removal of ethnic or sub-ethnic bias, quick resolution of conflicts if there are and national acceptance of Nigerians wherever they may be in any part of the country and to achieve these there should be emphasis on inter-marriage, appointments of non-indigenes into each of the states’ cabinet, review of the Nigerian constitution such that any Nigerian born in any state can be regarded as the indigene of the state among others. We conclude that racial stereotypes are just products of pride, self-esteem, self-deceit and self-ego and that from all sincerity are artificially created and the use should be discouraged by every well-meaning Nigerians so as to have a racism-free Nigeria.

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