Monday, 8 July 2013

Balancing Ethnicity And Religion

I had the rare privilege of being in Ilorin for the first time over the weekend and to say I was surprised would be an understatement. From the clean, wide roads to the nearly empty streets.

Coming from Lagos, one would think there was an outbreak of some sort and almost everyone left town in a hurry and I suspect you’d find a lot of Ilorin indigenes in Lagos. But truth be told, this is your typical Ilorin, capital of Kwara State, a town predominantly populated by Muslims, with its fair share of Christians ofcourse.

What drew my attention was the peaceful cohabitation between Christians and Muslims with minimal friction. Peaceful enough that I saw Muslims in church and at the offering box!!!! Garbed in their Islamic attire which distinguished them.

One factor I can point at for this phenomenon is their ability to look beyond their differing religious orientations, knowing fully well that they belong to the same ethnic fold.

I have always known that religion is a divisive tool in most societies but this isn’t the case in Ilorin. What better lesson can mainstream Nigeria learn from this? Because at the end of the day, Nigeria’s problem is not ethnicity but rather our ability to look beyond our religious differences, identifying the salient points in those religions that fosters peace, mutual respect and tolerance.

I am of the opinion that if we can for once view each other as siblings  with the single goal of ensuring Nigeria’s going concern, there won’t be space for the few who have refused to see beyond their ethnic noses.

And trust me to go scouting! You won’t believe who I found……. This is one person football lovers would love to meet. Update coming soon.

NB: I forgot to add that the drivers are reckless, I guess this stems from the town not being too populated and too many rams roaming about like they were being reared for sacrifice lol!

 Have you all a blessed week.



  1. Ilorin is one town I would have loved to settle in, had circumstances been different. It is so peaceful, and cost of living so readily affordable. I remember a day in 1995, having gone to Ilorin to visit my immediate elder sister, who's been domiciled there since 1985. As usual, there was shortage of fuel, an so transportation was at a premium. I flagged down a taxi (in the company of a few other family members, mostly male), and asked him to take us on a drop, for N200 (that was cheap for me, coming from Lagos). The poor man sped off, after hurling abuses at us, for attempting to lure him with a large sum of money, ostensibly for money rituals). We found it difficult to understand, until somebody told me that the highest he would expect to get for a drop was N100, or less. Even now, cost of living is still readily affordable.

    As to religion and ethnicity, it would seem that religious fanaticism and bigotry is a major issue only in the northern part of the country. I recall that in the early 1970s, when my father wa an Anglican priest in Ijebu-Imusin, Ogun state, the chief Imama lived not too far from the vicarage, where I grew up. Every Muslim festival, he would send us a choice portion of the ram he killed (I still remember being told that the man was one of those who made the pilgrimage to Mecca on foot)! In return, we would always send him food at Christmas and Easter. Religious intolerance is relatively unheard of in the South, and if it is coming now, it is a spillover of what is happening in the northern part of the country. God help us.

    1. For Me, that's the most impressive city in South West. It took me seeing ilorin to realize lagos is just an overated hype. Everything is still cheap and its the perfect place for people who like out of town relaxation

  2. Wow! Interesting. This is one part of the country I've never been to. There is nothing as good as being at peace with your neighbor for real. The fact that things are cheap there too makes it inviting too. Thanks for sharing!