Awareness of our own biases against others helps to tackle stereotypes

Realistically, we are not at that stage yet for a unified national identity, we are working on it, we need not deny it.

The just concluded election revealed the other side of Nigerians that we prefer not to talk about, we shy away from it but yet it is strong enough to divide us – we are still very much tribalistic.

How can we move past this for a united nation especially on our collective challenging issues?

“All I am is a Nigerian!!! If you ask for my state of origin, I will no longer answer you. States exist for administrative purpose. Join me!!” wrote a tweep.

I believe denying our differences will only make our healing a long one. What is wrong by telling the truth about our state origin or even our home town if it ever came up in conversation?

A few years ago at the Lagos international airport, I presented my passport to the immigration at the departure check point, the man stared at me and back at the passport a couple of times and then chuckle, I asked if all was ok – all was fine he only found my home town amusing.

He has been working at his post for a decade, and could not recall ever checked in anyone from my hometown. That was a little odd given there are hundreds of people passing through the same airport every year to different destinations around the globe. Or perhaps, the officer just hasn’t met anyone given there are many of his colleagues there in similar role.

I could not have imagined anyone from my town to claim to be from somewhere else, where else would they claim to be from? This is very simple truth that should not even require thinking about.

I would think one of the best ways to better Nigeria is the understanding of our differences and embracing them.

In the past, we have been fed with lies hence the dislike for one another was deep-rooted, how about if we took a different approach given amazing technology of today to tell our stories – local stories to encourage movement within the country?

Nigeria can only unite in the way that will benefit us all by being comfortable with where we are from. Understanding our differences need not divide us, it is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties.