Sixty-one years post-independence, there still appears to be an identity crisis of our Nigerian personality, dividing and thereby endangering the socio-political and economic mission, vision, and objective we are supposed to have for the nation. In the Nigeria of today, there is, among the citizenry, evidence of increasing loyalty to their respective ethnic nationalities to the detriment of Nigeria’s unity and cohesion.
For Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe, these current realities – and especially our current ethnic and religious conflicts – largely derive from the fact that presently, in the main, the state only finds marginal expression in the consciousness of the Nigerian people. All evidence would suggest that the loyalty of the Nigerian is first to his ethnic stock either as Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Yoruba or Tiv, among others. His or her relationship with the Nigerian State, is filial, and at best, a matter of convenience and expediency.
As a nation, Nigeria is yet to find a place in the consciousness of her citizens and this dearth of a sense of nationhood constitutes a major impediment to national development and overall societal welfare. Where there is no sense of community at the national level, we possess neither the force nor the will to pool together our resources in order to propel any collective vision towards realisation. These observations are not meant to apportion blames but merely call attention to a fact.
In proffering a solution, Anyiam-Osigwe’s philosophy of life offers to shed some light on the Group Mind Principle with the hope that we may apply it towards the attainment of a genuine sense of nationhood and love of country that would enhance national unity, cohesion, and a people-centred development.
For a nation, The Group Mind manifests in the massification of a deep sense of community that works to heal an ethnically fragmented national psyche. Within this context, it entails the fostering of an inclusive and integrative culture in governance and policymaking by value guided leadership, involving the construction of a national agenda that not only recognises but also incorporates the diverse agendas of the different ethnic groups that constitute the country. Where there is purity of intent in a national process underpinned by the Group Mind, Anyiam-Osigwe posits that we will be able to positively realign the national psyche, such that, though each ethnic nationality can love their roots unreservedly they will still be patriotic Nigerians whose love for their country is not in question in words and action. Nationhood, therefore, is still attainable for Nigeria.
As we mark the twenty-third anniversary of Anyiam-Osigwe’s transition to higher glory at a time when the country of his birth is being challenged, let us reorient ourselves towards his commitment to nationhood; his resolute belief that a positive and contemporary identity for Nigerians would negate any feeling of significant dissimilarity amongst her ethnically diverse people. For him, only then can we not simply exist as a Nigerian population, but as Nigerians with a Group Mind in which we intuit with the same mission, vision, and objective for the nation. It is not too late to set the process on motion. And a lasting legacy can be the profit of who ever recognises the need for this and works towards its attainment.
As we continue to pray for his eternal rest in the light of God’s consciousness, we continue to pray for our dear nation that the author of the universe will set this nation on the path of pleasantness and peace. Amen.