Watching with a keen interest as army of ants tirelessly carried the half-dead body of an earthworm to some God-knows-where, I was amused at the will power and joined forces put forth by these ants and how the earthworm totally lost its might of retaliation to these unified ants. While they were at it, series of questions ran through my mind; has man ever shared this strong bond of unity with his kinsmen to achieve a goal? Has the giant of Africa with over 250 ethnic groups and 500 languages ever held fast to the umbilical cord of unity? A naive tour to the edifice of history would perhaps attempt to question.
Chief Anthony Enahoro in 1956, moved a motion for self-government in Nigeria. Though there had been several Nationalist movements before then, the motion further cheered the patriotic spirit for liberty and freedom against the colonial slavery, the Europeanisation of Africa, racial degradation in Nigeria and other colonies in African such as Ghana. I will never forget the unflinching efforts of the resolute crusaders, the army of liberation, the imperturbable Nigerian Ghandis, the freedom fighters, the premiere African Nationalists, these are Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Amadu Bello, Sir Herbert Macaulay, Anthony Enahoro, Tafawa Balewa, Nduka Eze, Adegoke Adelabu, Samuel Akintola and many others. They fought imperturbably, intellectually and strategically against the imperialist. They sought for freedom in their selves – a determinate nationhood. With their rigorous and tireless efforts, Nigeria became free from the tutelage of the British in 1960.
But the bigger question is, can Nigerians come together to achieve a goal? To some, the answer would be NO (their reason being the diversity in languages and cultures is tantamount to diversified purposes). While to optimists like Adegoke Adelabu and my humble self, it is with affirmative tone, YES!
According to Adegoke Adelabu, “Tribes must die, ethnic groupings fade way and sectional interests submerged and sacrificed in order that a Nation; vigorous, virile and transcendent may ARISE. In a land where the lordly Niger and the Benue have joined in holy wedlock at Lokoja, irrigating our farms, watering our pastures bringing the cooling draught into our thirsty homes, and flowing in majestic conspiracy to tear out our Grand Country into dwarfed, impotent and watertight compartments will die naturally in its due season! ”
Since unity entails inspiration, organization, and sacrifice. With a bird’s-eye-view of the unity that exists among the ants in carrying the body of the earthworm which is undoubtedly heavier than all of them, I begin to fathom out the significance of unity if sacrifice is made. The weight of the earthworm being lighter when carried by the army of ants supposedly means the burden of a collective work is shared if efforts and sacrifices are made by all. Obviously, a single ant wouldn’t have dared to carry the earthworm’s body alone. Such is the gain of a collective work!
A case study is the unjust arrest of an ex-President of the Students Union of the University of Ibadan, and how the students stood up for his release at the police station is a clear-cut proof that unity can work in any hemisphere of world if efforts and sacrifices are made. This act of solidarity popped up another question (I’ve got an inquisitive gut, never mind), “Can the ‘fantastically corrupt’ Nigerians stand up against social vices such as corruption and insurgency that have eaten deep into the core of our existence?”
This is a clarion call to all; all hands must be on deck! Let’s wage a war against any form of social, moral and economic decadence in our society and adopt the three principles of unity: inspiration from the legacy of the soldiers of liberty; organization in place of regionalism; and sacrifice in place of acquiring material gains. Let unity becomes our mantra and shalom reigns!