Nigeria is a large country occupied by diverse people, with diverse languages and culture (Oputa, 2006). In other words, it is a multi – national state; a conglomeration of ethnic nations; an ethnic amalgamation of different people (over 400) each with its distinctive character and ethos. In 1914, Sir Frederick Lugard amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorate as a country while his wife gave it the name “Nigeria”. The marriage between the North and the South resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they cannot be separated, often moving in opposite directions yet always maintaining their essential unity (Oputa, 2006).
DEFINITION OF UNITY IN DIVERSITY
The concept of unity implies ‘oneness’ ‘alike’, ‘trust’, ‘mutual understanding’ while diversity means ‘great variety’. Unity in diversity means being one or united in spite of the various differences in the social, political, economic, geographical and people have started learning how to build a strong, virile nation out of the different tribes and issues. Specifically, Nigeria is a complex country united by a common colonial experience in spite of the various differences in her social, political, economic, geographical educational, religious and cultural spheres (Oputa, 2006; Tyokase, 2002).
Ethnicity and Tribalism however, are twin factors bedeviling national unity in Nigeria. Ethnicity captures the various forms ethnic groups. It involves “plural persons” expressing loyalty to their ethnic groups on the basis of which they relate to others in the wider society (Otite, 2006). It is profoundly characterized by the phenomenon of defensive denial and group’s collective responsibility. Though Tongues And Tribes May Differ In Unity We Stand: The Light Of Nigeria Unity In Diversity.
THOUGH TONGUES AND TRIBES MAY DIFFER IN UNITY WE STAND: THE LIGHT OF NIGERIA UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Though Tongues and tribes may differ in unity we stand: this was the first line in our defunct national anthem lyrics composed by Lilian Jean Williams and Frances Berda, both whom are British expatriate who lived in Nigeria when it achieved independence.
The failure of the colonial state to resolve ethnic differences and forge national unity inevitably laid the foundation for post-independence ethnic antagonism. Nigeria did have high hopes for unity among its various people. This was eloquently expressed in the first stanza of its national anthem adopted at independence in 1960: Nigeria we hail thee, Our own dear native land, Though tribe and tongue may differ, In brotherhood we stand, Nigerians all, and proud to serve Our sovereign Motherland…….