The Igbo culture believes that the home of a great man, a dike, is filled with people of all sorts. In such a home, you can find the hardworking, the lazy, church-goers, traditionalists, thieves, businessmen, the sane and the insane… All kinds of individuals – the good, the bad, the ugly – are found there. It is expected that such a home should be a complete one by being diverse. It needs no outsiders to solve its internal issues because all the help it needs is obtained from within. Outsiders also stay out of their way because finding its trouble means seeking the troubles of the “bad” members of the family. Such a home has everything it wanted. So long as the members don’t destroy themselves from inside, that home grows to become great. Look around you, think of the big names you hear today, trace the family history and you will find out they are connected to the house of a great man, a dike.
A country that is self-sufficient grows and expands the same way a self-sufficient home does. In such a country, the citizens, like the members of the great man’s home, have all it takes to move the country to greater heights. People of different characters, talents, skills, knowledge, and aspirations are found there. In addition to those, several cultures, ethnicities, religions, and languages exist in such a country. You can also speak of several climates, resources, and topographies as the features of the country. This means that whatever the country wants, it can obtain it from within. Even if it needs external help, it will not be as much as that of those that lack diversity. This is the beauty of diversity. That is the strength and beauty of Nigeria.
Many have heard “our strength lies in our diversity” but do not really understand every bit and piece of it. When Nigerians talk of diversity in the country, they only envision its multicultural, multiethnic, multi-tribal, multi-religious, and multilingual nature. These aspects make Nigeria an exotic place to visit and live in but they are not the only things diverse in Nigeria. Many people do not realise how exciting it is to discover new cultures – foods, songs, dances, languages, dressing, etc. – within the country. Nigeria would have been boring if all the citizens have the same religion, language, and culture. But here we are, enjoying what people pay dearly to see but failing to value it.
Anyway, this essay isn’t centred on the above-mentioned features of Nigeria; they have been overanalyzed that everyone must have known about them by now. This piece will consider how diversity in the country’s mineral resources, climate, and citizens’ occupation benefits the country and its citizens.
Some weeks ago, the prices of food items suddenly went up in the southern part of Nigeria because farmers in the northern parts stopped moving their food crops south. It took that act to make many Nigerians realise the parts of the country that provide the majority of the staple foods in the country. The differences in soil textures and structures, landmass, mineral resources, occupational preferences, and climates have made different areas of the country produce different types of food. This means that if more interest is given to farming, Nigeria will have enough food for its citizens, and they will come in different varieties.
Speaking of occupation, have you noticed that different regions of the country specialise in different types of occupations and businesses? For instance, you can go to Aba for your clothes and shoes, Ibadan for further education, Onitsha for trading, and Benue for yam farming. Furthermore, within a town, people from different regions partake in different specialised occupations. For instance, Suya business belongs to the north, motor spare parts shops belong to the Igbos, and ‘agbo’ selling is for the Yorubas. This does not mean other tribes cannot handle these jobs but it feels out of place because there is an accepted code on the jobs for different persons based on tribe.
Furthermore, Nigeria is blessed with many mineral resources because different states have their own resources. These resources make Nigeria look like a big supermarket with varieties of wares displayed on its shelves. Supermarkets like this attract lots of customers, just the way Nigeria should attract a lot of local and foreign investments.
It is unfortunate that many Nigerians fail to see the beauty in the composition of the country. Hate for people of different cultures, religions, and languages has become the greatest threat to the country. Cases of tribal clashes, religious killings, and segregation are witnessed daily in the country because hate for diversity is preached daily. Well, it’s high time Nigerians understand what it truly means to find strength and beauty in diversity.