What an Hausa Guy on Twitter Taught Me About Peaceful Dialogue

by Uche Onegeria 11 Mar , 2016  

For the Non-Nigerians, Nigeria is an African country which has 3 major tribes – Igbo (who usually reside in the SE Nigeria), Hausa (who usually reside in the Northern part) and Yoruba (usually reside in the Western part)I am Igbo.

Sometimes, the tribes do not all get along. Inter-tribal fights has probably caused more deaths in the country that you can imagine. If you ask me, I would say the leading cause of these fights is misunderstanding. Read on to understand better.
Beautiful picture showing Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba tribes (L-R)
Image from the web

So I had a beautiful teachable moment with an Hausa guy on Twitter on Monday which was quite a humbling experience for me. My tweet showed up on his timeline and he liked it. I guess he wanted to see more of my “awesome” tweets so he went through my profile and saw one tweet (tribalistic even) that was not so nice about Hausas from me.

Here is what I tweeted,

“Hausas stay slaying every other tribe…..literally!!”

Do you want to know why I tweeted that? You know one of those times when you have this weird compulsion to do something out of character, maybe because you are in the heat of the moment? That was what happened to me. I read a story online about the fights between Hausas and Yorubas in Lagos State. I thought to myself, “It is always the Hausas and another tribe. They are always fighting”. While seething in anger, I published that tweet.
My advice, next time when you feel any immediate urge to do something out of character, please don’t!

When he confronted me about it, I felt so bad (ashamed even) of letting my feelings get the better of me. Please, find our tweets below. I blacked out his name because he pleaded with me to maintain his anonymity.

How many times have we made split second decisions that are just terrible, ignorant and insensitive? I mean, what if he read it and then decided that Igbos are callous, wicked and tribalistic then proceeded to regard us all with disdain and maybe promote violence towards us?

But no, he kindly and respectfully called me out on it.

It is one of my best encounters on social media till date. And I reasonably admitted my mistake and deleted the tweet without being asked. It was also on the public twitter feed for all to see and I did not care for my “pride”. I apologized to him.

We further exchanged email addresses and chatted a bit more. He is an incredible guy. Forget Hausa, Muslim or Igbo or whatever. He is human and a great guy at that. Hausas are not all what you see on the news. Most of them are like you and I. No one group is this or that. Igbos are known for 419 (scams) but we all know that not all Igbos are into that.

Now imagine this; if every tribe handled their conflicts this way – open-mindedly and empathetically listened to the other party, admitted their own mistakes and apologized for it?

If this was the case, there would be no wars, there would be no tribes. We would simply be brothers and sisters in Nigeria (world even).

Thank you my Hausa friend for understanding my ignorance then patiently, tactfully and respectfully pointing out my mistakes to me. We need people like you at the forefront of the negotiating table for the tribal issues in the country. We do not need people who follow the crowd without questioning reasons. We do not need people who see others as black, white, blue, Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo but who see everyone as human. People like you believe in humanity and its beauty and together make this world a peaceful place.

Thank you for teaching me about peaceful dialogue. You asked that I maintain your anonymity when I write this story. I have done so, shy boy 🙂 !

6 Comments

  1. I love how you put ur pride aside and admitted your fault. That makes u a better person.
    I must say that i've met nice people from all tribes although it can be difficult sometimes not to want to generalise. You know, like seeing the warehouse where fake bottled coke is being done in Onitsha; one cannot help but say "These Igbo men!! There's nothing they will not do for money����

  2. I know. We learn everyday! If one is close-minded, then what kind of life is that?
    Just like when I hear some say that people from Onitsha are Ibotic (Chioma said I should use *Igbotic instead & I am looking into that) or poor or illiterate. Wrong assumptions through and through!

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About the author

Uche Onegeria

I'm Uche, a lazy writer whose passion for a developed Nigeria is second to none. I do not see tribe, religion, sexual orientation, social status, gender, age... I only see Humans because I have seen the deadly disadvantages of such labels.

I believe Nigeria has never fully harnessed the collective potentials of all her tribes & will only work when we fix this! Let's not fail ourselves by losing sight of what matters most; our HUMANITY!

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